I just received a very exciting phone call from a client today. I will call her Kris, to respect her privacy. But Kris has been complaining of stomach issues, bloating, mild diarrhea, sometimes gurgling stomach and sporadic pain and discomfort. It has been quite an issue and we have been trying a process of elimination diet (as well as may other things) for about 8 weeks. Well…. today… TADAH… we found the problem. CARRAGEENAN!
I am sure many of you have no clue what Carrageenan is, so let me explain. I RESEARCH everything and I am very careful about what I tell my clients, when it comes to their health issues, concerns or well being. I try to get my clients off of medications. Women who come to me want to feel their optimal best. So when Kris described her symptoms to me, and told me she was miserable, it was time to take action. She had been having bloating, stomach pain, gurgling and just was not feeling well, despite what we thought was a pretty clean eating plan. So, this concerned me, so we had to figure out “WHY”!! Why was she having these symptoms. Her body was telling her something.
So, first thing we did was cleaned up her diet even more…….. making a bunch of changes here. Then we worked on her gut function… adding digestive enzymes, probiotics and foods that we knew she could digest without issues. We also had to make sure SURE she wasn’t ingesting diary or any hidden gluten (which are very common in a lot of products and supplements). Then we tried a supplement elimination approach to see if she might be having an allergic reaction to. Next we tried a foods elimination diet. After doing all of these first, her symptoms didn’t really change. We even tried various kinds of protein powders as well as completely eliminating protein powders all together. This was frustrating for ME. As her nutrition and hormone practioner, I was determined to figure it out. I also understood how frustrating it must have been for her.
So, after weeks of trying different things……. I asked her what she was using in her protein shakes and/or oatmeal. She said Almond Milk. Right away… i thought… DING DING DING… She never logged or told me about her almond milk consumption because she said it was unsweetened and all natural, but she was consuming about 1 cup – 2 cups per day. So IMMEDIATELY – i told her to STOP drinking any almond milk. She was off of it for an entire week and her symptoms were GONE. Absolutely GONE!! So then we tried an ORGANIC version of Almond Milk… (100%) and TADAH!!! Symptoms Gone and now she is able to drink her shakes and eat her oatmeal again.
So, let me explain what happened here. I have been researching and educating myself more than ever on certain ingredients, preservatives, additives and other chemicals that are in our food supply, medications and environment. I am learning what the impact of these exotoxins are having on our bodies as well as how they are causing major symptoms but more importantly, turning into disease.
NON- ORGANIC Almond Milk (as well as many other products) have a substance in it called Carrageenan, which is supposed to be a “natural” food additive derived from red seaweed and processed with a chemical to neutralize its acidity. Carrageenan is a popular ingredient added to foods as a thickening agent to improve the texture and solubility of products. Carrageenan does not add nutritional content or flavor to products. Most foods that contain the suspicious additive are nonfat, low fat or fat free foods lacking the manufacturer’s desired texture for the food product, but it is a toxic agent. Research has found that carrageenan can trigger the development of chronic illness such as diabetes, and diseases associated with complications of the digestive tract.
Here is what Carrageenan does….. and I would say it is …….NOT Safe!!
1. Carrageenan weakens immune system: Possibly due to its high reactivity, carrageenan can interfere with a healthy immune response by altering the body’s natural army front of antibodies. Antibodies send signals warning our immune system that a foreign invader has entered and to attack. An unhealthy immune response can lead to inflammation of the gastrointestinal system causing a variety of complications.
2. Carrageenan Alters Intestinal Micoflora – Due to the variations in people’s intestinal microflora, or bacteria contained in the gut, researchers suggests that the additive may promote inflammation by altering the type of bacteria present following the consumption of carrageenan. Symptoms associated with altered bacteria concentrations within the gut include inflammatory colon polyps and abnormal tissue growth which can be signs of a more serious health problem
3. Carrageenan Increases Chronic Inflammation –
The following is a list of health problems that may be associated with chronic inflammation of the gut:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Parkinson’s disease
4. Carrageenan is a concern for those with diabetes as well as everyone, as studies have proven that with carrageenan present in the body, there is an increase in glucose intolerance.
5. Carrageenan also causes Intestinal Complications, which is what was going on with Kris.
Many studies have found that Carrageenan in diets activates an inflammatory pathway in the intestines and researchers documented ulcerative colitis, intestinal ulcerations, lesions in the rectum comparable to hemorrhaging, and the overall development of disease due to failing health.
WOW!!! No wonder.
So, we took her OFF of the Almond Breeze. Here is a chart. It shows brands that DO have Carrageenan in them and brands that do NOT.
I also found that Carrageenan was hidden in a few ORGANIC items also, such as Almond Dream products, Greek Yogurts, Cottage Cheese, and lunch meats.
You must be careful with ANY packaged food items. It is very annoying and frustrating … but, the ONLY way you can get around all of these hidden chemicals, preservatives and exotoxins is by eating and buying food that is NOT in a box, package or can. It’s just the way it is.
So again, the CHOICE is yours. Obviously Kris had a severe reaction to this toxic additive, but not everyone is going to. But, even if you do not have symptoms, my strong opinion is that it will catch up with you some day.. it will affect your metabolism, immune system and gut function and you will start to react to all the perservatives, additives and exotoxins that you put in your body. The good news is YOU have a choice. It’s Up To You!!
I am just very happy that we were able to identify the problem and fix it. Oh.. I did forget to tell you. Kris DID go see her physician and was told by her physician that she could give Kris a medication to try and then went on to suggest to OMIT vegetables for a while and see if that solves the problem. REALLY? I mean REALLY??? I just laughed…. nothing like taking the “TIME” to ask her questions, or give her some holistic approaches. Seriously!! But, I understand the reason why………. First of all, physicians certainly won’t spend 1/2 or hour with you to investigate… Secondly, I know for a fact that doctors only get 1 day of nutrition in 8 years of med school… and Thirdly, they are NOT up to snuff on current holistic protocols, because they CAN’T be… they are very tightly monitored by the FDA and AMA……… so that is just the way it is. . I spent at least 4 – 5 hours with Kris through appointments, conversations, email exchanges and research……… and I know most physicians cannot do that… I get it… but it is what it is.
So purpose of this blog.
- Read Labels
- Stay away from Carrageenan as well as any preservative or additive.
- Eat Organic as much as possible.
- Do not immediately go on medications if you have symptoms.
- If you have symptoms, it’s your body’s way of asking for you to change something.
For more information on other important topics, check out the other articles here in our blog. Otherwise, you can go to our website, http://www.bfitchallenge.com or contact us 651 452 2339 for a free consultation.