02 Sep Common Food Sensitivities
Some people can eat what they want without worry — but for many others, certain foods can trigger reactions. Some of those reactions may be so mild that you don’t associate them with what you’re eating, while others are more severe and could require medical attention. Allergies typically require medical attention, whereas food sensitivities are much harder to pinpoint and may take up to 72 hours to appear.
If you’ve had any symptoms like diarrhea, rashes, headaches, bloating, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, acid reflux, a runny nose, skin flushing or acne after eating something, you might be sensitive to one of these foods or ingredients. The best way to find out is by eliminating the potential triggers to see if you have any improvement.
What foods tend to be the root of common sensitivities? The top culprits are listed below. Check out the list and think about what you eat and how you feel after you eat.
Many have heard of lactose intolerance. This means you have a shortage of lactase enzymes that prevent you from digesting the lactose (milk sugar) in dairy products. Luckily it’s very simple to find dairy alternatives these days, so ditching dairy from your diet isn’t very difficult. A dairy sensitivity is different, as it may not cause digestion issues, but other issues such as skin conditions, headaches and more.
From my experience, many people have a sensitivity to gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It may also be found in other whole grains, such as oatmeal, due to cross contamination. If you suspect you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, I highly suggest you eliminate gluten from your diet for at least 1-2 weeks and see if you notice any changes. It’s important that you are 100% gluten-free, as even a little bit of gluten can continue to cause symptoms.
While caffeine is safe for most, some people are very sensitive to caffeine. You’ll know it if you react to consuming even just a small amount. If you want to test yourself, track how you feel after you drink a cup of black coffee. For the test, omit the dairy and sweetener, so that you can pinpoint the coffee, rather than another ingredient.
Representing “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols,” these are short-chain carbs found in certain whole foods. They can be poorly absorbed in your small intestine and then sent to your large intestine, where they ferment creating gas, bloating and discomfort. Apples, soft cheeses, honey, milk, fructose, bread, and beans are some of the most common FODMAPs.
If you aren’t allergic to eggs but have trouble digesting them, you may have a sensitivity. If diarrhea and abdominal pain arise when you eat them, try avoiding eggs and see if your symptoms dissipate.
Histamine is a chemical our bodies produce naturally in response to allergens and is a normal part of the immune response which helps our body deal with infections, allergens and toxins. For most, this process works normally, with no adverse effects. However, a small percentage of people have a histamine intolerance, which is triggered by eating foods with a high concentration of histamines. Some offenders are fermented foods like sauerkraut, alcohol, bread, smoked fish, processed meats and aged cheeses. If you suspect you have a histamine intolerance, avoid these foods and track for any changes.
- Food Additives
Food additives and chemicals, such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, MSG, food colorings, yeast, and sugar alcohols can cause food sensitivity symptoms. If you notice a pattern when you eat the things you eat, keep a journal, and start eliminating these common sensitivity-causing foods to alleviate your symptoms.
One of the reasons I’m a health coach, is to share what I have learned through my personal health journey. It took me years to realize that my skin conditions like hives, eczema and psoriasis were related to the foods I was eating. There is nothing more rewarding than supporting you to feel your best with energizing food and lifestyle choices.
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