It took about a week to get the results of my blood test. My nutritionist’s office was kind enough to email me the results even though I wouldn’t meet with Dr. Olivia for a few more days. I wasn’t so much worried about the possibility of removing foods from my diet. I was worried that I would have no allergies, and that I would be a slave to pain and pills for the rest of my life.
Before I go over my results, I want to give you the quick and dirty about the actual test itself. An “IgG” food sensitivity test, measures IgG4 immunoglobulin reactions. Bear with me here. In the body, IgG antibodies attach themselves to food antigens and create an antibody-antigen complex. (Deep breath…) These “complexes” are normally removed by special cells in the body they call macrophages. However, if there too many of these complexes, and the “reactive” foods are still being eaten, the macrophages can’t get rid of them fast enough. The food antigen/antibody complexes accumulate and are deposited in our body tissues. Once they’re in our tissues, these complexes release inflammation causing chemicals, which play a role in numerous autoimmune diseases and conditions. (Think of diseases or conditions that end in “-itis.”) Such as:
- Ear Infections
- And many, many more….
This test is different from an IgE blood test you might get from allergists. IgE skin or blood tests look for histamine reactions, (think mold, cats, pollen, and peanut allergies) which can be life threatening.
My particular IgG blood test examined my body’s inflammatory reaction to 95 different foods. Each food tested, has a “Mean Antigen Score,” with a reference range of low, moderate and avoided levels. As you can see Dairy and Eggs were the big ones. In fact, Dr. Olivia told me not to even look at a cow. I was surprised to find that “wheat” wasn’t in the “avoid” category. However, Dr. Olivia reminded me that I hadn’t eaten wheat in nearly a year. Otherwise, she said I would have likely tested higher than I did for dairy. (Side note: I also tested, highly allergic to wheat on an IgE skin test.)
The results were a lot to absorb. The mean “avoid” score for dairy was 450 points. I was in 2000’s. The funny thing is I never really ate much dairy, but I’m so allergic that it doesn’t take much. There would be no more Gruyère or Montamoré, and no more scrambled eggs or Sunday morning frittatas. Oh yeah, I am also allergic to Almonds, Pineapple, Quinoa (WTH?), and Kidney Beans. Remember what I said about wanting a food allergy? Well, I was lying to myself. Or at least that’s what I told myself in the beginning. However, my reflux had gotten so bad, most nights I slept in my husband’s recliner just to get to sleep. I was taking two Prilosec a day and it was only getting worse. I had developed what they called Acid Rebound, a vicious cycle between the acid blocker and the body (whose natural response to no acid, is to produce more acid). So I took a deep breath and marched forward.
I met with Dr. Olivia a few days later to go over the results. She was amazing. Her candor was appreciated and her prognosis was hopeful. Her feelings toward traditional medicine were very much the same as mine, however, she was much more compassionate toward their plight. “Nutrition is only a requirement in less than 2% of U.S. Medical schools,” she said. “They just don’t know any better.” She shared a personal story about a local cardiologist who called her office wanting to schedule a lunch date with her. She agreed and met him a week later. The cardiologist explained to her that he had 5 patients who were not only healing, but healing at a much faster pace than all of his other patients. It was enough of an anomaly for him to investigate. After tirelessly pouring over their medical files, he realized the common factor among these 5 patients was in fact, Dr. Olivia Joseph. He had confided that in his 10 years of medical training to become a cardiologist, he had only taken one course in nutrition, and that was an elective, not a requirement. He asked her to speak to some of his colleagues about her treatment protocols. She is now teaching continuing education courses for this group of heart doctors.
On my way out she hugged me and said, “Don’t be surprised if your doctors or allergists think you’re crazy for meeting with me,” They don’t give a lot of credence to what we do.” She was right. My allergist all but called her a quack. Physicians in the US are only allowed to diagnose and prescribe based on what the American Medical Association, (AMA) the big pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies tell them they can. (I will write an entire blog about that in the future.) Not only that, the average primary care doctor spends approximately 15 minutes with each patient, and guess what? Nutrition is not a part of the conversation.
I left her office and headed straight to Whole Foods. It had been a while, but I was back, back to the happy, hippie health food store of my youth. I spent two hours wandering through the aisles. I also spent the first year of Avery’s college fund. Nonetheless, I came home with a bounty of organic fruits and vegetables, a liquid iron supplement, and a bottle of Vitamin D 5000. I also bought my first container of non-dairy milk.
Within 11 days, I had lost 9 lbs and my energy levels soared. I learned that this was the amount of inflammation I was carrying around in my body tissue. Within 4 months, I was down 24 pounds and all of my joint pain was gone. Within 6 months, the reflux was gone. People told me that I was glowing from the inside out. I went from hiding behind Kevin in pictures, to standing in front of him. (((Tears))) I also spent the next several months reading everything I could get my hands on about nutrition and chronic disease. When I gave up those foods, I gained more than my health back. I gained my life back.
A person’s weight isn’t everything, but it is a good predictor of health. When looking over my most recent blood work, my primary doctor said I had the blood of a healthy 18 year old. I will be 45 in 3 months. I am currently down 32 pounds from one year ago. My BMI is and my blood pressure went from 125/78 to 116/58. My bad cholesterol is down 50 points and my good cholesterol is up 40 points. Still no joint pain or reflux (unless I drink too much alcohol). I take a good whole food multi-vitamin plus Vitamin D every day. I am no longer tired during the day and sleep like a baby at night. We have one body, and one life, and is up to us to do the best for both.
Next up on All Shook Up: “Milk Does No-Body Good.”