Allergy The Allergy Center

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  • Case Histories: Food-Related Illnesses

    The following patient descriptions illustrate common patterns of food-related illness, especially the delayed patterns of food allergy. The health problems of the people described here can be resolved by proper diet revision using the Alpha Nutrition Program. Each patient has a collection of symptoms in different body systems. We can think of overlapping layers of problems which emerge over time. Food allergy may coexist with eating disorders, metabolic problems, diabetes and other disease states. Symptoms are intermittent or inconsistent, because the human body is not a linear machine but a complicated, changing, wavy device, like the weather.

    Pain, fatigue and/or depression are common features of these illness patterns. More obvious allergy problems such as asthma, eczema, or migraine headaches may dominate the foreground, with aching, fatigue, digestive, emotional and cognitive disturbances lurking in the background; or depression may be the dominant foreground problem, while digestive and skin problems may be less important background features.

    "Chronic Fatigue, Rhinitis, Headache

    A 32 year old woman described a "flu" syndrome that dragged on for many months with headaches, nose congestion, sore throat, increased throat mucous, indigestion, abdominal bloating and fatigue. She generally felt tired and listless and required extra sleep. She continued to work but had withdrawn from social and recreational activities because of ill-health. She felt inexplicably depressed on many days with a diffuse sense of anxiety. Repeated medical investigations had revealed no clues to the problem and she had been told repeatedly by several MD's that "nothing is wrong". She was seeing a chiropractor weekly for manipulation therapy of her neck for headaches without lasting benefits. By her own admission, she ate poorly. She lived alone, did shift work, and ate most of her meals in restaurants. She preferred sandwiches, cheese, pasta, and snack foods in general. She drank 4 cups of tea per day, and 48 ounces of red and white wine per week. She experienced typical withdrawal symptoms on phase 1 foods with headache, nausea, generalized aching and required extra sleep for 3 days. Within one week her major symptoms cleared. With slow food reintroduction she was able to identify a few phase 2 foods that triggered headaches and bloating, but generally improved on Alpha Nutrition* foods.

    Fatigue, Diarrhea, Pain, Mental Fogginess

    A 28 year old professional stated that he caught a virus a year and a half ago, with only partial recovery, and recurrence within the past year - "...I totally ran out of gas...". While growing more tired and weak, he experienced increasing epigastric pain and generalized aching with daily indigestion, burping, and heartburn. Any exertion seemed to aggravate both muscle pain and fatigue. He noted that he felt better when he ate less food. On his worst days, he stopped eating altogether and felt better. He had bouts of diarrhea, passing 3-4 watery bowel movements during the day, often 30-60 minutes after eating. Repeated blood tests and X-rays were not helpful in revealing the cause. Muscle relaxants were prescribed but made him more "dopey". His diet included large amounts of milk, whole-wheat bread, pasta, beef, and packaged foods, especially cereals, soup mixes, and quick dinners; a third of his meals were eaten in restaurants. He admitted that his diet was disorganized and inconsistent. Digestive symptoms cleared promptly on Phase 1 of Alpha Nutrition and he slowly recovered energy and stamina over a 3 month period. He frequently had symptoms when he returned to restaurant food; his most demanding adaptation was to learn to prepare his own meals.

    Fatigue, Diarrhea, Cognitive Dysfunction

    A successful business man in his late thirties became disabled with a mysterious illness that defied medical diagnosis and treatment. His main problems were chronic fatigue, muscle aching and difficulty concentrating, thinking, and remembering. He had had mild symptoms over many years but got quite ill after a flu-like illness and had to stop working, spending most of his days distressed, resting, and sleeping. He suffered from episodes of abdominal bloating, diarrhea, nose and throat congestion, shortness of breath and water retention with swelling of his hands and feet. He described increasing disability with irritability, outbursts of inappropriate anger and crying, difficulty concentrating and recent memory dropouts. He would be become easily confused or flustered even by minor problems. He also noticed and coordination and balance problems and stopped driving. He had had many medical investigations and had been treated with many medications to no avail. His first clue to the nature of his illness was stopping the intake of dairy products with reduction of bloating, abdominal tenderness, and diarrhea.

    Initial treatment involved replacing food with an elemental nutrient formula (Alpha ENF) which brought his major symptoms under control within 10 days. His next task was to slowly reintroduce food in a predetermined order to decide which foods he could tolerate. He discovered that he had exaggerated, hypersensitive responses to many foods and did not tolerate exposure to a variety of chemicals in the air, especially cigarette smoke, perfumes, and petroleum products. His recovery with careful diet revision has been gratifying but he has found that the he remains hypersensitive after two years with disturbing relapses after eating wrong foods.

    Fatigue, Panic, Diarrhea

    This 26 year old man reported over 15 years of symptoms. At 10 years of age he developed severe fatigue and panic attacks. He spent his teenage years coping with emotional lability, fatigue, and episodes of diarrhea along with hay fever, migraine headaches and chronic nose congestion. At seventeen, he developed infectious mononucleosis with fever, sore throats, lymph node swelling, and increased fatigue. His chronic symptoms worsened after this illness. His panic attacks were more frequent and severe; he made repeated trips to hospital emergency rooms over the next several years with alarming symptoms and was treated with several medications with only modest relief. At 24 he was disabled by chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression and was unable to work. He responded well to clearing on Alpha ENF and Phase 1 foods but found that he was hypersensitive to most foods and had difficulty with cravings and compulsive eating. Over several months on Alpha ENF and Phase 1 vegetables, but not rice, he recovered, stabilized, and resumed normal activities. On a stable safe diet with Alpha ENF, he was free of anxiety and panic attacks.

    Chronic Fatigue, Aching, Dizziness

    A 30 year old woman was very sick for over 18 months. She described a progressive illness over 2 years duration which became disabling 18 months previously, forcing her to quit her job. Her illness had been characterized by exhaustion, lymph node swelling, recurrent low grade fevers, muscle aching, stiffness, and episodes of coughing and chest congestion, diagnosed as pneumonia, not improved with antibiotics. Blood tests had been negative. She recalled earlier, less severe symptoms and had chronic rhinitis most of her life. Her hearing was now impaired with loud ringing in both ears and attacks of dizziness which kept her in bed. Her son had milk allergy in infancy, and subsequently had chronic rhinitis, ear infections, and was hyperactive with attention deficits. She suffered decreased ability to concentrate, mental fogginess and lapses of memory. Her food intake consisted of bread, pasta, cereals, eggs, milk and dairy products, beef with some fruit and vegetables; 2 cups of coffee and 5 cups of tea per day, with no alcoholic beverages. Diet revision permitted complete recovery, but symptoms recurred promptly if she ate foods containing wheat, milk, or eggs.

    Arthritis, Heartburn, Insomnia

    A 48 year old woman developed an acute inflammatory arthritis after years of digestive symptoms and muscle aches. Her wrists and knuckle joints were swollen and painful. Her elbows, shoulders, and knees were also aching but were less severely involved. Anti-inflammatory drugs and wrist splints gave her only a little relief, but she could not sleep at night and was unable to work for the past year. For years she had constant heartburn, abdominal bloating, and constipation. Associated symptoms included nose and sinus congestion, and fatigue. She returned after two weeks of clearing, reporting an "unbelievable" experience; first a severe withdrawal - six days of increased pain, exhaustion, and headache; followed by a "fantastic" improvement in all her symptoms. Her joint pains had cleared, hand swelling had disappeared with return of finger mobility. Her energy had increased dramatically and she was sleeping through the night for the first time in years. Slow, careful food introduction maintained her recovery.

    Depression, Drinking, and Night Sweats

    A 38 year mill-worker presented with life-long depression and many associated symptoms. He described years of moodiness with a tendency to withdraw, remain silent, and lose interest in all recreational activities. He would become inexplicably irritable and lose his temper at his children and wife unreasonably. He worked hard and had little energy left in the evenings, often falling asleep in front of the TV. He never slept well and often woke feeling anxious, hot, and sweaty; his wife had preferred to sleep separately for several years and they seldom had sex. His nose had been congested since early childhood, and he had cough with shortness of breath and chest pains increasingly. He drank 6-8 cups of coffee per day, and at least 2 bottles of beer every evening. On the weekends he drank beer at home alone and with his friends probably having 8-12 bottles on an average weekend. He described compulsive drinking and thought it was a problem but had never tried to stop. He preferred meat and potatoes, and ate a lot of bread, cheese, eggs, processed meats, packaged cookies, and junk food. He avoided milk but loved ice cream. Improvement on Alpha ENF occurred within 10 days after major withdrawal symptoms, and he was remarkably compliant on Alpha Nutrition for several months, feeling and acting dramatically better. He received little support, however, from his friends and work-buddies, and he began a relapsing course of falling-off-the-wagon for weeks and then returning to his Alpha Diet with reliable improvement. Despite his relapses, he remained convinced of the benefits of food control and seemed determined to keep trying.

    Edema, Bloating, Fatigue, Excess Sleep

    A 42 year old woman presented with a history of chronic illness, progressive over the last 15 years. She had suffered a great deal and had sought help from a number of physicians who failed to contribute to her recovery. She had accepted the advice of several nutritionists and described many trials of diet change with partial success in controlling her symptoms. In the past year, she had excluded all dairy products, with some improvement, and then she stopped eating yeast-containing foods and followed a "rotation diet" after skin tests showed some food reactivity. She ate a number of grains, including oatmeal, rye bread, and barley in soups; she also took a generous amount of vitamins and minerals, herbal preparations, and drank herbal teas. She had, however, remained tired and congested, with episodes of marked abdominal distention, often beginning 30 minutes after eating. She was often overwhelmed with the need to sleep and this interfered with work, socializing, and driving. She retained water intermittently and often had marked ankle edema. She cleared after 6 days on Alpha Nutrition, sleeping for the first 2 days, and remained virtually asymptomatic through a 3 month follow-up. Her maintenance diet included the following foods. For breakfast she ate rice, peaches, pears, and pumpkin seeds; lunch included rice, cod, carrots, beans, zucchini, and peaches; while dinner was made of rice, turkey, carrots, cauliflower, yams, spinach, and pears.

    Generalized Pain, Chronic Fatigue

    A 35 year old woman presented with muscle and joint pain. She had generalized muscular tenderness, particularly over the neck, shoulder, and interscapular muscles. The diagnosis was fibromyalgia. Her diet consisted of milk and whole wheat bread, with daily potato intake and some beef. She often made milkshake meals with milk, bananas, eggs, and engevita yeast. She cleared all symptoms by Day 10 on Alpha ENF. This demonstration of dramatic symptom remission cancels speculation that the illness is "psychosomatic" or caused by "stress". With food re-introduction she found that many foods caused symptom eruptions.

    Anxiety, Spaciness, Fatigue

    A 32 year old business woman complained of anxiety and panic attacks of over a year's duration. She had gone for counseling and tried medication without significant benefit. She described spacey, unrealstates, often following meals for many years. She had difficulty concentrating and was forgetting obvious things at work and at home. Muscle aches, cramps and feelings of weakness were associated with fatigue. Increased throat mucous, excess gas, and occasional trouble swallowing also troubled her. Her symptoms cleared on ANP Phase 1. She was amazed and relieved to feel so much better. With food re-introductions and a few "cheats" in the next few weeks, typical symptoms recurred. She was deeply impressed with her discovery that foods can cause such profound mental disturbances.

    Bloating, Cramps, Spaced-Out

    A 35 year old woman complained of life-long digestive symptoms, increasing in severity in the past 4 years. She stated that every time I eat, I get heartburn, abdominal distention and cramps... later I feel tired and miserable. She was tired, cold, sleeping poorly, and congested in her nose and throat. She often awakened feeling short of breath and coughing. She also reported memory disturbances and spaced-out feelings. She had gained over 40 pounds in the past 2 years and associated weight gain with increased illness. She cleared within 10 days on Alpha ENF stating:I can't believe how much better I feel. She remained stable and content for several weeks using Alpha ENF during the day, adding Phase 1 foods for dinner. Her weight dropped 8 pounds in the first 20 days and continued to decrease at about a pound per week until new set-point was established 20 pounds below her high weight.

    Heartburn, Anger, Hyperactivity

    A 28 year old mechanic presented with severe prolonged indigestion, often with heartburn, excess gas, and abdominal distention. He had several investigations and many drugs with little benefit. He took 4-8 ounces of antacid per day. He ate poorly, with high bread, beef, and dairy intake. He craved milk and consumed at least 2 quarts per day. He stated that he had milk allergy as an infant with eczema, colic, and was a hyperactive child, who did not do well in school. He admitted to extreme moodiness, irritability, and frequent outbursts of inappropriate anger. He had trouble keeping friends and jobs. His marriage ended after 4 years. His wife left him with their 2 year old son because he was angry and abusive. He regretted his behavior and stated that he often felt out-of-control, restless, with outbursts of aimless, hyperactive behavior. He seldom slept well. His nose was congested, lymph nodes enlarged, and he had a pustular rash covering his back. On the ANP he cleared remarkably. With normal GIT function restored, he reported feeling calmer, clearer, and more in control.

    Arthritis, Chest Pain, Heart Palpitations

    A 52 year old professional man presented with unexplained chest pain and attacks of fast, irregular heart action that were associated with a number of chronic complaints. He complained of declining health, but medical investigations had not determined the source of his multiple complaints and treatments had not been effective. He had a long history of intermittent digestive problem with excess gas, distention, and regular bouts of diarrhea. He had joint pains of many years duration especially in his wrists, knees and ankles; wrist swelling had produced pressure on the median nerves (carpal tunnel syndrome) with numbness and tingling in his index and middle fingers and loss of grip strength; surgery was planned. In the past 2 years he has had several attacks of chest pain with fast irregular heart action and associated panic feeling; thorough investigation excluded coronary artery disease and he was advised to take a long vacation and a drug, inderal, to slow his heart. The inderal had made him impotent, tired, and he complained of decreased ability to concentrate. He often had headaches, occasionally of the migraine variety. He had suffered mild depressions for many years, usually in the winter.

    He enjoyed eating, and prided himself on knowledge of wines and gourmet cooking. He ate a great deal of meat, whole-grain breads, pasta, aged cheeses, and drank 3-4 cups of coffee, 2-3 glasses of wine and usually 2-3 ounces of whiskey per day. He followed Alpha Nutrition, at first reluctantly, and then with obvious benefit and eventually became a convert to Asian cooking. His digestive problems disappeared as did the heart problems without inderal. He boasted of weight loss, increased energy and was surprised to find that joint pain subsiding, flaring occasionally after wrong meals eaten in restaurants. The heart palpitations returned briefly after one such meal, featuring red wine, coffee, and a chocolate dessert.

    Eczema, Abdominal Pain, Depression

    A 34 year old career woman presented with a complex of problems. She had often experienced symptoms after eating, especially abdominal bloating, fatigue or sleepiness and headache. She had a weight problem, with a range over the past 12 years of 148-242 pounds, and was currently 210 pounds. She had undertaken several diets, mostly within the Weight Watchers program, and had lost up to 90 pounds in one 8 month session. She had regained 70 lbs in the ensuing three years. She craved a number of foods, including pasta, chocolate, and baked goods and binged on chocolate chip cookies or chocolate ice cream. Her diet included large amounts of cereal grain foods and dairy products, especially cheddar cheese. She had trouble organizing meals at home because she did shift work. As a result, her eating patterns were disorganized and food selection was poor. Her bloating response to some foods is an indicator of digestive problems, which leads to whole-body problems, probably arising from absorption of the "wrong stuff". Eczema is food allergy until proven otherwise. She spent two weeks clearing her initial symptoms, and arrived at a simple list of Alpha Nutrition foods which seemed to work well. She required assistance in developing a behavioral modification program, directed at changing food choices, food shopping, cooking methods, and avoidance of tempting social situations.

    Diarrhea, Depression, Bingeing

    A 38 year old woman presented with a complex of problems, which included abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. Depression and headache accompanied her GIT disturbances. She took Lomotil for diarrhea, Salazopyrin (a drug usually prescribed for ulcerative colitis), and an antidepressant. While on the antidepressant, her appetite increased and she gained 20 pounds. Her weight gain was associated with increased cravings for bread, pastries, and cookies which she ate in excess with increased abdominal bloating and diarrhea. She avoided milk but ate cheese, yogurt and ice cream. A physician had advised her to increase her yogurt intake. The complex of irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and systemic illness suggests delayed pattern food allergy. Her high intake of cereal grains and dairy products suggests these foods are the main culprits. GIT surface reactivity is felt as pain, bloating and diarrhea, and the systemic illness emerges as a result of the "wrong stuff" entering her blood stream. Reynaud's phenomenon consists of fingers and/or toes which turn chalk white and numb after cold exposure and is often associated with circulating immune complexes, one of the chief mechanisms of food allergy. Her cravings and compulsive eating posed a compliance problem, but she did rather well on Alpha Nutrition, with complete symptom remission during Phase 1 which she extended for 3 weeks. Three weeks after symptom remission was achieved, the antidepressant drug was slowly withdrawn.

    Diarrhea, Weight Gain, Irritable Bowel

    A 29 year old designer was disabled by a chronic illness of 5 years duration. He had become too ill to work 2 years previously and was on a government disability pension. He described the onset as a viral-like illness with lymph node swelling of his neck and diarrhea. He lost weight progressively and became profoundly depressed. A psychiatrist prescribed an antidepressant drug that made him feel like a "zombie". In a fit of despair he took an overdose of this drug and was critically ill in intensive care. Blood tests for EB and HIV virus were negative on 3 occasions. He complained of mental fogginess, inability to concentrate and poor memory. His brain dysfunction blocked any efforts to work, study, or carry on with his social life. He withdrew to a relatively impoverished life, spending a great deal of time sleeping. His "sick diet" included canned soups, bread, processed cheese, Kraft dinner, milk, beef, and potatoes. He cleared dramatically on an ENF, which he required for several months because of low tolerance, even to Phase 1 foods. Eventually a simple, basic Core Diet of Phase 1 and 2 foods was established. He gained weight and slowly resumed a normal living pattern.

    Weight Gain, Rhinitis, Migraine

    A 29 year old career woman presented with the following problems upper respiratory symptoms for over ten years. During the past year, she had felt generally unwell, with reduced energy, reduced enthusiasm, and lack of stamina. Frequent migraine headaches often disabled her for 2-3 days at a time. She took most of the drugs offered to migraine sufferers with little benefit. She had skin tests for allergy done four years previously, and reported positive reactions to cats, dogs, grasses, trees, and dust pollen. Beconase nasal spray and oral Sinutabs offered some symptomatic relief for a while. She saw a chiropractor twice a week for a year after he diagnosed a "slipped vertebra" in her neck. Her dentist had suggested some expensive oral splinting for temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ ) problems which he claimed were responsible for her headaches.

    During the past two years, she had gained weight excessively. She attended a weight loss clinic and found that she maintained her weight on 800 calories per day. Her diet was otherwise unconstrained, although she described herself as a "fussy eater". She avoided most meat, and was very selective about which vegetables she ate. She stated that she "loved cheese" and consumed a large amount of dairy products in general. She tended to eat a majority of her meals in restaurants, and indulged in snack foods freely. Her staple foods were whole grains, poultry, uncooked vegetables, fruit, and dairy products. She supplemented her diet with multi-vitamins, minerals, vitamin C (500-1000 mg/day), and calcium (500 mg/day). After 5 days of withdrawal symptoms and reluctance to eat rice and vegetables, she began to clear, admitting 2 weeks later that she actually enjoyed Phase 1 foods. She continued to enjoy headache and congestion free weight loss over the next several months.

    Headaches, Eczema, Diarrhea

    A 35 year old professional man presented with an ill-defined illness of several years' duration. His chief complaint was a daily, relentless headache. He described several pain patterns, the most prominent being a throbbing pain in his right forehead and temple and sharp pains behind his right eye, extending into his right cheek. A more generalized right-sided pressure pain often began in his shoulder or neck and extended forward to involve the entire right side of his head. In association with the pain problem, he had a long list of other complaints, which included itching, eczema, hives , and abdominal pain. He had undergone extensive investigations, including a CAT scan, and several gastrointestinal investigations. He had received many forms of therapy, from exercise, stress reduction, massage, and chiropractic manipulation, to ointments, drugs, dental attention for TMJ problems, and psychotherapy. He felt "...disturbed most of the time, but I manage to function nevertheless."We could make several diagnoses, which would include migraine, fibromyalgia, atopic dermatitis, urticaria, and irritable bowel syndrome, but delayed pattern food allergy is the correct inclusive diagnosis. Compulsive habits, including drinking, smoking cigarettes, and disorganized eating posed major compliance problems. Many people in this chronic dysfunctional state need close professional supervision and support in habit modification.

    Panic Attacks, Insomnia, Abdominal Pain

    A 22 year old woman presented a lifelong ill-defined illness, beginning with attacks of limb and abdominal pain in childhood. A pattern of recurrent flu-like illnesses with abdominal pain and bloating, nausea, headache, joint pain, ear pain, hearing loss, and episodes of dizziness began in early adolescence. Her adolescent years were characterized by daytime sleepiness, mental "fogginess", and episodes of restless agitation. Many doctors were consulted, and her parents were often told that she was "attention-seeking". Her frequent illnesses interfered with school performance and she often felt inferior to her more robust peers. She had been admitted to hospital on three occasions with severe abdominal pain. After one hospital admission, she was treated with heavy doses of Demerol for 6 days and was then discharged abruptly with no explanation or treatment plan from the hospital when test results were "negative"; a very distressing narcotic withdrawal followed her discharge. She was often distressed by frequent attacks of agitation with fast heart action, flushing, dizziness, often associated with generalized itching and hives. She was not aware of specific food reactions, but she avoided coffee, tomatoes, milk, and red meat. Her staple foods were whole wheat bread, cheese, eggs, corn products, vegetables, and fruit. She experienced sugar and chocolate cravings, and her favorite reward foods were chocolate brownies or banana cream pie. This young woman's history illustrates the ongoing misunderstandings facing some patients with food allergy. Much suffering can be avoided by timely, intelligent Diet Revision Therapy. Food allergy is a lifelong illness which evolves over time and leaves a trail of physical, emotional, and social problems. Sometimes patients with food allergy are admitted to hospital with acute abdominal pain. X-rays and blood tests seldom reveal the problem and treatment is often inappropriate.

    Headaches, Aching, Poor Concentration

    A 32 year old woman presented headaches of over 10 years duration in varied patterns, mostly pressure sensations involving her whole head. During the most severe headaches she felt groggy and disoriented. She complained that she had not experienced a "clear head" for months. Associated symptoms increased during the past year, especially the gastrointestinal disturbances, congestion, aching, and stiffness. Her food intake included milk, dairy products, bananas, citrus, bread, and six to eight cups of coffee per day. She cleared promptly on an ENF and experienced minor symptom recurrence on Phase 1 and 2 foods. She remained on these foods for over 2 months before trying Phase 3 and 4 foods, because she was enjoying the simplicity of her new diet and felt so well.

    Hay Fever, Abdominal pain, Joint Pains, Headaches

    A 28 year woman described a slowly progressive illness of 10 years duration. Repeated tests were not helpful in revealing the nature or origin of her suffering. She failed to improve with several medications, including pain-relievers, tranquilizers, antihistamines, and anti-depressants. She first developed hay fever 10 years ago and had positive skin reactions to pollens and took shots for a while. The shots reduced her seasonal allergy in the first 2 years, but later, she developed more generalized, continuous symptoms, with year-round nasal congestion, eye irritation, aching, and fatigue. She frequently had coughing spells, often at night. These disturbances slowly increased, and she stopped the shots, thinking they were making her worse. Bouts of abdominal pain and diarrhea led to several X-rays, stool tests, and drug trials with no diagnosis and no treatment benefits. She had a history of milk allergy since infancy and generally avoided milk but consumed dairy products and "loved cheese". Her diet was high in intake of cereal grains, bread and baked products, meat, and fruit. She drank at least three cups each of coffee and tea per day but avoided alcoholic beverages. She cleared uneventfully on Phase 1 foods and continued to do well with phase 2 foods. When she "fell-off- the-wagon" she would get rather severe bouts of abdominal pain with diarrhea, followed by 3 to 4 days of a flu-like illness - one severe episode sent her to the emergency department, seeking relief from the pain and reassurance that she did not have acute appendicitis.

    Congestion, Migraine, Fatigue

    A 23 year old woman presented with an illness that emerged over the past year. She described a history of hay fever in her teens with spring nose congestion and sneezing. She had positive skin reactions to dust and pollens but not foods. In the past year, she had developed continuous nose and sinus congestion which did not improve with antihistamines. She stated that she used to have surplus energy but now had difficulty completing ordinary activities. She was aware of food reactivity and noted that ice cream and chocolate triggered flushing, increased throat mucus and bloating. She was tired through the day and had episodes of extreme fatigue, often an hour after eating. She required extra sleep and had stopped most physical activities. On her worst days, she ached and felt stiff..." I feel 80 years old". Her face was flushed, beet-red, and often broke out in a pimply rash. She had daily headaches, and 2-3 days per week, the pain became increasingly severe with throbbing, nausea, blurring of vision, and mental fogginess or confusion which lasted several hours.

    Her diet consisted of quick food such as cereals, bread, pasta, crackers, cheese, fruit, and some meat. She drank 3 cups of coffee, occasional wine, and treated herself with desserts (cheese cake, cinnamon buns) 2-3 days per week. She seldom cooked at home. She cleared on Phase 1 foods, and had some difficulty learning how to cook basic meals. Prompt symptom recurrence after eating non-Alpha Nutrition foods convinced her that she had food allergy. Despite her dramatic improvement on the program, she continued to complain about the difficulties of living on a "restricted diet".

    Depression, Abdominal Pain, Dizziness

    A 41 year old professional woman presented with a long history of a polysymptomatic, multisystem disorder. She was most distressed by chronic fatigue and recurring depression. She received treatment from Dr. ... which involved "desensitization drops" and testing with a Vega machine - he gave her a list of food to avoid and a rotation-diet plan. She thought initially she had some benefit from drops and vitamins but after several months and several hundred dollars she had a major relapse and decided the therapy was of no value. Her food-intake-symptom record showed a very complex pattern of food selection, based on a rotation plan (not at all hypoallergenic) with recurring daily symptoms. She continued to eat many grains, nuts, wheat, eggs, and several odd foods that she had not eaten before, including quinoa, herbal teas, and soya-based products. She required an organized, practical, and sensible approach to her food-related illness and responded well to the food choices on Alpha Nutrition.

    Obesity, Fever, Depression

    A 36 year old woman described chronic symptoms and excessive weight gain. Her symptoms had slowly progressed over many years with nose and throat congestion, flushing, and digestive problems as daily disturbances for several years. She was troubled by fatigue with increasing depression and feelings of disinterest, sometimes despair, irritability and irrational outbursts of anger. Despite a hysterectomy, she remained aware of menstrual cycling with mid-cycle ovulation pain and premenstrual accentuation of her symptoms, especially headaches and depression. Psoriasis appeared on her scalp, elbows and knees in her early 20's and often flared with itching and disfiguring, thickened red skin. She was also aware that some foods bothered her, especially whole milk, creamy sauces and chocolate. She described attacks of flushing, feverand sweating after eating chocolate confections, alcoholic beverages and ice cream. Her maximum weight was 235. She craved chocolate and described compulsive eating, especially of bread, buns, and crackers with cheese. When she overate wheat-containing foods, she experienced dramatic abdominal bloating with fatigue and mental fogginess. She experienced dramatic remission on Phase 1 of Alpha Nutrition and chose to remain on these foods for 3 weeks before slowly adding Phase 2 foods.

    Fibromyalgia, Fatigue, Migraine

    This 26 year old secretary presented with an illness of over six months duration with a complex of symptoms. She stated that she declined from a high energy athlete to a painful, tired, despondent state. Her relationship was on the rocks because she was disinterested in going-out, had lost her sex drive, and was generally irritable and easily annoyed. She described a strong "don't touch me" aversion, even to affectionate touching. She had difficulty completing ordinary activities and required extra sleep during the evening and on weekends. On her worst days, she felt too tired to go to work and often stayed in bed with generalized aching and stiffness, sleeping 12-16 hours per day. Her throat was sore, and her neck lymph nodes were enlarged and tender. She had severe, sick headaches at least once a week, lasting all day, often with nausea, occasional vomiting, and intolerance to light.

    Medical investigation had been largely negative, including negative allergy skin tests. She was told she had chronic EB virus infection. She was aware of food reactivity and noted that dairy products triggered bloating and a dopey, tired feeling. She had stopped drinking any alcoholic beverages because they made her very ill with immediate flushing, quick intoxication, and a heavy hang-over that lasted at least 2 days. She thought she had a good diet with a high intake of whole wheat cereals, muffins, pastas, milk, cheese, and salads; she drank 3 cups of coffee per day and about 12 ounces of white wine per week. She chose to clear on an ENF, reporting dramatic improvement of all symptoms by Day 8, and a sustained remission on Phase 1 and 2 of Alpha Nutrition.

    Abdominal Pain, Depression, Anxiety

    A 68 year-old widow presented with an "irritable colon" for over 30 years. She was particularly troubled by fatigue, as well as depression, which was associated with digestive complaints. She lived alone and prepared her own meals. Her diet had been unconstrained until recently, with a preference for whole grain cereal foods, moderate consumption of poultry, eggs, and vegetables, and a high consumption of fruit. She was less interested in food since her husband's death two years ago and often settled for a sandwich, or crackers and cheese. During the past year, she increased her milk intake, hoping to obtain calcium and improve her general nutrition. Unfortunately, her general health deteriorated. She stopped drinking milk and eating dairy products on the advice of a health-food store nutritionist; she noted improvement in her digestive complaints and general status. She took a full range of vitamin and mineral supplements, in addition to digestive aids. Complete symptom remission was achieved on Alpha Nutrition.

    Depression, Edema, Abdominal Bloating

    A 43 year-old nurse described emotional instability, with outbursts of inappropriate anger. These disturbances increased during her premenstrual week. She had evidence that her diet altered her emotional status. She felt much better on a three-month weight-reduction diet that consisted mostly of vegetables, fruit, and poultry. Her physical symptoms improved, and she felt more stable emotionally. Her usual diet was nutritionally well-balanced but she favored whole grains, beginning with 7-grain cereal in the morning, whole wheat bread for lunch, and, often, whole wheat pastas for dinner. Her favorite snack was bran muffins, and she often only ate muffins at work in the hospital. She was aware of specific food reactivity; diarrhea followed cheesecake ingestion and chocolate cravings with headaches were a usual consequence of eating too much chocolate or drinking hot chocolate milk. Her digestive tract symptoms included abdominal distention, almost daily, and she complained of a coated tongue and bad breath.

    Fatigue, Aching, Dysphoria

    A 52 year-old businessman reported a long struggle with moodiness, and progressive mental "fogginess" with memory loss and disorganization. He was tired most days and experienced generalized aching and stiffness which curtailed his physical activity. He was concerned about his work performance and had passed up an opportunity for major promotion, since he believed that his deteriorating mental activity would impair his performance. Several medical investigations revealed no abnormality. A neurological investigation, a year before, included an EEG and a CAT scan which were normal. He was advised to "reduce stress", but a two week vacation left him feeling worse. Subsequently, a psychiatrist prescribed antidepressant medication and a sleeping pill. He dropped the antidepressant medication because of the intolerable side-effects, but he continued to use the sleeping pill intermittently. He had attempted several dietary changes; he abstained from alcoholic beverages, coffee, and tea with only slight benefit. His diet was unrestrained, with a high intake of bread, pasta, beef, cheese, snack foods, ice cream, and yogurt, 10-12 ounces of wine per week, and 2-3 cups of coffee per day. He ate in restaurants at least 5 times per week and preferred Italian or French cuisine. He was eager to try any diet revision that offered benefit and, after two weeks of basic exclusions, went on an ENF exclusively for 10 days. He reported dramatic improvement after 6 days on the ENF, stating that his mental clarity and energy was better than he could ever remember.

    Diarrhea, Weight loss, Disability

    A 44 year old woman had become disabled by an progressive illness of several years duration. She developed GIT problems in her early 30's with bloating, and bouts of abdominal pain and diarrhea. She was repeatedly investigated for Crohn's disease, and treated symptomatically with little benefit. Since there was no evidence of intestinal damage or infection, she was told that there was no serious problem and to eat whatever she liked. She declined slowly with weight loss, increasing fatigue, and difficulty concentrating on her work. Many foods triggered her symptoms, and she began avoiding foods to avoid the disturbances they caused. She lost more weight and strength. Her family physician accused her of anorexia and demanded that she eat fortified, milk-containing supplements. She complied and grew worse, with increasing episodes of exhaustion, fever, weakness, abdominal bloating and pain. She was a bright, conscientious woman who was very distressed by her declining health and alarmed by the "bad advice" she was receiving from MDs. She sought help from other advisors; a naturopath, a dietitian, and a nutritionist, who all provided conflicting advice; she remained ill. When she was unable to work, an insurance company disputed her claim of a physical illness, and she was referred to a psychiatric unit where she received the worst treatment to date; they rejected all her claims of food reactivity, refused her a suitable diet and treated all her symptom reports as evidence of a mental disorder! The psychiatric diagnosis was "somatization disorder". Fortunately, she finally came to the proper diagnosis and treatment of food allergy, improving dramatically on Alpha ENF.

    Cystitis, Weight Gain, Fatigue

    This 32 year old mother of 4 children presented with an interesting complex of problems, especially interstitial cystitis of over 10 years duration. She stated that her symptoms began a year after her last pregnancy with increased frequency of urination and urgency. She underwent several investigations and treatments over the 10 year period without benefit. She described progressive increase in pelvic and urethral pain during the past two years and was quite distressed by her deteriorating health. She avoided drinking water to reduce the discomfort of urination. Associated problems included excessive weight gain, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and anxiety. She gained weight excessively to her maximum weight of 200 pounds. She was chronically tired and experienced episodes of agitation and anxiety, with difficulty concentrating. She had followed some diet revision advice in a book on cystitis, mostly an avoidance of acid foods and amine reduction.

    There were clues in her history, pointing to the diagnosis of food allergy and she tried an elemental nutrient formula for 10 days with dramatic improvement. She reported that she slept through the night for the first time in years without waking up to urinate.We were encouraged and began slow food introduction and she reported continuing improvement with tolerance of the early foods re-introduced. It is "bio-logical" to think that urinary tract inflammation can be caused or influenced by the food supply since immunologically the bladder surface is related to GIT and many ingested molecules exit via the urine.

    Diarrhea, High Blood Pressure

    This 29 year old professional man described a history of frequent episodes of crampy abdominal pain with uncontrollable diarrhea. Associated symptoms included weight gain, elevated cholesterol, and insomnia. He had typical spring hay fever to grass and tree pollens, with positive skin tests to pollens but not foods. His history suggested food allergy with GIT problems and increasing evidence of whole body problems, including flushing, rashes, fatigue, sleep disturbances and high blood pressure. His father had a history of high blood pressure and died in his late 50's of a heart attack. He felt better during Phase 1 of Alpha Nutrition but then relapsed over Christmas, eating everything. He was depressed by the return of all his symptoms and made a new year's resolution to clear again. After 3 months on Alpha Nutrition, he had lost 20 pounds, his blood pressure had dropped from a high of 180/110 to 140/85 without medication, his cholesterol had dropped to within normal range, and his GIT problems had subsided.

    Hives, Migraine, Arthritis, Indigestion

    A 64 year old woman presented with the problem of hives (urticaria) of seven months' duration, associated with generalized swelling. She first developed hives when she was traveling in England. The eruptions continued on a daily basis when she came home. Increased upper GIT disturbance, fatigue, and cold symptoms, particularly recurring laryngitis, were associated with recurrent eruptions of hives. She developed alarming symptoms with occasional swelling of her lips and face. She was fortunate not to have breathing problems. Apparently, she saw Dr... who did skin tests but found no skin test reactions and made no significant recommendations for therapy other than taking an oral antihistamine which did not help. Hives, with associated swelling reactions, are best explained as ingested allergy. Allergens, usually in the food supply, find their way into the circulation and excite a variety of immune responses. Allergen encounters with sensitized mast cells in the skin and mucous membranes, for example, can trigger the swelling and itchy, red eruptions. Aching and joint pain often accompany hives, since the reaction is internal as well as on the skin surface, and can be attributed to food allergy. She followed Alpha Nutrition and within three weeks cleared remarkably; all her major symptoms remitted with no further occurrence of hives. She felt best on Phase 1 and 2 foods.

    Binge Eating, Depression, Denial

    A 30 year old woman complained of many years of depression associated with a variety of physical complaints. She became obese in her teens and admits to food cravings and binge-eating. She states that " I believe I have an eating disorder" and describes emotional eating with a bingeing and purging "vicious cycle." She has major GI disturbances - daily dyspepsia, bloating and bursts of watery diarrhea often associated with cramps. She is tired and feels sleepy during the day, but does not sleep well at night. She is irritable and is inappropriately angry. She states that "it is not fair to my 2 year old son that I have no patience." She eats ad lib with a high intake of dairy products, bread and pasta. She continues to drink coffee - 3 cups per day even though she knows that coffee can trigger diarrhea. He weight is now 200 pounds, down from a maximum of 220. She considers her normal weight to be 140. She smokes up to 20 cigarettes per day. Her mother has had a similar pattern of obesity and depression.

    I recommended that she go through a complete diet revision sequence. I explained the approach to her and she was skeptical. She stated " I don't see that it could be the food..." She needed a great deal of support to break the compulsive eating pattern.