Food intolerance or sensitivities can effect you in so many ways. They’re a lot more common than most people think. I'm not talking about immediate allergic reactions that involve an immune response which can be serious and life-threatening. If you have any allergies, you should 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 is an intolerance; meaning that you do not tolerate a specific food very well and it causes immediate or chronic symptoms anywhere in the body. Symptoms can take hours or even days to show themselves and can be located just about anywhere in the body. This is what makes them so tricky to identify.
Symptoms of food intolerancesThere are some common food intolerances that have immediate and 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. Other symptoms may not be linked to foods in an obvious way. Symptoms like:
- 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
- Inability to concentrate or feeling like your brain is "foggy"
- Shortness of breath
How to prevent food intoleranceThe main thing you can do is to figure out which foods or drinks you may be reacting to and stop ingesting them. The best way to identify your food or drink triggers is to eliminate 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 intolerancesHere are two of the most common triggers of food intolerance:
- Lactose (in dairy - eliminate altogether, or look for a "lactose-free" label - try nut or coconut milk instead).
- Gluten (in wheat, rye, and other common grains - look for a "gluten-free" label - try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa & oats).
- ½ cup raw nuts/seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds)
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Soak nuts/seeds for about 8 hours (optional, but recommended).
- Dump soaking water & rinse nuts/seeds.
- Add soaked nuts/seeds and 2 cups water to a high-speed blender and blend on high for about one minute until very smooth.
- Strain through a small mesh sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Squeeze if necessary.