About Food Allergies & Sensitivities
When food causes an immune system response, you are allergic/sensitive to that food. The types of immune responses suffered by various individuals vary widely. Examples range from itching to hives to life threatening anaphylaxis, which includes difficulty breathing, itchy mouth, facial swelling, difficulty swallowing, elevated heart rate, flushing, and other very serious problems. If you experience the symptoms of anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately!
The term ‘food sensitivities’ is the industry term used to describe what I would more appropriately call food allergies. The word ‘sensitivities’ makes it sound less harmful. The reality is that both immunological pathways stimulated from a response to food are equally as bad. One works much more quickly (allergy) than the other (sensitivity). The example we use is shrimp as many are very ‘allergic’ to shellfish. Consumption of this food for those with shellfish allergies can be fatal. Many people go into what is called anaphylactic shock, where their throats close and they cannot get oxygen. The more benign symptoms would be itching or sneezing.
With food sensitivities the response from the immune system moves much more slowly. It takes years and years to create major disease processes in the body, but the consumption of foods that you have a sensitivity to keeps your immune system in a heightened state of stress. The problem is that by nature we tend to consume the same 30 foods 80% of the time. We like what we like. The constant bombardment of eating the same foods consistently, (that you may be sensitive to) as well as foods that are not in season, wreaks havoc on the immune system. Eating those foods less often would allow your body to handle the stress more easily, without overreacting. Continuing to eat foods our body is sensitive to keeps the immune system in a heightened state of activity.
A simple test can isolate exactly those foods that should be removed from the diet to give the body a chance to ‘heal’ from the over-stimulation. When you see Dr. Skip, O.M.D., he may recommend food sensitivity testing to determine if there are foods that are triggering your immune system.
Another reality are the foods in the supply chain which are genetically modified (GMO – meaning a genetically modified organism). All corn for the most part is GMO and corn is in everything. This is a growing concern as more and more foods are genetically modified…some are actually changed to the point where they contain their own pesticides but are immune to herbicides. Many seeds purchased today, and certainly as time goes on, will be seeds that will not produce their own viable seeds – thereby perpetuating genetically modified food, which is so horrific for our health. More and more foods are being added to this list all the time.
The purpose of genetically modified food crops is to increase the world’s harvests by engineering the seeds to be immune to herbicides and contain pesticides within the plant. That way farmers can spray herbicides to control weeds without killing the crops and have the crops immune to one or more bugs that would normally kill the plant or limit the harvest. Some versions of GM seeds resist multiple types of bugs and pests as well as having immunity to herbicides. Every year since 1996, a greater percentage of the U.S.’s corn crop is grown from GM seeds and now exceeds 85%. This subject would definitely be worth your research.
There are several foods we know tend to cause much more sensitivity reactions in our bodies than others. They are: corn, soy, all dairy products, non-organic meats (grass-fed & free-range are very healthy), artificial sweeteners, food colorings & preservatives, bleached sugar, flour, yeast, pork, iodized table salt, wheat, gluten, MSG, non-organic butter (we advocate the use of good quality organic/salted butter), peanuts, tomatoes and potatoes. The potatoes and tomatoes are really problematic mostly in clients dealing with osteo-and rheumatoid arthritis.
I am not necessarily advocating wheat-free or gluten-free diets, per say, unless you are actually suffering with celiac disease or the like. What I am saying is these things do need to be drastically reduced while drastically increasing your intake of vegetables and other real foods as well as quality protein sources such as quinoa, coconut oil and organic free-range eggs.
Especially important is to increase the dark leafy-green vegetables where you can be sure you are getting the nutrients your body so desperately needs. Please do not think for one second you are getting utilizable/bio-available calcium from dairy. The calcium you need comes from vegetables. The dark leafy green ones. If at all possible please consume them organically. I realize this can be expensive in some cases (Trader Joe’s does make obtaining organic, preservative-free easy and reasonably affordable) but any reduction in the toxins, like pesticides entering your body, is crucial. If you live in a rural area and healthy choices are not readily available, we highly recommend you look at the online store ‘Thrive Market’ (LINK) as an option to procure healthy day to day food staples.
This reduction in burden no matter how small is substantial on the overall health of your body. Please seek advice from a knowledgeable practitioner if you are suffering from any issues related to allergies, hay fever, food sensitivities, food allergies, headaches, body aches, asthma, etc. You may be surprised just how seriously your food intake and nutritional deficiencies may be affecting your health. Please remember that symptoms are your body’s way of talking to you and informing you something is wrong. Please listen.