Well, we’re about to help you figure it out!
Do These Sound Familiar?
Part of what makes identifying food intolerances so difficult is that the symptoms tend to be vague and undefined. Or even unrelated completely.
People struggling with food intolerances often don’t even recognize them as symptoms themselves. Instead they write them off as the aches and pains or discomforts of, well, life.
Or they’ve had tests and blood work and still can’t figure out what’s wrong.
How many of these are you experiencing?
- Brain fog
- Food cravings
- Joint pain
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Gas and bloating
- Stomach ache
- Runny nose
- Feeling blah or general malaise
If a lightbulb just went off, maybe it’s time to stop running tests and worrying about lab work, and start paying closer attention to what you’re eating. You may be dealing with a food intolerance.
The bad news is that some of the most common food intolerances are linked to very common foods. But that’s also the good news, too.
Since they are common foods, you may not have to look very deep into your diet to find them.
1. Eggs. In people with an intolerance to eggs, they can create inflammation. Usually, it’s just the whites that cause the problem, while the yolks are tolerated well. However, for a few people, the whole egg is the problem.
2. Dairy. Lactose intolerance is one of the more common food intolerances. It’s when a person cannot digest the natural sugars – lactose – in dairy products. But for others, the issue is the casein, the protein in dairy products.
3. Gluten grains. Gluten intolerance has been around for a while but has just recently started gaining respectability. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains, like wheat, rye, and barley.
4. Gluten-free grains. Unfortunately, just because a grain doesn’t contain gluten doesn’t guarantee you won’t still have a food intolerance. Many people react to gluten-free grains, like corn and rice, just as badly.
5. Legumes. For most people trying to eat a more plant-based diet, legumes are an excellent source of protein. But if you have a food intolerance to beans, you’re not doing yourself any favors. They contain proteins that are difficult for some people to process.
6. Nightshade vegetables and fruit. In spite of the ominous name, these are vegetables you probably eat on a regular basis: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, even some berries are all nightshades. As delicious as they are, they could be increasing inflammation throughout your system.
7. Nuts and seeds. Be careful with nuts, because they are a frequent food allergy, and those need to be treated differently (more on food allergies in a moment). Before you give them up completely, try buying them raw in bulk and roasting them at home. That’s easier for many people.
What to Do Now
If you suspect you have a food intolerance, consider an elimination diet. This is exactly what it sounds like – you eliminate the questionable foods from your diet.
The most efficient way to complete an elimination diet is to remove all seven of the frequent culprits from your diet for two to three weeks. That will give your body a chance to heal.
At the end of the three weeks, you should feel better than you have in a long time. Slowly, start reintroducing each category of food back into your diet.
Take your time with this stage. It should take a few weeks to reintroduce each food back into your meals, and be sure to only reintroduce one food at a time.
As soon as you feel your energy levels drop or any symptoms return, you know which food was causing the problems! Eliminate it again and you should resolve your food intolerance issues.
Food Intolerance v Food Allergy
One last thought - although some people use food intolerance and food allergy interchangeably, they are different. And the difference is important.
While food intolerances are important – they’re the subject of this article, after all – food allergies can be dangerous.
Food allergies trigger the body’s histamine response, which can cause swelling. In extreme cases, the histamine response causes the sinuses and throat to swell closed.
Food intolerances can impact your overall well being and health but food allergies may turn into an emergency situation, so handle them differently.
Don’t worry about food intolerances any longer. Identify them. Sure, it will take a few weeks, but those few weeks can give you your life back!