"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead,
where there is no path, and leave a trail."
When Food is the Enemy
When I met some friends for dinner at a restaurant one night, I had a delicious, healthy meal that made me sick.
I had recently discovered that I had an allergy to garlic, resulting in migraines. My husband pointed out that my
frequent use of garlic might be the problem, so I stopped eating it and the headaches were much less frequent.
At the restaurant that night, I was being very careful. I saw salmon on the menu and asked whether any garlic was used.
The waitress replied that it was usually served with a marinade containing garlic, but they could cook it without the garlic
for me. Wonderful! The salmon was tasty, but again, I had a migraine the next day. I learned that even if a food is merely cooked
on the same grill as the one used for a garlic-seasoned fish, it can activate food allergies.
My migraine is one of many symptoms of delayed-onset food sensitivities (allergies). Basically there are two types;
immediate, such as someone going into anaphylactic shock when eating a peanut, and delayed, where symptoms can occur up to
four days after ingesting the troublesome food. About 90 percent of food allergies are the delayed-onset type.
People with food sensitivities may or may not be aware of them, although most who seek help do so because of symptoms like
recurring headaches or migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, recurrent bladder infections, chronic muscle
pain, poor memory, sinus conditions, insomnia, depression, fuzzy thinking, gas, indigestion, bloating, mood swings, anxiety, skin rashes and more.
Wondering how food sensitivities develop? Several aspects of our modern world contribute to them. Eating processed foods,
extended use of antibiotics or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), environmental toxins (including certain
household cleaners), overuse of alcohol, illness, prolonged stress and aging are all culprits.
In her book, Digestive Wellness, Dr. Elizabeth Lipski tells us that the lining of the intestines becomes more permeable in what is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome, allowing food molecules to leak into the bloodstream. When this happens, the body sees the food molecule as an invader and develops antibodies to fight it, resulting in sensitivities. The next time the food is eaten, the body reacts, whether it remains in our intestines or not.
If you suspect that you have food sensitivities, your first step is getting a blood test to measure antibodies directed
toward specific foods. You and your practitioner will receive a report from the lab within a couple of weeks, providing a list of reactive foods, along with a severity rating. It is a good idea to be tested for Candida at the same time, since it often goes hand in hand with food sensitivities.
Your nutritionist can work with you to create a diet that avoids reactive foods and supports the immune system. In addition,
specific supplements, herbs, spices and teas will help speed the healing process. You also want to decrease stress, moderately increase exercise and support your system with high quality probiotics to replace the gut's healthy bacteria. Most food allergy symptoms will disappear within six months or less; however, some foods could remain a problem.
If you are wondering how to avoid food sensitivities, here are a couple of tips:
Rotate what you eat. Aside from providing all the nutrients you need, a variety of foods protects against repeated contact with any food allergen.
Avoid processed foods, genetically engineered crops and artificial ingredients, which can trigger severe allergic reactions.
A final tip: Since food allergies exacerbate Leaky Gut Syndrome, it's important to halt the process now if you suspect it's a problem.
Changing your diet may seem overwhelming, but with the right nutrition and immune support you can weed out the troublesome foods for a while, promote healing and feel like yourself again.
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