Does your body ever react oddly after a meal? You may in fact be suffering from a food allergy, an intolerance or just a little sensitivity. Because everyone’s body responds differently to certain foods, symptoms of these sensitivities can vary and may include headaches, migraines, swelling, skin rashes, joint pain, fogginess, digestive issues, etc. (swelling of the throat to the point of inhibiting normal breathing is especially serious, and you should seek immediate medical attention.) Luckily for all of us who suffer in these ways, there is a solution. Elimination diets are a way to determine which specific foods trigger unwanted and potentially life threatening conditions.The easiest way to discover your food sensitivities and/or allergies is by eliminating them to see how your body responds. First, you may want to begin by tracking your typical food habits. Try keeping a food journal for a week or more. Make note of times you may experience your most severe symptoms. This is most certainly not a fool-proof method of determining your food triggers, but it will certainly help you better understand your body’s reaction and what foods you could try taking out of your diet.
If you are still unsure about the specific food that may be causing your body’s poor response, try eliminating these common irritants:
- Gluten (wheat and other products)
- Dairy (lactose and casein)
- Processed foods(additives, food dyes, MSG, EDTA, etc.)
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Citrus fruits and juices
Try removing the suspected food item from your diet for a week or two. If you are no longer experiencing the unwanted symptoms, you may your own digestive system’s nemesis. Most people will remove one food item at a time from their diet, but you may find that two or more of these irritants is in fact your deadly combo. Of these common irritants, dairy and gluten are often major causes of allergy and sensitivity. Furthermore, many individuals who try an elimination diet may find that they can eat some of these foods without severe irritation so long as the portion sizes are small and moderate.
While trying this elimination process, don't forget to ask yourself:
- Do I feel better?
- Do I have more energy?
- Are my symptoms less severe (GI discomfort, swelling, fogginess, etc)?