Food allergies can develop at any time, either from birth or a young age, at puberty or times of hormonal shifts, or during periods of extreme stress. And allergies are often hereditary, which might mean you may have seen similar health problems in your family members. This can be very frustrating. You may have had these health problems for a long time, and only been able to treat the symptoms– not the cause.
Here are some examples of symptoms that may be related to undiagnosed food allergies:
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic sinus problems or congestion
- Flu symptoms
- Gas/Diarrhea/Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Skin problems/Acne
How to find out if food allergies may be causing your symptoms:
Many doctors are now recommending using food journaling (over expensive blood tests). With journaling, you can verify whether you have an allergy to a particular food through your own direct experience, and see for yourself the effects foods may have on your body one by one.
The trick with this method is that you must be open-minded and unbiased to your results. Especially because most people may find that they are actually most “addicted” to the foods for which they have allergies.
To complete a food journal, you will need to stop your intake of those foods that could be the most likely causes of your food allergy (ies) for one week. Because most food allergies today are to foods developed after cave men times you will be eating a sort of Paleolithic (allergy-testing) diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole brown rice, quinoa, beans, legumes, meat, and fish. (If you are vegetarian, of course, you don’t have to eat meat.)
Notice that this diet does not include gluten (grains which includes rye, millet, barley, wheat) or corn, soy products, eggs, or dairy products. It also doesn’t include sugar, soda, alcohol, or caffeine, sorry! This may seem tough at first, but remember– if you have been sick for a long time, one week on a more simple diet is no time at all when it comes to feeling better for the rest of your life!!!
After one week of this special allergy-friendly diet, your body will be free of any current allergic reactions and should be finished with any withdrawal symptoms from caffeine, sugar, or white flour. (It is like a clean slate that you can now test on…)
Day 8 you are ready to begin testing foods by introducing them one at a time. In your food diary, you will begin to record the details of what you eat (food by food), the time of day, and any symptoms in your body that you notice after eating.
You may want to start with a food that you eat often so that you can know sooner if it is causing you health problems; for example, a type of milk, a type of cheese, or eggs. Notice how your body reacts and watch especially for symptoms like a scratchy or sore throat, sinus congestion, or digestion problems immediately or soon after– or if the next day you wake up with any acne or tiredness. If this first food doesn’t seem to lead to any new symptoms, you can begin to include it again in your diet along with other safe, allergy-testing foods. Always consult with your doctor if you experience any abnormal or worrisome side effects like swelling of the tongue or shortness of breath– these may be signs of a more serious food allergy.
Continue along with this process for however many days you need to until you feel the most common foods you like to eat (especially gluten and dairy products– the most common cause of food allergies) have been tested and can be ruled out as the cause of any food allergy symptoms. Before you know it, you will have a complete list of food allergies or sensitivities and know what to avoid. You will be empowered and free from discomfort, fatigue, or illness, leaving you full of health and vitality!
The results are life-long and totally worth it! And you will experience for yourself how diet has a truly profound affect on your health and well-being.
Diet has its place in maintaining a healthy balance of mind, body, and soul; and the plethora of information on this topic is worthy of its own article: “De-Stress Your Body, De-Stress Your Mind.”
If you are interested in reading more about food allergies, I recommend the book, “The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America’s Food Supply– and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself” by Robyn O’Brien. There is also an abundance of scientific literature now available on the affects of gluten and the brain, and other effects of gluten or wheat allergies for those who find they have sensitives during their test.
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