If you’ve been faithfully following the biochemical repair program outlined in Seven Weeks to Sobriety and still do not feel as well as you suspect you should, you may be wondering whether a biochemical restoration program is right for you. Relax. This program works for all alcoholics, but you may be suffering from food allergies or chemical sensitivities that must be identified and treated before your recovery can be complete. Or you may be battling an overgrowth of Candida Albicans, a yeast that can sap your energy and undermine your health.
Alcoholics are particularly vulnerable to candida overgrowth. To deal with these complex conditions you’ll need to learn how to determine whether you are affected and, if so, what you can do to overcome these debilitating disorders. Dramatic recoveries have been made by Health Recovery Center clients who discover that they are afflicted with one or more of these problems.
The amazing changes alcohol can trigger in the allergic/addicted alcoholic demonstrates how profoundly the brain is affected by substances it cannot tolerate. Reactions can include anger, loss of control, physical fights, crying, and suicide attempts. If you are allergic/addicted, you may have inherited a biological predisposition to food and chemical intolerance's.
If so, problems usually begin to develop after you start using the allergenic substance frequently. Your first encounter with it probably made you sick, but with prolonged use your body adapts in a way that suggests you are tolerating the substance. In fact, an addiction is gradually building. When the substance is present, you feel a lift or high. Withdrawal triggers a number of unpleasant or painful symptoms ranging from depression to exhaustion.
Unfortunately, giving up alcohol won't necessarily eliminate these problems. Your addictive needs may soon lead you elsewhere for a fix. You may drink pots of coffee laced with sugar; or get your high from binging on foods containing the same grains as the alcohol you used to drink; or you may chain-smoke, and drink colas continually. If so, your behavior will be almost as erratic as it was when you were drinking.
Compulsive Eating and Food Allergy
Do you crave certain foods the way drug addicts crave a fix? If so, you may be allergic/addicted to those foods. When this is the case, the foods in question are improperly metabolized in your body and trigger psychoactive chemicals that produce an initial high, soon followed by a loss of control (binging) and other negative symptoms like fogginess, fatigue, and depression. Life becomes one binge after another, and weight begins to accumulate.
Eventually, some affected individuals turn bulimic to control their weight. The alternative is anorexia nervosa and starvation. If an allergic/addicted person cuts food intake and subsists on salads and vegetables, their cravings will probably subside. This regime eliminates the volatile foods that trigger binges, but it will also deplete stores of the natural chemicals needed for normal brain functioning.
A number of studies have shown that eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa are linked to zinc deficiencies probably because zinc affects our taste, sense of smell, and appetite. In a study at Stanford University, a group of zinc-deficient anorexic adolescents were given supplements, while a control group got none. The youngsters taking zinc began to gain weight. Their senses of taste and smell improved, and their depression and anxious moods lifted. They also began to mature sexually (sexual development can be arrested among anorexic adolescents).
Obesity can also be associated with zinc deficiency. A study at the University of Tennessee Medical Center showed that people who repeatedly regain weight after dieting (victims of the so-called yo-yo syndrome) can lose again without dieting by taking liquid zinc supplements. The Tennessee-study participants lost three to five pounds per month with no other lifestyle changes.
Be Your Own Detective: The Elimination Diet
One effective way to confirm that a specific food is causing you problems is to stop eating it for at least one week. This isn't as easy as it sounds, because if you are allergic/addicted, you may develop withdrawal symptoms as your body pleads for its usual fix of these foods. Symptoms vary from person to person and can include headache or fatigue during the first days. Back and joint aches may develop on the third day and persist for a day or two. Among the "psychological" symptoms of withdrawal are anxiety, confusion, depression, and mood swings. If you are chemically sensitive, try to avoid exposure during this week to fresh paint, new synthetic carpets, cleaning solutions, gas stoves, tobacco smoke, auto exhaust, perfumes, and shopping malls (which are filled with fumes from the formaldehyde in new clothing, furniture, and fabrics).
(A note to smokers: Do not smoke during an elimination diet. Cigarettes are loaded with chemicals that keep allergic users in a chronically reactive state. You won't be able to see the effects of the diet while you continue to smoke.)
By the end of the week, withdrawal agonies, if any, will have ceased. After that, reintroducing the suspected food(s) should produce noticeable symptoms. This is your body's way of telling you whether or not it can tolerate the food.
To test yourself, follow these directions:
Test only one food per meal.
Make a whole meal of the test food. For example, if you suspect that dairy products are the source of your problems, eat only cheese, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese; if wheat is the suspected culprit, limit yourself to hot wheat cereal, wheat toast, pan-cakes, or bread. Do not resume using a suspected food until after you have tested it this way. For example, don't butter your bread unless you are certain that dairy products (which include butter) are not a problem for you.
Take your pulse just before eating the food you are testing. Take it again five minutes after you finish and again twenty-five minutes later. A pulse twelve or more beats per minute faster or slower than what is normal for you suggests an allergic reaction to the food you are testing.
Make a note of any changes in the way you feel physically and emotionally. Reactions usually occur within the first hour, although some may be delayed. Be aware that if your brain chemistry is altered because of a reaction to the food, you may not be able to think clearly enough to accurately assess and record your reaction. I learned how difficult this can be when, after a five-day total fast (except for spring water), I tested eggs at lunch. I soon felt very sleepy and decided to take a short nap. A half hour later, I realized I was lying on the couch instead of driving back to my office. At first, I was in such a fog that I had no idea why I had dozed off at noon. As the grip of the allergic response subsided I realized that the eggs were responsible for my reaction.
If possible, test the suspect foods when someone else is around. This way, if you are too muddled by an allergic reaction, your companion will be able to observe your behavior and relate it to the food you tested. I had a meeting with colleagues scheduled the day I tested wheat. After downing a stack of pancakes, I hurried off to the meeting. Driving a familiar route, I took a wrong turn, not once but twice! I was annoyed at my stupidity but never connected my mistakes to the possibility that my brain was losing its smarts in response to the wheat. When I finally arrived, I delivered my report in a halting voice, some-times slurring my words. I was mortified by my performance. Suddenly, a close friend began to laugh. "You must be in reaction. What did you test this morning?" That embarrassing experience told me in no uncertain terms that wheat is not good for me.
Any uncomfortable symptoms can be partially relieved by taking two tablets of Alka-Seltzer Gold. Milk of magnesia can also help eliminate food-related problems. (Follow the directions on the label.)
Be sure to avoid any chemical exposure while testing a food and get plenty of fresh air. Drink only spring water, deep well-water, or water that has been filtered-not tap water, which is full of chemicals. (One of our HRC clients discovered that the constant groin pain that had plagued him for years disappeared when he stopped using chlorinated water. He later found that he could turn the pain on and off by switching from spring to tap water. I have noticed that allergic people don't feel well when they drink city water treated with chorine and other chemicals.)
Breaking Food Allergy/Addiction
Identifying the foods that undermine your equilibrium is only half the battle. You will still find these foods appealing (in exactly the same way alcohol is appealing) because they promise a high. I doubt that your heartbeat quickens at the thought of eating green beans. But the very word "pizza" (or insert the name of your favorite food) can set something humming. That something is the anticipation of the promised high. If this seems like the effect you get from alcohol, you are beginning to understand allergy/addiction.
Food addiction and alcohol or drug addiction are the same kinds of biochemical processes. This similarity explains why so many abstinent alcoholics continue to suffer physical and mental torment they expected to vanish when they stopped drinking. By kicking all of these addictions you can put an end to the physical and emotional turmoil that lures you back to one more quick fix.
Now that you understand some of the biochemical factors that underlie your need for alcohol-that overpowering buildup to drink- you can take steps to keep your brain and body in balance so you don't continually crave a chemical high to pull you out of a chronically low state.
The information presented in the article comes from Seven Weeks To Sobriety©. It is based on 40 years of research and clinical observations at Health Recovery Center®. and their effective methods of biochemical repair following an orthomolecular approach to restore health and balance to the brain. We invite you to learn more about Health Recovery Center®, and the superior “cause-based” treatment it has pioneered for addictions and mental health.