Monday, January 16, 2012

All About Allergies

When thinking about what to write for my second post, of course I asked my husband for suggestions. His first answer was...Allergies! This is a topic that will probably get brought up several times during the course of my blog, so I thought a little into to allergies would be beneficial for a few reasons:

1. Understanding a bit more about me- I have food allergies...gluten, dairy, and sugar are the biggies!
2. I LOVE to cook- so when I post recipes, they will (almost) always be GF, DF, and SF...but I promise they will be delicious and full of flavor!
3. Education- even though gluten-free options are popping up everywhere, I find that most people have a misconception of what it means to have a food allergy!

When most people hear the word allergy, they immediately think of symptoms such as skin rashes, runny or itchy eyes, sinus problems, or in more severe cases, anaphylactic shock (most commonly experienced by those with nut and bee sting allergies). What most don't know is that there are many different forms of food allergies; some people refer to the less severe reactions as sensitivities or intolerance's rather than allergies.

In fact, until recently, my wonderful husband had always doubted my food allergies and couldn't comprehend how certain foods affected me.  A few weeks ago he started getting this strange sharp pain after eating.  We went to our family Dr, a GI specialist, and even got blood work done.  They couldn't tell us what was causing his horrible pain.  After keeping a food journal, he recently narrowed it down to either eggs or coconut, and he is almost positive he has a food allergy (crazy huh? Those of you that know him can understand my shock and will be surprised to know that he came to this conclusion entirely on his own!).  In a few weeks we should have a definite answer, as he wants to get the allergy testing, but in the mean time, no eggs or coconut products for him!

Okay...back to ME....

So you are thinking, if you don't have itchy eyes or your throat isn't closing shut, than what exactly happens to you when you eat these so-called "allergy" foods?

I'm glad you asked :)

Hmm lets see...when I eat foods containing gluten, dairy, or sugar (or a mix of them all), I notice that:
  • I get bloated and don't digest food in a "timely" manner
  • my heart beats faster than normal
  • my face breaks out 
  • I have little energy
  • I have a difficult time falling asleep at night (partly because of my fast heart rate)
  • I get headaches (not very frequently though, but when I do, they are horrible and last for days)
  • during the spring/summer months, my seasonal allergies will be out of control
  • I will easily gain weight
A food allergy occurs because of a variety of reasons and can cause an assortment of symptoms. I initially visited a naturopath because of my severe seasonal allergies. He did an allergy test and realized that not only was I sensitive to pollen and grass, but that the foods I was eating every day were putting my body in overload, making my seasonal allergies go out of control! I eliminated gluten, dairy, and sugar, and guess what happened? My seasonal allergies went away because my body was not being flooded with histamines.  In addition, my skin cleared up, I had a ton of energy, and was sleeping like a baby.  I dropped a few pounds and was experiencing a new level of health that I never had felt before. I went to the Dr. hoping to get seasonal allergy help, but it ended up being so much more than just that.

That was about five years ago. For the most part, I am really good about avoiding G, D, and S, but there are definitely times I struggle. But I am still dedicated and extremely passionate about health.  I am excited to share my knowledge and also learn from please leave comments :)

Do these experiences and symptoms seem all too real to you? Do you think you could be struggling with an unknown allergy?

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