I have been studying and learning about this topic for years, but just recently received test results from our youngest daughter. I was happy to see she had only a few very minor food intolerances, unfortunately one of them is to almonds. Almond milk is one of the milk alternatives we drink the most in our house. Almond milk was also the only milk I really enjoyed while pregnant with her. Consequently, when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, soy milk (which we no longer consume) was my preferred milk. She has a minor intolerance to soy. Is this a coincidence?
According to The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (2008) by Sherry Torkos, several reasons are suspect to the rise in food intolerances.
- Antibiotic Use: They destroy the healthy bacteria in the intestines which leads to an overgrowth of fungi. These fungi secrete chemicals which create allergic reactions.
- Genetics: Even one parent with an allergy will increase the likelihood that a child will develop an allergy.
- Poor Digestive Function: The digestive tract plays an important role in preventing illness, however when it is compromised, molecules will be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Some of the ways the digestive tract can be broken down is through stress, antibiotics, vaccines and parasites.
- Repeated Consumption of the Same Foods: Eating the same foods can be taxing on the immune system. Foods such as wheat, dairy, citrus and eggs are common food allergens as they are found in many foods. A variety of all food/food groups is important: grains, meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables should all be eaten in an array.
Food intolerances do differ from food allergies, as they don't involve the immune system. An intolerance basically refers to any physiological symptom to a food. There are laboratory tests to determine your food intolerances, however you can also conduct an "Avoid Test" or an "Elimination Diet."
An avoid test would mean eliminating a suspected food for 3 weeks and then reintroducing it for a week. During its reintroduction, take note of any changes
An elimination diet is a more rigorous plan of doing a fast or eating a very simple diet of only pure foods. Pure foods could include fruits, vegetables, beans, brown rice, nuts (no soy or peanuts) pure oils, herbs, water and herbal teas. This diet would be eaten for a few days to clear your body of any food allergens. It is suggested that it can take up to a month to fully cleanse your body. During your cleanse you may notice withdrawal affects such as headaches, food cravings and changes in bowels. Following your elimination cleanse slowly introduce one food at a time keeping track of any changes.
A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a portion of the book, Make Yourself Better. It has some great information about the impact of our environment on our health.
Take a look:
Making Yourself Feel Better -Excerpt