Season changes often bring a burst of exuberance, a sense of excitement and allergies! Do you head for the drug store or your doctor’s office to get through these difficult months? Often allergies to environmental substances can be reduced by changing the diet. Hidden food sensitivities can make you very uncomfortable during the seasonal changes or any time of the year.
There are several categories of food reactions:
- A food sensitivity can be very mild and often go undetected. It can be cumulative.
- A dangerous allergy usually gives you a definite immediate reaction. Keep an epi pen handy. Wear a med alert bracelet.
- An intolerance is very obvious. Every time you eat that food you have a problem.
A challenging type of allergy is the addictive allergy. We crave these foods. Abstinence from addictive foods feels like withdrawal from a drug! Eating the food again relieves the symptoms temporarily.
Common addictive foods would be: breads, pastries, cookies (made of wheat) or dairy products like yogurt, cheese, custard and ice cream. The addiction to chocolate, sweets, caffeine, alcohol and salty snacks falls into another category but can cause even more metabolic imbalances and subsequent health problems.
Allergy reactions vary widely from person to person: occasional stuffy sinuses, sneezing. chest congestion, a cold, fatigue, headaches, tired, sleepy after a meal, fuzzy headed, unable to focus or concentrate, low in energy, have difficulty breathing, stomach aches, skin rashes or pimples, stiff or sore joints, mood swings, depression or insomnia. The reactions are as different as individuals are different! Hard to diagnose, these symptoms could easily be labeled a variety of ailments.
The most common foods causing allergies are: Gluten grains like wheat, oats, barley and rye. Dairy products like ice cream, cheese, yogurt and milk. Animal proteins beef, pork, chicken, turkey, etc. Sulfites, from sprays on fresh produce. Tree nuts and seeds, peanuts (a legume not a nut), alcohol, fermented foods, caffeine, chocolate, citrus fruits, corn, eggs, oysters, seafood, shell fish tomatoes, strawberries, white rice, processed and refined foods, food dyes, artificial sweeteners and flavorings.
Many of my clients complain, “If I eliminate wheat and dairy what is left to eat?” It is surprising how much dairy and wheat dominant our diets. However there are now more product choices available than there were years ago. Health food stores sell wheat free and dairy free breads, cakes, cookies, crackers and pasta. Include more dark leafy green foods in your diet. Chlorophyll is a natural blood detoxifier. The fiber is excellent for the digestive tract as well. It not only helps keep our bowels regular but it is food for the friendly bacteria that aid our digestion.
To determine what you might be sensitive to, keep a food log. Write down your meals and any symptoms that day. After several weeks you may notice a pattern. Did you get sleepy or tired after that meal? Did your nose run or your eyes water and itch? Did you lose your mental focus or memory?
Did you get brain fade? Do you feel weak, anxious, agitated or irritable? You may have a hidden food allergy!
Start a rotation diet by eliminating one food at a time for at least a month. A shorter way to do this is to get a lab test, blood test, saliva or skin patch test. However these are not always accurate. Trust your symptoms.
By identifying and eliminating the foods that cause your sensitivity reactions, improving your digestion and elimination, and supporting your immune function, you can enjoy seasonal changes again. I did and so have many of my clients!
Dr. Joy Lasseter has earned Masters and Doctorate degrees in holistic nutrition. She has overcome her own numerous health problems with good nutrition, positive intentions and action steps and natural food concentrates. Now she shares her methods for living a healthier lifestyle through her nutrition books, “Grow Your Organic Food” video, “Dr Joy’s Healthy Habits” blog, Customized “Whole Life Transformation” programs for individuals, and a new online, 8 week, “Joyful Living” group.