Could My Symptoms Actually Be a Food Intolerances?
Food intolerances or “sensitivities” can affect you in so many ways.
In ways you never even considered.
But unfortuneately they are a lot more common than most people think.
Ok, but I’m not talking about severe allergies or anaphylactic reactions that involve an immune response. Allergies & anaphylactic reactions tend to be very serious and can be life-threatening for some. These are true allergies, where your body’s immune system is compromised, where you definitely 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 today, are food intolerances. A food intolerance means your body can’t tolerate specific food, and as a result your body will feel immediate or possibly chronic symptoms. Symptoms could show themselves immediately, or they could take hours or even days to show themselves. They may also appear any place in the body.
That’s why intolerances are tricky to identify.
Let’s look a little closer at intolerances.
Symptoms of food intolerances
There are some common food intolerances that have immediate and terribly painful gastrointestinal symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease. These can cause stomach pain, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea; 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 and you may feel symptoms where it’s much harder to make the connection to the foods you have eaten.
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
- Cravings for foods
- 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. And these can affect any (or all) parts of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.
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How to prevent these 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 three 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.
Start Here: Two common food intolerances
There are many foods that tend to be top of mind when we think of food intolerances. Some of the key one’s include diary/lactose, corn, wheat, gluten, refined sugar.
That said, the two most common triggers for food intolerances are Lactose & Gluten:
- Lactose, in dairy – eliminate it altogether, or look for a “lactose-free” label – try coconut milk or a nut/seed milk instead (see recipe below).
- Gluten, in wheat, rye, and other common grains – look for a “gluten-free” label – try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa, buckwheat & gluten-free oats.
You can start with these two, or you can start by eliminating all of them (that’s what we do in my 10-Day Body Reset DETOX).
Lactose intolerance is thought to affect up to 75% of people, while “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” can affect up to 13% of people.
So, if you can eliminate all traces of lactose and gluten for 2-3 weeks, doing so can confirm whether either or both of these, are a source of your symptoms.
Yes, dairy and grains are a part of many government-recommended food guidelines, but you can absolutely get all of the nutrients you need if you focus on replacing them with nutrient-dense foods.
A reliable way to monitor how you feel after eating certain foods is to track it. After every meal or snack, write down the foods you ate, and any symptoms so you can more easily spot trends.
To help you track your symptoms
To help you track your symptoms I’ve created this FREE Weekly Food Diary & Journal so you can keep a diary for 2-3 weeks to track and document your symptoms and then look for patters to try to isolate whether your symptoms are related to food intolerances.
And, as mentioned earlier, symptoms may not start immediately following a meal. You may find, for example, that you wake up with a headache the morning after eating bananas.
You might be surprised what links you can find if you track your food and symptoms well!
IMPORTANT NOTE: When you eliminate something, you need to make sure you eliminate the food 100%. Do you need to ensure it’s not hiding in other foods, or the whole point of eliminating it for a few weeks is lost. Restaurant food, packaged foods, and sauces or dressings are notorious for adding ingredients that you’d never think are there. You know that sugar hides in almost everything, but did you also know that wheat is often added to processed meats and soy sauce, and lactose can even be found in some medications or supplements?
When in doubt you HAVE to ask the server in a restaurant about hidden ingredients, read labels, and consider cooking from scratch.
What if it doesn’t work?
If eliminating these two common food intolerances doesn’t work, then you can go one step further to eliminate all dairy (even lactose-free) and all grains (even gluten-free) for three weeks. Other common allergens that are common to eliminate in a similar way are corn, refined sugar, wheat, grains, dairy.
My 10-Day Body Reset Detox is designed to do just that, eliminate common allergens so that you are RESET your body and, in effect CLEAN the SLATE and start fresh from the inside out. Eliminating common allergens, is a great approach if you have some of the symptoms I mentioned above, the process of elimination will help you to identify if there are specific foods that are the main cause. The 10-Day Body Reset DETOX includes no diary, no corn, no wheat, no gluten, no refined sugar, no animal products. It’s 100% plant based, whole foods meal plan. If your symptoms are a result of food intolerances, your body will react very quickly and in a positive way, once you eliminate the foods that don’t agree with you. Within a day or two, you will notice improvements in your energy levels and your overall demeanour. It’s amazing how quickly our body reacts when you eliminate the “not good for me” foods! My 10-Day Body Reset DETOX program is designed to do just that, eliminate foods so your body can RESET and get ENERGIZED and ditch those pesky symptoms. If you haven’t already you can CLICK HERE to learn more about the 10-Day Body Reset DETOX and I’d like to also OFFER you $50 OFF + receive VIP BONUSES valued at $85!
Recipe (dairy-free milk): Creamy Cashew Milk
This is one of my most popular recipes and it’s a great alternative to dairy milks. This Cashew milk is a staple in our house, I make a batch every few days. We enjoy drinking on it’s own, or I love to make a wee treat “Milk Shake” with Cashew Milk + Frozen Banana + Raw Cocoa + Raw Almond Butter & Vanilla – Mmmmmm! Another favourite way of enjoying cashew milk, is with a bowl of blueberries & my home made granola. There are so many options, no matter how you enjoy it, your body will LOVE this Creamy Cashew Milk recipe!
Makes 3 cups
- ½ cup raw cashews (or use your favourite nut/seed: almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds)
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Soak nuts/seeds for about 8 hours or overnight (optional, but recommended).
- Discard soaking water & rinse nuts/seeds.
- Add soaked nuts/seeds and 2 cups water to a high-speed blender (I love my Blendtec) and blend on high for about one minute until very smooth.
- If you use Cashews you can skip this step, as no pulp is created in the blender. For other nuts/seeds, strain through a Nutmilk Bag or use a small mesh sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth . Squeeze through to remove pulp. You can check out my Video on How to Make Almond Milk for details on making nut milk.
Tip: You can double or even triple the recipe and store the milk in mason jars in the fridge for up to 7 days.