Unravelling the Complexities of Food Sensitivities and Wholefoods (Part 2)

Unravelling the Complexities of Food Sensitivities and Wholefoods (Part 2)

Part 1 of this two-parter gave you a better understanding and appreciation of the connection of food sensitivities and wholefoods, now let's move on to the focus of this blog: hard-to-digest compounds and chemicals in food, and how they might be triggering your food sensitivities.

The Culprits: The Top Compounds and Chemicals

When it comes to whole foods, we often think of them as inherently healthy. However, whole foods, can present a common issue – they are often hard to digest, which can lead to gut irritation, immune responses, and inflammatory reactions. There are several key compounds and chemicals found in both natural and processed foods that can be hard on your system: These include lectins, phytates, saponins, oxalates, tannins, salicylates, amine, glutamates, and fermentable carbohydrates.

Understanding Lectins: The Most Common Offender

Among these compounds, lectins take the lead as the most common culprits. You can find them in legumes, whole grains, seeds, and even in nightshade vegetables like tomatoes. Dairy products can also contain lectins. So, what's the issue with lectins? They have a knack for reducing our ability to digest various foods, especially proteins. Over time, this can lead to a domino effect, impacting your overall digestive and physical health.

Phytates, Saponins, and Oxalates: Trouble in the Gut

Phytates, saponins, and oxalates are compounds that, like lectins, can agitate your gut. They're found in foods like grains, legumes, and vegetables, and when not adequately processed or broken down, they can wreak havoc on your digestive system.

Tannins: The Mischievous Element in Tea and Wine

Tannins, found in tea, coffee, and red wine, also make the list. These compounds can interfere with the absorption of iron and other essential minerals, which may lead to nutritional imbalances in your body.

Salicylates, Amines, and Glutamates: More than Allergic Reactions

Now, let's shift our focus to salicylates, amines, and glutamates. These compounds often evoke more of a chemical and allergic reaction. They can be found in medications, foods, and even in various food additives. Salicylates, in particular, may trigger allergic reactions or intolerances in some individuals. Amines, on the other hand, are more likely to affect mood, behaviour, the nervous system, and skin. Glutamates, which are present in both natural and artificial foods, act as flavour enhancers. While natural sources like bone broth contain glutamates, artificial versions (e.g., 621 or 623) can be problematic.

Soy Extracts and Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein: A Deeper Dive

Soy extracts, notorious for their high glutamate content, can exacerbate food sensitivities, especially when consumed in large quantities. But the main culprit to keep an eye on is hydrolysed vegetable protein, commonly used in a wide range of processed foods. It's made from wheat, corn, and soy, and it's often used to enhance the flavour and texture of processed foods, particularly vegetarian or vegan options. Hydrolysed vegetable protein is notorious for causing gastric irritation, and it should be high on your list of ingredients to avoid when purchasing fast foods, snacks, or treats.

FODMAP Foods: A Digestive Challenge

Now, let's talk about FODMAP foods. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are types of carbohydrates found in grains, vegetables, and fruits. The key to understanding the challenge these foods present lies in their potential to ferment when they encounter gut bacteria. If you haven't properly broken down these carbohydrates through chewing, sufficient gastric acid, or enzymes, the microbes in your small and large intestines may ferment them, leading to an array of unpleasant symptoms like gas, pain, and diarrhoea.

Lactose and Fructose

Lactose, a disaccharide found in dairy products, especially milk, causes digestive discomfort for many individuals. This is one of the reasons we've removed dairy in our workshop – it's a common trigger for food sensitivities.

Fructose, a monosaccharide found in fruits, can also contribute to digestive woes when consumed in high quantities. Particularly in processed foods like lollies and sweets, excessive fructose can be a concern. It's easy to include in processed snacks and treats because it's inexpensive and tasty, but long-term consumption can be problematic when paired with other health issues like stress or imbalanced diets.

Artificial Additives and Sweeteners: A Culprit in Disguise

Finally, artificial additives and sweeteners. These compounds can be found in both natural and processed foods, but they're most prominently featured in artificial food products. Be cautious about their consumption, especially in highly processed foods, as they can contribute to food sensitivities.

Unravelling the Complexities of Food Sensitivities and Wholefoods (Part 2)

Mastering the Art of Food Sensitivity Management

Now that we've explored the compounds and chemicals that can create or influence food sensitivities, it is just as important to understand how to create a well-balanced meal that can incorporates these foods rather than eliminating them completely. This may seem counterintuitive, however when it comes to wholefoods, it is all about de-activating the unwanted compounds by preparing them appropriately and being careful about the quantity consumed.

The first step in improving food sensitivities is to start with eliminating processed foods, reducing the intake of artificial additives and sweeteners can be a significant step in managing food sensitivities.

The second step is to learn how to prepare and process the common food triggers. In our workshops, we provide practical insights and guidance on making informed food choices and offer creative recipes that will help you navigate the world of whole foods while minimizing the risk of food sensitivities. Our goal is to empower you with the knowledge and resources needed to break down these compounds and chemicals, treat your food well, and enjoy the health benefits of whole foods without suffering from food sensitivities.

Some of the things we discuss include fermentation, soaking, sprouting, slow cooking. All of these things can reduce triggers in wholefoods, thereby decreasing negative reactions.

I am hoping I have given you an overview of how wholefoods and food triggers are connected. Remember, this journey is not a sprint. Take your time to prepare, set yourself up for success and sometimes getting professional support is the best way to get started. If you would like to learn more about the nuts and bolts of cooking and getting the best out of your wholefoods than you are in the right place. We have great online self-paced wholefood workshops feel free to check out our online workshops here.

Unravelling the Complexities of Food Sensitivities and Wholefoods (Part 1)
The Power of Cleansing


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