Do you know someone who has an allergy? Chances are, there is someone close to you or it could even be you. Why is it that we find so many people suffering from food allergies? Or if it isn’t an allergy it could be some kind of food sensitivity or intolerance.
What is going on? you might think. Personally, I don’t remember a time when my parents or grandparents ever suffered from lactose intolerance or from gluten sensitivity. So many new diseases caused by foods, yikes!! And it can be a little confusing.
Do you know the difference between an allergy, food sensitivity, or food intolerance? All three of these represent a warning that our body is suffering. It is trying to tell us something is not right. But the difference between an allergy and a food intolerance or sensitivity is that the response you get from the allergy is almost immediate and the culprit could be food or something in the environment. Your throat could begin to close, you might break out in a rash you could have uncontrollable itching, your eyes may begin to water, or you might have a cough or sneezing attack. On the other hand, a food sensitivity or intolerance is directly related to food and the response could be from the past 24 to 48 hours after having that food. Further, the difference between food sensitivity and food intolerance is the duration of the reaction and the intensity of the symptoms.
Sensitivity symptoms are less harsh than intolerance symptoms. For example, if you have a sensitivity to dairy, you may get bloated, constipated, feel tired, or have some loose stools. When you are dairy intolerant your symptoms could be diarrhea, headaches or migraines, lethargy, aching of the joints, among others.
Most people think allergies start at a young age, but they can actually begin at any age. There isn’t a specific age when you might develop an allergy or a food intolerance. It can depend on your diet, your stress response, if you previously had any antibiotics, if you consume lots of genetically modified foods or artificial sweeteners, how well you chew your food, or if you have a weak immune system.
Try to recall a time when you experienced for the time an episode of food sensitivity or an allergy. Were you sick before that and was your immune system suppressed? Did you take an antibiotic that affected your gut microbiome? Did you have a particularly hard time at work or with family, like quitting your job or moving to a new place? All this compromises your body, leaving it in a more vulnerable state, and thus making it more susceptible to food ailments.
First, you have to begin to build a relationship with your body. You must do this in order to become aware of anything different taking place in it. Being aware involves directing attention to your body throughout the day so that you can learn from it and start recognizing the signals it is sending. By doing so, you can do something about these signals before it is too late. One way to track your habits is to keep a journal. When something arises, write it down. Write down what you felt and list all the foods you had the day and the day before. Have a special journal and when are consistent, you’ll being to recognize food patterns.
I have had allergies almost all my life and they come and go. I remember in my teens when I was dealing with a stubborn allergy, I decided to keep a journal. I discovered I was allergic to tomato and cucumber seeds, as well as nectarines. I stopped eating these foods for a while, and then, with time, my body began to heal. Now I eat them without a problem. Of course, I tried every kind of Doctor, but I wasn’t willing to do any harm to my body by having medicine or vaccines. It seemed illogical to me that I was going to cure my body by giving it more toxins. So I explored other kinds of treatments, like homeopathy and Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET).
These techniques helped me to identify what foods my body was responding to. Now I can honestly tell you that probiotics have saved my gut and have repopulated the good bacteria in my intestines. It is a life changer! I did this by skipping Kombucha or Kefir and eating a little bit of cultured vegetable daily.
Another way to test for food sensitivities and intolerances is through the Elimination Diet. This diet consists of eliminating for two weeks the foods you suspect are the ones causing your symptoms. Most holistic doctors and coaches who support this technique recommend that you start by eliminating gluten (wheat), sugar, and dairy from your diet for two weeks. These are the major culprits for most food sensitivities, besides eggs, soy, and corn.
You are probably going to feel worse for the first 4 to 5 days, but once your body begins eliminating these foods, you will begin feeling so much better! You are probably even going to notice some pain is gone, even though it was so much a part of your life. You’ll begin to have more energy, you will be in a better mood, your brain fog will disappear, and you will start getting your life back.
Now, if this diet suits you, then great, but if you simply can’t stand parting ways with cheese (or another eliminated food), then begin introducing one type of food back and notice how you react to it. How are you feeling? How is your mood? How is your energy? Are you experiencing any pain or stiffness? Is the bloating back? Are there any bowel issues? All these are clues to what your body is rejecting. Also, and this is very important, everybody is different, and you are only one who can really tell and know what is going on in your body. No one will be as interested in your health as you are. It will be quite a journey but a journey worth taking of self and body discovery.
By Marisol Oliva