Food allergies and sensitivities are a common part of today’s world. While we are not here to discuss the cause of the rise in these, we do want to help you identify if you are suffering from a food allergy. It can be an overwhelming process and we have heard from so many of you that you don’t even know where to start.
As with all things we think you should start with the why. Why is it important to identify any potential allergies or sensitivities? Obviously, a life-threatening peanut allergy needs to be identified so you can protect your life. But you may be wondering, “Why is it important if I know if I have a gluten sensitivity? Eating a piece of bread won’t kill me.” Nope, it likely won’t. But eating gluten may be causing you unnecessary sluggishness, bloat, constipation or rashes.
Maybe your baby has the worst dry skin and you’ve chalked it up to just a part of childhood or their skin type. In reality, most skin issues stem from something in the gut. If you figure out what is triggering the dry skin you can help your child have healthy, smooth, skin that isn’t itchy and irritated.
So where do you start?
We think an elimination diet is a great place to start. It is relatively easy and something you can do without seeing a doctor. For a full guide on how to do an elimination diet, we love this article by Dr. Josh Axe.
The basic principle of an elimination diet is that you will take out likely triggers from your diet for a pre-determined time frame. Then you will slowly add in possible triggers over time to see if there is any change. You should plan a 3 to 6 week time period for this to fully investigate what could be giving you trouble. It is ideal to keep a journal of foods you consume and how you feel or any symptoms that present.
What do I eliminate?
This is where a lot of people get hung up. It seems so overwhelming and like you can eat nothing but raw veggies for life. We get it. It can be a daunting process. I promise you can eat like a normal person. It is imperative to get into the mindset that this is a short-term commitment and you will feel SO MUCH BETTER once you determine what is triggering you. The most common triggers are:
- Refined/added sugar
- Eggs, in some cases
Feeling stumped for ideas on what to eat during your elimination diet? Check out Whole 30. Most of their recipes will be compliant with an elimination diet.
Still not sure?
If you have been through an elimination diet and still feel unsure what is triggering you OR if you feel like you are not wanting to go through this on your own without some professional guidance we cannot recommend finding a functional medicine practitioner. Locally, we love Christine Andrews and Christina Pann.
Some tips for working with a functional medicine practitioner are:
- Go into this consultation with an open mind. Know that this will not be like a traditional doctor’s appointment.
- A good FM Practitioner will look at your overall health and address how your entire body works together
- Diet, mindset, and skincare are all part of your overall health. If you are looking for a one pill fix all this is not what you will find with functional medicine.
- Consider asking your FMP to check your MTFHR and COMPT genes as they are connected to a range of gut, mood, and weight issues. Women should also have thyroid, progesterone and estrogen levels checked.
This is just a starting point friends. We know this is a huge topic and that many of you are looking for help in different areas of this journey. We are here to partner with you and provide as much information as we can pass on. Stay tuned for the second part of this series, I have a food allergy, now what?