Fruit gives me eczema. Do I have a fruit allergy?
One of my students wrote me, asking what to do about a "fruit allergy" that they were experiencing. They wrote:
Hi Raederle,I really like your website and e-course.I want to eat more raw foods, but it seems like I am allergic to most raw fruits.I got sick after a trip to Thailand, and now suffer chronic gastritis and IBS. I can eat all cooked meats, most cooked veggies except zucchini, squash etc... I cannot eat raw fruits. I either break out in eczema or have bad gastritis from it.What do you recommend I do so that I can start to eat raw and not have an allergic reaction?
It is possible that you have an allergy, however there are four other likely things:
The importance of food combining
1. Problem: Fruit and meat are the worst food combination and commonly cause problems in the intestines which can show up in a variety of ways, including eczema, bloating, and gas.
Suggestion: Try only eating fruit at least eight hours after consuming meat. Ideally, wait a full twelve hours after eating meat, because it takes a long time for meat to clear the system. For some people, meat takes nearly a week to fully leave the bowels.
In my meal plans I carefully selected when meals should be eaten in relation to one another to maximize digestive efficiency and comfort. However, my meal plans do not contain meat at all. If they did, I would carefully arrange only vegetables and spices in the twelve hours following a meal containing meat.
Pesticides on the fruit can cause digestive disruptions
2. Problem: Fruit is sprayed with a lot of pesticides. Many people have allergic reactions and even seasonal allergies entirely vanish when switching to an entirely organic diet.
Suggestion: Try eating only organicly grown fruits, and emphasizing organic vegetables as well.
Genetically modified foods have been shown to affect intestinal villi
3. It's interesting that you mention zucchini and yellow squash in particular. Problem: Almost all zucchini in America (and in many other places now) is genetically modified.
Genetically modified foods have been shown in lab studies to affect how intestinal villi function, sometimes flattening the villi and preventing proper nutritional uptake, and preventing proper colonization by beneficial bacteria. Even when the villi are not flattened, changes occur which inhibit probiotics and encourage harmful bacteria to colonize the intestines. It's normal to have a lot of bacteria, but some bacteria forms are good (producing enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins for us), and some bacteria forms are bad (producing alcohol and other toxins).
In fact, our bodies have ten bacteria cells for every human cell. This means it is crucial that the bacteria in our bodies works symbiotically with us to promote good health. Genetically modified foods disrupt this balance. The following conventional crops are primarily genetically modified: corn, papaya, yellow squash, zucchini, canola, alfalfa, cotton, sugar beets, and soy. The difficulty in avoiding these foods becomes evident when one considers that conventional soy and corn are fed to most livestock, and corn syrup and beet sugar are in most processed packaged foods.
Suggestion: To avoid genetically modified foods, buy organic products and produce and grass-fed meat only.
Try this for a couple weeks and let me know if you see a difference. Since you're already sensitive right now to raw foods, start with just organic cooked foods and don't introduce the raw organic foods for at least five days. That will give your body some time to relax and adjust.
For anyone reading this who is experiencing irritable bowel syndrome who is not sensitive to raw foods in particular, when switching to organic, don't switch to "all cooked" as well. I'm suggesting this in particular for people who are experiencing worsened symptoms when eating raw foods. The idea is to eat the least symptom-generating diet you know of when you switch to organic foods for at least five days, preferably seven days. Then introduce a single meal of raw organic food that previously would have been irritating and see how you fare.
Chewing your food thoroughly or making smoothies makes raw food easier to digest
4. Problem: Raw food is more tough and crunchy than cooked food, so often people don't chew it well enough. The stomach has acid, but it doesn't have teeth. If lumps of food make it to the intestines, the non-beneficial bacteria have a field day, causing abdominal pain, gas, and sometimes more serious reactions such as acid reflux, weight gain and ulcers.
Suggestion: When you first introduce a raw food, after eating all-organic for five to seven days, make sure you either blend the food into a puree or smoothie, or chew very thoroughly. Often the majority of discomfort caused from eating raw food is due to chunks of food making it to the intestines without properly being broken down.
Other possible causes for gastritis, acid reflux, and IBS
If you're reading this and you experience irritable bowel syndrome, here are some other possibilities:
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