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I was sick and tired of being sick and tired! So, I did some research into the whole premise that food sensitivities can cause symptoms. Lo and Behold, it's true! Now I want to share the good cheer and help you all feel better too!
What's Behind Food Sensitivities?
Before I go much further, let's start with explaining the difference between food allergies vs food sensitivities. Feel free to jump ahead if you already know this.
What is Food Allergy?
You may be wondering why your allergy skin test didn't show positive for gluten and dairy when you know for a fact they cause you symptoms.
Essentially, this is because food allergy and food sensitivities are different. With food allergy, the reaction is usually immediate and presents as an IGE immune response complete with hives, swelling, rash, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis.
IGE is a type of antibody that we produce almost immediately in response to allergens. Skin and blood tests can pretty accurately diagnose this type of allergic reaction. Foods that you react to in this way usually need to be avoided completely forever.
So then, What is Food Sensitivity?
Now, with food sensitivity, the reaction can be delayed and sometimes we don’t get symptoms for days. Yes, that's right, no symptoms for days after we consume an offending food.
Also, instead of hives, people may have less alarming, but still annoying signs like bloating, fatigue, pain, or even mood swings.
We don’t produce IGE antibodies to foods we are sensitive to, so they are harder to diagnose with typical allergy testing methods, like the skin test.
Why is Everyone on a Gluten and Dairy Free Diet These Days?
Because everyone in my family and many of my friends seem to have developed food sensitivities, I asked my doctor his opinion. "Why this is happening so often now?"
His answer was basically that nobody really knows for sure. However, his theory included antibiotics and autoimmune disorders. So, let’s start by looking at those two things.
These Reactions Explained:
When we eat, we should have enough stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and good bacteria to break down the food into the basic building block proteins.
We also have protection from toxins and bacteria that may be in the food we eat from entering the bloodstream. The GALT or gut associated lymphoid tissue does this job. In fact, sixty to seventy percent of our immune system is located in our gut.
When we are not able to digest food properly, the undigested food molecules are tagged as bad guys and our immune systems attack it. You guessed it! This creates inflammation.
With chronic inflammation and immune attack, come leaky intestinal wall or leaky gut. When you develop leaky gut, the barrier in the digestive tract is compromised. So, the antibodies, undigested food molecules, and some toxins escape into the bloodstream.
The barrage of “stuff” in our bloodstreams confuses our immune systems. Antibodies are sent out in response to the undigested foods. They also attack other things like our organs and tissues.
So, it can effect the brain, thyroid, skin, or pretty much any body system.
They are a wonderful, life saving invention but when misused can sometimes do more harm than good. I remember being prescribed antibiotics over and over for “sinus infections”.
Candida overgrowth and allergies were more likely the root cause. I had both, thanks to a crappy diet, high stress job, and undiagnosed food sensitivities.
Kill both good and bad
Antibiotics are routinely being used for longer periods of time and probably too often. They kill bad bacteria but they also kill good bacteria in the gut.
The good bacteria keep our bodies and our immune systems in a nice healthy balance.
We can develop an overgrowth of bad bugs when the good bacteria are killed off. Therefore, we are more susceptible to parasitic infections, candida overgrowth, and other ugly things that cause unpleasant symptoms; including leaky gut.
As was previously noted, a reason for increased risk of food sensitivity may be leaky gut.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Do food intolerances and leaky gut cause autoimmune disorders or is it that autoimmune disease of unknown origin results in damaged intestines and chronic inflammation, hence causing the leaky gut and food sensitivities?
Beyond those first two thoughts on the possible causes of food reactions, we have a few others to consider.
3-The Chemical Diet / Pesticides in Food:
These are basically poison to our bodies. It’s no secret that over the years, we have increased usage of chemicals, preservatives, and pesticides when growing and processing food. Whether we know it or not, we are basically eating the chemical diet.
However, our bodies are smart. They know what’s good and what’s not and they react accordingly; letting us know that the chemical diet is really not good for us.
4-- Genetic modification
The human body may not recognize genetically modified foods as real foods. Perhaps this is because they have toxins and bacteria engineered into the plants.
Almost every processed food we eat has wheat, milk, corn, soy, and egg in it. In our fast food society, we end up eating the same foods too frequently which increases our risk of becoming sensitive.
To say that our guts are sensitive to stress is an understatement. Our bodies go into fight or flight mode when we are stressed and the hormones produced, increase our heart rates.
Blood flows more readily to our muscles to prepare us to run, or fight, and digestion slows or stops. The priority is to survive so digestion takes a back seat to survival.
William Whitehead, PhD did lots of research and found that what affects the stomach effects the brain and vice versa.
So, if we are mentally stressed it adversely affects our digestion and having poor digestive abilities directly affects our moods, thoughts, and behaviors.
Side note to further explain genetic modification:
Genetic modification is a process that uses biotechnology to manipulate the genes of organisms. GMO foods are an example of such manipulation. This is affecting crops of wheat, corn, soy, cotton, canola, and some others.
The result is a version of the same food, but with new, “desirable” characteristics. For example, they introduce flounder genes into tomato plants to make a crop that can withstand colder temperatures.
That's not all, they also inject bacteria genes into soy to make it resistant to pesticides.
This process has little testing proving long term safety for regular human consumption.
Most of us have heard the controversy around glyphosate. This harmful chemical is known for some undesirable side effects.
Glyphosate is being sprayed heavily on GMO crops for insect control as well as to help dry or dessicate, right before harvest.
Bt corn is enhanced with the bacteria bacillus thuringiensis which causes the corn to create its own poison that kills harmful insects. However, it may be killing other insects like the monarch butterfly.
Does it have the same effect inside of us? Is this bacteria poisoning our bodies as well?
Let me say again, the chemical diet equals bad news.
Time to Investigate
If this is all true, then it’s no wonder there is an increased prevalence of food sensitivity. No wonder you have to follow a strict gluten and dairy free diet just to feel normal.
Do you want to know more about genetic modification and the studies surrounding it? Click the link to this biomed review.
It is time
If you are experiencing some of the chronic health conditions mentioned in this post and have been unsuccessful in finding a diagnosis or treatment plan that works, it may be time to investigate the possibility of food sensitivity.
The Good News is....It may not be forever!
You don't have to avoid eggs or wheat or soy or dairy forever (as long as it's not a true food allergy or celiac disease)!
Sometimes avoiding the offending food for a number of weeks or months allows your system to heal.
The doctor told me we can think of it like this, "Your body can forget about the food if you avoid it for a while and not have the same adverse reaction after some time away from it."
So if enough time passes and healing happens, then you may be able to tolerate small amounts of the foods you were sensitive to.
You will have to be careful to rotate them back into your diet and only eat them every few days.
It is very important though, to also get off the chemical diet and eat clean, whole foods - minus the poisons.
Two products that may help when you eat foods you're sensitive to:
Trienza for Food Sensitivities
Trienza is an enzyme supplement that may help you digest foods like gluten and dairy. For example, if you go out to eat and are not sure your food has gluten, dairy, or other sensitive food in it, take some and it may help minimize your symptoms.
You can read about it and purchase via this link if you wish, Trienza
Takesumi for Food Sensitivities
Takasumi is bamboo charcoal. Takesumi can help minimize symptoms which is valuable if you're exposed to reactive foods. That can be found on this link, Takesumi
As always, please realize I am not a doctor and you should always consult yours before taking any new supplements or herbal medications.
For some gluten and diary free diet recipes (often soy and nightshade free as well), check out our site recipes page.