Researchers estimate about 15 million Americans have food allergies. The allergies that can cause anaphylactic shock are commonly associated with milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.
Food sensitivities, on the other hand, may be caused by Leaky Gut Syndrome, in which the one cell layer wall of the intestines becomes permeable and food molecules leak into the bloodstream. Caused by a variety of factors, such as antibiotics and other medications, parasites, processed foods or imbalanced bacteria like Candida overgrowth, food sensitivities can expand to include a great number of foods. Some of my clients see me with the ability to eat only a handful of foods.
Fortunately, we can heal food sensitivities by learning which foods are affecting the body and eliminating them until the gut heals. Natural anti-inflammatory foods and healthy healing practices are important in recovery from Leaky Gut, as well as avoidance of known causes.
In the meantime, many clients come to me with feelings of defeat and frustration in finding foods that won’t bother them. Reactions can include everything from irritable bowel to headaches to skin rashes. The sooner we can test for which foods they are sensitive to and create a food plan, the sooner they will get their lives back.
Socially, people may feel awkward about refusing a food or trying to find something they can eat at a restaurant. I know I did. I used to be allergic to both garlic and onions and most restaurants use them as a staple. It felt like such an ordeal talking with the waiter/waitress to find food that didn’t contain the alliums, I grew tired of one of my great pleasures—eating out.
I needed to take some action to regain my health and life back. By getting testing myself and following my own elimination diet, I started reducing the number of offending foods to just a few. I learned what alternatives I could use to create flavor without the onions and garlic.
Next, I learned to alert my family and friends up front that food sensitivities were a problem for me, so there were no surprises when I came to their house for a meal. At the same time, I would also offer to bring something everyone could enjoy.
Restaurants have actually become better about understanding and catering to those with food sensitivities and allergies because the population experiencing them has grown. If the restaurant you frequent can’t accommodate you, find a new restaurant that does.
A tough part of healing food sensitivities is that we often crave the foods with which we have a problem. It’s a strange phenomenon that I cover in my book, Cravings! Your Guide to Freedom from the Agonizing Urge to Splurge.
Finally, don’t feel you have to apologize for a condition that isn’t your fault. By accepting that it is a temporary problem that requires healthy self care (say “yes” to you and “no” to what doesn’t work for you), others will learn to accept your condition too. Sometimes people either don’t or can’t understand. They probably just can’t relate. In that case you may want to eat fewer meals together, eat before you meet them or forego a meal with them altogether for a while.
You might have this situation at home. If so, just prepare the food you need to eat (there are lots of healthy recipes for those with food sensitivities these days). As your loved ones see you getting healthier and happier, they may even decide to join you!
Just know you’re not alone. If you would like some support with food sensitivities, feel free to give me a call or schedule a chat on my website. I’ll do my best to help you heal and get on with your life.