Could food intolerances be subtly effecting your health and well-being? Are you always feeling tired, irritable or lack the ability to focus? Have you considered a relationship between these symptoms and your diet? Are your food choices impacting your health? In this post we are going to explore how food makes you feel. I’ll explain how I’ve adjusted my diet, to enable you to identify possible intolerances and sensitivities far more quickly.
Everyone’s talking about being allergic or intolerant to certain foods, but what’s the difference? Few people are really allergic but many have food intolerances that they might not even know about.
Am I allergic?
An allergic reaction is often immediate and includes symptoms such as hives, a swollen throat and itching or tingling lips. These could be a sign of serious allergic reaction which can be life threatening needing immediate medical attention.
What’s a food intolerance or sensitivity then?
Food intolerances or sensitivities can cause obvious reactions such as stomach pain, rashes or vomiting. Many symptoms are however, far more subtle and delayed in their response. Simply feeling tired, unable to focus or irritable, could be your body reacting to a particular food. These reactions are often ignored or combated with another coffee or sugary treat to keep us going. You don’t have to go through life feeling tired for no reason at all! Listen to your body, what is it telling you?
My food intolerances and how I discovered them.
Over the years, I have discovered several foods that effect my health and wellbeing:
- Dairy products give me a constant nasal drip (and make any cold symptoms 10x worse)
- Yeast products make me feel bloated and increase my susceptibility to candida and therefore thrush
- Alcohol brings on asthma during hay fever season
- Refined products as a whole don’t fuel my body as effectively as unrefined. A strange statement you may think, but please bear with me!
I began suffering severely with hay fever in my early 20’s. Taking antihistamines for 6 months of the year just didn’t sit well with me so I decided to try homeopathy. It was through homeopathy that I first discovered how food can effect well being, health and our body’s general efficiency. Within three months I lost a stone in weight (that I wasn’t even trying to lose!) and my hay fever disappeared. What’s more, I fell pregnant after trying, unsuccessfully for a year before. I strictly cut out all refined products such as white flour, sugar, rice and pasta, replacing them with their unrefined alternatives (whole wheat pasta, unrefined sugar etc). This basically forced me to cook everything from scratch and read every label of everything I bought!
This was a pretty strict regime and I have to admit, not something I can stick to permanently. Being realistic, I allow myself the weekends and holidays to eat what I like. By doing this though, I have really learnt to listen to my body and reevaluate my relationship with food.
How can I identify food intolerances or a sensitivity?
Just as children can grow out of food intolerances, it’s also common to develop an intolerance. Unfortunately, intolerances are most likely to develop to foods that you eat most regularly. It’s also worth noting that if you identify a processed food (anything that has an ingredients list), your reaction may be to a particular ingredient within that food. Simply removing the majority of processed foods from your diet and regularly cooking from scratch, could solve the problem. You’ll find sugar (especially refined, white sugar) in many processed products that you wouldn’t even consider to be sweet. I feel so much better when I’m strictly cutting out sugar, though I have to admit, it’s a constant battle!
Keep a food & mood diary:
Simply by keeping a food diary, you can pinpoint a particular food that may be causing you problems. It’s important to remember that effects can take 72 hours to occur which is why keeping a diary is so important. Making notes about your mood, energy levels and symptoms will help identify foods that slow you down but also those that help you thrive! Once you have identified a potential food, speak to your doctor before cutting it out as dietary change can sometimes make diagnoses more difficult (eg when diagnosing coeliac disease). If you would like some more advice about food replacements or have any other questions, pop me an email or message via any social media channel, comment below or join our community Facebook group
To help you get started, I’ve designed a food effects diary template that I will whiz over to you (along with a motivation kick sheet!) once you’ve filled in your details here.
Don’t worry, I’ll only send you relevant stuff, my email list is strictly private and you can opt out whenever you want to.
Are you always on a different diet? Always trying to lose weight? Stop with the quick fixes and start with the ‘forever’ plan. Join me and my family and lose weight forever!
For more serious issues, medical testing for allergies and intolerances maybe the way to go. This post over on ‘Mummy & Child’ explains options for other methods of testing including ‘home-testing’ and professional tests.
You may also be interested to know how I encourage my children to make healthy food choices for when I’m not around.