How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? If you had a full eight hours of sleep, do you still feel groggy with zero energy? Do you get sleepy in the middle of the day? Do you feel you heal slowly? How about headaches, do you get those on a regular basis? Would you place yourself in the category of struggling with joint pain, or diagnosed with auto-immune issues? If you are experiencing some of these issues, there is a chance you are suffering from food allergies or food intolerances.
In fact, you may be surprised to know that almost any health issue from bladder control to dark circles under your eyes, can all be signs that point to food allergies, and what I refer to as food intolerance. A true food allergy is where the body produces antibodies against the food in question, causing an allergic reaction. To name a few, allergic reactions to food include itchy skin; itchy or swollen throat; runny nose; itchy nose and eyes; gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, cramping or diarrhea; shortness of breath or wheezing; low blood pressure; and headaches. When the reaction is severe enough, it is called anaphylaxis and can be life threatening. Common food allergens include shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, tomatoes, corn.
Immediate food allergies, known as type one toxic reactions, are obvious, causing peeps to suffer almost instant reactions. Extreme cases of this happens all the time. When a food that does not contain peanuts but came in contact with them during processing is consumed by someone highly allergic to peanuts that person could go into anaphylaxis shock and die.
Type two reactions, which are also referred to as “delayed food allergies”, are not immediate, thus are much harder to detect without specific testing.
Blood tests (radioallergosorbent test, or RAST) and skin tests are the two most common and accepted ways a doctor can determine which foods cause allergies in a patient. The skin test is more accurate and gets faster results. With this test, a doctor will prick or scratch the skin and then drop an extract of the food in question onto that spot. Typically this is done for many foods and/or other possible allergens at once. Though relatively painless, it can make for a very unpleasant experience. My advice would be to only be tested for a limited amount of foods/allergens in one visit. We tested my son in this fashion only allowing for 5 allergens to be tested in one visit to limit his histamine response.
Common food intolerance can happen with dairy, gluten, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial colors/flavors, and preservatives. There is no conventional medical test for food intolerances. Celiac sprue, also known as celiac disease, is neither an allergy nor an intolerance but an immunological reaction to food. Celiac disease causes the lining of the small intestine to be damaged from the processing of gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye.
There are also foods that really don’t provoke either food allergy or food intolerance but cause most everyone issues. Examples include refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other highly processed foods.
The best way to know for sure which foods are making you sick is to cut out all of the foods that could be causing intolerances. Many of these are foods naturopathic doctors will tell you to stay away from anyway. Start by cutting out wheat, sugar, soy, dairy, eggs and any other foods you think may be causing your problems.
After at least one week, add one food at a time back into your diet to see how your body feels. Take your time! It’s a very common mistake to rush this process. It can take up to and over two/three weeks for your body to stop reacting to certain foods. It can also take just as much time for your body to start reacting to the adjustment.
When you have food allergies/intolerances it also means you have leaky gut issues and healing is a process not a procedure. Yes it will be a journey and take time. My advice is to seek the assistance of a doctor that is well vexed in dealing with digestive issues. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with my office; visit www.jodibarnett758.com
Dr. Jodi Barnett N.D.
Harvested Health LLC