Anyone who knows me or my philosophy on health, knows that I am always digging deeper into symptoms, always asking the question WHY? Why does this hurt? Why do you have acne? Why can’t you lose weight? Why do you have migraines? There’s always a reason if we keep asking. It’s not easy to find the root cause, but it’s definitely worth it.
When we get sick or experience reoccurring symptoms, this is our body’s way of communicating to us that something is not right. Usually, we either ignore it, or mask it by popping a pill. Though what happens when we ignore these signals for too long? We develop chronic disease and other conditions, whether they are diagnosed or not. It is always important to take into consideration health history, lifestyle, and of course implementing a whole foods diet. These factors are essential to start with, but may not be enough.
The Most Overlooked Cause
One of the most overlooked causes of our health issues in my opinion are food sensitivities. These are very different from allergies. Allergies are measured by a positive protein mediated response to IgE antibodies. Food sensitivities are traditionally measured by IgG and IgA reactions. Only IgE reactions are considered true food allergies. IgE reactions typically occur within minutes of exposure to, or ingestion of a particular food antigen. Symptoms of IgE reactions can include: hives, rashes, itchy watery eyes and breathing difficulties. Symptoms to a food sensitivity are much harder to detect, mainly because many of the symptoms are considered normal in today’s modern world.
Here are just some examples of food sensitivity symptoms:
- Digestive Disorders
- Migraines/ Headaches
- Low Energy/ Fatigue
- Obesity/ Difficulty losing weight
- Chronic Fatigue
- ADD/ ADHD
- Canker sores
- Ear infections
- Sinus Infections
- Skin Disorders- Acne, psoriasis, eczema
- Achy and painful joints
I could continue, but this list may never stop. These symptoms and conditions could all be caused by your body being hypersensitive to something in your diet or environment. These food sensitivities create inflammation and chronic activation of the immune system.
What Causes Food Sensitivities
The question really should be, “what doesn’t cause food sensitivities?”. Everything from antibiotic use, digestive disorders (including leaky gut), drug use of any kind, non- organic food, environmental toxins, unfiltered tap water, IBS, constipation, chronic diarrhea, and over consumption of a specific food are just some.
What To Do?
I didn’t use to be a fan of food sensitivity testing because I found the results varied so much from lab to lab, as well as when you take the test. While it is true that your sensitivities can change over time, (hopefully because you can recover from certain foods), if you are consistently suffering from any of the symptoms above, you may benefit from getting tested.
I recently began using a specific food sensitivity test (it measures an increase in white blood cell production, not antibody dependent) in my practice that has dramatically changed the results I’ve been seeing in my clients. I know I say it all the time, but respecting individuality is SO important. I can’t stress that enough. It is not helpful to recommend a “cookie cutter” approach for every person, we just don’t thrive off the same things, and these tests prove it! Once you have this information, you can begin the process of eliminating these foods from your diet. Even the highest quality whole foods can be preventing you from getting well. The most common food sensitivities are dairy, corn, wheat, eggs, soy and nuts. This particular test I use also can test additives, colorings, chemicals, functional foods, and medicinal herbs. It can literally be a matter of days when you start to eliminate the foods that you are reacting to before you start to feel and see a difference. It is amazing how quickly the body can respond and heal when irritants and inflammation are taken away.
Bottom line: If you are eating a clean whole foods diet and living a healthy lifestyle, but still not reaching your health and wellness goals, you may want to consider working with a practitioner that has experience utilizing these tests to help you through the process.
Do you feel like your sensitive to multiple foods? Push the reset button and start on an anti- inflammatory diet that removes major food irritants and feel better in no time! Check out the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook for tasty and healthy inspirations to keep you on track and prepared!