Food intolerances, not to be confused with food allergies, which is when you break out in hives, have trouble breathing, or experience swelling right after eating something, seem to be on the rise. Although, I would argue that people have been dealing with food intolerances for a long time, but we are just now talking about and testing for them, especially those of us in the functional medicine world. We want to get to the root cause of our patients’ complaints, and food (even healthy food) can be the root cause of a whole host of things. As the Lead Health Coach here at CentreSpringMD, most of the people I see have food intolerances. In fact, it is estimated that well over 80% of the population has a food intolerance, while just 5% of the population have an actual food allergy.
What is a food intolerance?
A food intolerance is when your body rejects a certain food, therefore making it hard for the body to break it down, which leads to inflammation. The interesting thing about a food intolerance as opposed to a food allergy is that you can experience a delayed response, meaning you may not feel the effects of the food until days later, making it hard to pinpoint the culprit.
What are the signs or symptoms that you may have a food intolerance?
- Joint Inflammation
- Stomach Pain/Bloating/Gas
- Skin Issues
- Cravings for a Certain Food
When your body responds negatively towards a certain food, it does not get digested which leaves it to circulate throughout your body and linger in your gut. This can cause any one of the signs or symptoms above as well issues with your gut lining. Many diseases start in our gut, so we want to take care of it!
What can I do to heal a food intolerance?
The first step in healing is identifying which food or foods are causing inflammation in your body. There are the common offenders including soy, dairy, gluten, eggs, corn, and nuts, but you could also be intolerant to the kale that you are putting in your “supposedly” healthy smoothie every morning. Don’t worry. There is hope!
One way to figure out which foods are causing issues for your is to do an elimination diet where you take out the above mentioned foods for 3 weeks and then slowly add them back in one at a time waiting up to 3 days before going on to the next. This can be extremely beneficial for some people. Another option is to get a blood test done. There are a few options including the ALCAT and IgG. We offer both at the center, and they tell us which foods are causing inflammation in your body.
I have a history of gastrointestinal issues. I did the ALCAT three years ago at the center, and, recently, I did the IgG test. Our intolerances can change over time. I am still waiting on the results, but I want answers! I am tired of guessing. If I had to guess, though, my beloved sunbutter (in the form of sunflower seeds) will show up. So sad. But I will do what I need to do if it means that I will feel better.
If you are like me, I wanted answers right away because I had already taken out gluten, dairy, and soy but was still experiencing issues. It is so nice to finally know which foods were causing many of my issues!
Whichever route you decide to go, I would be happy to help you navigate your new eating plan as I know it can be overwhelming to take so much out of your diet. I found that it made me branch out though. I was definitely craving the things that were not so great for my body.
Hope to see you soon!