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Food of the damned

LifeScience doctor lists all the delicious foods that author RJ Ledesma will never be allowed to eat or even look at again.

I didn’t realize that flatulence was hazardous to my own health along with the people within a 10-foot radius of me.

 

After a recent blood test, I discovered that flatulence was not my mutant power.

I also discovered that the cause of my flatulence — my ovo-lacto vegetarian diet — is possibly what will prevent me from achieving nigh-immortality.

That was why I took a Food Intolerance Test at LifeScience, a wellness and preventive medicine center in Bonifacio Global City. (Just to be clear, food intolerance is different from food allergies, which are the immune system’s response to food perceived by the body as harmful. Food intolerance is the digestive system’s response to food that your body is unable to properly digest. My digestive system often responds with a litany of expletives exploding from my favorite orifice.)

The test did not involve LifeScience consultants force-feeding ungodly amounts of karmically questionable foods down my second-favorite orifice. Rather, they extracted a bit of blood from my index finger to conduct the ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) test — a medical technology that identifies antigens (any substance which provokes an adaptive immune response) in foods. The test checks if there is any type of offending food against which my body has produced an antibody or antigen.  

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These antigens squat in your tissues, which lead to inflammation (apparently, inflammation is what prevents you from achieving immortality as it speeds up the body’s wear and tear process. And flatulence is a sign of inflammation. I didn’t realize that flatulence was hazardous to my own health along with the people within a 10-foot radius of me).

Among signs of inflammation are (cue eerie disconcerting music): acid reflux, heartburn, abdominal cramps, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, ADHD, bloating, chronic fatigue syndrome, coeliac disease, constipation, depression, diarrhea, itchy skin, insomnia and sleep disturbances, leaky gut, malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies, migraine, nausea and vomiting, persistent hyperacidity, stomach pain, water retention and weight control problems. (But wait, if I rid myself of all these symptoms, will I have any material left for my future columns?)

When I received the results of my test several weeks later, it was more shocking than Ateneo and La Salle failing to make it into this year’s UAAP Men’s Basketball finals.

To more easily, er, digest the information, the food was divided into major groups: dairy and egg, grains (both gluten and non-gluten containing), fruits, vegetables, seafood, meats, nuts and seeds.  Here’s what I learned.

RJ LEDESMA: Aren’t chocolate and beer major food groups as well?

LIFESCIENCE CLINICIAN: Well, sir, you can consume raw cacao nibs or cocoa beans.

What am I, an Aztec!? What’s wrong with chocolate?

It has milk solids, sir.

As opposed to what? Milk gas? My body has the mutant ability to extract gas from milk, you know.  

Your test results indicate that you are highly intolerant to almost all animal milk sources, which include cow, goat, sheep and casein. The only type of milk you can drink is buffalo milk.

Are you threatening me, doc? I can projectile fart, you know.

You also have to be wary of the non-dairy creamer you use for your coffee because they often contain casein, a milk-derived protein.

Even my coffee is tampered with!? Is nothing sacred anymore, doc? Just what is casein, ba?

Casein is a milk product that is a major component in cheese as well.

Wait, you’re telling me I have to lay off cheese as well? Why don’t you cut off my pink parts nalang!? I’m vegetarian! Aside from tofu, cheese has been my main source of protein for the past 10 years. It may have turned me into a mobile gas chamber, but it’s made vegetarian life worth living! Does this mean no more cheese platters!? No more Cheese Whiz!? No more Cheese Curls!!!? What else is there to live for!?

Sir, did you say you were vegetarian?

Yes, couldn’t you tell by the aroma of my projectile farts?

Has soya been a source of protein for you as well?

That’s right. I’ve consumed so much over the years that the phyto-estrogens in tofu have forced me to wear a training bra. Why do you ask? You want to know if I’m 34B?

Your test says that you are highly intolerant to soybean, too.

You’re telling me that my staple diet for the past 10 years is what has turned me into an environmental hazard!? 

You need to avoid tofu, especially since a lot of tofu nowadays is genetically modified. Please note that soya includes all soy-based sauces including teriyaki sauce and soy sauce.

Whaaaat!? But, but those are the sauces of life! So what can I use as my all-purpose sauce now!? Vinegar? Tabasco? Zonrox?

Are eggs also a protein source for you, sir?

Naku, please stop talking to me.

You are also highly intolerant to egg white and egg yolk.

Is that why I feel as bloated as a government contract when I eat eggs? What else is left for me to eat with an egg? The eggshell?

You are also intolerant to nuts like almond, hazelnut, pistachio and walnuts. But you can still have peanuts, coconuts and macadamia nuts.

I need to have just enough nuts to write this column.

And you have a negative reaction to cola nut, which is present in all dark colas.

Does that mean I will never have a Share-a-Coke with my name on it?

You’ll also have to avoid a lot of your major carbohydrate sources. These include corn and corn products like cereal, corn oil and corn chips.

Avoid corn? Then where will all my jokes come from?

You’re also intolerant to rice (along with 60 percent of the Philippine population). You have to avoid rice in all its varieties.

I will never be able to take advantage of an unli-rice promo ever again!?

But there are other sources of carbohydrates that you can eat like root crops — potatoes, sweet potato, cassava.

Won’t that just reinforce my status as a biological gas hazard?

You can also alternate root crops with other types of grains like quinoa, millet or amaranth.

Wow, sounds sosyal. Maybe the prices of these grains are just as sosyal?

Admittedly, they are priced higher than rice but are actually more filling. A half-cup serving of rice is equivalent to a one third serving of quinoa, and it has the same nutritional value. You also have to avoid wheat because you are highly reactive to it. That includes most breads, crackers, biscuits, cakes, cupcakes and pastries. 

Anything related to bread!? What do I do now, suck air!?

And pizza crust made from wheat.

Pizza!? Don’t you understand, I’m like a Ninja Turtle when it comes to pizza. It is a source of life-giving nutrients!

You also have intolerance to gluten-containing food. Gluten is a sub-component of gliadin, a protein found in wheat and other grains like barely, rye and oats. You need to avoid foods closely associated with gluten.

“Closely associated”? You mean it’s almost like collusion? I knew it, this has the stink of corruption all over it. And I thought that was just the smell of my own gas.

But there are still alternatives, sir.

Like what? Photosynthesis?

You can have gluten-free breads or if someone bakes for you, ask them to use non-wheat flour like tapioca or quinoa.

Yaya, how fast can you learn to bake? I don’t think we can deep-fry all the remaining tofu in the fridge anymore.

But, sir, I am glad to inform you that you have no reaction to meats.

That’s great news for a vegetarian like me. So, doc, what happens if I strictly follow this new diet and avoid all the food products that fall under the red area?

If you do eat something from the red category, you are not going to die. Just remember that one of the possible causes of aging is inflammation. So what you are trying to do is lessen your exposure to inflammation.

Yaya says nga I expose myself too much.

Let your gastrointestinal system take a rest, especially from the food products in the red zone.

If there is really no other option, then just cut your food portions in half.

How about if I just fold the food in half?

In the long run, you can avoid the chronic diseases like heart disease and help preserve or prolong your hormonal levels.

So it means my pink parts will be ready and willing until I approach my indecent years? That should be something I look forward to as I chow down on sweet kamote.

We can provide you with a list of suppliers who offer non-wheat breads along with a diet plan and grocery list for the alternatives and changes in your diet. So, how do you feel about the test results?

Pwedeng mag pa-retake? And while retaking, let’s order a pizza with extra cheese.

* * *

For comments, inquiries or tofu, please email ledesma.rj@gmail.com or visit www.rjledesma.com.

Take the Food Intolerance Test at www.lifescience.ph or contact 0917-5735433 for more information.

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