Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Immediate food allergy reactions and food sensitivities

An immediate food allergy reaction is when you are allergic to a certain type of food, the reaction is predictable, happens every time you ingest the food, and it happens immediately. I have a family member who has this issue, his throat closes and he feels as if he cannot breath when eating the offending food. This reaction happens when he eats various types of melons, it has even happened to him when he has eaten pizza (who knows what went into the sauce). So this person avoids this type of food (not pizza, just that place where he bought it that time LOL). He has other problems as well on a daily basis, excessive gas, chronic heart burn, IBS symptoms, and even a tendancy toward depression, anxiety and problems with "brain fuzziness" . Could this be food caused? Unfortunately a little bird with a white coat has whispered in his ear that food sensitivities are a bunch of BS. He has no problem avoiding the foods that cause the immediate reaction, but foods causing IBS and heart burn, come on! In fact, people who have these types of reactions are likely to have other less 'obvious' food sensitivities as well.

Food can be emotional and complex, it involves tradition, habits, and emotional attachments. No one wants to feel like they must be "deprived" after all, their aunt, brother, Grandma or whoever always ate the food so they should be able to right? If a person can get past this and try an elimination diet to see if it may make them feel better, maybe they would be willing to change. Mind body techniques, really getting in touch with your body and working with it instead of against it can really benefit. Meditation (this does not have to be traditional, simply taking a time to be silent and connect is OK, or even a walk or yoga), and being in the present, delaying immediate gratification in order to have your body functioning at it's optimum level will help as well. Rewarding yourself with other things instead of food is also a good alternative, massage, a brisk walk, a swim these things will help decrease stress and increase energy~ you feel better immediately, you will wonder why you thought you needed that cookie for a quick energy boost. Change is very hard for most people, but the benefits will outweigh any temporary discomfort. After a while your new style of eating will be like second nature, you will make mistakes, and your body will likely let you know you made them, simple try and do better most of the time rather than giving up completely. The question is, how bad do you really want to improve your quality of life? There are many symptoms that may be related to food sensitivity.

Here are some examples (and there may be others):
  • Chronic Digestive problems of all kinds
  • recurring infections of any kind
  • recurring inflammatory conditions of any kind
  • Difficulty loosing weight, putting on weight easily to spite exercise
  • Unexplained bouts of fatigue after eating
  • Tendency to hold water that is not associated with cyclic fluid retention or menstrual cycling
  • Chronic dark rings under eyes
  • Chronic horizontal creases under the lower eye lids
  • Frequent stuffy nose or nasal drip for no explainable reason, clearing throat after eating
  • Chronically swollen glands, with no known reason
  • Bouts of anxiety, sweating, or heart palpitations withing several hours of eating
  • Frequent unexplained skin rashes
  • Immediate family members with food allergies or asthma
  • History of gall bladder disease
  • Mental fuzziness for fogginess after eating
  • Bouts of "low blood sugar" that do not go away
  • Headaches that don't go away
  • General ill feelings that do not go away and are not explainable
I highly recommend keeping a food diary of everything you eat for one week (be honest and consistent) I have found that this is hard for some to do, but it is very important, many people are not eating consciously, in other words, eating while driving, eating and doing other things, many times forgetting that they ate the particular food at all. Sit down and take a break when you eat, really be in the present moment. Find foods that overlap each other that you eat frequently (these may be culprits), also note any symptoms you may feel after eating. Try the elimination diet that Henriette explains on her blog on the post about food sensitivities- you will also find much more detailed information there about the subject. Once you start an elimination diet, you will be amazed at some of the creative alternatives you may come up with! Ask family members to help as well and do not bring the offending foods into the house to make you tempted.

Besides the major culprits discussed on many web pages and in books that focus on food sensitivity (Dairy, Wheat, soy, corn, yeast, eggs, citrus, carrots, apples and berries, members of the nightshade family, refined sugars)

Be mindful of what you drink and cook with as well, you may be sensitive to; alcohol, refined sugars and or additives in drinks, coffee or certain teas, citrus drinks, tap water, certain processed oils, additives and preservatives such as MSG & food colorings (before you spice up that meat, read the label many pre made spice blends have added preservatives, colorings, sugar and other junk! or better yet create your own spices with fresh herbs or single herbs where you know the source)

Really read those labels!

Changing food habits can be very hard at first, I have heard every justification and excuse in the book, but I guess what it boils down to is how bad do you really want to feel better and have a better quality of life. I have seen the effects of those who have stayed committed. I have one client who found she had food sensitivities to both dairy and gluten, she worked out daily and could not loose weight, plus she had many other symptoms, as soon as she eliminated these foods, she dropped 30 pounds, feels great, has more energy and even has had improvements with her menstrual symptoms, her relationships have improved and she has more energy to spend time with her child and husband after she does her daily workout. Trust me if you have food sensitivities, it is worth it to change your food choices!

Resourse: Healthy Digestion the natural way L Berkson 2000


Shamana Flora said...

Great post Angie, you are right on the money with this one!

Kiva Rose said...

Indeed, food allergies are rampant in a culture of plastic food. And compliance is difficult, to say the least.

Nicely said, Angie.