What are FOOD SENSITIVITIES?
They are CHRONIC, DELAYED, LOW-GRADE reactions to certain foods that trigger the immune system, cause inflammation and can lead to: low energy, fatigue, brain fog, headaches, joint pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, anxiety, depression, skin issues, sinus or respiratory issues. It’s very difficult to feel and perform at your best with these reactions inhibiting you!
They are DIFFERENT from anaphylactic reactions to food, like a peanut or shellfish allergy, where your throat swells immediately and you can’t breathe – very acute symptoms. You would know if you had certain food allergies.
Food sensitivities occur gradually and symptoms build over time with the effects accumulating so, many people don’t think of them causing them to feel “crappy” or even worse don’t realize how much better they could feel because this has become their “new normal”.
Top 5 signs:
1) You eat pretty well and exercise regularly, but you can’t seem to drop body fat or lose weight.
2) You feel like you are “going through the motions” and not performing at your best or excelling like you want to be.
3) You often feel tired despite getting enough sleep.
4) You get “brain fog” and have trouble with focus, memory or being sharp.
5) You feel “puffy” or “swollen” like you are retaining water.
“One man’s food is another man’s poison”
People are different and react to foods differently. There are no set types of food that definitely cause reactions or don’t cause reactions in people. This includes foods that are generally seen as being “healthy”! For example, eggs, yogurt, oats, corn, oranges and almonds are generally seen as “healthy” foods, but have come back as being highly reactive many times with our patients causing many symptoms inhibiting the way they feel and perform. This is why it is important to pay attention to how you are feeling and investigate…
How can you investigate hidden food sensitivities?
1) Elimination Diet: you can cut out the most common food sensitivities from your diet for at least 2 weeks (gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, and citrus fruit) and see how you feel. Then you would re-introduce them 1 at a time and closely monitor how you feel. This is a useful method, but it is time consuming and it requires you to be very conscious and aware of how you are feeling to be able to identify any culprits.
2) Pulses: this is a very basic method, but it does give you some indication about how your body is reacting. Take your baseline pulse for 1 minute and record it. Then have a few bites of a specific food you are curious about and then re-take your pulse for 1 minute. If you pulse sped up or slowed down by 10 beats, that is an indication of a reaction to that particular food.
3) Blood test: a sample of blood is taken and analyzed using a specialized lab to determine your immune reaction to a number of foods (you want to use a reputable lab company for this as there have been issues with accuracy). The lab report will show a specific level of reactivity for each food (typically over 100 foods are tested). This requires a blood draw from your vein and cost is between $200-300.
Do you have to avoid these foods forever?!
Not necessarily, many times removing the foods causing the reactions and healing up your digestive tract properly allows patients to re-introduce foods without any issues. There may be certain foods that may remain as a problem for you and then it becomes a decision whether you want to avoid them or not. For example, you have big presentation or have to get a lot done or have a big game, you’d want to avoid them at those times so you can perform at your best.
“Knowledge is power”
Knowing how foods affect you specifically and making decisions based on this for your nutrition can make a major difference in the way you feel and perform!