“We can all afford to lose some weight.” “People often under-report what they’re eating.” “Have you been hitting the drive-through?”

Those are quotes from doctors in my past in response to my complaints about inexplicable weight gain. You see, it didn’t matter how much I exercised or how little I ate, until I healed my body, I couldn’t lose the weight. 

Even though I was eating super clean, I was making myself sicker by the day. By the time I got the right help, my hair was falling out, I was exhausted all the time, and I felt 30 years older than I am. 

The culprit behind this health decline? My food.

I didn’t know it, but I was eating foods that my body was rejecting. Sure, there were subtle signs: a little bloating here, some sinus congestion occasionally, maybe a passing abdominal pain. But, I never connected it to food until I conducted a food sensitivity test. What I learned changed my life.

Each body is different and has unique nutritional needs, food allergies, and sensitivities. You may not know that you have an allergy or intolerance, but your body does and it will react. 

Over time, if you continue to eat foods to which your body is intolerant, your autoimmune system will be triggered.

In its attempt to protect you from foreign invaders, it can turn on you, instead. When it does, you can develop any number of autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and many more.

In my case, consistent consumption of certain foods created a condition called leaky gut and ultimately triggered the disorder Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. But, there’s good news: by modifying my diet I was able to reclaim my good health. In just weeks after making some changes I felt better than I had in years. 

I was so inspired by my experience, I decided to refocus my prepared meal service to help others improve their quality of life by modifying their diet. 

Common Allergens

There are eight foods that comprise almost 90 percent of food allergies or sensitivities. They include cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts (a legume, not a nut), fish, and shellfish. Many people are aware of their food allergens because their reaction tends to be severe when they come into contact with them, but if you are merely sensitive to an ingredient, it may be easy to overlook your body’s response.  

Once you identify your allergens or food sensitivities, you’ll need to start scouring ingredient labels. Milk, eggs, and some variation of soy are in almost every packaged product you’ll find in the grocery store. 

Fortunately, there are many substitute products available these days that make it easier to be gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, and soy-free. We have many clients with these restrictions and even more.

Hidden Sources of Gluten

Everyone knows gluten is in most bread and pasta products, but did you know it’s also in teriyaki sauce and malt vinegar? How about makeup and hand soap? If you’d like a comprehensive list of the hidden sources of gluten, just shoot me an email chefliz@thepickledbeet.com.

Chef Liz is the Executive Chef and Owner of The Pickled Beet personal chef service in Miami, FL, a specialized prepared meal service that custom designs menus and prepares fresh, wholesome, and balanced meals catered to its clients’ specific needs. She has extensive experience designing menu plans for several health issues, including diabetes, heart-related, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and extreme food sensitivities.

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