Ten Crucial Keys to Recovery and Prevention
© Dane Roubos, D.C. www.BodyMindPeace.com
See After the Cast Comes Off – Overcoming Obstacles to Recovery for a personal story which illustrates some of these principles. While this is written about injuries, almost everything said can apply to physical pain, and most other health conditions as well. These are relatively universal principles when it comes to health.
When we get injured, we hope for a full recovery so we can get on with our lives and keep doing those things we love to do. As any athlete knows, there is more to recovery than just getting rid of the pain. The injured area usually needs to be strengthened and rebalanced.
In addition, there are many aspects of injury and recovery that are not yet well-known in the medical and alternative care systems. These “hidden factors” usually fly under the radar, and go undetected by most methods of evaluation and treatment.
The “bad news” is that failing to find and treat these “hidden factors” can prevent complete healing, and lead to re-injury down the road. The “good news” is that there are many doctors and therapists who are trained in the necessary modalities to detect and resolve these roadblocks to recovery.
Click here for a practitioner search for those modalities I consider most important for injury recovery. This will allow you to find practitioners of CranioSacral Therapy, Lymph Drainage Therapy, and Visceral Manipulation in your area.
Use Appropriate Manual Therapies
Appropriate manual therapies usually provide amazing results. “Appropriate” means the right therapies for the tissues involved and the task at hand. The best therapy is the one that releases the “anchor point,” which is a problem that holds several other dysfunctions in place and prevents complete healing.
It is also important to consider your body’s readiness to receive any particular treatment, especially if there is force involved. If you have joint or tissue restrictions, you will likely need some type of focused manual therapy to release them. This can range from extremely gentle to forceful, depending on the situation and inclinations of those involved.
Are the Meridian Energies Flowing?
The Chinese were definitely on to something. I’ve noticed that there is almost always one or more blocked acupuncture meridians associated with an injury. This can contribute to pain, and slow or incomplete healing. Sometimes it is the “missing link” to full recovery.
I’ve found a particular aspect of CranioSacral Therapy to be amazingly helpful in clearing the meridians, especially when used in concert with the other therapies mentioned here.
Acupuncture by itself will not necessarily do the job. Even if the pain goes away, other components of the injured tissues may need to be addressed before all the “parts” are whole again.
Anything mentioned in this article can prevent complete healing, and may need to be included in the treatment program in order to obtain a full and lasting recovery.
Is Something Stuck?
Every joint, muscle and organ in your body needs its own freedom of movement in order to function well and remain healthy. For the most part, this freedom depends on elastic (stretchable) connective tissues.
Stiff or shortened ligaments in your joints, or fascia in your muscles and organs, will eventually lead to problems if they are not restored to normal function, or close to it.
Injuries and the inflammation that accompanies them usually generate scar tissue as part of the natural healing process. This often must be dealt with if you want a full recovery. See Little-Known Factors in Chronic Pain for an education on this subject.
Full recovery goes beyond feeling better (relief of pain). Full recovery means clearing all aspects of the injury to allow the tissues return to full, normal function. Only then are you protected from future problems and flare-ups resulting from the injury.
There are various types of manual therapies for different purposes. The best manual therapies I’ve found for injury recovery are CranioSacral, Lymphatic, Visceral, Active Release, Somatics, and of course, Chiropractic. You can learn more about these wonderful modalities by clicking on their individual links.
General treatments like exercise, ultrasound and hot packs do little to improve movement in restricted joints or muscles. In fact, exercising with dysfunctional joints or tissues usually leads to trouble. It’s like driving your car when the wheels are out of alignment – drive it long enough, and the tires will wear out before their time.
In my experience, ultrasound doesn’t work very well for dealing with scar tissue – not compared to these other therapies. Hot packs which are commonly used, only penetrate about ½ inch, while a good infrared unit will provide heat up to 2 inches deep.
Don’t Settle for “There’s nothing else we can do.”
If your doctor says, “You’ll just have to learn to live with it,” or “We don’t know what causes it,” trust that they are speaking from the best of their knowledge. They have probably not learned about the highly effective therapies listed in this article.
It’s usually good to get a second opinion from another practitioner, perhaps from a different discipline, who is skilled in that area.
Nobody has all the answers, even though they may act like they do. Be cautious about receiving treatment from over-confident or arrogant practitioners, whether they are medical or “alternative.” Do your own research!
Allergy as a Hidden Factor
If you have symptoms that do not improve with seemingly appropriate therapy, consider the possibility that an allergy may be complicating the situation. Any reaction to stainless steel hardware can prevent progress.
Food allergies can be another “hidden” factor causing or contributing to chronic pain, restricted joints and other physical problems. In addition, sensitivity to particular foods is a relatively common cause of mental-emotional symptoms such as anxiety, depression and insomnia. This fact is not well-known in the medical field, but can certainty complicate a person’s healing process, which requires a positive attitude and plenty of rest.
Food allergies work their mischief mainly by causing inflammation in the tissues, and I’ve seen many cases of pain and limitation that miraculously resolved after removing certain foods from the diet. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but it sure beats being in pain forever! Click this link to learn more about Food Allergy Testing.
Other Healing Secrets
There are five very important approaches I want to tell you about, which I wasn’t using at the time of my injury. I routinely use these things in my practice now, and find them extremely helpful in resolving difficult problems.
Get the Trauma Out of the Tissues
Injuries and surgery cause trauma. It’s very common for some of the trauma to get “stuck” in the tissues. When this occurs, it acts as an on-going irritant and prevents complete healing from taking place. You can read more about this idea in my article on CranioSacral Therapy. This technique uses very gentle pressures to locate and release problem areas.
Are the Lymphatics Draining Well?
Make sure the lymphatic system is draining well in and around the injured area. The lymph vessels carry excess fluid, proteins and cellular waste & debris through lymph nodes and back into the blood stream, where any toxins can be dealt with. Trauma can easily damage the delicate lymph vessels, and result in stagnation of the flow.
Subtle or gross impairment of lymph flow leaves irritants in the tissues where they cause more inflammation and prevent complete healing from taking place. You can read more about the lymphatic system in my article on Lymph Drainage Therapy. This is another gentle, relaxing and highly effective technique.
Are the Core Muscles Strong and Balanced?
Sometimes back pain develops or refuses to go away when the deep spinal muscles need specific strengthening. This could call for specialized rehab training, and I may make a referral for this aspect.
However, the work I do helps people recover faster if they choose to use other approaches. The basic theory is “remove the blocks to healing and the body will heal what it can, far more quickly than if it has to work around those blocks.” This work also prepares the tissues to exercise better, and with less risk of re-injury.
Is There an Emotional Component?
Injuries occur more frequently when we’re feeling stressed or upset about something. By their nature, injuries often have some “fear” component as well. This is especially true when there has been a physical attack or an accident which you could see coming.
In the natural world, animals which have survived an attack usually release the fear through a brief period of shaking. The human ego tends to dismiss or suppress such feelings, however, and the emotional energy can get stuck in the body. This can have a similar effect to the energy of physical trauma mentioned earlier.
Interactive Guided Imagery can be helpful in connecting with residual feelings and releasing them. SomatoEmotional Release is an offshoot of CranioSacral Therapy, and can also be helpful in this regard.
Are Subconscious Beliefs a Factor?
When we’re sick or injured, we all think we want to get well – consciously, that is. But sometimes there is disagreement between what we think consciously and what we believe deeper down (subconsciously). This is like shooting ourselves in the foot, without knowing we’re even doing it!
When there is disagreement between these two minds, the subconscious always wins out, because it is so much stronger than our conscious mind. The subconscious mind is also the one that runs our body, and controls the healing process. When it comes to injury recovery, it’s the boss!
All healing is powerfully influenced by our subconscious mind. People who have had fake knee surgeries actually had the same results as those who had the real surgery! See The Mind’s Influence on Pain for some “mind-blowing” information.
PSYCH-K is a wonderful tool for identifying and changing limiting subconscious beliefs, and it’s a relatively fast and straight-forward process. You probably don’t need to lie down on a shrink’s couch for years of psychoanalysis. It’s easy to check for agreement between your conscious and subconscious minds. If they are not in agreement, it’s we can usually get them lined up again in one session. You can actually feel the change happen in your body.
There is universal agreement that being injured or sick is a drag. For many people, it becomes a permanent problem. But there is good news: your chances of full recovery will be tremendously strengthened if you incorporate all of these aspects into your healing journey.
This combination of modalities works very well for almost any injury (including whiplash), most types of pain (including headaches, carpal tunnel and TMJ problems), or limitation of movement. The approaches I’ve outlined here are gradually becoming more well-known and accepted, but it takes decades for new knowledge to fully infiltrate the medical system.
Here’s my advice: “Don’t wait for the crowd to catch on. Effective evaluation and treatment is already available to support you in your recovery. Educate yourself and take action. The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes.”
An Ounce of Prevention . . .
. . . is worth a pound of cure, as the old saying goes. Pain or other symptoms are basically alarms going off, telling us that something needs attention. Usually, the problem was brewing for some time before the pain appeared – often for many years.
Pain or other symptoms like stiffness, tension, cramping, digestive issues, fatigue, anxiety, etc., show up when the body can no longer adapt to a dysfunction. It’s been said that pain is the last thing to show up, and the first to go away.
But the underlying problem usually doesn’t go away. It simmers there, beneath the threshold of our senses, until the next “straw on the camel’s back” comes along, and symptoms flare up again. Then we wonder, “Where did that come from?”
Most likely it was there all along! The “hidden causes” would have been there all along, too, because they were never fully cleared when the injury or problem last occurred. Clearing these hidden causes is the key to injury recovery and prevention of re-injury.
To say it another way, many health problems can be prevented (before the problem rears its head) by catching it early with sensitive testing and appropriate treatment. That’s why we get our teeth checked and cleaned on a regular basis, right?
But in order to detect the cavities, the dentist needs to have the right knowledge and tools. The same is true in other health professions. 36 years of experience has shown me that no one approach has all the answers.
The specialized techniques mentioned here are able to detect and treat many subtle problems that usually “fly under the radar” of most health care professionals. I’ve been blessed to find a variety of modalities that support each other synergistically, providing far better results than any of them alone.
If you live near Ashland, OR, you can experience the effectiveness of this multifaceted approach with a Free Introductory Mini-Session!
- Discover the basic causes of symptoms you currently have
- Identify potential problems before they become obvious
- Experience the difference of this unique approach
- Find out if my work will be helpful to you
How to Find a Practitioner in Your Area
You can find practitioners of CranioSacral, Lymph Drainage, and Visceral Manipulation in your area on the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners website.
If you are injured, it’s best to work with someone who has had at least two or three seminars (about 50-75 hours total) in each respective modality. This level of experience helps ensure that they will be able to provide the level of skill you need in your recovery, and to help you prevent future problems.
Dane Roubos, D.C. http://www.BodyMindPeace.com
Appropriate movement is essential for healthy tissues and organs. Everyone is familiar with the need for exercise. It helps to lubricate our joints, strengthen our muscles, and improve circulation of our blood and lymph. Exercise causes release of endorphins, our own natural “feel-good” hormones. It is great for depression, lethargy and that general “stagnant swamp” feeling.
What I want to tell you about here is the need for motion, not only of our tissues, but between them. In order to function normally, our muscles, organs, nerves and vessels must all be able to glide freely alongside each other as we move.
“Nature abhors a vacuum, but fears immobility even more. Motion is a sign of life itself. . . From the infinitely large to the infinitesimally small, life is always in motion. . . Everything in the universe is in motion, whether of large or small amplitude, of high or low velocity.Jean-Pierre Barral, D.O., Visceral Manipulation
What Holds Us All Together
All our tissues are enveloped and held together by the transparent connective tissue called fascia. If you’ve ever prepared a chicken for cooking, you’ve probably seen this thin, transparent tissue enveloping each group of muscle.
If you haven’t seen fascia, you could envision it as a complex sheet of plastic food wrap that enfolds and connects every tissue in our bodies. Through the fascia, everything in our bodies is interconnected and interrelated.
Injury Causes Scar Tissue
When these tissues are damaged, they usually lose their capacity for normal movement. Damage occurs in many different ways, including surgery, tears due to injuries, repetitive stress (small tears repeated over time), breaks (ruptured ligaments, tendons & fractured bones), and damage from infection or other causes of inflammation.
All tissue injuries result in the formation of scar tissue. Auto accidents are notorious for causing this type of damage. The body creates scar tissue to knit itself back together, which is part of the normal healing process.
But there’s often a side-effect from scar tissue. Since its purpose is to glue torn things back together, it commonly binds tissues that weren’t meant to be attached to each other. This can happen any time there’s inflammation, which affects all the tissues surrounding an injury. The fascia, which I mentioned earlier is very susceptible to scar tissue adhesions.
Infections in the chest, abdomen or pelvis, and conditions such as endometriosis commonly leave behind significant scar tissue. Physical injuries and surgery are also frequent causes. Whenever scar tissue glues things together that nature intended to be freely movable, there’s likely to be trouble!
Try this Self-Demonstration!
This will give you a “first-hand” experience of the problem:
- Look at the palm side of your hand (with fingers together) and notice where the tips of your fingers are in relationship to each other. The middle one’s the longest, right?
- Now, keeping your fingers straight, bend them as a unit where they join your hand to make a 90 degree angle with your palm. Compare your finger tips again – looks different, doesn’t it?
- Now bend them back and forth and notice how they slide alongside each other, especially the middle, ring and pinkie fingers. Your tissues must be able to glide freely like this in order to function normally.
- Here’s the clincher. Grasp your four fingers with your other hand, squeezing them together with a couple pounds of pressure. Now, using your finger muscles, try to bend them like you did before, allowing the squeezing hand to follow along. Do you feel the resistance?
- Alternate squeezing and releasing your fingers to appreciate the difference it makes. Without the ability to slide freely past each other, movement is difficult and they can’t make it through their normal range of motion!
Adhesions Mess with Your Mojo
This is what happens in your body when scar tissue binds up the fascia between two organs, around an injured joint, or within a muscle. Adhesions change the mechanics of how your body, or an organ, moves. Like they say, it’s a drag!
Because everything is interconnected, if a muscle, nerve or organ is glued down, it will likely cause problems someplace else in addition to locally. Pain and inflammation are a common result of adhesions and abnormal mechanics. To learn more about pain and it’s many causes click here: all about pain.
In our example, there is not only a problem locally in your hand, but eventually there would be problems in your forearm, when the muscles eventually become strained from trying to move your fingers. Resulting strain in your forearm could then cause a shoulder problem, and so on, like a domino effect that began with a little scar tissue between your fingers.
Spine & Joint Health
The same principle holds true in your spine, and all the joints in your body. Your spinal cord must be able to glide freely up and down as you bend and move. Your spine needs elastic ligaments around its joints to maintain healthy function.
If joints become restricted anywhere in your body, it creates abnormal motion, causes wear, and irritates the nerves and surrounding tissues. A Chiropractic technique called Motion Palpation is very good at identifying these joint fixations.
Since everything in your body is interconnected through the fascia, scar tissue or restrictions in one area will eventually affect other parts of your body as well. Visceral Mobilization and CranioSacral Therapy are particularly effective in locating and releasing areas of restriction in the body’s soft tissues.
Your Organs Move, Too!
All our visceral organs (lungs, liver, kidneys, etc) naturally dance a slow-motion rock ‘n roll, back and forth. It’s a subtle remnant of their embryonic journey, and an expression of their life and vitality. If an organ is stressed or restricted in some way, its motion will be dampened, altered or absent altogether.
This change is detectable to those trained in Visceral Mobilization. In most cases, it’s relatively easy to restore the lost motion with gentle techniques. This correction is important for two reasons. First, the organs function best when their visceral motion is full and complete. They’re just happier that way!
Secondly, the organs are suspended from ligaments which attach to the spine. If an organ like the liver is restricted or otherwise stressed, the resulting tension is often transmitted to the spine, and will often cause fixation and irritation there as well.
When I was first learning Visceral Mobilization, I saw a client who was unable to lift her legs off the table because of pain and weakness in her lower back. We were able to clear 50% of it, trying all my tricks that usually worked for such things. Then, restoring a single lost motion of her liver immediately cleared the remaining pain. Her strength returned and she was able to lift both legs off the table with ease. All this occurred in the same visit. We were both surprised!
Your Body Has a Memory
Do you remember the times you fell down the stairs, wiped out skiing, sprained your ankle, hit your head on the bottom of the pool, or got in a car accident? Your body does! Not only is there some scar tissue left behind, but your tissues actually have a memory of traumatic events. As with the rest of the body, the organs can also carry old energies or emotions. The fact that each organ maintains its embryonic movement pattern suggests that the tissues do indeed have a memory.
Deepak Chopra, the well-known medical doctor and author, teaches that we live in a “holographic universe,” wherein every part reflects the whole. He states that every cell in our bodies remembers everything that’s ever happened to us. Visceral Mobilization and CranioSacral Therapy are two techniques that can help you release the energy held in your tissues from old traumas.
Your Natural Ability to Heal
Your body has a natural ability to heal itself when restrictions are released and balance restored. Just as your body carries memories of old trauma, it also has a memory of normal, balanced function. Living things have an innate ability to heal themselves when they are given a chance. All natural methods of health care and healing depend on this natural ability.
Visceral Mobilization gives us the ability to address hidden problems like scar tissue restrictions between visceral organs, ligaments or membranes, and old tissue memories. As we have seen, these “hidden” factors have a powerful influence on the way our bodies function. Visceral Mobilization and CranioSacral Therapy can help locate and remove many of these hidden influences, thus supporting our innate healing ability and giving our bodies a chance to heal.
Would you like to have a simple ten-minute program to help you relax while you gain body awareness and flexibility? This gentle workout is based on Somatic Technique, which has come down the line from Moshe Feldenkrais. It combines breathing and relatively easy movements for the front, back and side of your body.
Click here: Ten Minutes to Relaxation and Flexibility for a PDF file which you can view online, or download for your personal use. Read on if you would like find out why this approach can be so helpful.
How Does it work?
There are a few basic reasons why muscles become chronically tight.
- Anxiety or worry – what we usually call “stress”
- A loss of communication between the brain and the muscles
- A combination of 1 and 2
- A deficiency or imbalance of minerals like Magnesium and/or Calcium
- Blockage of flow in the lymphatic vessels
- Blockage of flow in related acupuncture meridians
- Blockage of energy from an “interference field” (stemming from an old scar, injury site or hidden infection. The interference source isn’t usually painful itself, and is often some distance away - seemingly unrelated).
This simple routine works mainly with #2, but also helps with #1. It helps loosen tense muscles in four ways:
- It relaxes your mind by bringing your focus into the present moment
- It activates your diaphragm in breathing, which places your nervous system into relaxation mode (parasympathetic)
- Diaphragmatic breathing also calms the “fight-or-flight” part of the nervous system (sympathetic)
- It strengthens communication between your muscles and brain. Why is this important? If this link is weak, the subconscious mind takes over and places the muscles into default mode, which unfortunately, is “tight!”
Click here to view the exercise pageTen Minutes to Relaxation and Flexibility.
To learn more about brain-muscle communication, please see Somatic Technique.
Poor Breathing Blocks Good Health!
Everyone knows how to breathe, right? Well, it might be more accurate to say that we know enough to get by. Here, I’ll show you …
Please take a moment right now, without changing anything, and notice how you’re breathing. Are you breathing into your chest, belly, or both? Is it shallow, medium or deep?
Without changing your posture, take a deep breath and notice how it feels. Now, sit up tall, lifting from the top of your head and a bit from your breastbone. Take another deep breath, and notice any change in the volume or ease of your breath compared to your former posture.
In Spontaneous Healing, Andrew Weil, M.D. says, “Breathing may be the master function of the body, affecting all others. Restrictions in breathing can be the result of past traumas, both physical and emotional. Most of us have never received instruction about breathing and how to take advantage of it as a harmonizer of the body.”
Practicing the simple exercises in Conscious Breathing 101 will increase your energy level, improve your mood and help you relax. They say the best things in life are free. A good breath is certainly one of them (don’t leave home without it)! Click the title to view the PDF file.
Check it Out
Your head is balanced on your neck and back if your ears are aligned above your shoulders (looking from the side). Another way to check this is to stand with your back against a wall, so that your heels, buttocks and shoulder blades are touching the wall.
Now reach up with one hand and feel how far the back of your head is from the wall. No cheating by tilting your head back! Ideally, it’s less than an inch away. This tends to get worse as you get older, so the best time to work with it is when you’re younger (when you think you’re invincible and don’t have enough brains to take on a practice like this).
Many folks have their heads well forward of their neutral balance point. This places a lot of stress on the joints and muscles in the back of your neck and upper back.
Try This Experiment
Try this experiment to see how it works. Hold a gallon of water right next to your chest. This will actually work much better if you have something to put it in first! Any other object of similar weight can be used. This is roughly equal to the weight of your head.
Now, slowly move it further away from your body, and notice how it gets more difficult to hold it up. The weight is multiplied by the distance from your body. Try to hold it several inches away for 5 or ten minutes and when your arms get tired, bring it back next to your body to feel the difference.
If you have a “head-forward” posture, this is what your joints and muscles have to do whenever you’re sitting or standing, which is often all day long! But this must be your lucky day, because here’s a cool little exercise to help your brain and body learn to do things a little differently:
Click Here to view the exercise:
Reducing Head-Forward Posture
The Practice Works if you Work the Practice
It won’t change everything tomorrow, but you will begin to notice improvement if you faithfully do the exercise as recommended for a few months and practice awareness and correction of your posture throughout the day.
I know this is a “tall” order, but you can practice the postural “awareness and correction” part while you’re doing other things. So you can’t use the time excuse for that! Remember the part about lifting upward from the top of your head ( it’s in the article)!
A brief series of simple, awareness-based exercises to reduce pain, lower tension levels and improve conscious control of the muscles in your neck, back, abdomen and pelvis.
These are “neuro-muscular re-education” exercises, designed to strengthen the communication loop between your muscles and your brain. They help with breathing, and are very relaxing to do. (It’s a PDF file)
Dane Roubos, D.C. www.BodyMindPeace.com
Halfway through the stressful program at chiropractic college in 1981, I began suffering from intense allergy-like symptoms. Feeling curious and somewhat desperate, I went on a juice fast for 3 days to see if foods were involved.
I was greatly relieved to find that my runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and fatigue completely disappeared. Of course, I was still left with the task of identifying which foods were causing the problem. That wasn’t easy in those days, as there were no reliable lab tests for food allergies.
A rigorous elimination diet has been the “gold standard” for food allergy testing for decades. It’s started with either a fast, or very limited diet. If your symptoms clear up, you know your problems were related to your diet.
To find out what was causing the trouble, foods are then reintroduced one at a time until the symptoms return. But here’s the catch: reactions to food can be delayed for up to 5 days! The whole process can be very tedious, time-consuming, and difficult for most people to do.
I usually use either Applied Kinesiology or a certain blood test panel to identify possible food reactions. This makes it easier to navigate the elimination part of the program. The person then embarks on a modified elimination diet, similar to the one below. If food was the problem (and it was accurately identified), they will usually start feeling better within a week. Please see Food Allergy Testing for more information on these methods.
The minimum Trial Period is 7 days, and a 10-14 day period is recommended.
The most accurate is a plain water fast, but that has many inherent problems, and I don’t recommend it for such a long period. People can be allergic to anything, but following the diet below works very well for most.
Generally Safe Foods
These are the least allergenic foods, and are safe for most people. A few people may be reactive to some of the foods on this list, so it is not 100% foolproof. It is important to use relatively fresh, organic food which you have prepared yourself so you know what’s in it.
Here are some allergen-free recipes, with a section on adaptation for certain food sensitivities. This may be especially helpful if you are not used to preparing whole, natural foods from scratch.
It is wise to avoid foods with chemicals such as preservatives and pesticides in general, and especially during the elimination diet. Before you begin your program, please see “Hazards Along the Way” below for some important tips.
Brown rice is the foundation, and millet is the other grain – neither have gluten (as do most of the rest). Food for Life makes a nice brown rice bread, and they have a millet bread as well. If you do not do well with brown rice, you can use white rice for the test period.
Some people are reactive to legumes, especially soy. If you want to try other legumes, it’s best to wait until you’ve been on the “test phase” for seven days. Go easy – maybe once every few days. Stick to something like mung bean, lentil or alfalfa sprouts, which are the easiest to digest. If you want to try cooked legumes, you can do so after making sure the sprouts are OK. For this purpose, I recommend mung dahl, which is easier to digest. You can probably find it in your local food co-op.
Carrots, celery, chard, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, sweet potatoes, yams, onions & garlic are usually OK for most people.
Fruits (It’s best to avoid fruit if yeast (candida) is a possibility, which it might be if you are sensitive to mold)
Organic mango, pears, or blueberries are rarely a problem for people. You can also try organic bananas (regular ones are full of fungicides), after a week on the trial elimination diet.
Stick with raw cashews for a week or two, and avoid regular nuts or seeds of any kind for the trial period. Organic cashew butter would probably be OK, too. (Cashews aren’t really nuts, and have a different composition). Reactions to tree nuts, peanuts and various seeds are fairly common.
Free-range or organic, unprocessed (other than grinding) turkey, chicken, or lamb. Type Blood type “A” people are more likely to have trouble with red meats.
Sea salt, white or black pepper (white is safer if you suspect mold allergy), organic olive oil or coconut oil should be OK. No vinegar – you can try fresh lemon or lime juice if you need something sour for a dressing (only if you know you’re OK with citrus).
Herb tea, fresh carrot/celery/parsley juice (or combo with veges listed above). Lots of water!
I recommend you avoid tap water and most bottled water, due to the likelihood of toxins from the water itself, or absorbed from plastic containers. Please see my water articles for more information.
The Most Common Allergens - the “Big Three” and Others
Cow’s milk or its derivatives, such as cheese, butter yogurt, keefer, etc. are extremely common allergens. Goat milk might be OK, but best to wait until the trial period is over. Blood type “O” people are more likely to have a sensitivity to milk products.
Wheat or Gluten Gluten is in almost all grains (including oats and barley. Commercial oats often have some wheat mixed in, so you will need to use “Certified Wheat Free” Oats if you want to include them. Rice & millet are gluten-free. Buckwheat and Quinoa are supposed to be OK, but I react to them personally, and I recommend you avoid them during the test period, just to be sure.
Avoid soy carefully, as it’s a common allergen and is found in almost everything that comes in some kind of packaging. Watch the labels on packaged foods! Most Vitamin E is made from soybeans. The cleanest Vit E I’ve found is “Ultimate E” from Thorne Research. Thorne products are carried by many chiropractors and some pharmacies.
I strongly recommend that all packaged foods be avoided for the trial period, because of they usually contain one or more of the “Big Three.” There is no guarantee that the label is truthful or accurate. Wait until the “challenge phase” to try anything that comes in a can, box, or other packaging!
Other common allergens:
Nightshades (peppers, eggplant, regular potatoes, tomatoes, paprika, and cayenne)
Citrus – usually oranges, but sometimes lemons & limes
NutraSweet, and other artificial sweeteners
Unfortunately, your most favorite food is often a problem, especially if you crave it!
Also avoid vinegar, mayonnaise, and wine or booze of any kind. This would include common products like salad dressings and protein bars (they almost always have milk, wheat, oats or soy).
Hazards Along the Way
Packaged foods (even in the “health food section”) almost always have common allergens in them, and should be avoided completely during your 2 week period, and avoided as much as possible in general. Packaged foods are usually “dead” foods.
Package labels can be deceiving, and the fact that something is not listed on the label is no guarantee that it is not present in the food. This is one reason why I ask people to prepare their own.
Eating in restaurants will almost certainly mess things up, as the employees have little understanding of the issue, and poor knowledge of what’s actually in their food. An Organic Food Co-Op deli is more likely to be knowledgeable of what is really in their food.
After the Trial Period
At the end of the period, assuming you feel better than when you started, introduce one new food a day, and see what happens. Reactions can be delayed up to 4 or 5 days, but usually occur within 1-2 days. This means if you have a reaction, you’ll need to backtrack a few days (eliminate recently added foods) until things improve again, then re-challenge with those foods, introducing a new one every 3 or 4 days, until the culprit is discovered.
Tricky business – it requires commitment and patience!
If making dietary changes or breaking habits are difficult for you, please see the short article on PSYCH-K.
This section will contain a variety of articles to empower you in building your health on many levels. They will be organized in the general categories of:
- Diet & Nutrition
- Body & Breath