Food Intolerance Awareness – by Vancouver Naturopath Dr. Krista Moyer

“We are what we eat” is a common known phrase, but NaturopathicDoctors take that statement one step further by stating “We are what we absorb”. There is a large difference between those two statements.

One major reason for this is the predominance of food allergies, and the more recent acknowledgement of food sensitivities. The immune system reacts differently to an allergy vs. a sensitivity, and thus the repercussions of consuming the offending foods varies. If a food is not tolerated by the body, the established barriers of ‘self’ and ‘non-self’ are distorted, and nutrient absorption can be compromised. This occurrence mainly happens in the digestive tract.

The list is anything but limited in terms of the reactions the body can have when a food is deemed ‘foreign’ to the body. These allergies or sensitivities are not necessarily present at, or before birth, but can develop in childhood, and even well into adulthood. At any age, they are not a welcome occurrence.  However, by knowing and accepting the impacts that any which food can have on the body, a person’s life can drastically change.

There are several foods that have made the top list of allergenic foods. Within that list, there can be allergies and/or sensitivities present to one or many. The list is as follows:

1. Dairy

2. Eggs

3. Wheat (gluten)

4. Soy

5. Shellfish

6. Peanuts

Aside from the commonly known immediate reactions to food, such as hives, rash, or anaphylaxis (throat swelling), there is an even larger list of greatly varied symptoms that can occur, hours, or even days after the consumption of a food. For some, a large amount of that food needs to be consumed for a reaction to occur, for others, only a miniscule amount, possibly hidden in a food, can be enough to set off a whirlwind of symptoms.

Possible symptoms include:

* heartburn, indigestion, stomach cramps, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, excess respiratory mucous, blurry vision, allergic shiners (bags under the eyes), achy joints, chronic pain, itchy throat, itchy skin, candida eruptions, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, difficulty sleeping, menstrual cramps, irregular periods, slow wound healing, depression, weak muscle strength, headaches & migraines, frequent colds & flu, ear infections, sinusitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases.

Some of these symptoms can last for days after the food is consumed, and if the food continues to be consumed, further serious health concerns can develop, such as the sequelae of autoimmune diseases. The food that our ancestors consumed is far different then what is available to us in the grocery stores. Food is no longer just food, but what comes with it, is a multitude of hundreds of foreign pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, as well as the ever emerging presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which we have yet to learn the full, long term repercussions of in our food system as a whole, or in our bodies. Food has also genetically changed and mutated over the course of hundreds of years. Most land has grown the same crop year after year without the rotation of crops, which is intended to allow the soil to be replenished and give different nutrients to the foods it inhabits and births. The food industry has changed the way we eat. Thus it is imperative that we adapt and change the way we eat in order to ensure our bodies receive nourishment from the food we eat. For many, that involves the removal of some, or several, foods from the diet.

Symptoms of food allergies and sensitivies are a red flag from the body to listen to what it needs and what it can not tolerate. Sometimes it can be hard to decipher what food(s) are at the core of the problem. That is where an elimination diet and/or allergy/sensitivity testing comes in. It may be that the removal of the food for six or more months (along with other dietary, supplement, and lifestyle alterations) will allow the body to heal.  Once that healing has occurred, that food may be allowed to be reintroduced with few or no repercussions.

Any symptom produced by the body is meant to be heard and thus addressed. Naturopathic Doctors help clarify the issue of what to eat to ensure proper nutrient absorption. It is worth the effort to discover what foods your body is not able to tolerate, and to make the appropriate changes. A qualified licenced Naturopathic Doctor, such as Dr. Krista Moyer at Broadway Wellness can help you to modify these changes in your diet as well as other lifestyle changes to best suit your body’s need for balanced health.

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