Last fall I started going to the nutritionist again. My liza recommended Alina Stoica, a specialist in nutrigenetics, with a lot of confidence, so I said to go too.
I said it and I will repeat it as long as I live: one of the biggest problems in adults and children is the lack of food education. I was raised with the wrong idea that a meal consists of the first course, the second course and dessert, the bread being indispensable. Romanians eat a lot and this is a real problem because we do not need so much food.
So, even if I took a nutrition technician course, even if I lost over 40kg, even though I have been to several nutritionists over the last few years and I have a solid foundation in nutrition, I think that every specialist (doctor or dietitian) can help me educate myself to be better. Every visit to such a specialist seems to me an investment for a better life.
What else could I discover after four years of discipline? Many, but that doesn't surprise me at all.
Doctor Alina Stoica helped me listen to my body's signals and identify the messages. To be honest, before I didn't pay attention to certain conditions such as bloating, sudden fatigue, dizziness, very intense cravings or headaches (in the end I could easily solve them with a pill). Although I felt bloated many times, I was not aware that this was actually happening. I had learned to live with the discomfort, just as I had learned with the knee pain when I had the extra 40kg. I thought that was normal.
I remember an episode that happened at the end of last year and that affected me quite a lot. I was at a shooting (as a make-up artist) and after many hours of work, I ordered pizza to eat. Being extremely hungry because I spent many hours on the set without eating at all, I quickly devoured two slices of pizza quatro formaggi (which was also my favorite pizza). In less than 10 minutes I was lying on the floor, crumpled in pain, my pants unbuttoned because my belly was so swollen that I felt that my operation would crack. I was in hell and I couldn't calm down without a few pills. I later received the explanation from the doctor: gluten and dairy products are not recommended for people suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (as I am), and I had consumed both in a significant amount on an empty stomach.
Does it make sense to tell you that I haven't eaten pizza quatro formaggi since then, and that every time I eat a slice of pizza I get a lot of emotions? The doctor's recommendation was that if I still eat pizza, to have as many vegetables on it to be easier to digest (fiber helps).
And that's how I started to pay more attention to my body's signals and to notice the sensations I have after each meal.
Also in that period (which was very crowded for me, and the meals were not very organized) another episode happened to me that raised many questions. One day when I had two groups at the self-makeup workshop I teach and I didn't have time to eat at all between evenings, I happened to eat a big, tasty pear after class. That hair gave me a strong feeling of bloating and some terrible cramps. And I didn't understand why, I had just eaten a fruit on an empty stomach, fixed as recommended.
And again we debated the episode during the consultation with the nutritionist. This time he taught me to be careful when choosing fruits to choose the smallest, most imperfect and brought up the subject of food intolerances, which can be specific to each individual.
Thus was born in my mind the idea of taking a test to find out my food intolerances. I knew about such a test for many years, but it cost quite a lot and it was never a priority for me. Until then.
After researching a bit, I discovered that at Synlab you can take the NATGE food intolerance test where 176 types of food are tested. And the price was only a third of the test I had heard about years ago and which at that time was the only one in Romania.
So in February, before I went snowboarding, I took the test with the thought that after receiving the result I should go with him to the nutritionist again and establish a diet plan taking into account the new information.
The results came in 2-3 weeks from the date of the blood sampling, only when I returned from vacation the pandemic came and my plan was put on hold for a while.
This test can be done in Synlab laboratories (the largest network of analysis laboratories in the world) and consists only of blood collection. The test costs 865 lei and you have more details here.
Be careful not to confuse allergies with intolerances.
Allergy it is a normally harmless substance (in this case food and food components) that can start a real war with the allergic body. The immune system receives and transmits a false attack alarm, setting in motion its entire arsenal of defenses, as if it were fighting a relentless virus or parasite. It quickly begins to produce antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE for short) and neurotransmitters such as histamine, which is immediately manifested by runny nose or bowel movement. In the case of an allergy sufferer, even a tiny amount of the incriminated food can cause a strong reaction, which occurs shortly after eating that food and is often violent: itching in the throat and swelling of the glottis palate, hives on the skin, etc.
On the other hand, symptoms of food intolerance they cause problems especially in the gastrointestinal area. They appeared even after a long time lag from the meal, even after 72 hours. This "incompatibility" is actually an indigestion, because the aggressor is a food ingredient that the body can not deal with properly and completely. Lactose intolerance is known, in which there is a deficiency of the enzyme lactase and, implicitly, a deficiency of lactose processing, digestion of milk sugars. Thus, they will reach the large intestine undigested and will cause symptoms, such as cramps.
I don't want to give too many details about my results, but I want to tell you two situations.
The first has to do with the sweet potato. A food that I like very much and that I had come to consume daily, even if not in very large quantities. After receiving the result, I was not only surprised to see this food on the list of those I have an intolerance to, but also sad. Until one day when I decided to reduce its consumption. And that's how the scale began to move again. I ate salads, but the scales stagnated.
Another situation is related to hazelnuts. In my result sheet I saw that I have a fairly high intolerance to hazelnuts. I said ok, I can live without them. But peanuts (peanuts) I love! Peanut butter with banana is my favorite snack. Peanut butter goes well with almost anything, especially oatmeal or chia pudding. So, during the pandemic, we had a long period of time in which we consumed peanut butter daily. And I felt heavy all the time, and I was in pain, and the feeling of bloating appeared pretty quickly. Until one day I got the idea that maybe I had developed an intolerance to peanuts. So I haven't eaten this food at all in a month and guess what I noticed? The feeling of bloating and a heavy stomach disappeared. This does not mean that I will never eat sweet potatoes or peanut butter again, only that I will eat sparingly and sparingly. On top of that, even if I crave peanut butter, only when I remember how I feel after consuming it helps me refrain.
Food intolerance means that the body does not have the ability to digest a food properly. This sensitivity can also occur due to over-consumption or overexposure of the body to a certain food, so if you do not consume it, things adjust, and after a while you can introduce it, but with a low frequency.
Basically, what I did recently in the last few months was to pay attention to how my body reacts to what I eat. If I suddenly felt a strong feeling of fatigue, it was clear that I had made a food combination that was not right for me. If I felt bloated, cramped or any discomfort, it is clear that I ate something I am sensitive to.
If I felt good, light and full of energy after dinner, I could shout BINGO because it meant I gave my body what it needed. It is very interesting how this small change, ie attention to the body's reactions, can have so many benefits on my well-being and health. It's hard for me to admit that, but before I got used to the feeling of malaise and discomfort. If in recent years I understood that food is the fuel of our body and that it is important to be of the best quality, now I realized that it must be the right fuel. And that's why I tell you that the education process is a continuous one. If during childhood and adolescence I did not have a food education, as an adult I consider it my responsibility to correct my past mistakes. Especially since I now have so many resources at my disposal.
If you want to know more about the NATGE test from Synlab and the list of tested foods I invite you to read more information here. In addition, if you choose to take this test you will receive a 10% discount in any of the Synlab labs with the code IOANA10. So the analysis is even more accessible now!