This just in: It is not normal to have dozens of different food allergies.
As many of us that are plagued by food sensitivities also deal with other forms of digestive distress, it’s easy to assume, we are the unlucky ones. We suffer from autoimmune disease, heartburn, bloating. Why wouldn’t it be normal to also be allergic to corn, dairy, tomatoes, soy, eggs, etc.?
Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not normal. In fact, none of the digestive issues listed above are normal. Our bodies have an incredible ability to tell us when something is wrong. To sound the alarm. Our job is simply to listen and respond to our body’s queues. And a handful of different food sensitivities is a major alarm of an unhealthy gut that should not be ignored.
What are the leading causes of food sensitivities?
Food sensitivities are often the downstream effect of another health condition that has been running around, untreated, for some time. If you’ve ever heard of leaky gut, this is a condition in which the lining of your intestines, which should act as a barrier between your digestive system and your bloodstream, becomes permeable. While the nutrients from your food are intended to be absorbed by your intestines and passed into your bloodstream, little food particles are not. And when this happens, your body reacts to the foreign invaders and food sensitivities develop.
Other common causes of food sensitivities include SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), Histamine Intolerance which prevents your body from processing histamine, leading to allergy-like symptoms, Celiac Disease and unmanaged stress which can wreak havoc on the gut. Note that this is not an exhaustive list but can serve as a starting point when trying to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms.
Why you should focus on gut health instead of avoiding your food sensitivities
If you know that you have an adverse reaction to eating pineapple, I’m not saying you should eat pineapple while you work on improving your gut health. What I am saying is that avoiding the laundry list of food sensitivities that you’ve identified is not a long-term solution. Additionally, it will not get to the root cause of your issue (an unhealthy gut). If you simply focus on cutting out the foods that are causing you grief without focusing on improving your gut, your gut health will continue to decline and the list of foods you need to avoid will grow longer and longer. Pretty soon your list of food intolerances will be longer than the list of foods that you can eat, and you will be no closer to find a long term solution to your health issues. So, how can you get started on healing your gut?
How to Heal your Gut
The best way to heal your gut is entirely dependent on the root cause of your issues. As discussed above, there are a number of health conditions that can lead to the development of food sensitivities. Work with your doctor or naturopath to identify the root cause of symptoms (leaky gut, celiac disease, etc.) to determine the best treatment options. Regardless of your diagnosis, there are a few tips I recommend to everyone:
- Start taking a probiotic. Jam packed with billions of healthy gut flora, a probiotic will jumpstart your healing process by flooding your intestines with “good” bacteria while helping to eliminate the bad. A healthy and balanced microbiome is the cornerstone of a healthy gut, and a probiotic is one of the best ways to cultivate a healthy one.
- Clean up your diet! I take every chance I can get to preach a diet composed of whole foods and simple ingredients. If you’re reading this, you are likely suffering from food sensitivities. So why eat a processed protein bar full of additives, preservatives, fillers and ingredients you can’t pronounce? Instead, grab an Rx bar made from 6 familiar ingredients. You are much less likely to react to 6 ingredients than you are to 30. Also, all those crappy ingredients you can’t pronounce are low in nutrients and will not fuel or heal body the way clean, simple ingredients will.
You are not some unlucky person that happens to be allergic to half the food on this planet. Pause and allow yourself a sigh of relief! You do however have an unhealthy gut. Focus on healing your gut and watch your food sensitivities melt away. You might be surprised by the other chronic conditions that improve as well! After all, our bodies are a series of interconnected systems. When we improve one part of our health, others are bound to follow suit.
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