Food & Your Body–-My Food Sensitivity Testing Results
Friends, it’s no secret that I keep no secrets around here (and I think I am way more clever with words than I truly am).
You guys hear about the mundane parts of our lives, the challenges, the victories, and even sometimes, intricate details about how and why we eat the way we do.
I have to admit, since last December, I have been feeling generally fantastic! After nipping hypothyroidism in the bud and avoiding going on any medication by changing my eating habits, I have felt healthy, happy and full of energy.
But, there’s just one thing. A while after I came off the Be Well cleanse feeling “well,” I started feeling swollen lymph nodes in my neck and under my chin. Some days were better than others, but, in general, they were in a chronic enlarged state with no signs of changing.
I have this all sorted out now, and am back to feeling great, so now I’m ready to tell you a little bit more. I wanted to get to the bottom of it first, so I could truly share in case you are experiencing similar weird symptoms you can’t pinpoint.
Enter Food Sensitivities and How Your Body Reacts
Not everyone’s food sensitivities are the same, nor do they produce the same symptoms. For instance, I have a colleague who told me his tests showed him sensitive to sugar, and he knows when he has sugar he’s a big grump. Another gets sore spots inside his nose when he has dairy. Another breaks out in hives when she eats fish. Food sensitivities are part of being human, and, if you get them resolved, you can operate at your best.
When I realized I was having some sort of histamine reaction to something, I went on a quest to figure out what foods were triggering this aggravation. I was completely healthy and showed no signs of an infection. Clearly my immune system was reacting to what it believed to be a toxin for my body, but what was causing it?
Side note: JJ Virgin’s book, The Virgin Diet, is a good primer on food sensitivities.
Since early January, I have cut out: Gluten, corn, soy, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, dairy, and eggs, spurred on my JJ’s book.. These are the most common food irritants, and they are gone like a freight train. Of these, gluten, dairy, and eggs were no brainers for me (as were artificial sweeteners – these are bad for anyone) because I don’t feel well when I have them. Dairy makes my skin break out and eggs make my throat swell up so much it almost restricts breathing. Having gluten is like taking a sleeping pill – I get super tired almost immediately. Clearly a cause and effect thing is happening here.
But still, removal of these likely offenders didn’t seem to be the magic bullet that “cured” what ailed me in terms of my lymphatic system.
I really believe that the healthier you get, the more aware of your body you become. So, if you’re living in a world where you eat lots of things that maybe aren’t great for you, you’re not as in tune to when something doesn’t work for you as you become when your diet is super clean. It’s just nature at work – put in good fuel and you’ll notice when your engine’s not running well.
My puzzlement came out of the fact that I have been putting in turbo fuel and not quite getting the afterburner effect. That’s when I enlisted help from my blog buddy and an expert in the area of food sensitivities, Emily, who pointed out that even healthy foods can be unhealthy for some people at some times.
Turns out I am sensitive to all the items I had cut out, but some additional critical items I hadn’t: Nightshades (tomato, pepper, eggplant), caffeine (coffee and tea) and, something I was eating daily: Oranges. Oranges! A light bulb seriously went off about oranges.
While I was excited to see this list, I can see how something like this could be daunting if you weren’t already pretty far down the path that I was down, having cut out a lot of these items already. Thankfully, I was already off the coffee, but I do enjoy Teeccino, which has barley in it. It’s not enough that Teeccino’s on the list, so is Barley. Double-whammy.
So, you’re probably thinking, “Oh my, that is a lot of things, how can a person cope with all those forbidden foods?”
And here’s the answer, at least from my perspective. It is a long list, but a lot of the items are from the same family, for instance I have seven rows of dairy listed. But then again, I already knew dairy was an issue, so it was no surprise.
It is not the end of the world. There is plenty of food that is nutritious, delicious, and readily available that is not on this list. I would rather know my hotspots than dubiously walk around a mine field waiting to find the next thing that is going to blow up in my face. Wouldn’t you? No more surprise attacks around here.
And, this isn’t forever. It’s for right now. A lot of times food can be a trigger for you at one point in your life, and you can remove it for a while and bring it back later with no issues. Our bodies are constantly evolving, and just like we can train to run a marathon, we can train ourselves to adapt to certain foods.
Knowledge is power! Power leads to change.
I’m happy to report that after removing all of these items from my diet, I’m feeling great again. My lymph nodes are normal (meaning, I can’t feel them at all anymore). Once I got to a normal state, which took about three weeks, I started testing foods in a very scientific way to see what in particular is setting this off. This is a good way to understand how you react to specific foods. You have to be careful though, you can’t mix and match! I pick one item, add it to my diet once per day for 3 days, and then remove it without adding anything else for 4 days. This method has taught me:
- Iced tea, herbal tea and Teeccino are fine
- Corn is fine
- Nightshades are not fine – one tomato and I’m like a squirrel smuggling chestnuts in my neck within 4 hours
- Dark chocolate is not fine – same as above
And that is as far as I’ve gotten. This process may seem annoying and tedious, but it has given me confidence as to what is an offender and what truly isn’t.
As I do with most things, I’ll keep you posted. It’s sort of like the saying,“There are no stupid questions – if you have the question, someone else probably does too.” Sharing is a good thing, especially when it comes to leading a better quality life!
If you don’t feel right, you have stubborn water weight that you just can’t lose, or, any other multitude of systems that can’t be medically explained, you should look into what your food sensitivities are. Want a good resource on the subject? Hit up Emily. She knows what she’s talking about! And, she can do testing remotely, which is how we did my testing.
What are your food sensitivity experiences? Please let us know in the comments!