Health Posts

The Yeast Bomb

The most recent development in my ongoing effort to be healthy is that I learned I am intolerant of yeast, rye and lamb. I mentioned on the “My Story” page, under the Health tab, that I have always struggled with food, both weight-wise and in that certain foods made my body sore or made me anxious. Since these foods were beer and bread, I attributed this to gluten sensitivity. Also because my doctor and most research led me to the fact that it is good to avoid gluten if you have an autoimmune issue. When you have an autoimmune disease and the body attacks that organ, the body is stressed and causes inflammation. Since gluten is an inflammatory agent, it exacerbates the already inflamed body and resulting symptoms.

This past September I started experiencing a change in my body:

Overnight my face broke out in pimples and despite diligently washing my face and using toners and oil free creams (The same Lancôme ones that have always worked for me) those little suckers would not go away;

My digestive system became very irregular; and

I could not stop gaining weight. I got serious about portion control and I gained weight. I did a cleanse that I usually lose six pounds on and I gained weight. I cut out sugar and I gained weight. I had the stomach flu and did not eat for three days and I gained weight. I had gained 25 pounds!

In the beginning I dismissed these since I was finishing up a three month vacation and road trip, but as I finished the vacation and got back to my normal and healthy diet, it was pretty clear to me that something out of the ordinary was going on behind the scenes. I reached out to a local nutritionist (who is so amazing! She feels like a mix of nutritionist, life coach and therapist. So much of our emotions are wrapped up in what we eat!) and we began by me keeping food journals and evaluating my caloric and nutritional intake. She noted that I was actually under eating calorically (go figure!), my protein intake was way too high (and from processed sources), and my calcium/healthy fats/carbohydrate intake was too low. We addressed those issues, but my problems persisted.

The next step was to take the Pinner test. This is a blood test that determines if you have any permanent food intolerances. Many people experience temporary food intolerances for various reasons such as eating too much of a particular food, reactions while on certain antibiotics or medications, or during certain parts of the menstrual cycle. My test results came back two weeks later and revealed I was intolerant to yeast, rye and lamb. This means I lack the enzymes to digest them, resulting in an inflamed gut, weight gain, bloating, brain fog, and skin problems. The good part? Answers!! Now I had something to work on to make myself healthier. The bad part? Yeast is in everything! It is so hard to cut out! It’s not to say that I have to cut these foods out completely and forever because I’m not allergic; I’m intolerant. I.e. I won’t go into anaphylactic shock. I need to not eat them at all for a couple months so that my gut and digestive tract have time to calm down, stop being inflamed, and stop trying to kill me. Then, I can reintroduce the food on occasion. I’m toying with the idea of a monthly cheat night where I treat myself to beer, wine, cheese, balsamic vinegar, kombucha and pastries. It’ll probably end with me rolling around on the floor, shamelessly stuffing my face in fits of diabolical laughter and my guests standing around in horror.

Food that contains yeast or feeds yeast: bread, baked goods, pizza, crackers, alcohol, cheese, anything with vinegar (such as mustard, BBQ sauces, salad dressing, mayo, potato salad, chips, and salsa) dried fruits, fruit skins (such as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and grapes), anything fermented (such as pickles, kefir, kombucha, and kimchi), olives, buttermilk, black tea, peanuts, tempeh, tofu, apple cider, MSG, and most canned/bottles things because most preservatives such as citric acid contain yeast (such as canned tomatoes, pasta sauces, hummus, jams, canned vegetables, and bottled juices). It is also advised to avoid mold containing foods when yeast intolerant. This includes mushrooms, cheese, nuts and so on.

I dare anyone in this world to say this isn’t hard! The ironic thing was that in an effort to be healthy, I was all about fermented foods! Kimchi? Yes. Kombucha? All the time. Kefir? My daily breakfast. I even sprinkled nutritional yeast on all my salads! And then when I cheated, I indulged in beer and sugar. I was probably eating the worst diet I possibly could.

Needless to say, I stumbled trying to revamp my diet to be yeast, rye and lamb free. I failed for the first week. The second week, I was completely yeast, rye, lamb and sugar free and I lost 4.5 pounds, my acne went away, and my digestive tract “re-regulated” itself. Answers! Progress! Then I went away for the weekend and my friend came to visit and I fell off the wagon. So here we are and I am restarting my food intolerant free diet. My plan is to completely omit them from my diet for four months. This deadline is mainly set by my five week trip to India in June and the fact that I won’t be able to cook my own food or even read the ingredients during that time.

I’m excited and determined and I even made myself a color coded calendar to track myself (I’m geeky about organization). I will check in and let you all know how I am doing and any changes in symptoms as the weeks pass.

So let’s get to it!

xo Alina