Many people are unsure about the difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity. A food allergy elicits an IgE (a type of antibody) mediated reaction that can cause hives, shortness of breath, swelling, etc. Most people with serious food allergies (i.e. to peanuts, fish, egg, etc) are very well aware they have these allergies and will carry and Epi pen to avoid emergencies in the case of anaphylaxis.
Mild or moderate allergies to foods, dust, mold, and various animals can be detected using a skin prick test at your GPs office. A food sensitivity is not as immediate or severe as an allergy. It is mediated by IgG antibodies which cause a delayed type hypersensitivity reaction. This means that a person can react to a food even 48 hours after the food has been ingested.
Symptoms of food sensitivities vary from person to person. Some experience digestive upset, gas, bloating, heartburn, cramping, diarrhea or constipation. Others may experience headaches or "brain fog". Some notice inflammation on the skin in the form of eczema, psoriasis, or acne. For some, joints are affected. Some suffer from recurrent sore throats, chronic ear infections, or sinus congestion. Others may just feel fatigued or moody after eating a food they are sensitive to, or notice they seem to be gaining weight (usually around the midsection) despite a generally balanced diet and exercise routine. In children, food sensitivities can present as behavioural issues, sleep disturbances, chronic ear infections, gastrointestinal dysregulation, or a depressed immune system where they just seem to get every cold and flu that comes around.
Food sensitivities can be identified using various methods. I commonly use a blood test to determine food sensitivities. The test measures whether or not you are producing an IgG antibody to a food antigen you are consuming. This is by far the easiest way to determine the culprits. It takes out the guessing when you don't know whether it was the dairy you had for breakfast, the pasta the night before, etc. Still, some patients prefer to determine food sensitivities using an elimination diet. With this method, the most common food allergens (dairy, soy, sugar, gluten, eggs just to name a few) are removed from the diet for a period of 6 weeks and introduced one at a time after that with 48 hours between introductions.
The process takes awhile but you are able to listen to your body's reaction and understand exactly how and where that food is affecting you and your health.
If food sensitivities are identified, often the culprits will be removed from the diet for a period of time and a natural prescription may be given to you by your naturopathic doctor to heal the inflammation in the body and aid in optimal digestion. A prescription is always tailored to the individual and symptoms presenting.
Choosing to determine food sensitivities can be a commitment, but the differences patients notice in their health are incredible. Aren't YOU worth it?
LAURA IS A LICENSED NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR AND CERTIFIED YOGA INSTRUCTOR. HER NATUROPATHIC PRACTICE - AWAKEN WELLNESS WITHIN - IS LOCATED WITHIN SYNERGY WELLNESS CENTRE ON FIRST ST.
"AS A NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR, THROUGH EDUCATION, EMPOWERMENT, AND EXAMPLE, I ENDEAVOUR TO GUIDE PATIENTS TOWARD MANIFESTING OPTIMAL HEALTH AND LIVING THEIR MOST INSPIRED LIFE!"
“AS A YOGA INSTRUCTOR, MY INTENTION IS TO GUIDE STUDENTS TOWARDS GETTING IN TOUCH WITH THEIR BREATH, LISTENING TO THE INNATE WISDOM OF THE BODY, OBSERVING THE CONNECTION OF THE MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT, AND AWAKENING THE LIFE FORCE WITHIN.”
DR LAURA VANDERAA, CYT BSC ND
AWAKEN WELLNESS WITHIN
NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE & YOGA
150 FIRST ST. COLLINGWOOD ON