Category Archives: Food sensitivities

Food is Medicine! How I Healed Chronic Bladder, Sinus & Yeast Infections!

Food is Medicine! How I Healed Chronic Bladder, Sinus & Yeast Infections!

By Sarah Clark (Bio Below) 

Food as Medicine!

Food as Medicine!

For five years I was suffering from chronic bladder, sinus and yeast infections.  I had frequent headaches, moodiness, brain fog and days of extreme tiredness (I kept saying if someone would roll out a cot I would go to sleep). Since I naturally have high energy, luckily, I could save my naps for the weekend.  I went into early menopause when I was 28 (both of my kids are from donor eggs through IVF), so I was on birth control and hormone replacement therapies for years.  Turns out it was probably the Candida that was the cause of my infertility.  I had signs of Candida back in my early 20’s, (I am now in my early 40’s) such as acne, dandruff, skin rashes, bloating and vaginitis.  I was seeing an urologist and gynecologist to help with my issues.  I always thought my health issues were hormone related, but it turns out I had a yeast overgrowth in my system.  After taking a food sensitivity test with my Naturopath, I learned I had Candida.  Candida is a serious overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans.  It was recommended that I eliminate sugar, gluten, caffeine, dairy, alcohol, corn and chocolate from my diet.  I knew I would need to do something, but I had no idea it would be so radical.  At that point I was desperate.  I was allergic to many different types of antibiotics, since I was taking them for my sinus and bladder infections.  At one point I thought the house was infested with fleas because I couldn’t stop itching.  I thought I saw a flea on my dog, so we fumigated the house with flea spray powder.  After spraying the house and washing the dog in a flea bath I realized I was allergic to the antibiotics.  Oops sorry Sadie (my cute little Bichon Frise), at least you got clean!

[Tweet “I just learned how to heal myself from chronic sinus, bladder & yeast infections @alergenfreegals @sesacoaching”]  Continue reading

Food Allergies and Planning a Wedding Feast?

5111_wpm_lowres In just about 3 months I will be walking down the aisle again.  My partner and I have been together for 7 years and I guess it is time.   The first time I got married we eloped so this is really the first time I have planned a wedding.  Now I am no spring chicken and as the date gets closer I keep thinking ‘why did we not elope??’. 

For those of you that have planned a wedding I am sure you know all the little details that need to be taken care of.  Just when you think you have a handle on everything, someone says ‘what about this?’  URGH!  

Because my fiancé and I are both, well…not spring chickens we made it clear to everyone this is our wedding and we will do what we want.  We are paying for it so have your opinion but ultimately the final decision is ours.  Awesome!

My fiancé has never been married so for his parents this is kind of a big deal.  We picked a venue, decided on the menu and thought we were done.  After letting his parents know what would be served for dinner they offered to pay for the reception meal.  I was so touched that they wanted to do that.  The only stipulation was they got to have a say in the menu.  Ok I can live with that.    Problem is I have food allergies and sensitivities and I don’t want to have to tuck an Epipen into my garter.

So do I speak up and say, no way to the seafood platter (I am anaphylactic to most seafood)?  Do I put my foot down and insist the pasta is gluten free? Do I make sure there is no corn or soy as part of the ingredients?

I have decided to smile and be grateful these two really sweet people wanted to be part of the menu planning for their only son’s wedding.  They want glutinous pasta and a seafood course.  The chef knows the bride is allergic to seafood so my meal will be sequestered and I am bringing in gluten free pasta for myself and a few other guests, which will be cooked separate from the regular pasta.

The reality is; how much will I really be eating that day?  After talking to many other brides, they all said the same thing.  They never even got to taste the food at their wedding.  So I am going to concede and let them have what they want, I have control over everything else.  We are having a gluten free wedding cake, I picked the flowers, my dress, tuxedos, bridesmaid dresses, décor, venue, etc. etc.

A few people are shocked and have been giving me grief over my decision.  Now if this was my kid’s birthday party and they were insisting on having seafood and he was allergic, well that is a completely different story!  Momma Bear would come out and there would not be a shrimp within 50 miles of that party!!

I am an adult and I know how to keep safe and if I have to tuck an Epipen into my garter well so be it.

No sense getting upset.  I had a wedding already, he hasn’t and his parents have never been able to be part of the planning for his wedding.  It is one day that will fly by in a blink of an eye.  In the end I am marrying my best friend and that is all that is important to me.  The food is secondary so I am letting it go.

My decision to shut up I think is a way to honor his parents and their wishes.  If it were his aunt, cousin or even sibling I would probably say ‘whoa hold on there, I have food allergies’.  His parents are in their 80’s and don’t understand food allergies.  His mom tries when I eat there.  She made lasagna with gluten free pasta at Easter!  For a very traditional Italian momma that was a big deal!  She put wheat bread crumbs in the meat but hey she tried and it was appreciated.  She buys bread made from corn flour (I am sensitive to corn), but the thing is she does try.  The statement ‘justa eat a little bit’ has been uttered.  Again the understanding is not there but the effort is so I shut up.

If I were in a restaurant, I would definitely stand up for my food allergies and be very firm about what I can and cannot have.  My in-laws have never tried to push seafood on me (that is the one that will kill me) and always has a different option for me on occasions like Christmas Eve when the traditional meal is fish and seafood.

Perhaps if I were a younger bride and had never been through the whole process, I may feel different.  I know brides that have fought tooth and nail with their mother’s over the smallest of details (ravioli vs tortellini)!  My wish for our wedding is everyone comes and has a great time and we look back on the day with fond memories.  I will be vigilant when it comes to what I am eating and as long as the chef knows what I can and can’t have and understands cross-contamination then it will be perfect!

Food Allergies: Understanding the Impact on the Family

Recently I read an article by a mother who was frustrated with having to worry about food allergies when sending treats to school with her son, who does not have any food allergies.  She said that parents are a bit ‘nutty’ when it comes to food allergies.  Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 9.47.18 AM

At first the article enraged me, I was all “how dare she trivialize a parent’s concern for their child’s health”.  I was going to comment on the article right then and there, but the calmer more rational side of my brain said no wait until you have simmered down.

It occurred to me this mother had no clue when it came to food allergies and she has even less of a clue how scary food allergies are for parents and how they impact their lives.  I sincerely hope after reading all the comments on her article she takes the time to ask more questions and learn instead of judging and feeling put upon when sending treats to her son’s school.

First things first

So here are some of my thoughts.  First I don’t believe school is an appropriate place where ‘treats’ in the form of food should be allowed.  In this era of diversity, prevalence of food allergies and different views on nutrition it is just opening up a big ole can of worms.  I want my child to learn at school not eat (well besides their lunches).  I have studied children’s nutrition since my kids were babies and I had a very strong view of not giving my kids high sugary snacks like candy etc.  My son’s grade one teacher used to give lollipops as rewards.  This dismayed me so I bought a bunch of coloured pencils, erasers in fun shapes and stickers and asked him if instead of candy could these be used.  He was on-board so it worked but if he hadn’t been I am not really sure what I would have done.

Second: We Need to be Sensitive 

Second we all need to be a bit more sensitive to the struggles of others.  It is easy to dismiss the concerns of parents when they don’t align with your beliefs.  I will always respect a parent for doing what they believe is best for their child, after all no one knows their child like a parent.  I may have different beliefs and I will do what is best for my children but it is none of my business what another parent does with their child.  No one has our life experience so not understanding what another parent is going through or has been through does not give us the right to judge.  When my oldest son was born I carried him around everywhere, he slept with me, rode around in a ‘snuggly’ even when I did the dishes.  My mother-in-law chastised me constantly for it.  “Put that baby down, you don’t have to have him attached to you 24/7” she would say.  Something she didn’t know was my cousin lost her baby to SIDS a year before and it completely freaked me out.  I was gripped by fear every time I tried to put him down.  It affected me deeply, something that no one on the outside could have understood, I just looked slightly nuts to everyone looking in.

In Conclusion

In an effort to help others understand just what it might be like for families affected by food allergies we are working on an article where we have interviewed several families discussing what it is like for them.  If you would like to be part of it, email us at and we will send you the information.



I Stopped Eating Gluten and Still Felt Like Crap

15 years ago I went gluten free because of many, many GI problems I was having.  I am sure a lot of you out there know what I am talking about.  Gas, bloating, nausea, alternating constipation and diarrhea; fun times!

I felt really good for about 10 years eating gluten free.  When I say eating gluten free 15 years ago, it was basically give up any kind of breads, pasta and sweets because what was available, quite frankly tasted like cardboard and was extremely dry.  Every once in a while I would try gluten again and would be fine for about 3 days then all the old symptoms came back.

I started to notice in the last 5+ years more and more gluten-free options available, whoo hoo!  So I started eating gluten free bread, gluten free cookies, gluten free this gluten free that.  What I also noticed is I was feeling un-well again.  Not the GI symptoms but my joints ached, finger nails started to peel, tiredness when I should have had a lot of energy, skin rashes, ‘female’ problems etc.  I chalked it up to getting older and just tried to ignore all the symptoms.  I hate going to the doctor so I avoid it at all cost.  My family says if my head was chopped off I would try sticking it back on and say I was fine.  Perhaps not that extreme but I am my own worst enemy when it comes to my health.

After finding out some alarming news about my health I decided to smarten up and go see my Naturopath to see what she could offer me besides medication, surgery and some other very invasive treatments my GP and specialist wanted to do.  A few tests later and she said my hormones were out of balance, I had inflammation in my body that was off the charts and she said I was reacting to a lot of things in my diet.

Now I have studied nutrition for years and thought I knew a thing or two about how to eat to stay healthy, well I did when it came to other people but I was different! Yeah ok, I need to write a book called “The Lies I Tell Myself”.

I argued with my ND that I ate healthy, I was eating gluten free!  She said you may be eating gluten free but everything you are eating is high glycemic and very inflammatory…..hmmm so those ggluten free cookies were not really healthy?  NO!  I actually started paying attention to the labels on the gluten free pre-packaged food I was consuming.  Holy Moly! Yeah, not so healthy.  I was always fastidious about reading labels when it came to the stuff I fed my kids especially when it came to snacks and treats. For me, well not so much.  I was a busy single mom who would go all day without eating then grab a bag of gluten free snacks to curb my hunger.  I also travelled a lot and ate out more than I wanted.  I needed to change things if I was going to feel better.

It wasn’t easy to find healthy prepackaged gluten free foods, correct that, it was impossible to find healthy prepackaged gluten free foods.   Everything had a ton of sugar, rice flour, potato starch or flour, and other high glycemic / inflammatory ingredients. I cut out all bread, pasta and sweets out of my diet again.  I felt fantastic.  The only problem was sometimes I felt like a sandwich or a cookie with my tea.

This is why I created the Allergic Solution mixes

Dealing With Food Allergies – Part Two

In my earlier post, I made you aware of different symptoms that might indicate that your child is reacting to a food/s.  I also explained that the foods we eat the most often are usually our worst culprits unfortunately.  I then explained to you how to eliminate a potential culprit from your child’s diet and watch for any reaction when you reintroduce that particular food.  It is now time to tell you more!  Are you ready?

People go to medical doctors or food allergists to detect problematic foods.   Here is the problem with those tests.   Those tests only measure IgE reactions, meaning allergic reactions.  But most reactions are actually sensitivities.  What is the difference between allergies and sensitivities?  When a small amount of a food is consumed and a reaction ensues, that constitutes an allergy.  When a larger amount is consumed, often over time, and a reaction ensues, that constitutes a sensitivity.   And when there are sensitivities, often the reaction in the body is delayed.  A child can eat 2 eggs for breakfast and have no apparent reaction but 3 days after consumption, they may not go to washroom that day or a rash might appear or their asthma might get worse.  These sensitivities do not show up in regular allergy tests, which is why they can go undetected for decades.

What is the other problem with these tests?  Allergy tests only detect skin reactions to problematic foods.  The majority of allergic reactions take place in the intestine!  Many show up in the brain, joints or organs, just to give a few examples!

The most accurate way of detecting problematic foods is by keeping a food and symptom journal.  A parent records what their child eats and any symptoms their child is experiencing.  Some would say, “It can’t be the carrots causing my child to break out in a rash 2 days later.”  They might attribute the rash to the swimming lesson the child just completed instead.  It is only by seeing the patterns recorded in the journal that links can be made between certain foods and adverse reactions. And carrots DO cause reactions!  In fact, any food can be problematic.

Some would say that their child is eating too many things and that they need to have some way to narrow down the problematic foods.  There is no 100% accurate form of testing, not even a blood test.  Interro testing can certainly narrow things down and it is a lot less expensive than a blood test and provides immediate results.   Around 200 foods are tested on an adult or child over the age of two, using accupuncture points and a computer that has the foods programmed into it.  Many naturopaths and some nutritionists offer this form of testing.  After recommending others to perform this testing on my clients, I finally purchased the system myself and it is such a help in narrowing down the culprits.

The majority of us have food sensitivities, wreaking havoc in our lives, by causing or worsening over 200 symptoms or conditions.   Sensitivities to dairy products are a huge contributor to ear infections.  Sensitivities to chemicals are a huge culprit for ADD.  Wheat sensitivities contribute to stomach aches and IBS.  I implore you to look into the problematic foods for you and your child and make each one of your days more comfortable and healthier!

Extra information at The Resourceful Mother 

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by Meredith Deasley from The Resourceful Mother Pediatric Nutritionist and Life Coach