08.18.2012

Allergic to Grass Fed Beef?

Is it the cow?

I want to start telling you a little more about my healing journey as of lately, because we learn from each other right? I stopped eating 100% grass fed beef a few weeks ago because I started to get REALLY tired after eating it! I don’t think I am allergic to the beef itself or got a tick that made me allergic to it. I actually think maybe the grass the cows were eating was cross reacting with my grass allergies, making me allergic to grass fed beef. Is this crazy? Now don’t jump to conclusions just yet…let me explain myself.

Is it what the animal eats?

In the past, I have tried chicken, turkey, and eggs. They were the happiest and healthiest little chickens that I bought from a local farmer. Though, I cannot eat them without having a reaction because they eat soy and corn. Even the ones that ate barley and grains (soy free), make my body mad. This was because I am sensitive to the soy/corn/grains they were eating. These grains are a protein source for the chickens so the chicken’s protein structure would have some of the same proteins as the food they eat. It is possible to be allergic to the pollen and or proteins in grass as well. So why wouldn’t that apply to cows and what they are eating.

My reaction

This is the reaction I got when I ate the chicken or eggs. Then in June (grass season), I started to get this same reaction. At first I did not now that I was feeling so crummy. I correlated it to die-off from starting the GAPS diet. I would get SUPER sleepy after eating, which is the opposite of what good food is suppose to do to you! My neck would come out of alignment (which means I had to go to my chiropractor often). My sinuses got stuffed up and my eczema flared up so badly, my face look like it was painted with little red dots!! Ahh, obviously my body was trying to talk to me.

I’m allergic to grass

I am severly sensitve to grass! Here in Minnesota, early June is tough for me because all the grass pollen is everywhere! When I even lay in the grass I will break out in hives. If the cows were eating that grass (prime time for grass feeding), then it is possible my body was reacting to the grass the cows ate. The cows I was getting meat from were fed 100% grass, no corn or soy for sure! I did not have a problem in the fall or winter with beef, so that is why I think it is just seasonal. I was temporarily allergic to grass fed beef!

**to know what pollens are prominent in your area at this time of year, check the pollen count here!

Cross Pollination

I have to monitor the vegetables I eat in certain seasons as well. This way of eating is just temporary while my gut is so sensitive and my outdoor allergies are still extremely strong (obviously my gut needs a lot more healing).  Some vegetables and fruits cross pollinate with outdoor allergies. During birch tree season I cannot eat celery and peaches and during Ragweed season I have to stay away from melons and cucumbers. If I eat these foods I get really tired, like I did when I ate the 100% grass fed beef during grass season. I am ok with eating these veggies and fruits any other time of the year though. Sadly this means I cannot always eat in season, but staying away from cross pollinating fruits and veggies definitely makes me feel best right now.

Did I overeat beef?

Was I allergic to grass fed beef because I over ate it? I have also heard that you can overeat a food and make yourself allergic to it. Well, really I was not even eating beef everyday in the winter or fall, so I was definitely not overeating it. Anyways, remember the Masai Tribe in Africa? They only ate meat from the same animal almost every day.

So what did I eat?

Well As many of you know, on the GAPS diet, beef is a staple. While I was temporarily allergic to grass fed beef, I switched to fish as my protein staple. That meant lots of sardines, salmon, lake fish, and fish broth (It is not my favorite, but I will choke it down if I have too!).

What about the mercury!

Yes this scared me at first too, when I found out that I could only eat fish as my protein! I made sure to eat the fish that has the lowest mercury. Fresh (not canned) sardines were a staple. I ate the whole thing, head and all, except the bones. The wild salmon I was getting, was from very clean waters. Fresh water fish from a clean lake is pretty clean too.

I made sure to cleanse my body with fresh cilantro and organic chlorella to rid of any excess mercury that did enter my system. I also went in my sauna almost everyday to make sure my body was detoxing efficiently. I cannot say, I was crazy about this change, but sometimes we just have to listen to our bodies! It only lasted a few weeks, but I can say I am glad I stayed away from beef and ate only fish! My body would have been miserable if I was to eat 100% grass fed beef during my grass allergy season.

Can I eat grass fed beef now?

I sure can. Grass fed beef, liver, heart, and bone broth have become regulars in my diet once again! Now that peak grass season is over, I have no problem eating grass fed beef. Grass fed beef and liver makes me feel very energized, the way it was designed to 🙂 I am also going to try 100% grass fed buffalo soon, so I will tell you how that goes!

My allergies have gotten better

I still have a LOT of food sensitivities, but my environmental allergies are soo much better! After I switched from the typical allergy meds I went to “natural allergy supplements” like nettles, quercetin, and sublingual allergy drops (I had to stop taking these because they were made in glycerin). These were really only covering up the symptoms still.

My tiredness, stuffiness, and rashes were still bad on the natural allergy supplements. I used to be miserable for at least a whole month or two in the spring and the fall. I used to say I was only healthy during July, because of the spring and fall allergies and the dust/lack of sun (vitamin d) in the winter made me always sick.

I am happy to report that after 10 months on GAPS (I started last October) I only have a little allergy response to my environmental allergies. I still wake up slightly tired some days and feel crummy, but not nearly as bad as it used to be. I would have been in bed for days. I now just do my Neti pot 3 times a day and shower after I am outside for a long time.

The GAPS diet is the answer!

My grass allergies were obviously bad enough that I reacted to grass fed beef, but maybe next June I will be able to eat grass fed beef and liver without it cross reacting to my grass allergies. Environmental allergies are a problem for people because they need to heal their gutGAPS is the answer!

Everyone’s body is different

Remember, these are my thoughts about why I may have been temporarily allergic to grass fed beef. Also, this is my body and I am just sharing with you what I have experienced. Your body is completely different, but if you are having a reaction to 100% grass fed beef, then maybe this is a possibility.

 

Do you have seasonal allergies? Do you stay away from foods that cross react with them?

 

photos: grasscowfishsunflower

 

~Stay Gutsy, Caroline

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Comments

  1. Hi, I found your blog on Pinterest.

    I was in a fabric store once chatting with the clerk about allergies. She said she can’t have beef or milk (from grass-fed) cows because she’s allergic to grass and gets a reaction from it. So it’s definitely not unheard of!

    – Jenn

    • Wow Jenn! Thanks so much for telling me that, because I have gotten a lot of comments lately that this is simply not true! Do people think I don’t know my own body?! I can relate to that lady completely. Thanks again for sharing, it means ALOT to me 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for this fascinating post, Caroline! That makes a lot of sense. I live in Minnesota and early June is terrible for me too- although this year was WAY better after doing GAPS for several months. Anyway, I am going to observe how I feel after I eat grass fed beef now! (i am so curious!)

    p.s. I can’t wait to enter your latest giveaway 🙂 and your kitchen tour on Cheeseslave was amazing!

  3. Hi Caroline,
    My name is Sarah; I am 19 years old and I recently came across your blog through your guest interview with Cheeseslave whom I follow on Facebook. I really enjoyed reading about your story and love your blog with all the awesome recipes and posts (and giveaways; those are so fun)! I am really interested in learning more about the GAPS diet and everything it entails so I’m definitely going to stick with your blog!
    I am currently enrolled in the NTA program and am (LORD willing) graduating this October. I am telling you this because I noticed in your “about me” page that you are going to be enrolling in the NTA program soon! I have to tell you that it has above and beyond exceeded my expectations in every way! I have learned SO much from being in this program! It’s amazing.
    I too had read alot of nutrition books before starting my training and NTA really “sealed the deal” for me with bringing all of the knowledge that I learned together in my mind. I hope you like the program as much as I have. I think it’s fantastic!
    Okay, the main reason I am commenting on this post is that I was wondering where you buy fresh sardines (like the ones pictured above) and how much they normally cost? I live in Virginia several hours inland and so far haven’t been to a fish market in my area,so I’ve been eating the wild caught sardines canned in olive oil, but I really want to switch to fresh because I know canned ones aren’t the best.
    I also have one more random question that I would love to hear your answer for : What is your favorite (or usual) way to eat raw egg yolks?
    Thanks so much and I look forward to keeping up with your blog in the future! THANKS,Sarah
    p.s I hope this comment was too long!

    • Hi Sarah! So where to start.. I am SO excited for NTA! What is your favorite part so far? I am going to start in March (they open a venue in MN). Hey so you live in virginia? So does Lauren form empowered sustenance! She is super nice and is doing the GAPS diet too. We are “blogger” buddies.

      Yes I don’t have a “fish market” either! I go to my fish store in Minneapolis and pick up a couple bags of frozen fresh sardines and keep them in my freezer. Call around first. If not. Try I LOVE BUE sea. they sell them too (honestly these are quite pricy..i get mine for $8 lb. so check around first.

      I cannot eat eggs,because I am very sensitive to soy and corn and anything you would have to feed a chicken. But my mom eats egg yolks raw blended in her kefir with a little honey, pumpkin, and cinnamon. Just plain with a little salt and pepper is good too. Also try homemade fermented mayo.

      Thanks for reading my blog, and I wish you the best on your GAPS journey too! I am so glad you found me, we have so much in common!!

  4. Hi Caroline, it’s me Sarah again.Oops! I wrote the first comment last night, but it wasn’t showing up so I thought that it had some trouble submitting or something so I just tried to remember what I had written and re-wrote the whole thing and posted it again! SORRY! AND in the “p.s” part of my second comment it’s suppose to say, ” I hope this comment WASN’T too long”! oh dear! your probably think I’m a total weirdo! oh well. Thanks again. ~Sarah

    • hahha! you make me laugh Sarah! No worries, I have had my share or 2x 3x posting on blogs 🙂 i LOVE long comments, are you kidding me!? I will just show your 2nd comment .

  5. Hi Caroline! This post was fantastic for me today. I am struggling with eye floaters. My GAPS consultant thinks it could be food sensitivities but it’s been so hard to pinpoint. I have thought about cross-reactive foods through things like 100% grass fed beef and the free range chicken eggs I get through local farms. But I always thought I was being too “overly obsessive” when thinking like this. Your post has cured me of that critical thought about my hunches! I am gluten intolerant and all the farms I frequent have the chickens eat gluten containing feed – it’s hard to find any grain feed that is gluten free. So, although I can’t stand the thought of going off of eggs, maybe that needs to be my first experiment and then go after the grass fed beef as my next experiment. I guess we have to eliminate one food at a time to see if there is a significant decrease in symptoms. It doesn’t help I have a half a cow in my freezer completely 100% grass fed!!!! Thanks again for your blog. I’m truly enjoying watching your journey. As you know, I have my own going on over at my website too. I LOVE learning from others! Keep up the detective work – we will heal fully one day because of it! 🙂 Maureen

    • Hi Maureen! I understand your thinking about being a “obsessive detective!” As you can sees, this is how I am 🙂 Eggs are a big no no more me, no matter what. you cannot raise chickens without soy, corn, or some grain (they need protein) there are not enough bugs to nourish 1 chicken, let alone a whole bunch of chickens. I reacted day after day on an egg yolk! It made me irritable, gave me BAD eczema, made my chiropractor adjustment slip out of place..and the list goes on. Grass fed beef was a problem in the spring for me because of my grass allergy. I can eat it fine now! I enjoyed 100% grass fed bison last night. Just make sure you always get 100% grass fed, never “finished”. I truly believe that we can all heal one day, but for now I will play the “detective!” thanks for reading

  6. So when you bake, you can’t eat a lot of what you make? Or have you found some “staple” recipes that you can have? I really enjoy having a “paleo muffin” for breakfast with my eggs 🙂 LOL but if I take out eggs, I guess breakfast begins to look very different. What do you do for breakfast? I’m sorry if you already answered this on a blog post. If so, maybe you can just link me. 🙂 Thank you Caroline!

  7. Sarah Morgan says:

    Hi Caroline! I am so sorry that I haven’t replied to your comment! I have been CRAZY busy with college AND studying for final exams at NTA! I am happy to say that I am now officially a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner! Yay! (huge smile!) I hope that you love the course as much as I did! Who is going to be your instructor/s? There were three Carolines in my class; funny right?!
    Thankyou for the suggestions on the sardines; I haven’t found a fish market that sells sardines fresh or frozen, but maybe I just have to search a little harder for a hole in the wall fish market that does!
    Oh, and yes! I do live in Virginia! We are currently getting little sign of hurricane Sandy, but nothing bad at all, just some wind and rain.(thankfully!)
    Well, I hope you get off to a wonderful start with NTA; I bet your wishing you could start now! I know I wanted to start way before I actually did start. Best wishes, Sarah
    p.s Keep up with the blog, it’s really great! I’ll be following you! 🙂

  8. Sarah Morgan says:

    Hi Caroline, well, I didn’t get a chance to read many of the recommended books because I was trying to read all the required ones and go to college the second half of the program at the same time. My guess is that they would be helpful ONLY if you had the time, but you do not need the to pass the program. I’m the type of person who likes to know every detail of every thing, so I think I would have liked to have been able to read some of the recom. books while I was doing the program because it might have helped me understand the reasoning and processes behind certain things.
    Hope that helps a little.

    • That is a huge help! I already have some recommended books and have read them so I think I wont reread them then. I am super excited to start in 1 month. Wow you took on alot but accomplished alot!! Are you going to end up being a NTP right away or intern somewhere?

  9. Sarah Morgan says:

    Oh yeah, I bet you have read alot (if not all) the books on the recc. list. That’s so great! At the moment my plan is to finish college and then work somewhere to be able to save up enough money to start my own practice. I definitely want to be an NTP someday (hopefully sooner rather than later). It would also be cool to intern somewhere; is that something you might want to do?

    • Yes I was thinking of interning for the practice experience afterwards because im not planning on staring my own practice anytime soon. It will be alot of fun!

  10. Rachel says:

    Hi Caroline!
    I’m curious why you were only temporarily allergic to grass-fed beef. Do you think that you were only allergic to beef from cows who were eating grasses during the allergy season, or were you physically only allergic to the beef during the allergy season, when your body was also reacting to air pollen?
    I’m asking because I know I am very allergic to grass and have eczema year round that worsens in the summer. I’m constantly consuming grass-fed beef from my parent’s farm. Our freezer is always full, so it is never actually “fresh” and I don’t know what season the cow was slaughtered in.
    Thanks!
    Rachel

  11. Great article! So much interesting info you shared, thank you! I have a late-onset (in my 40’s!) allergy to beef, and when I eat any type, I immediately get “brain fog” and tired. I never thought about the grass element, but have no grass allergies to speak of.

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