“Food Intolerance: The inability to fully digest modern foods”
– Deborah Manners B.Sc.(Hons) Dip.Ed. SME
When you have a headache or a stomachache,
do you tend to question what you may have eaten?
How about bloating or fatigue?
Maybe you realize that it is connected to the food you ate,
but do you ever consider that this might not be a normal reaction?
That these are not things you need to simply ‘put up with?’
We all know that eating a healthy, whole food-based diet is good for us. But did you know that, sometimes, even these healthy, whole foods may be harming you?
Some estimates suggest that 75% of human beings are affected by food sensitivities/ intolerances. (dairy and gluten being the most prevalent) With a statistic this high, it makes sense to investigate and understand the effects of food sensitivities and intolerances. Yet few people do understand the effects these have on our body. They often confuse food intolerances with food allergies. And because many symptoms are chronic, in which they never seem to go away, they are often attributed to something else. Low awareness contributes to poor diagnosis and even to the tendency to tag such symptoms as normal, incurable or all in your head.
So today begins your education in food intolerances!
A sensitivity to certain foods, or a food intolerance, is often known as the Great Imitator, the Great Mimicker, because its symptoms are similar to a number of other conditions and diseases. Food intolerances are therefore easily misread and misdiagnosed. Likewise, one often has such a delayed response of symptoms to the offending food that people have difficulty pinpointing what particular food created the response. Food intolerances are responsible for the unnecessary suffering of millions of people. People who are unaware of their food intolerances are at increased risk for serious diseases like diabetes, autoimmunity, osteoporosis, bowel cancer and arthritis, to name a few. It is important to investigate any chronic symptoms you may be having.
As with many things – the symptoms of food intolerances get worse as we get older. Why this is, is a whole other topic for discussion. As children we are often healthy enough to ‘tolerate’ these ‘harmful’ foods with little to no symptoms. As we age our bodies become less tolerant and symptoms appear that we have never had before. The number of celiac disease cases in the US has doubled every 15 years since 1974, increasing particularly among older people, according to a new study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Celiac Research, published September 27, 2010, in the Annals of Medicine. The elderly are now 2 ½ times more likely than the rest of the population to develop celiac disease. 
The secret: Identify your food intolerance/s. Adjust your diet and lifestyle to match!
Don’t ignore the Signals!
Food intolerances are not only manageable; they are curable! The ‘gold standard’ to determining food intolerances is to use an Avoidance & Provocation diet, otherwise known as an elimination diet followed by a “challenge” to see whether an offending, or suspect, food really does set off a reaction. The resultant diet and lifestyle shift is very successful in bringing about better health and increased resistance to disease.
“Dr. Horwitz notes that when food sensitivities – not true allergies – are a problem, traditional allergy tests such as the IgE RAST blood tests or skin prick tests often yield negative results. He says that in his practice, he has not seen uniformly good results with IgG anti-food blood tests, applied kinesiology (muscle strength testing), or “live blood” microscopic analysis, all of which have been advocated by some practitioners as ways of determining food intolerances. Results ‘go all the way from questionable to downright useless,’ he says.” – Andrew Weil, MD
When beginning to explore potential food intolerances you may have, it is important to keep a record for a few weeks of everything you eat and any symptoms that develop in response to specific foods. This can help by narrowing the list of foods that may be causing problems. The next step is to embark upon an Avoidance & Provocation Diet. This can be a generic Elimination Diet, in which one avoids all common and potential offending foods, OR an elimination that is defined by those foods determined to be triggers from the food records taken over the previous three weeks. These foods are taken completely out of the diet for four to six weeks. Take note of any change in symptoms during this time; continue to document foods and symptoms as you had previous to commencement of the elimination diet. In the reintroduction phase, or ‘challenge’ phase, the suspect foods are introduced one-by-one, every four days. Once symptom/s have been associated with a food or food group, this food often should be kept out of your diet for at least 6 months to one year before re-challenging, if challenged at all. This allows the body and digestive system to heal.
Sometimes you can overcome food intolerances by avoiding the food or foods to which you’re sensitive to after an extended period without it. The health and vitality of the Digestive System is absolutely critical in overcoming sensitivities. Our experiences personally and with clients, have shown that there are a number of factors that play into whether or not this is likely (quality, quantity, etc…) It is important to work with a qualified health professional to best determine where you stand in regard to your health with these particular foods. Connect with us today! www.handinhandwellness.com