Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘food allergies’

Too Bitter To Swallow

Posted by terrepruitt on May 10, 2012

I have a friend on FB who works really hard to feed her family healthy things.  I think there are food allergies and intolerances involved so she has to be very particular with what she feeds her family.  Often times she posts some pretty creative cooking ideas.  One thing she is always asking about is greens.  How do you cook your greens?  She usually states which green she is working with but she always comes back with, “It is so bitter.”  Now some of the greens she says are bitter taste a little bitter to me, but with olive oil, salt, garlic, and onion the flavor is masked.  Some of them she claims are bitter aren’t bitter to me.  I really think that the bitter taste has less to do with which vegetable than with our genes.

Back in 1931 a chemist (Arthur Fox) was pouring a powdered chemical (PTC) and some of its dust got in the air.  His assistant said the dust tasted bitter, while he couldn’t taste anything.  The chemist proceeded to experiment with PTC and the taste on his friends and family.  Some could taste a strong bitter taste, while some could taste a mild bitter taste, while some could taste nothing at all.  Seventy-two years later in 2003 the gene that is responsible for this was discovered.  They call it the PTC gene or TAS2R38.  This gene has seven forms, five of which are rare, and two of which are common.  The two common forms are the ones that allow for tasting bitter and one that does not.  Since all genes come in pairs we can end up with both being the tasting gene, or both being the non-tasting gene, or one of each.

If an individual ends up with both of the genes that allow for them to taste PTC then they will be able to taste bitter things more strongly than others.  If an individual has the genes that are the “non-tasting” genes then they don’t taste bitter.  Then there are the individuals that have one of each. It has been found that there is a familial link, if some family members can taste the PTC than other can too.

I would imagine that if an individual has a set of bitter-taste genes then it would be almost impossible to cover up the bitter taste of many vegetables.  I am thinking that my friend and her family must have a set of those genes because she says she has cooked some veggies a multitude of ways and her comment is still, “It is so bitter.”  Probably the only way to deal with the bitter is to cover it up entirely in a sauce but then that would somewhat defeat the purpose of trying to eat a nice green healthy vegetable.  Plus I would bet that most of the sauces contain ingredients she is trying to avoid.  She is determined though.  She knows that the bitter vegetables have really good stuff in them so she keeps trying.  In the meantime her family is still getting the nutrients even though it is bitter and doesn’t taste good.

There are test strips that can be purchased to see which gene you have.  I found some on Amazon.  Interesting, huh?

Do you have a good sense of taste?  Do you taste bitter really strongly?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Disease, Allergy, Intolerance – All Different

Posted by terrepruitt on November 10, 2011

Celiac disease is a chronic, hereditary, autoimmune digestive disorder characterized by a toxic reaction to gluten.  It is not a food allergy.  From Page 21 of the G Free Diet, by Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and contaminated oats.

According to PubMedHealth:  “A food allergy is an exaggerated immune response triggered by eggs, peanuts, milk, or some other specific food. Symptoms usually begin immediately, within 2 hours after eating.”

Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten.  (per PubMedHealth)

People that have celiac disease run the risk of being malnourished because their immune system could have damaged the villi in the intestines.  The villi absorb nutrients from our food.   This compromised digestive system can result in symptoms of stomach aches, bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea, to name a few.

In addition to this disease and food allergies, there are food intolerances and different degrees of them.  An allergy will cause an immediate and severe reaction even if just a small amount is introduced to a person that is allergic.  The severity could be as much as life threatening.  An intolerance is more of a nuisance that will cause discomfort, but is–in general–less severe than an allergic reaction.

I have said it before, I love bread.  Have I said that before?  Anyway . . . sometimes my body is in such an icky state that I am to the point that I will give up bread if I have too.  But gluten is in so many things even if I give up bread I could end up in that state.  It is very tricky.  I am trying to figure out if it is just an intolerance.  It is so interesting.  It is so very difficult to distinguish.  It doesn’t help that I do have hay fever and the weather could be affecting me.

I have come to the conclusion that when we have a sunny day after a rainy day I am pretty much toast.  I am a sneezy-sniffling-congested-so-exhausted-I-might-as-well-stay-in-bed-because-I-am-so-miserable mess.  So it rains and I think, “Oh how nice the rain washing the world.”  Then the next sunny day even though I enjoy the beauty of the day I am wiped out.  Next time I will pay attention . . . thinking beforehand about what I eat and I will see if I don’t eat the foods that might cause “icky body” if that helps.

I do not think I have Celiac disease.  I don’t think I have a food allergy.  I do think that with all of the food combinations of GMOs and highly processed foods that I have developed some intolerances.  Some think (I agree with them) that wheat has been so hybridized that it is something our bodies cannot digest.  It is not the same wheat that out great-great-great-great grandparents ate.  Not even getting into GMO stuff, just the breeding of wheat makes it different from what it was.  That in combination with all the other stuff in our Western Diets.  I think the combination makes it difficult for the body to process.

There are many people who are “gluten-free” so there has to be something to it.  I just wanted to mention here the three different categories (if that is what they are called).  There is disease, allergies, and intolerance.  All different.  Sometimes with the same symptoms, but with different levels of severity and different levels of effects on one’s health.  Just interesting.  What do you think?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

I love food Allergies

Posted by terrepruitt on February 8, 2011

After my Nia class this past week, I went out to have something to eat with a friend.  I wanted something on the menu without this and with that, and instead of this could I get that on the side?  In the past I have hated going out to eat  because I couldn’t ever find anything I liked.  Well, several things have happened;

1) I eat more variety than I used to eat
2) Almost every restaurant serves a salad and
3) I can now rearrange a menu item and the server doesn’t have a fit.

I think a lot of it is due to food allergies.

Well, not entirely because long before people started discovering they were allergic to gluten restaurants started being more flexible with their menu.  So many things have tomatoes and even though I will eat a tomato, I prefer not to have them IN things.  Now-a-days it seems so many things have a hot, spicy chipotle or something other sauce on it.  So I am ALWAYS at the very least requesting that something listed on the menu as part of the dish be eliminated. I do believe though that so many people are allergic to so many things servers and restaurants are more sensitive to the fact and they just try their best to do what you want.  Sometimes they might feel the need to charge you when you do a lot of rearranging, but they will usually let you know if that is the case.  And you will be able to get what you want.

I used to pour over the menu trying to find the thing that I could eat.  I used to break out in a sweat when it was my turn to order.  My husband used to . . . .no, he still does, roll his eyes.  Now I can pick something and take off a few things or add this.  I once was reminded that if the kitchen isn’t busy and they have all the ingredients for what you want, you can always just ask for it.  Sometimes you get a surprise.  Years ago I was at a hotel and I asked if they could make me a grilled cheese even though it was not on the menu.  When my order came up I was horrified because I didn’t remember ordering two, but there were two sitting there.  The waitress saw my face and laughed explaining that the cook thought it sounded good so he made one for himself.  Whew!  I certainly didn’t want two.

While I don’t really love food allergies because I understand that they can have very serious consequences if the person that is allergic to a particular food happens to consume it.  I also understand that living with a food allergic can be quite a challenge.  I do, however, love that as a result I think restaurants are more accommodating.  I love that most restaurants will have a vegetable option and/or vegetable sides.  Also, if there really isn’t anything on the menu that grabs me, I can usually fall back on a salad.  Since so many things contain gluten that you might not even thing about, I can also rearrange the salad if I want.

What about you?  Do you order straight off the menu?  Or do you rearrange things a bit?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »