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If you’ve ever experienced the aftermath of a food sensitivity issue you will know that this can be extremely debilitating. While there may be some foods that you know are not good for you, there are bound to be a few more that you don’t know are causing unpleasant gut reactions.
If you’re anything like me, a food sensitivity issue can cause you great discomfort for days or even a week or two with symptoms like diarrhoea, bloating, gas and cramping. Uuugh, who wants that!
Your Unique Constitution is Important
We are all unique. We all need to eat differently for our own constitution. Whether it’s how much we eat, the types of food we eat or even how we combine our food, all of this can vary dramatically from person to person.
The first thing to be aware of is that while you may have a tendency to be sensitive to some types of foods, the addition of too much stress in your life greatly affects your body’s ability to digest well, and your sensitivity to foods can worsen.
Please note that I am not referring here to food allergies which are a different situation entirely, in which you are likely to have a very severe reaction to some kinds of foods, some of which can be life threatening. I am referring to foods that cause a drain or a further stress on your system.
A Common Symptom of Adrenal Fatigue is Food Sensitivity
A few years back when the stress in my life became chronic over an extended period of time, my ability to tolerate certain foods that I had previously been able to eat before without any concern, became extremely troublesome for me. I was by this time experiencing severe adrenal fatigue and as the symptoms had worsened, so too had my sensitivity to a wide array of foods.
I found myself having to cut out gluten, wheat, dairy, flour, sugar and caffeine. For a while it seemed like just about everything I ate caused a very unpleasant gut reaction. I experienced nausea, diarrhea, bloating, extreme gas and cramping and once there was an intolerable food inside of me, the symptoms would last for days and even up to a week or two.
I remember one day having a severe blood sugar drop (also a very common symptom of adrenal fatigue) and succumbing to buying a cup cake to eat to try and balance this out. Oh wow, the result of doing that was terrible with all of the above mentioned symptoms. I suffered for many days and so regretted that decision.
My motivation to give up foods that contained gluten, wheat, dairy, flour, sugar and caffeine was very high, because of the unpleasant symptoms I was experiencing. So you may think I can’t do that, there’s nothing left to eat, but quite honestly the types of foods that are left to eat, are whole foods, the real foods, the types of foods that we are meant to consume.
2 Ways to Test at Home for Food Sensitivity
Ok so heading off to get some allergy testing done with your naturopath or functional medicine practitioner is definitely an option. These tests can be very costly however, so here are 2 options of things you can try at home to help you discover what foods you may be sensitive to.
1. Do Your Own Elimination Diet.
One of the best ways to find out what foods don’t suit you is to take foods out of your diet for a period of time. For an adult, a period of 3-4 weeks without a certain food can give your body a chance to eliminate it from your system.
You can eliminate many different kinds of foods or simply choose one or two to let go of. The choice is up to you. If you are having a lot of issues, it may be better to cut out a bunch of foods that you feel may be the culprits.
After that period of time, introduce the foods back in slowly, one at a time. Give it at least 3-4 days after eating that food for any symptoms to show up. And most importantly take note of any reactions that you may experience.
I would suggest you keep a notebook of some kind and track things like
- Your quality and quantity of sleep
- Your digestion – symptoms like gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea
- Your mood
- Your energy levels
- Any skin reactions (which are closely related to the gut)
- Any headaches
- Issues with brain fog
- Issues with sinus or hayfever
- And any other symptoms that may show up.
Trust these symptoms and trust your own intuition as to what foods feel right for you.
2. The Coca Pulse Test
In 1956 Dr Arthur Coca conducted a bunch of research and discovered that there was a stress response experienced through the quickening of the pulse rate after eating foods that you may be sensitive or allergic to. If you are interested in reading his whole book, you can check it out here, where it is kept on file as a free pdf through The Soil and Health Library.
This is not something I have tried myself yet, but after a recent reoccurence of a food sensitivity issue, I am going to test this out, so we can try it out together.
There is apparently a long version and a modified version of his pulse test.
The long version of the test has you testing your pulse up to 14 times a day, and if this is something you really want to do, that’s all good, I encourage you to check out the link above to read a copy of his work.
If you would like to try the modified version of his test, try the following.
1. Two hours after eating and while you are in a relaxed state, take your pulse for 1 minute.
2. Put a piece of food that you are having doubts about into your mouth and taste it for 30 seconds. You can chew it if you would like to, but don’t swallow it. Then, with the food still in your mouth (try not to gag 🙂 ) take your pulse for another 1 minute.
Rinse your mouth out with water if you plan on testing another food.
If your pulse rate increases by 6 beats per minute or more, this indicates that your body has had a stress response to it, and this is a food to be avoided.
Your Food Sensitivities Can Change
Food sensitivities can be ever changing and as the amount of stress in your system reduces (or increases) so to will your sensitivity to various foods that you may be eating.
It can be a viscious cycle. Stress can worsen a food sensitivity and the issue of dealing with a food sensitivity can cause added stress on your system.
As well as discovering what foods may not be good for your system, please also continue to find ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life as a matter of urgency.
Good luck with your discoveries.
I would love to hear how you go with this.
All the best.