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Do I Have Food Intolerance? Here Are Just a Few Clues

Do I Have Food Intolerance? Here Are Just a Few Clues

Food intolerance or “sensitivities” are a lot more common than most people think.

These are different from serious and life-threatening allergies that cause anaphylaxis.  If you have any allergies, you need to steer clear of any traces of foods you are allergic to, and speak with your doctor or pharmacist about emergency medication, if necessary.

I’m talking about intolerance to specific foods that cause symptoms within hours or even days. And symptoms can be located just about anywhere in the body.

This is what makes them so tricky to identify

Symptoms of food intolerances

There are some common food intolerances that have immediate and terribly painful gastrointestinal symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or Celiac disease. These can cause stomach pain, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea; symptoms can start immediately after eating lactose or gluten.

On the other hand, other more insidious symptoms may not be linked to foods in an obvious way.

Symptoms like:

  • Rashes or eczema
  • Chronic muscle or joint pain
  • Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inability to concentrate or feeling like your brain is “foggy”
  • Sweating, or increased heart rate or blood pressure
  • Exhaustion after a good night’s sleep
  • Headaches or migraines

If your body has trouble digesting specific foods, it can affect your hormones, metabolism, or even cause inflammation and result in any of the symptoms listed above. And these can affect any (or all) parts of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.

How to prevent these intolerances

The main thing you can do is to figure out which foods or drinks you may be reacting to and stop ingesting them.

This sounds so simple, and yet it can be SO HARD to do!

The best way to identify your food/drink triggers is to eliminate them.

That’s right, get rid of those offending foods/drinks. All traces of them, for three full weeks and monitor your symptoms.

If things get better, then you need to decide whether it’s worth it to stop ingesting them, or if you want to slowly introduce them back one at a time while still looking out to see if/when symptoms return.

Start Here: Two common food intolerances

Here are two of the most common triggers of food intolerances:

  • Gluten (in wheat, rye, and other common grains – look for a “gluten-free” label – try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa & gluten-free oats).
  • Lactose (in dairy – eliminate altogether, or look for a “lactose-free” label – try nut or coconut milk instead).

This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good place to start because lactose intolerance is thought to affect up to 75% of people, while “non-Celiac gluten sensitivity” can affect up to 13% of people.

So, if you can eliminate all traces of lactose and gluten for three weeks, it can confirm whether either or both of these, are a source of your symptoms.

Yes, dairy and grains are a part of many government-recommended food guidelines, but you absolutely can get all of the nutrients you need if you focus on replacing them with nutrient-dense foods.

A reliable way to monitor how you feel after eating certain foods is to track it. After every meal or snack, write down the foods you ate, and any symptoms so you can more easily spot trends.

 

Click the button below to download a free copy of my Food Journal to help you track.

 

And, as mentioned earlier, symptoms may not start immediately following a meal. You may find, for example, that you wake up with a headache the morning after eating bananas.

You might be surprised what links you can find if you track your food and symptoms well!

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you eliminate something, you need to make sure it’s not hiding in other foods, or the whole point of eliminating it for a few weeks is lost. Restaurant food, packaged foods, and sauces or dressings are notorious for adding ingredients that you’d never think are there. You know that sugar hides in almost everything, but did you also know that wheat is often added to processed meats and soy sauce, and lactose can even be found in some medications or supplements?

When in doubt you HAVE to ask the server in a restaurant about hidden ingredients, read labels, and consider cooking from scratch.

What if it doesn’t work?

If eliminating these two common food intolerances doesn’t work, then you can go one step further to eliminate all dairy (even lactose-free) and all grains (even gluten-free) for three weeks.

You may need to see a qualified healthcare practitioner for help, and that’s OK. I don’t want you to continue suffering if you don’t need to!  That is why I offer medically supervised 7-Day Detox for my patients at the Madison Clinic in North York.  You will have 100% of my support over the course of the week to keep you on track.  Typically, patients experience more energy, weight loss and better sleep at the end of the week.  To keep the momentum going, patients will continue on a 1 month, 3 month or a 6 month programs.

Click HERE to book a Discovery Session with me to go over your goals and expectations.

I am leaving you with a delicious dairy-free milk recipe to help you with your elimination diet.

Homemade Nut/Seed Milk (3 cup serving)

  • ½ cup raw nuts/seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Soak nuts/seeds for about 8 hours (optional, but recommended).
  2. Dump soaking water & rinse nuts/seeds.
  3. Add soaked nuts/seeds and 2 cups water to a high-speed blender and blend on high for about one minute until very smooth.
  4. Strain through a small mesh sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Squeeze if necessary.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can double the recipe and store the milk in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

In Health,

Dr. Anna ND

 

Click the button below to download a free copy of my Food Journal to help you track.

 

 

References

  1. Lactose Intolerance 101 — Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. https://authoritynutrition.com/lactose-intolerance-101/
  2. 11 Warning Signs You Have A Sneaky Food Intolerance. http://www.dietvsdisease.org/11-warning-signs-you-have-a-food-intolerance/
  3. How food sensitivities can prevent you from reaching your health and fitness goals. [Infographic]. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/food-sensitivities-health-infographic
  4. The 14 Most Common Signs of Gluten Intolerance
  5. https://authoritynutrition.com/signs-you-are-gluten-intolerant/