Those of you that know me, know that I have several food sensitivities and allergies. No wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, chocolate, and a few other random things (green beans, pineapple, squash). And an allergy to almonds and peanuts. Oh, and berries and apples make the inside of my mouth itch.
I know what you’re thinking, “What the f$ck do you eat?”
Rest assured, I’m not starving. Ask anyone that has gone out to eat with me. And I never feel deprived or that I am missing out on something yummy.
But let’s back track for a moment. What exactly is a food “sensitivity” and how does it differ from an allergy?
A food allergy causes an immune reaction in the body. It is usually pretty severe and sometimes life threatening. On the other hand, a food sensitivity is generally less serious and can cause several different symptoms in the body (sometimes delayed for a few hours or days). For example when I eat wheat, gluten, or eggs I experience digestive issues (gas and bloating), headaches, achey joints, and a change in my mood. Seriously, I can suddenly feel depressed and pissed off for no reason. And dark chocolate (which I do enjoy on occasion) gives me an instant headache.
So how did I even get started on this journey? I had 2 young kids, was in my early 30’s, and had just relocated back to the Seattle area. My seasonal allergies were out of control. My digestion felt sluggish and my energy wasn’t much better. I just didn’t feel great. And I knew I could feel better. But I had no idea what needed to change. So I found myself in the office of my first naturopath.
She seemed to zero right in on how I was feeling and the symptoms I was describing. And although she did do a food sensitivity blood test (6 weeks to get the results). She told me that day to start eliminating wheat, gluten, and dairy from my diet.
Ah, okay, sure. But um, what’s left to eat?
This was all new to me…everything I had been eating on a daily basis needed to be removed. And I had no idea what to replace it with.
Full disclosure here, eliminating food for several weeks is freaking hard.
At the beginning it was a funny little challenge to figure out what I could eat. But by the middle of week 2, I wasn’t laughing anymore. F this challenge I thought. I was not prepared for 4 more weeks.
What shocked me the most though was how many times I needed to stop myself from grabbing some of the kids left over snacks (Cheez-Its!) or stop myself from ordering that scone from Starbucks. I had become so aware of just how mindless I was with food. There was no thought about what I was eating, or when, or how shitty and processed it was (looking at you again Cheez-Its).
Needless to say, I survived the 6 weeks. And I was proud of myself for being so disciplined about it. I honestly had no idea I had it in me. But I was so determined to eliminate those items from my diet and see if there really was any validity to the idea of food “sensitivities”.
My second visit to the naturopath confirmed (via the blood test) that I had a pretty severe sensitivity to wheat, gluten, dairy, and eggs. Really though, I was feeling SO remarkably better that I knew what the blood test would reveal before she even told me.
My seasonal allergies seemed to calm down a bit. My energy was much higher, I felt clearer in my head, and had way less digestive problems. And as a bonus, my skin was glowing and my clothes were fitting better. However, I want to stress here, I didn’t decide to go gluten free to lose weight. I had increased my veggie intake and started working out…because I had energy to do so! Plus, I was now way more mindful and aware of what I was eating. I cleaned my shit up.
So here it is. Your weekly reminder to listen to your body. #tunein
Pay attention to not only what goes in your mouth, but how you feel afterwards. Have you noticed any strange symptoms after you eat certain foods?
Experience any of the following: Digestive issues, Acne, Fatigue, Issues with losing weight, Joint aches and pains, Brain Fog, BadBreath, Depression/Anxiety.
Yeah, I know these symptoms could be linked to many things, but if you really tune in to what you eat and how you feel afterwards, you may start noticing patterns to feeling blah, bloated, foggy, etc.
Play detective. Record your food and any reactions you experience for 1 week. If you notice a certain food causing an issue, try eliminating it. (I recommend eliminating 1 food at a time..for your sanity, trust me) After a few weeks, reintroduce it back in your diet. See how you feel. And most importantly, talk to your doctor about your findings.
Turn down the outside noise. Take the time to listen and care for yourself. When you eat what makes your body happy, you will be amazed at how much better you can feel. More energy, less aches and pains and a clearer focus for starters.
Want to know the best gluten free bread? Or a breakfast idea that doesn’t include eggs. I can help.
Food sensitivities don’t need to suck.