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Minimising Food Toxicant Exposures & Intolerance Reactions

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Pesticides used in agriculture can be a concern. While preventative measures are taken to minimise exposure to pesticides and keep exposures to harmless levels. Sometimes foods do contain higher levels of pesticides.  This may be more prevalent in imported food and also in the Dirty Dozen ( – USA relevance).

As a general rule it is best to eat organic should be washed thoroughly before consuming.  Some people however may be advised to eat non organic produce, if they are reacting quite severely to salicylates. Salicylates are higher in organic plant produce, than in non organic.

Preservatives, coloring agents, and other food additives also can be symptom triggering to thos with EI. The simplest way to avoid these additives is to eat a whole food diet, based on unprocessed fresh produce.

This can be more expensive, but usually affordable if you shop smart and selective.

If you cannot afford all organic food, but can afford some, you can prioritise organic animal products and also the Dirty Dozen (as identified by

Sugary foods can upset sensitive tummies. If you have a very sensitive tummy reducing your intake of all sugars, even natural sugars like lactose (in milk) and fructose (in fruit) can help. In some people  certain sugary foods can cause toxic reactions.  In people with high levels of mycotoxicity – candida sugary foods are the enemy.


Meats should be from animals raised on organic pastures (without pesticide treatment) and grass fed/or fed grain that has not been grown or treated with any pesticide. This is very important for meat, since the chemicals can buildup in the fat of animals we eat.   at eat them. Animals also should be raised without antibiotics, hormones and other synthetic chemicals.  Grass fed and Organic meats are your best option.

Your doctor may advise you to limit your meat to just a few time a week, or to avoid red meat if you have certain liver conditions, or a very inflammed gut linked to IBD or very severe histamine intolerance, other reason.

People with high histamine can often feel better on an Vegetarian or Vegan diet, but these can increase the risk of  deficiency of vital nutrients needed for energy making, proper functioning of the nervous system and immune system.  A vegan – high carbohydrate diet like “McDougall Diet” may be  recommended to you if you have EI and heavy metal toxicity related Porphyria.

Fish from the ocean are less polluted than fish from fresh water in most cases. . Larger fish tend to be higher in mercury.  Mercury levels differ from one species of fish to the next. This is due to factors such as the type of fish, size, location, habitat, diet and age. Fish that are predatory (eat other fish) are large and at the top of the food chain, and so tend to contain more mercury.

Fish that contain higher levels of mercury include:

  • Shark
  • Ray
  • Swordfish
  • Barramundi
  • Gemfish
  • Orange roughy
  • Ling
  • Southern bluefin tuna.


Examples of fish thatcontain lower levels of mercury include:

  • Shellfish including prawns, lobsters and oysters
  • Salmon
  • Canned tuna.
  • Fish as part of the diet
  • Fish is an important part of a healthy diet. Some of the health benefits of fish include that it is:
  • High in protein
  • Low in saturated fat
  • High in unsaturated fat
  • High in omega-3 oils.

Mercury from most fish sold in Australia is not a health risk, when fish is consumed as part of a normal diet. However, people with mercury toxicity, pregnant women and children under 6 are generally advised to avoid mercury.  Healthy people should limit high mercury fish to just once a week.



BRAIN-HARMING FOODS–EXCITO-TOXINS: There are certain food substances, which are similar in chemical structure to body substances, which transmit nerve messages (neurotransmitters). These food substances can cause such excess stimulation of nerve cells that the nerve cells actually die from over-excitation and exhaustion. These substances are known as excito-toxins. People at greater risk include children, those with low energy levels, and persons with chemical injury (since this injury weakens the brain’s protective “blood-brain barrier”). Some evidence suggests that chronic intake of excito-toxins increases risk of Parkinson, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases of the nervous system.


Excito-toxins include aspartame (Nutra Sweet) and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Unfortunately, MSG can be in foods WITHOUT being listed on the label. Additives that contain MSG (without listing MSG on the label) include autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed oat flour, hydrolyzed plant protein, plant protein extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and textured protein. MSG is usually contained in bouillon, broth, flavoring, malt flavoring, malt extract, natural beef or chicken flavoring, seasoning, stock, again without any mention on the label.


MSG kills nerve cells by allowing excess calcium to enter the cell. Animals exposed to MSG  can become obese even with modest or lower food intake. Since Nutra Sweet can have the same effect, people consuming excito toxins may be unable to lose weight normally by dieting.


Excito toxins in liquid form (soups, beverages) are more dangerous, since they are rapidly absorbed. Glutamate from MSG remains high in human blood longer than in any animal tested. Junk foods contain the highest levels.


Other brain stimulants to avoid are caffeine, coffee, chocolate, some headache medicines, many cold medicines, appetite suppressants and wake-up pills.


The best way to reduce excito toxins like MSG is to eat a diet based mostly on whole foods and avoid intensely flavored gravies and sauces like Soy Sauce.. When purchasing packaged foods read all food labels, and asking the manufacturer in writing about MSG and aspartame when in doubt.

You can  learn more by reading the book: Excito toxins: The Taste That Kills, by Russell Blaylock, M.D., a neurosurgeon.

In some people with very high excito-toxicity even natural foods like corn  and peas, and other that contain free glutamate can be “toxic” to the brain and nervous system.

TOXINS IN FOOD:   Impaired liver detoxification in people with toxic injury and chemical sensitivity can make it more difficult for them to detoxify toxic substances in foods. Some food preparation methods can increase toxins in foods.

More toxins are generated by:

  • Meats, fish that are grilled, blackened or smoked
  • Meats with more fat
  • Meat and fish cooked at higher temperatures (over 150-200° C)–higher temperature pan-frying, broiling, hot deep fat frying, etc.
  • Meat, fish and fats/oils cooked with water allowed to evaporate (open pan frying)
  • Beef stock, flavors, commercial sauces, vegetable stock or hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • BHT in food
  • Thus a commercial hamburger or hot dog with french fries is often a “toxic meal”.


  • covering food when cooking
  • using lower temperatures for pan frying and use low fat meats.
  • Milk, cheese, eggs, beans, peas, soy are protein sources that are less toxic with cooking.
  •  Cooking methods that are least toxic are boiling in water, steaming without first browning, poaching or microwaving (in glass).
  • If you like to cook on a BBQ, toxins can be reduced by marinating your meat and other protein foods first.

Some substance help protect the body from toxins.

These include sulfur foods like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, onion and garlic. Also foods that contain antioxidants like like quercitin, catechin, flavones and flavonols, tochopherol (Vitamin E).

As a general rule highly aromatic plant foods that are rich in colour and flavor are higher in antioxidants. However there are a number of blander foods that are also rich sources of antioxidants including carrots, sweet potato, potato and legumes.  Some people do better on blander plant foods.  They usually have phenol food intolerance – salicylate sensitivity




FOOD INTOLERANCE: Many people with  toxic injury and sensitivity feel that certain foods aggravate their illness.

A food intolerance often overlooked is pharmacological food intolerance.  Which is an intolerance to phenols – food chemical substances. Most commonly salicylates, amines and glutamates. This may impact  up to 30% of people with toxic injury and chemical sensitivity. Symptoms of pharmacological food intolerance are multisystem and can be wide spread. They overlap with those of toxic injury and chemical sensitivity.  There is no test for this, it is diagnosed by doing  the RPAH Allergy Unit Elimination Diet.

More commonly experienced than pharmacological food intolerance (aka food chemical intolerance), is intolerance to sugars in foods, particularly specific carb sugars like lactose in milk, fructose in fruit and others now referred to as fodmaps.   Intolerance to Specific Carb Sugars mostly impacts the gut, but can also cause fatigue and fatigue related symptoms.  It is most common to people experiencing Irritable Bowel Syndrome or gut infections like SIBO.  If a person has an overgrowth of candida in the gut, they will generally feel better if the avoid sugars, starchy foods and any foods that contain yeast.  However it may be difficult to eliminate candida infection without first strengthening the immune system.  A common cause of a weakened immunity in people with toxic injury is zinc deficiency. In some people, experiencing a lot of depression and inner tensions, this may be due to liver and blood related disorder called Pyrrole Disease.


Food intolerance is different to Celiac Disease (autoimmune gluten intolerance) and IBD, however people with these conditions can also have food intolerance. For example around 7% of people with IBD also have pharmacological food intolerance (salicylate, amine and glutamate).



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