A food sensitivity is an immune system response to a food that the body believes is harmful, and every time we eat that food, our immune system is compromised. Food allergies/food intolerance affects everyone to varying degrees, yet most of us have no idea what it is that we are allergic to that is adversely affecting our lives. There are five foods that account for 75% of all food-allergic reactions.
WHEAT (and GLUTEN)
A very common symptom of food allergies is dark circles underneath the eyes, which indicates a negative liver response to a food. Another common symptom is feeling tired or mentally foggy after eating. Have you heard of the term “food coma”? Somehow it’s become a commonly accepted term and side effect of eating. If you are eating food that nourishes and supports you, you should feel clear and energized after eating it.
Other common indications of food sensitivities include:
Bloating or Irregular Digestion
Skin Rashes of any kind
Runny Rose or Excess Mucus
Muscle/Joint Aches and Pains
Depression and Mood Swings
The best way to know for sure what foods you are sensitive to is to get a blood test with a nutritionist.
When discussing food allergies, it’s important to know where these allergens are present, what products to avoid and what to replace them with so you are not feeling deprived.
When speaking about wheat, corn and soy, a big reason that we are now reacting to these foods is because they are genetically modified. GMO's or genetically modified organisms are organisms that have been created through biotech techniques of gene-splicing. It allows the DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a lab, creating combos of plants that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Because of GMOs, the body is now not recognizing these foods the way it used to and therefore not processing them efficiently, leading to a variety of health-related issues. Wheat, corn and soy, because they are modified, are less expensive to produce and are therefore, found as fillers in many foods that never used to contain them.
WHEAT: Found in bread, flours, candy, cookies, crackers, soups, salad dressings, soy sauce and seasonings. Look for terms like hydrolyzed plant or vegetable protein and food starch to indicate that a product may contain wheat. Fortunately, almost all health food stores now provide lots of wheat and gluten-free options for pasta, cookies and crackers made from other grains like brown rice and quinoa (a south American grain high in proteinWheat and gluten free breads will be denser and can be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores.
CORN: This is a BIG one because corn is everywhere and added to so many products that one would never think, from alcohol to salad dressings to toothpaste to tomato paste to peanut butter. These days we get it mostly from high fructose corn syrup which accounts for 52% of our sugar intake. It turns to sugar faster than table sugar and is a major player in the diabetes game. Again making replacements with the other grains is a better choice. Corn is acidic and can alter the acid-alkaline balance of the body as well. Look for maltodextrin as an additive, which is widely made from corn. Non-GMO corn can however, provide health benefits if one is not sensitive to it.
SOY: Soybeans have become a major part of processed food products in the United States, making its way into many products like baked goods, canned tuna, infant formula, crackers and soups. Keep in mind that all soy that is not organic is genetically modified. Taking in processed soy long-term can cause damage to the thyroid and lead to other hormonal imbalances. The only kinds of soy I recommend are fermented b/c they have a different interaction in the body. If you’re into tofu, try tempeh – a fermented version of soy and grains that tastes a lot like a veggie burger. Tamari is a wheat-free soy sauce that is fermented and miso is fermented soybean paste that has healing properties in soup and spreads. If you are a soy milk drinker, consider switching to unsweetened almond or coconut milk.
DAIRY: Perhaps the winner for the highest food sensitivity is cow dairy. The most common symptoms for cow dairy intolerance are bloating and indigestion as well as excess mucus. We began pasteurizing milk over 50 years ago as well as adding antibiotics and hormones to our cows, which in my opinion is why 25% of America can no longer process cows milk. Upon ingesting it, we must pull from our own reserves of enzymes to digest it since the enzymes have been destroyed by heat. Raw milk has a different interaction in the body and can usually be tolerated by those with lactose intolerance. Studies show that organic, raw milk can super charge the immune system because of the high colostrum content. It has also been known to reverse osteoporosis within six months and to alleviate asthma symptoms.
Fortunately milk is one of the easiest substances to substitute in recipes, when baking or even in your am cereal. Unsweetened almond milk, rice milk or hemp milk are my favorite substitutes.
EGGS: Some Hidden Sources of Egg (besides baked goods) are foam toppings on deserts and specialty coffee drinks/bar drinks. Some commercial brands of egg substitutes contain egg whites and commercially processed cooked pastas. When baking you can use ¼ of a banana, ¼ cup of applesauce or 2 Tablespoons of flaxseed in place of one egg. You may also use potato starch or mashed potatoes, prunes, etc.
Other high sensitivities include bananas, peanuts, yogurt, kidney beans, brewer’s and baker’s yeast. If you are allergic to one or more of these foods, it will be a bit of an adjustment (because changing anything seems overwhelming at first) but it is absolutely possible that you can eliminate one or more of these from your diet without every missing them.
We are all entitled to vibrant health: mentally, physically and emotionally. With a little detective work and experimentation, you can easily find out what foods are not supportive to you, and eliminate them to start improving your health immediately. Eventually you will be able to be intuitive with your nutrition because you’ll learn the subtlies of how foods affect you. Truly knowing and understanding how your own body functions best is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself because it’s the most empowering way to achieve lasting health and well-being.