What To Do If You Suspect Food Allergies
First of all I would like to thank Heather Frey of Smash Fit for giving me the opportunity to discuss what living with food allergies is like. This is a very serious topic and since the symptoms vary from one person to the next my goal is to make you aware of a few key points that might increase your awareness.
I’ve been living a gluten-free, dairy-free and soy- free lifestyle for seventeen years. I can honestly say that I’ve been very compliant with this lifestyle for the past seven years and have found it to get easier and easier as time goes by but something happened last October. I found myself experiencing symptoms similar to what I had seventeen years ago and I will be honest I ignored them for the first month but it started to get worse and I knew something was wrong because my body was rejecting all foods.
I started experiencing serious digestive issues, dehydration, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression and lack of motivation. So I chose to get a blood test that tested me for 135 foods and 23 spices and the results were astounding. On top of gluten, dairy and soy it revealed I was severely allergic to goat’s milk and eggs. It also showed moderate allergic reactions to asparagus, kidney beans, broccoli, kale, green peas, onions, plums, potato, corn and many more. My initial reaction was slight devastation due to the amount of foods but also grateful that I knew what was going on. At this point I knew I had to go on an elimination diet but wasn't sure where to begin because I honestly felt like I couldn't eat anything since eggs is in a lot of foods that I currently eat. But, the key to dealing with food allergies is asking for help.
Back in November, I saw an internist; a naturopathic doctor, an allergist, a gastrointestinal doctor and I couldn't believe how their reports and suggestions all differed from each other. The allergist told me after the results of my skin test that I was only allergic to pecans and I shouldn't have problems eating the rest of the foods. When I was talking to the internist, I felt like I was leading the conversation as he was unsure which foods I should cut out and the GI doctor was key in testing me internally to make sure I didn’t do any severe damage to my digestive system. However, I felt the naturopathic doctor was the closest because their intake and research is so thorough and always goes to the root of the problem. My conclusion is that unless you’re concerned with immediate serious reactions to dietary issues then the skin test will not give you the results you want but GI Doctors are good because they can do testing to make sure there is no internal damage.
Typical Signs and Symptoms of Food Allergies
2. Frequent Headaches
7. Canker Sores
9. Joint Pain
10. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency
If you experience any of these after you eat I would first recommend starting a food journal and write down everything that you ingest including spices. Some symptoms show up later and this will help you determine what foods it might be. If the symptoms persist, then my personal advice to you is get tested as soon as possible because you don’t want to mess around with your digestive system. Regardless of what your results are, the key is to embrace them and remain positive. Then, ask for help, do research and realize that you’re not alone in this process.
These are two tests that can help you determine exactly what is going on, skin prick test or having the IgG food allergy blood panel performed. The results that you receive from these tests are the first step in feeling better and living a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re concerned with getting tested for celiacs disease then you must also get an endoscopy. Typically this can be a tough process because the doctors will want you to ingest gluten for several days before the test to see how your body reacts. A blood test can test for celiac disease but it’s not as accurate as the endoscopy.
• If you suspect food allergies, get tested right away
• Ask for help
• Embrace change and keep a positive attitude
• The blood test is the most beneficial for specific foods and spices
• If your allergies are severe be prepared to eliminate most of them for a minimum of six months.
• Some of the best resources are online, Twitter, cookbooks, forums, chats and talking to others that have been through this.
Be prepared for conflicting reports and don’t get frustrated because in the end remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
In conclusion, as a foodie who loves to cook the best part about all of this is I’ve become more creative in the kitchen.
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