THE TRUTH ABOUT DIAGNOSING FOOD ALLERGIES
I recently heard a lecture from an MD who has seen his general practice shift drastically in the past ten years. He recognizes the tell-tale signs of food allergies in his patients and now has become an expert in diagnosing them.
The instances of diagnosed food *allergies have risen sharply in the past decade. Statistics vary widely in the general population, but for those with autoimmune conditions, allergies are part and parcel of daily life. So, why don’t more interested MDs become experts in diagnosing them?
The easy answer is that they simply don’t have the resources.
Current food allergy lab testing can be inconclusive and often confusing. Blood tests, skin tests, and saliva tests can help to narrow down the field of likely offenders, but the real skill comes in the fine-tuning of the diet and the analysis of the results. Simple detective skills are needed to compare changes over time; it’s a fairly easy process.
The truth is, diagnosing food allergies takes time, patience, and persistence.
Do these sound like resources available to the typical overworked and over-booked MD? Not likely. That’s why there’s no one better or more qualified to seek your own solutions than YOU!
Removing possible food allergens in a systematic way (an elimination diet) isn’t difficult. I go into more detail in my book, FibroWHYalgia, as well as in the workshops and lectures I give. An elimination diet requires removing a single food group for a period of time (as few as 7 days or so), and then paying attention to how you feel. The body gives many clues about the foods we eat and let’s us know what foods work “with” us and what ones work “against” us.
Evaluating your own experiences with likely offenders (wheat/gluten, dairy, corn, food additives/chemicals [including artificial sweeteners], caffeine, shellfish, soy, eggs, nuts, etc.) can be done on your own. Additionally for a little help, you can choose to seek assistance from naturopaths, holistic nutritionists, and/or holistic health counselors. The point is to seek help from those who can truly provide you with the time and resources necessary to help you achieve your goals.
If a food has been determined to be a problem for you, doesn’t it make sense to give your body a break and remove it from your diet?
Allergies and sensitivities are common and many food questionnaires can be found online. They can serve as a guide and point to sources of inflammation. Pinpointing foods that are negatively affecting your health is a great place to begin your wellness plan. Here’s a simple online test you can take from Dr. Mark Hyman, a well-known food sensitivity expert HERE.
For now, take a look at what you’re eating to find out what’s really eating you!
*NOTE: I’m using the term “allergy” it in this post to refer to any indication that a particular food doesn’t “agree” with the body. In a more formal arena, the term allergy is used for a true allergic response where the body shows a dramatic reaction such as hives, swelling, anaphylactic shock, etc. Food intolerances and sensitivities may show up in less obvious ways, but they’re no less impactful over time. For the purpose of this post, I’ve used “allergy” to encompass all problems with food whether an allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance.