Balsamic Blasphemy

Submitted by Miss Danielle on Mon, 03/10/2008 - 9:52am.

The Internet is a dangerous source of information. You could be getting complex financial advice on stocks and investments from Ted who actually plucks chickens for a living (not that there's anything wrong with that, but chances are, Ted doesn't have a background in finance and hasn't bought a stock in his life). And unfortunately, you wouldn't have any idea because Ted's comments are presented well on a website.

Recently I had an email asking me about using balsamic vinegar during the elimination diet (specifically, during phase 1). The answer is an automatic no because:

  1. Vinegars are made with yeast cultures. Balsamic Vinegar is made with various yeasts and bacteria.
  2. Balsamic Vinegar is made from grapes.
  3. They often contain sulphates and other additives (even the expensive brands).

During phase 1, you're trying to rectify the suspected imbalance of candida albicans in the intestines and healing the gut so that you can honestly tell what foods you react to during phase 2 and 3.

Even if I am sure of something, I like to do a quick internet search to see if any of the "experts" have changed their mind about a product (like coffee, who has gotten a slight reprieve sometime in the mid 2000's).

And I am shocked to find loads of forums who have recently allowed balsamic vinegar to sneak onto "ok" lists for elimination diets online. There's absolutely no scientific logic behind this, and none of the "experts" have given their ok. So how does this happen?

Someone tries a food and doesn't get sick by it. They tell other people. Some of them don't get sick by it (because they don't have an intolerance to it, or they don't actually have a problem with candidiasis or they just THINK they don't get sick by it). Word spreads online, and suddenly people are sharing recipes with balsamic vinegar on it as if the ingredient has always been on the "ok list". In my opinion, this happens because people WANT to eat these things during an elimination diet, and not because it's a good choice.

CAN you test it out as part of your diet later? Sure. My advice is to wait until phase 3, but if you're really impatient, and feeling awesome after doing a full strict month for phase 1, I don't see it being a fatal decision to rotate it back in as a test food. Try it one day when you feel good and see how you are over the next 2 days. Just make sure you get good quality without additives (especially colouring agents like caramel or thickening agents which affect people with gluten intolerances).

Since everyone is different, it may turn out that you have intolerances to specific foods as opposed to a problem linked to high levels of candida albicans or molds (which means the balsamic vinegar might not trigger any symptoms), which explains why some people react to some foods while others don't. BUT if you're problem IS candidiasis specifically, then balsamic vinegar is not your friend.


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