Is your body Breaking down as you age?
If you are someone who has been dealing with acne, if you have mood swings, anxiety, or depression, you might be having food sensitivities and not even know it.
Why should you care?
You might be having issues that you could actually do something about! You see, issues like skin irritation, bloated belly, constipation, and mood swings could be due to your food sensitivities. I'm going to go over how to spot a food sensitivity and what you can do to stop the reaction.
Do I need to pay $800 for a Sensitivity Test?
I worked for a while as a director of nutrition at a wellness center and we gave food sensitivity tests to people. To be honest, after watching hundreds of tests, I would say that most were unnecessary. What I did realize though, was that across-the-board just about everybody had a sensitivity to dairy and gluten.
When I refer to food sensitivity I am not talking about a food "allergy." An allergy is when your throat closes up or your skin becomes immediately red or your tongue swells up. That's something completely different. You do need to go to a doctor immediately if you have that.
What I am referring to is a food "sensitivity." Sensitivities are something way more subtle to diagnose and very difficult to figure out. But I'm going to show you how. If you want to see a video on this topic, I made one here.
I am going to give you a step by step approach to identify and eliminate food sensitivities.
Step Number One
Identify the sensitivity. A good way to do that is to journal. But this is different than what other nutritional counselors have you do. Mostly, food journals consist of writing down the food you eat along with the time of day. But, in doing that, you are missing the most important part.... the reaction you're having!
I am asking you to try something different. Divide the journal into three columns. The first column is for the time of day, the second is the food you eat and the third column is for the reaction you feel. The reaction could be immediate, 10 minutes, 20, or even an hour later. This last time is key and this is where the change and growth will come from.
Third Column is the charm!
The third column can be tricky in the beginning. You might not even know what to write down. So, I suggest you "err" on the side of too much information rather than too little. Note down anytime you feel hungry or you have a craving. Write down when you have a dip in energy when you have a pimple. Write down how you slept. And, these don't all have to be negative. You should note down when you feel great when you have an energy surge when your rings aren't tight on your fingers.
If you have slept poorly, you woke up with large bags under your eyes, or you're feeling depressed write those down. They are all issues or symptoms. Rather than automatically medicating these things, consider them being a reaction to something you ate. There might be nothing wrong with you at all!
These reactions might be quite subtle, but I want you to pay attention to them. They might be a reaction to something. We want to figure out what that is and not close our eyes to it.
If you medicate all of it, we won't get the messages our body is sending. So, rather than ignore all of it, we actually could tune in and learn something. It is great when you can figure out if there are any connections between what you are eating and the physical reactions you are having.
Step Number Two
For this, you will have needed to have done a few days of journaling. The more days the better. In fact, I continued to journal, off and on for years.
Looking at your journal we will want to get an overall view of what's going on. So how this is done is by noticing when you have the same physical reaction over and over. Notice issues that have come up more than once. Circle this. You can decide if you want to focus on one symptom at a time or go for the whole shebang. My suggestion is that you start slow and go for one symptom in the beginning until you get the hang of it.
If, for example, you see that you have an acne flare-up or a low energy dip a few times, look over at the "food" column and see what you ate to possibly make that problem arise. Circle that too. This can get tricky as sometimes it might just be an ingredient in the food and not the whole food. Sometimes, you need to dig deeper.
At one point, I noticed that my fingers would swell the morning after I had certain meals. Try as I could, I couldn't figure out a correlation until one day I realized it could be corn. So, it wasn't the same meal, but the same ingredients. It was corn on the cob one day for lunch. A soup that had pureed corn in it, and then some corn chips. Each time I would have the same reaction. Does that make sense? Sometimes it is a bit more complicated than at other times.
After the first one, you might be able to tackle two or three symptoms at a time. My suggestion, especially in the beginning is to go one symptom at a time.
Step Number Three
Let's take a new example. Let's say you have a symptom like eczema and it's especially itchy in the mid-morning. You usually have a certain kind of breakfast bar. You are going to want to test that bar. Or let's say that you're noticing across your journal that there are days that around 3 p.m. will you have an energy dip or a feeling of depression. The only thing that you're wanting to do is have some sugar. It may be in the form of chocolate, a cookie or anything that is sweet. You will want to look at the food that you had last eaten.
That energy dip or depression is a symptom. You will want to look at the breakfast bar or protein powder. If they contain WHEY, avoid them like the plague. Read more about why we never have whey protein here.
If the dip happens after lunch, look at your lunch. Look at that meal and see if that is the issue. Track this for at least 3 or 4 days. Then, you are going to "test" that food. For about three to four days you want to eliminate the breakfast bar or that turkey sandwich you're having at lunch and replace it with something that's quite different. Do not use the same components as the meal giving you issues.
So instead of the breakfast bar, you try a smoothie at breakfast. For lunch, instead of the turkey sandwich, you do chili. Remember to keep notes! Do this for about 3 days do not go near those foods you are testing.
After about 3 days introduce those foods and see if you have the same reaction. Is that symptom happening again? Journal all of this. Not sure? That's easy... test again.
Step Number Four
Now that you can see a symptom you've pinpointed and you have focused in on the food that is giving you trouble, you can actually make an educated decision on whether you want to keep eating that food or not. It is as simple as that.
This is so much easier than taking a medication for years that will never actually solve your problem. You will know that by eating a certain meal, you will get eczema and it will not be random. There might even be some foods that you haven't tried, and will end up loving. Here are some ideas.
My advice is usually to stop eating that food. What is surfacing on the outside of your body might only be the tip of the iceberg. Your body might be signaling to you that there are other issues going on. It might be ideal for you and your body to not have that food. But, you decide! You are now at choice.
There you have it my four-step approach to discovering food sensitivities and what to do about it. Hopefully, these steps will help you have more energy more vibrant skin, less inflammation, and feel better. Feel free to share this blog with your friends and leave me comments on how you are doing!