Could Your Symptoms Actually Be a Food Intolerance?
Food intolerances or sensitivities can affect you in so many ways, and they’re a lot more common than most people think.
I’m not talking about anaphylaxis or immediate allergic reactions that involve an immune response. Those can be serious and life-threatening. 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.
What I’m talking about, is an intolerance or sensitivity, meaning you do not tolerate a specific food very well and it causes immediate or chronic symptoms anywhere in the body. Symptoms can take hours or even days to show themselves.
This is what makes them so tricky to identify.
Find out more about the difference between food allergies and intolerances here.
Symptoms of food intolerances
There are some common food intolerances that have immediate and terribly painful gastrointestinal symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or coeliac disease and non coeliac gluten intolerance. These can cause stomach pain, gas, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhoea; 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 such as:
● Chronic muscle or joint pain
● Sweating, or increased heart rate or blood pressure
● Headaches or migraines
● Exhaustion after a good night’s sleep
● Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis
● Rashes or eczema
● Inability to concentrate or feeling like your brain is “foggy”
● Shortness of breath
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.
These can affect any (or all) parts of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.
What’s Causing Your Intolerances?
The main thing you can do is to figure out which foods or drinks you may be reacting to and stop ingesting them.
I know, I know…this sounds so simple, and yet it can be SO HARD.
The best way to identify your food/drink triggers is to eliminate them.
Yup, get rid of those offending foods/drinks.
All traces of them, for four 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.
Two common food intolerances
Here are two of the most common triggers of food intolerances:
● Lactose (in dairy – eliminate dairy altogether, or look for a “lactose-free” label – try nut or coconut milk instead).
● Gluten (in wheat, rye, oats, barley and other common grains, try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa buckwheat).
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-coeliac gluten sensitivity” can affect up to 13% of people.
So, if you can eliminate all traces of lactose and gluten for four weeks, it can confirm whether either or both of these, are a source of your symptoms.
What if it’s not ALL dairy or ALL gluten?
All too often I see people removing entire foods groups unnecessarily. In actual fact, yoghurt and cheese are often quite well tolerated by those with a dairy intolerance due to the lower levels of lactose. Rye and spelt may be tolerated well by those sensitive to wheat.
How do you tell which foods, without making your symptoms worse or playing a guessing game?
There is an easier way…
Hair Analysis Testing
Hair Analysis testing is based on a simple (non invasive) test that measures your reaction to over 500 common Australian brands of foods, drinks, general household, bathroom, kitchen and laundry products.
It tells you EXACTLY what you need to avoid, without guessing or removing foods unnecessarily. The results are easy to follow and I can help you with suggestions for swaps.
Find out more about Food Intolerance Testing HERE.
I don’t want you to continue suffering if you don’t need to!
Homemade Nut or Seed Milk
If you do go dairy free – not all nut milks are created equally!
Many contain sugars and inflammatory vegetables oils (to hold it all together) but here’s an easy and more delicious option.
Makes 3 cups
½ cup raw nuts or seeds (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds)
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1. Soak nuts/seeds for about 8 hours.
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 (or a Chux). 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.