It only matters what works for you.

When I became a rat…

or, how I figured out my first food sensitivity.

In 2005 I went on a low carb diet. Meat, cheese, veggies, salads, nuts, a little fruit. For about 2 months things went very well. Then I started getting sick. And by sick I mean horrible, horrible stomach pains that almost felt like convulsions, and lots of vomiting. Sorry for being graphic.

The first thing I did was look for obvious signs in my diet by doing various eliminations. Not nuts. Not broccoli. Not this cheese, or that cheese…I spent a lot of time poking at my diet one food type at a time. This is very time consuming, but really the only way to find something like that without having a full allergy panel done through a doctor, and even then, they might not find a problem. I poked and tried and messed for several weeks and couldn’t find any sensible correlation.

I went to my doctor. Vomiting every afternoon and often in the evenings is not normal and not a good thing. Although I was losing weight in leaps and bounds and that was exciting. We discussed what I had done and tried, she reviewed the notes I had taken. The next step could only be some serious and invasive testing. I hesitated on that because I really couldn’t afford it at the time.

While I was deciding what to do I went on a trip. During the afternoon on this trip I ate Kentucky Fried chicken (the most low carb food available for take out in Outer New Mexico) and some canned snack nuts. I had the snack nuts first, while the chicken was being summoned, and they made me feel ill. Then I ate the chicken and some time later was much, much worse.

What possible connection can there be between snack nuts and fried chicken? The chicken was fine, my husband ate his with no trouble at all.

Then I had this completely random, highly unlikely thought. I was never able to eat trendy things like tofu because it gave me hiccups. The really really bad kind that hurt and go on for hours. Maybe the pains in my stomach were like that? So maybe I was having a problem with soy?


When I’d gone low carb I took a lot of things out of my diet and my soy consumption went way up. Why did it go up, if I didn’t eat things like tofu? Because frankly, soy is EVERYWHERE. Read a label sometime. Its in nearly every bottle of every brand of commercial salad dressing. Its in your canned tuna, where ‘water’ is now actually soy bean broth. My canned snack nuts were cooked in it, and unless they specifically state otherwise, its a sure bet that all fast food that is fried is fried in soy bean oil.

That sounds crazy. I know it sounds crazy. I believed it was crazy. Crazy or not, that did solve my problem. When I stopped eating anything that I could possibly identify as containing soy I stopped vomiting. If I experimented, I got sick again. X=Y. Crazy or not, it wasn’t complicated.

Now, years later, I have a little leeway, but not much. Soy lecithin, used to preserve texture in many things but specifically chocolate and tea, doesn’t seem to be a problem. I can handle the occasional fried thing if I’m very careful. I’ve learned that olive oil is fine as a salad dressing, if its really olive oil but generic ‘vegetable oil’ is actually soy, unless you’re in Canada, in which case its Canola. (Our trip to Canada was a nice vacation, they don’t use soy at all and eating was so much easier.)

The point of this story, besides sharing, is that when sensible doesn’t give you an answer, its time to think out side the box and grasp at straws. I did all the sensible, normal things and didn’t get an answer. I could have given up. I could have spent a lot of money pursuing tests that I couldn’t afford. Instead, I followed a hunch based on a very, very thin idea, and it paid off.

Don’t be afraid to jump outside the box if the box isn’t working.




Comments on: "When I became a rat…" (2)

  1. Just another reason to go back to making food from your own ingredients. Healthy eating is definately avoiding the ready-made dinners, condiments, and snacks that you find in the supermarket.

    • You’re absolutely right Colline! It forced me to make some great changes in my eating habits because I just plain could not eat anything processed. Back to basics is the way to go. It can be very time consuming when you aren’t used to it though.

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