Part of our most recent trip back to Manila was reconnecting with friends and clients, and clients turned friends. Near our home was the new office of my friend Kaiz. I paid him a visit (also to deliver the cookies his wife Michelle ordered from Sam. 😉 ) and took a tour of the facility.
His new office, LifeScience, is a Center for Wellness and Preventive Medicine. Some may have heard of it before as it has been around for a while now.
I loved the hotel feel of it, it wasn’t a cold medical clinic at all. And all their technology looked like the most current I’ve ever seen. LifeScience’s focus is on over-all health more than just aesthetics. They have a program that determines what your health goals are and they will conduct tests, do consultations with the doctors, nutritionists and fitness experts that are all on their team, and even create your own special mix of vitamins and neutraceuticals that cater to your specific unique needs. That’s very impressive (it beats buying the generic ones outside any day!). Kaiz himself has been on his own program and says he’s lost a ton of weight from it.
At the end of my tour, he handed me a form and turned me over to a nurse to draw blood — for my Food Intolerance Test. Say what?!
“Oh, you mean what I’m allergic to,” I said.
And so I learned my first valuable insight — that allergies are often misconstrued for intolerance, and the two were not (are not) the same thing. In my mind, the simple explanation is this: When you’re allergic to something, your body reacts immediately upon the ingestion of the food and it’s potentially life-threatening. When you’re intolerant to something, your body will react but you won’t necessarily die (Wonderful). You can also be intolerant to more than one thing at the same time, so you don’t know what the real cause is. An allergy is usually one identified source, like shellfish for instance.
As Kaiz says, it all starts with our gut. Everything we eat passes through our intestines. And the food that we’re intolerant to builds up as gunk, and causes our intestines to inflame. That in turn causes our body to react. That’s why there’s bloating, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, skin problems, headaches, weight control problems, itchiness, etc. The list goes on. It sometimes even presents itself as fatigue. My theory is that your body is working harder to process these foods and therefore isn’t working as efficiently as it should.
It made so much sense to me because I do feel and experience most of the symptoms in the poster.
Eight days after the blood draw I came back for my consultation. I saw a doctor, a nutritionist and a fitness expert all in one sitting. I got a full body scan too with their Body Composition Analyzer, which showed me exactly how my body was “broken down”, so to speak.
Over-all, my BMI and Fat Mass was still within the normal range, although they were on the high side. And my Metabolic Age reflected that of a 41-yr old. YIKES. I also have more fat in my upper body and the muscle mass “balance” showed I tend to use my right side more than my left. I have scoliosis after all and so I’m definitely imbalanced.
And then we talked about my Food Intolerance Test results.
Surprise surprise — I’m intolerant to most of the food that I eat!
The doctor said that weight loss (which I declared as my main goal) would be harder if I kept eating these foods, despite any calorie counting.
In the carbohydrates group, corn surprised me the most. And here I thought I was already eating healthy! The cheeses I’d need to limit to mozzarella and those made with buffalo’s milk (ie Kesong Puti — that’s hard to come by here!). The milk and hazelnut results were also quite surprising. I love Hazelnut coffee, and I put non-fat milk in it too. It’s no wonder I get queasy after just one cup (and I’ve already limited myself to one cup a day).
As I scanned through my results, I felt bad!
I felt overwhelmed. Where do I start? Most of what I like, I can’t have. Even some of the usual substitutes like Soy or Oats, and some Beans aren’t options. So what now?
I have to look at the things that are green. These are the ones I can eat. So it means, I need to get creative.
What happens if I follow this diet? Strictly speaking, in 6 weeks the weight loss and the change in energy levels are evident. And if you eat any of them after that “cleanse” then you’ll know how it directly affects your body. I can say that much for cola. I’d stopped taking it in my attempt to diet for my brother’s wedding, and one jet-lagged morning I had it with potato chips. Boy did my stomach hurt!
It took me a while to fully absorb my intolerance test results and make concrete changes. One thing’s for sure, it’s okay to take it slow. The term they use in Girl Scouts is PROGRESSION. So I try to follow that mantra week after week, and I don’t kill myself if I take two steps back on some days.
As each week goes by, I slowly remove one item at a time. I now drink brewed coffee with a non-dairy creamer and cane sugar. And surprisingly, I don’t have that queasy feeling anymore. I’ve cut out the rice in my meals, decreased the bread, and started exploring the gluten-free aisles in the supermarket.
My recent purchase included a bag of quinoa which I had with Maga’s Kitchen Tuyo the other day (Maga’s Kitchen ingredients are all on the “ok” list), Couscous, and dried apples and coconuts as snack. Not my usual fare, but it’s a start.
After three weeks of trying it, I recently put some french fries into my stomach (how can you not with kids around), and I didn’t feel too well after. At the very least I’m learning not to like some of the food that I once frequented.
I need to figure out what I can eat for breakfast though as oats, granola and yogurt are off my list. The kids usually have bread, pancakes and cheese, and I end up eating what they don’t finish (for the life of me, I can’t let good food go to waste). I know that doesn’t do me any favors, but it’s what’s there.
It’s frustrating to say the least — when I go into the grocery aisle I need to read all of the ingredients on the packs, or think about what I can substitute for some of the regular stuff. My girls have specific favorites and I also don’t want to cook much more outside of what I already make for the family. I realize it’s a prioritization exercise. I determine which ones I’m willing to let go of first, and which “intolerances” I will tolerate for a longer period. Like chocolates. And wine. Oh, most definitely wine. 😉
And I am slowly teaching my kids to eat healthier too (I hope). Apparently, food intolerance can also be hereditary. I don’t know for sure, but Jamie gets constipated with too much cheese and ice cream, or bloated after a bowl of rice. Sam complains of a tummy ache too when she eats certain foods. So it’s definitely a watch out point, and something I’d consider doing for my kids in the future.
It’s definitely a process. And it has to work together with a whole system of exercise, sleep, diet and kids eating the food on their plate. Awareness they say is always the first step. Consistency is a good next goal. And hopefully the positive lifestyle change will follow soon enough.
To learn more about what LifeScience can offer you, visit their website: Lifescience.PH.
They’re also available on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @LifeSciencePhil.