Food intolerances and food allergies have been getting a lot of attention in the media lately. Some people fail to understand the difference between the two and assume they have an allergy. Also, some people are just eating junk food all of the time and not getting many vitamins and minerals in their diets. You could fall into any one of those three categories if you are experiencing significant bloating, fatigue, GI pains, nausea, etc after you consume a meal.
The first and easiest thing to tackle is junk food. We all know what it is (though some of us go a bit more extreme than others) and we know what is not very healthy for us to eat. We eat it because that’s what we grew up doing or that’s what is available to us.
Another important thing to decide with junk food is whether you have a food addiction or not. Can you just avoid those foods and eat them sparingly as treats? Or do you find yourself constantly craving them to the point that you binge? This article doesn’t go over binge eating, though I will touch on that in the future. It is, however, an important thing to realize and begin to work through. Highly processed, sugary foods are horrible for our bodies, especially when they make up most of our diets.
(Now, when I use the term “diet” I mean the way you eat for your entire life; sort of like a lifestyle – not a diet plan to lose weight or anything.)
So, when it comes to packaged foods (cereals, chips, bagels, cookies, etc), fast foods, and high sugar foods, you need to watch out! When you are not consuming nutrient dense foods and you choose foods that are high in sugars, starches, and additives you are eating “empty” foods that only increase inflammation in your body, especially your GI tract. Sometimes, we may not notice these symptoms because we’ve become accustomed to feeling bloated, gassy, or having stomach distension after consuming a meal.
It takes a good eye and close attention to really tune in with your body. That’s where meal plans like “The Whole 30” come in. (We’ll get to that at the bottom.) Cutting out these foods and eating them once in a while as a rare treat will not only bring relief to your body, but you may also notice that you lose weight also. This inflammation could very well be the reason you’re not losing weight even though you are working out hard.
Food Intolerance & Food Allergy-
The next important thing to tackle is what foods your body can properly digest and thrive on and which foods cause an allergic reaction, inflammatory response, or GI upset. A lot of people use the terms “food intolerance” and “food allergy” interchangeably. This is SOOO wrong. Let’s break it down.
A food allergy is when your immune system is triggered by a food and leads to an allergic reaction like anaphylaxis. Your body thinks the food or part of it is an invader and reacts by producing antibodies. These can be very dangerous and severe if they are ignored. Even a tiny essence of this particular food and lead to a deadly reaction. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, and even skin reactions.
A food intolerance is when you have a difficult time digesting a food. It can result in a variety of symptoms including fatigue, stomach pains, intense gas, chronic bloating, nausea, etc… These are not life threatening and are more of an inconvenience if anything. Also, a very small amount of the food likely won’t cause a problem as it would an allergy.
If you have a food allergy, you should consult a physician for advice. I won’t go into any advice here.
Food sensitivities can be discovered through blood, saliva, and other methods of testing, but I’ve seen a lot of people online as I reviewed the efficacy of these tests and found that many times these tests are not accurate. The best way is to pay close attention to how you feel after eating that food. If you feel energetic and great, then that’s a good sign that it’s okay for you. If you feel any pain, discomfort, bloating, fatigue, etc… then it’s most likely a food that your body has a hard time processing and you should avoid it or eat it only in small amounts.
Many people use the elimination diet (such as The Whole 30) with much success. I will post more in depth on this later, but you basically eliminate foods you are suspicious of or foods that are popular for causing digestive issues out of your diet for a set amount of time. (Sugar, Dairy, Gluten, Chemicals, Beans, or Legumes) Most people do 30 days without eating these foods. Then you try eating ONE food at a time and see if you have a reaction. If you feel fine and notice nothing, then it’s probably okay. If you feel a negative reaction then it’s probably something you want to avoid.
***You must make sure that when you are adding foods back in that you test one food at a time. Otherwise, you won’t know which food you’re reacting to. ***
The Whole 30 is a popular book that uses this method and guides you through it. It also has lots of great recipes to help you get through it.
Click the Photos below to see these books on Amazon.com!
I do use an affiliate link, so I get a small percentage. However, I will never use a link to something I wouldn’t use myself or that I don’t believe in.