Food allergies are quite common in America. Conservatively speaking, around 15 million people suffer from them. They may even be life-threatening. (Think of the child who needs to carry an epinephrine pen in the event he ingests or inhales a peanut to prevent anaphylactic shock.) Unlike a debilitating chronic condition, one does not need to live with its side-effects forever. The quickest and cheapest way to detect a food allergy is an elimination diet. But first let’s review:
The most common food allergens
The most likely culprit in the grain family will be wheat. Refined wheat, which is flour, pervades our processed foods. Bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, cookies, most cereals contain some form of flour.
The symptoms of a food allergy
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you might be allergic to one of these aforementioned foods:
“Brain Fog” (The inability to concentrate.)
How to identify a food allergy?
An allopathic (traditional) doctor will likely refer you to have an allergy blood test. These are expensive and many times unreliable. The easiest way to identify a food allergen is to commence an elimination diet. An elimination diet is simple in principle.
Step 1: Remove all possible food allergens from your diet.
The first thing that might come to your head is “How can I eliminate dairy, grains, and sugars?!” What can I possibly eat?” Though it might be a sacrifice, the long-term benefits of figuring out what is wrong with you is worth the ordeal. Remember though you can still eat all the meat, vegetables, fruits you like.
After one week of removing these foods, you will feels a lot better. Not only will you not be suffering the effects of the food allergen, but you will likely be eating a “cleaner” diet. Many of the typical food allergens, for example dairy and grains, are naturally inflammatory to the body.
Step 2: Re-introduce one suspect allergen one week at a time.
After one week of purifying your diet, I recommend reintroducing dairy or grains first since those might be the likely culprits. Let’s say you bring back dairy on Day 8. If your symptoms don’t return for a week then we can deduce that you are not allergic to dairy. Great news! On Day 15 you re-introduce nuts. Same results. No anaphylactic shock or rashes. Nice! On Day 22 you re-introduce grains. Immediately the bloating, abdominal pain, and “brain fog” reappear. Bingo! You are allergic to grains!
The elimination diet is simple and inexpensive. The short-term sacrifice one must make to eliminate these foods belies its long-term benefit. You now know what food allergen has been driving you crazy for years.
At this time I would like to promote the Paleo/ancestral lifestyle, for adoption of this lifestyle automatically eliminates the two biggest culprits from your diet (i.e. dairy and grains). Though our bodies might be able to digest diary and grains, evolutionary-speaking we are not adept at it. For millions of years our body has become quite skilled at metabolizing naturally-occurring foods. Dairy and the cornucopia of foods that come out of grains and its flour we are not. I like to stick to the simple adage, “If God didn’t make it, don’t eat it!”
Either way the good news is now you know what is the source of your malady. The bad news is that you should remove it from your diet. The transition will be difficult for some, but the fact you will be feeling better in a few days will likely propel you to continue. Your weight will likely drop, your skin will clear up, and you will have better cognition. If that isn’t a convincing enough article, just ponder on this notion. “Who chooses to have stinky flatus if one doesn’t need to have it?”
Reach out to me….let me help you reach your goals.
A. Gregory Luna, double-certified health consultant
(I would appreciate your comments below.)