More on having Food Intolerance...The Two-Fold Effect
Untreated severe food intolerances can cause intermittent head-scratching
As you probably know by now, treating people for food intolerance is kind of my ‘thing’. Check out my other posts on this subject:
In this post, I’ll help you understand something that you may be unwittingly doing to yourself with your diet.
You may have noticed that a certain food you would normally find very agreeable, has recently started causing upset in your body. Because of this, you thought it wise to keep the offending food to a minimum in your diet. However, now you find that your reaction to this ‘food foe’ is even more pronounced than ever — you’ve become increasingly sensitive to it. You may find that you can’t eat even the tiniest bit of this particular food, without your stomach ‘blowing up’, you getting diarrhoea, or developing some other unpleasant symptom.
You expected to be getting better by having your ‘food foe’ less often, but instead you seem to be getting worse (when you do actually eat it).
At this point, most people think that the only solution is to give up this particular food — forever…
This unfortunately, is the real over-reaction to your ‘food foe’.
Now you're over-reacting to everything!
You believe you know what your food foe is — because you react to it very quickly after eating it (within a few hours). And, the result or symptom you get is fairly consistent.
All of this sounds suspiciously like an allergy — but it’s not. If it were an allergy, you would have always had this condition. Also, your reaction would effect your breathing, or create hives/a significant rash/ flushing of the skin, or cause swelling of your lips, eyes, or throat…
So, what the heck is going on then?
Infrequently having your 'food foe' makes your problem worse when you do have it!
The Two-Fold Effect
What you are experiencing is something I like to refer to as ‘The Two-Fold Effect’. This effect sees the exacerbation of your symptoms with only a modest amount of ingestion of your ‘food foe’.
However, what’s really causing this intense reaction, is that you are suffering from an untreated severe food intolerance. (This is opposed to a mild food intolerance or a food sensitivity.)
When eating less of your ‘food foe' results in 'more' symptom
It can be difficult to determine which foods or substances are causing a food intolerance (aka a Cyclic Allergy). This is because there is generally a slow reaction rate — it can take up to 48 hours or longer to mount an immune reaction, or physiological response.
If you have a severe food intolerance, in order to eventually regain your tolerance, you need to completely avoid your ‘food foe’ for at least a three month period. If you don’t, when you remove the food and then have it again within a few days, you are unwittingly performing a very basic ‘Elimination Diet and Food Challenge Test’1.
The Elimination Diet and Food Challenge is a test where you clear your body of your allergenic responses over a number of days (an allergen is a substance that causes a reaction), then reintroduce food in stages to find out which you react to. Any food you have a problem with will cause ‘all hell to break loose’ in your digestive, respiratory, immune, integumentary (skin), or musculoskeletal systems.
Note: Essentially what you’ll experience here is, you’ll be feeling fine, and then you really won’t be… and then you’ll be feeling fine, and then you really won’t be… Or, you might not even get a chance to feel fine – because your idea of minimising your ‘food foe’ (in your diet) still sees you having it at some point/s during the week. This would mean your body never gets a chance to ‘clear’ itself of its response to this particular food.
It's important to remember that having a food intolerance is only a temporary situation.
Increase your healing Two-fold
If you suspect a particular food is upsetting you, then do yourself a favour and get the job done right first time. Get your Naturopath to confirm your suspicions via hair testing2. Without the test, you could be blaming an ‘innocent’ food. Your actual allergen could be something you wouldn’t have even considered, but always have in conjunction with your suspected ‘food foe’.
For more information on this, please see my previous post on: Food- inglorious food
Your Naturopath will teach you how you came to develop a food intolerance. They will also teach you how to regain your tolerance, and help to minimise the development of these issues in the future.
Your Naturopath will advise you on avoiding not only the overt versions of your allergen, but will also make you aware of where your allergen may be lurking in insidious, seemingly harmless forms (e.g. modified starch or glucose can come from wheat).
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath and Medical Herbalist. She divides her time between running her own practice OOMPH–Realistic Holistic Health, in Mission Bay (Auckland, New Zealand), and working as a Naturopath at Huckleberry Farms in Glen Innes (Auckland, New Zealand). She also writes for various publications.
Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 11 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.