What are Food Sensitivities?
Many people go through life with chronic inflammation and poor health, without knowing that the foods they are eating could be causing their health issues. Food sensitivities can interfere with the metabolic and hormonal systems, resulting in obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, poor thyroid function, and more. Other symptoms include lowered immunity, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, and respiratory issues.
Even healthy foods can be harmful to your body when you are sensitive to them. Luckily, we are now able to test for food sensitivities.
When you have food sensitivities, your body reacts to certain foods as a threat with an overactive immune response. Since at least 70% of the immune system is in the digestive tract, repeated exposure to problematic foods, which irritate and damage the gut lining, can result in chronic inflammation throughout the body, including the brain.
Damage to brain tissue, joints, skin, and organ systems can result.
Digestive symptoms are common with food sensitivities - diarrhea and/or constipation, bloating, gastritis, reflux, and associated malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies, as well as leaky gut syndrome or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can result. A leaky gut can also be the cause of food sensitivities, so it all becomes a vicious cycle, as consuming inflammatory foods can make the gut more permeable and prevent it from healing and sealing.
It is estimated that 45-75% of individuals have some type of food sensitivities.
What's the difference between a food allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity?
Food allergies can be life-threatening. They elicit an acute immune-antibody response and the symptoms are usually immediate. Wheat and gluten, soy, dairy, fish, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts are the most common food allergens.
Food intolerances occur when the body has difficulty digesting certain foods. When you are intolerant to a food, it is most often because your body does not produce any (or enough) of the needed enzymes to digest the food. Testing will look for digestive enzyme deficiencies and underlying causes, rather than immune system responses.
Dairy, gluten, and gas promoting foods like beans are most common food intolerances - e.g. a person will have lactose intolerance when they do not produce enough of the enzyme lactase to be able to digest milk. This is surprisingly common in white Western populations (over 85% of people), where lactase stops being produced by the body after the age of 6. We are really only meant to drink milk in infancy!
Food sensitivities can be to any food, especially those you eat the most! The issue can often be resolved by removing the problematic foods from your diet and allowing your gut time to heal, then looking at the root cause of your gut problem in the first place.
Why Test for Food Sensitivities?
Because food sensitivities have delayed symptoms, sometimes up to 72 hours, it can be difficult to pinpoint which foods are causing the symptoms. This is where food sensitivity testing is critical. By using food sensitivity testing, you can accurately determine which foods should be removed from your diet.
A restricted diet can leave you with nutrient deficiencies that will, in themselves, negatively impact your health - that's why it's important not to just cut lots of food out of your diet. Don't worry, I will ensure that you have all the nutrients you need while on the elimination diet, and beyond, as you move toward optimal health.
Do You Suspect You Have Food Sensitivities or Intolerances?
Do you have to clear your throat repeatedly after you eat a bit of cheese? When you eat certain foods, do you get a headache or a migraine, sinus or nasal congestion, acne, feel heavy and lethargic, have a racing heart, experience hot flashes, low mood, or feel agitated? Do you have dark circles under your eyes, water retention, constipation, rashes, itchiness, muscle aches or joint pain? Do you have eczema or psoriasis? These are just some of the signs that you could have a food sensitivities or food intolerances.
People with food sensitivities can also have neurological symptoms such as migraines, memory problems, chronic fatigue, ADHD, and neuropathy. They can even cause insomnia, depression, mood swings, and cravings.
Identifying your own sensitivities and removing them from your diet may make a tremendous impact on your health.
How to Test for Food Sensitivities
There are many elaborate lab tests that you can have done in order to test for food sensitivities. However, these tests are quite expensive and offer a "snapshot" view - i.e. they will not tell you how things are for you three monhs down the line.
The cheapest and most effective way of testing for food sensitivity and intolerance is by doing an Elimination Diet with a food journal.
Elimination Diet with Food Journal
WHY? 7 Benefits of a FOOD ELIMINATION DIET:
* Helps to heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
* Improves Auto-Immune conditions
* Reduces or eliminates Gastrointestinal Symptoms
* Improves Skin Irritations
* Reduces Migraine Headaches
* Helps you discover Food Intolerances and Sensitivies
* Prevents and improves Learning/Mental disorders
HOW? I will take you through the step-by-step process of testing (elimination and reintroduction of foods must follow a strict protocol in order for you to experience and benefit from the results) and we will monitor your progress every step of the way. You will begin by eliminating foods that are known to cause an inflammatory response, such as fermentable grains, dairy, sugar, caffeine, nightshades, nuts and seeds, and soy. Don't worry, you won't starve! There are many foods left for you to enjoy, and I will send you many recipes, as well as a 2 week Meal Plan, specific supplements aimed at healing the gut, boosting immune function, and supporting digestions as well as liver detoxification, lifestyle and diet recommendations, and tips for success.
The reintroduction of foods is a strict protocol. Once we've tested all the foods you wish to reintroduce, I will then make further dietary recommendations based on our findings. You will also receive one coaching call a week for support and accountability.
HOW LONG? The entire process, from beginning to end, takes about 3 months, depending on your particular health issues. The elimination part takes 1 month. If you are not suffering from a serious condition, such as auto-immune disease or diabetes, we can begin the reintroduction protocol then. If you have a lot of complex or difficult symptoms, we must be extra careful about reintroducing foods that may trigger an inflammatory response. It might be necessary to continue on the anti-inflammatory diet for 3 months or more.
The best place to start, is at the beginning...
Book a FREE 15-minute phone consultation for an opportunity to discuss your health issues and goals, in addition to any questions you might have.
If you have already done this, and know you wish to book with me, please email or call to book an appointment.