I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t think I had food sensitivities or digestive issues even though I felt crappy.

Before my nutrition studies, I thought reactions to food were either severe allergies to peanuts and shellfish or milder intolerances like lactose intolerance. And since neither applied to me, I didn’t give food sensitivities a second thought.

If you find yourself tuning out because you think that food sensitivities don’t apply to you either, it’s time to tune back in. The bottom line is that if you feel crappy and it’s not exactly clear why you feel this way then I want you to understand that you very likely DO have food sensitivities.

Just because you don’t have dry eyes, hives or a runny nose (what we consider traditional allergies) doesn’t mean you don’t have food sensitivities. Most of us do have food sensitivities and almost all of us with them don’t realize that the foods we eat directly affect why we feel tired and crappy.

Once I cut out processed foods, I felt a lot better. Thank you Captain Obvious. But that wasn’t the true solution. Symptoms will improve but likely not disappear at this point. Those foods are not designed to make you healthy (no matter the health claims on the front of the package) so it makes sense that cutting them out would help you feel better.

I know how intelligent you are – valuing your health and spending time researching the best ways to achieve the health you desire. You’ve likely already cut out processed foods and you know vegetables are healthy (although you may not always get around to eating the amount you think you should).

But I’m guessing, especially if you are still reading, that you have gone further than cutting out processed foods and have experimented with eliminating gluten and/or dairy. Again, this likely had you feeling better than before but not the “better” you desire.

That “better” includes energy that doesn’t leave you feeling like a zombie, clear skin, no headaches, a flattened tummy and an ideal weight. Basically a body you feel energized and comfortable in.

Here’s the thing: certain foods, even some which are considered to be HEALTHY could actually be fueling your bloat, zapping your energy, causing breakouts and giving you a pounding head. Rude.

 

Let’s clear up the difference between food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities.

FOOD ALLERGY

In a true allergic reaction, IgE antibodies attach to a particular type of white blood cell called mast cells in your immune system, specifically in connective tissues and mucous membranes. Once the IgE antibodies make this attachment, cytokines and histamines (inflammatory molecules) are released into the body producing symptoms such as hives, itching, closing of the throat within a matter of minutes and up to two hours.

FOOD INTOLERANCE

Food intolerances are marked by the inability to digest specific carbohydrates so they do not have enough enzymes to digest them. The most common carbohydrates that people are intolerant to are gluten, fructose and lactose.

FOOD SENSITIVITY

Food sensitivity reactions are non-IgE responses that are delayed about two hours to three days after consuming a particular food or foods. This delayed response is what keeps most food sensitivities hidden from you and very difficult to pinpoint.

We are actually quite bad at noticing our food sensitivities because they aren’t acute and we begin to accept them as normal.

If you’ve removed foods in the past and still feel crappy, food sensitivities are almost always the case.

Food sensitivities include physical, mental and emotional symptoms. So don’t write your irritability off completely to how your day or your life is going. What you eat has a profound effect on both your body and your mind.

If it has sunk in that you realize you do have food sensitivities you may find this news to be scary or overwhelming. But I’m here to tell you that this news is actually empowering and simple. Now you know WHY you feel crappy, especially when you have been eating healthier.

And this news can simplify things for you because you now have one goal: to restore your gut health and uncover your food sensitivities along the way.

Phew.