Testimonial to Clinical Ecology: Food Allergy Testing

This isn’t so much an idea as a testimonial. In high school, I had to give up golf because my knuckles would swell and my hands would hurt. Books and buzz suggested arthritis, or whatever I had, might be related to foods. After reading a book by a Dr. Marshall Mandel (searches aren’t turning up a title that rings a bell), I tried his unusal and difficult food allergy test: Eat just one pure food at every meal until you’ve discovered what you’re allergic to. I think you fasted the first day. When you came upon that food, your symptoms would reappear with intensity. That’s what happened: Wheat made my knuckles hurt, and corn made me drowsy and depressed — right after a good night’s sleep. Keys he mentioned: You’re probably allergic to foods you’re semi-addicted to, because of overexposure and because the swelling / drowsiness side-effect can have a calming, feel-good effect, like a sedative. True for me and wheat: Loved sandwiches, and often I’d get drowsy after lunch. Oddly, when I ate a half-cup of pure sugar for one test, no reaction at all. So it wasn’t a blood-sugar problem. Mandel also argues that identifying such allergies can help you lose weight. Not because during the test you hardly eat. No, because avoiding reaction-causing foods means bypassing bloating and calorie-adding addictions. Idea: Could some mechanism hiking childhood food sensitivities be related to America’s obesity epidemic? I’d be skeptical about such generalizations. In fact, that’s one great thing about this Mandel’s reasoning: We’re not all the same. You have to find out what’s true for you. The typical scientific approach — look for a single cause that applies to all cases — can’t work if wheat makes my joints swell, but for you it’s tomatoes. BTW, if the test is too rigorous, just avoid all suspicious foods for five days, then go on a rotation diet, never overdoing any food. This should alleviate symptoms, he says. Good luck if you’ve been having trouble pinpointing your food allergies. 

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