Navigating Food Allergy DramaMarch 25, 2011
This past year, I have run into way too many people who have told me that their bodies have an issue with digesting fruit or veggies and so they must avoid raw foods in general. This always makes me incredibly sad, because I cannot imagine a life without my fruit and veg! There seems to be many reasons why this may happen: for some people, it was clear to me they had parasites (which can cause food allergies), another trend was a food intolerance that started when someone moved to the U.S. after being born and raised on fruit and veggies from another country, and the last variant I encountered was people who straight up could die if they ate peanuts or whatever because literally moments afterwards their breathing was restricted etc. In the first two instances, I think that it points to the fact that there may be another underlying issue.
One of the key points I’ve discovered is that the majority of people who actually think they have a food allergy, really have a food intolerance. With food allergies, all of the symptoms occur within a few minutes to an hour of eating. Some experiences that accompany an allergic reaction include itching in the mouth, and difficulty swallowing and breathing. Then, once the food is in digestion phase, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain may begin. It’s usually the latter symptoms, that happen when food is being digested that get confused for being a food allergy, when really, it’s an intolerance.
My theory, especially in the case of those who were able to eat a fruit or vegetable in another country and now cannot, is that there might be substances whether they be additives or herbicides on the food that are causing the intolerance, and that it may not be the food itself in some cases. My mother is a good example of this because for years she told us she was allergic to peanuts. But now, years later she’s discovered that if she buys the natural peanuts still in their shells, the way she was accustomed to eating them when she grew up, she has no reaction at all! Of course, everyone is unique so that can’t be true for all cases. But, there happen to be a range of conditions that can mimic food allergies including:
- Food Poisoning: If you eat food that is contaminated, and have no idea it may cause something that seems like an allergic reaction.
- Lactose or Gluten-Intolerance: It seems like a great deal of people are actually lactose or gluten-intolerant and do not know it. Although they may feel strange symptoms when digesting certain foods, they continue eating them and ignore warning signs or attribute it to some other kind of digestive problem.
- Histamine Toxicity: Apparently some natural substances (histamine in this case) in foods can cause reactions resembling allergy. It can reach high levels in certain fish (especially tun and mackerel), cheese, and some wines. In the case of fish, this may be because the fish is contaminated! When the body has an allergic reaction it usually releases the chemical (neurotransmitter) histamine. So if you eat foods that happen to have high levels it could trigger an allergic reaction response. In addition to this tidbit, something I found interesting is also that Histamine levels can be very high when the body is chronically dehydrated; so if perhaps you are over-caffeinated and your body needs water, your levels will go up and may cause some seeming allergic reactions.
- Food additives: This would be when chemicals or compounds are added to food in order to change coloring, taste or preserve food for bacteria cause reactions. Consuming enough of these can produce allergic reactions. For example apparently eating large amounts of food with MSG can cause flushing, sensations of warmth, light-headedness, facial pressure, headache, and pain in the chest. Also sulfites, which used to be sprayed on fruits and veggies but was banned by the FDA (wow, they did something good), can cause problems with breathing or aggravate an underlying asthmatic condition.
- Other gastrointestinal diseases: Some gastrointestinal diseases such as gallstones, Crohn’s disease, and others cause allergic reactions to food that mimic allergic reactions as well and can cause nausea, vomiting, pain or diarrhea.
All that said, if you think you have a food allergy, you should get tested by your doctor to make sure it is legitimate. If you have an intolerance, try to get to the root of what is causing it. In some cases, a parasite cleanse probably couldn’t hurt, and also taking bentonite clay internally has been said to help with food allergy situations as well. But I’m sure that there are foods and enzymes that can help address digestive disorders and help bring the body back to one. The jury’s still out on my end and I’m going to keep reading and looking into answers as to how fruits and veggies cannot be consumed by so many people and what can be done about it! Will keep you posted on what I discover. -XoXo Raw Girl