Food Sensitivities – Are You Super Sensitive?
Whatt Are Your Food Sensitivities?
What are your food sensitivities? Have you narrowed them down to 1 or 2? When I ask patients what food sensitivities they think or know they are sensitive too, the #1 reply in my office is dairy. After that, many patients go on to say how they can’t tolerate any grains, some fruits, most vegetables, sugar, lectins, nightshades and the list goes on. If you think you or someone are in this boat, there is good news; you are likely misunderstanding your sensitivities.
The Race to Zero
Many of my patients come into my office on a what I call, a “race to zero.” What this means is that they have been eliminating foods one by one over the course of time and are down to very few foods that they don’t react to when they eat them. In my opinion, this is an unhealthy race to participate in and many individuals and natural practitioners slowly but surely suffer from malnutrition due to over avoidance of foods and entire food groups.
The most common reason why patients continue in this race is because they are only using one method to help themselves feel better. The method of dietary restriction.
The problem with only using dietary changes to recover from illness is that it doesn’t properly account for other causes of disease such as emotional stress, environmental toxicity or even relative vitamin deficiencies. Imagine if you were already deficient in B6, folic acid or healthy fats to calm inflammation (think anxiety or depression) and then you chose to go on a restrictive diet that eliminated meat and high protein sources. Your result, which is more common than not, is that you are even more deficient in B6, folic acid and healthy animal fats and that you think you are eating healthy, so you feel stuck and unsure why you can’t heal.
Food Allergies, Intolerances and Sensitivities
I won’t spend too much time on food allergies as these are often understood. These allergic reactions are directly linked to the immune system and often provoke an immediate reaction. They include things like swelling of the airways, hives, rashes, anaphylaxis, etc. If you have this type of allergy, chances are you have identified it, or you take prescription drugs to manage its symptoms.
Food Intolerances (Most Common)
Food intolerances are what most patients report as their sensitivities. This means that you eat it and get an upset stomach, increased mucus production, headache or any other reaction that may be unique to you. This list of intolerances will continue to grow with time if you don’t address underlying causes. While these intolerances truly do cause reactions, they are almost always associated with poor digestive function, gall bladder, liver and/or kidney under-performance.
If you feel better while taking a probiotic or digestive enzyme, then you can rest assured that you have a few intolerances due to an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed.
Food sensitivities are what I refer to as the true root causes of most chronic conditions. For example, if you suffer from psoriasis or Hashimoto’s, it’s rare that you will be found to be “allergic” to a specific food. However, it is also very clear from clinical practice that many autoimmune conditions and chronic health problems can quickly be put into remission if the right food is avoided. Female migraines for example are a common symptom of a sensitivity to gluten, but GI tests will show no signs of celiac disease. I have focused a large part of my practice to becoming and expert at finding food sensitivities due to the profound benefit people can experience.
One thing that I have noted over my years in practice is that once someone’s food sensitivities (usually 1 or 2) have been identified and patients have completed my basic leaky gut protocol, most food intolerances start to vanish quickly. I have had too many patients to count go from the “race to zero” to eating nearly all foods but the 1 identified food sensitivity. Therefore, I say, “you are not really that sensitive.”
Getting Healthy and Staying Healthy
In this article I’m not going to dive into how to address food sensitivities and intolerances, but rather hope to help the many suffering people to understand that if your list of intolerances is growing or if you are close to the end of the “race to zero”, that you likely have an underlying root cause that needs to be addressed. The most common underlying issues I find in my office are toxicity, infection, low immune function, nutrient deficiencies, blood sugar irregularities, hormonal imbalances, leaky gut and an improperly diagnosed food sensitivity. (Remember that dietary restriction alone will only get you so far.)
If avoiding more and more food or fasting or not eating makes you feel better, there is more to be discovered in your journey to health. As you get healthier, you will realize that “you are not really that sensitive”