Living With Food Intolerances

Before and after dairy!

Food intolerances and allergies are definitely on the rise, according to Allergy UK, and the most recent figures show that in the last decade, the number of us who have true food allergies has doubled. Many of us are also living with symptoms that could be caused by undiagnosed food intolerances and allergies, and the first step towards learning how to live with them is to find out what they are.

Lots of people think that the way they feel is ‘normal’ even though they seem to be living with low-level symptoms all the time. Lethargy, tummy upsets, rashes and headaches aren’t a non-negotiable part of modern life, we weren’t meant to feel this way, and once you start looking more closely at what you eat and how it affects you, you’ll be amazed at the difference a simple everyday food can have on your wellbeing.

Intolerance to a food (or more than one food) is a lot more common than a true food allergy, like an allergy to nuts or shellfish, and the effects are slower to develop, so it can be hard to pin down what’s causing you to feel ill. Sometimes keeping a diary of your symptoms and what you’ve eaten might help you see a pattern. Personally, I noticed bloating and indigestion after eating certain foods, extremely disrupted sleep patterns and generally feeling of ‘brain fog’. The brain fog and fatigue felt similar to the feeling of a hangover, despite not having had any alcohol the previous evening! Being intolerant to dairy and egg I would know if I had been accidentally ‘intoleranced’ and I often refer to it as a ‘dairy hangover’. There are just 24 hours difference between the two pictures of me above- before and after an evening of celebrations that involved processed foods and alcohol. It took over a week for my body to get back to normal!

If you keep track of what you eat and any symptoms like IBS, diarrhoea, bloating and headaches, you might see that you feel worse after a pasta meal, something cheesy or even wine (yes, alcohol intolerance is a thing!). One thing to bear in mind about alcohol is a lot of it contains gluten and lots of red wine contains egg protein and milk (believe it or not). If you have unknown intolerances to these things you are likely to feel rubbish after just one or two drinks depending on the severity of your intolerance/allergy.

Other common symptoms that can sometimes be caused by foods you eat every day include skin rashes, fatigue, joint pains, dark circles under your eyes, night sweats and some chronic health conditions. Every time you eat or drink something you are intolerant to, your body creates a hormonal stress response to deal with the culprit. In addition to the stresses of everyday life, an excess of stress can lead to autoimmune disorders such as adrenal fatigue (see previous blog post for more info on this!)

The good news is that once you know what’s making you feel bad, you can start planning how to change your diet so that you’re soon feeling healthy and full of vitality again.It’s easy to find out if you’re intolerant to any foods. Lots of places offer allergy testing. Once you have your results you have the knowledge you need to start making the changes that will help bring you back to feeling healthy and well again. You might be surprised at how alive and energetic you feel once you give your body a rest from the foods that have been making you feel lethargic and out of sorts all the time.

Once you know what you’re dealing with, living with food intolerances is probably easier now than it ever has been, with so many great free-from alternatives available. Make sure you go for the natural stuff though, like my Naturally Guilt Free range (no nasty additives and preservatives). Having a food intolerance no longer marks you out as being unusual, you don’t have to miss out on your favourite treats – or you might well discover new ones that make you wonder what youever saw in those dairy, wheat and sugar filled concoctions that made you feel so awful. You could be inspired to try a detox (like my natural allergy friendly detox) – where you’ll get rid of all the nasties that have been weighing you down for so long. That will kick start your journey to healthy, banish bloat and inflammation and leave you feeling bursting with energy.
The best way to approach living with a food intolerance is with positivity – because you’re doing something great for your wellbeing – you’re going to be making positive lifestyle changes that will do wonders for your health. You won’t have to go without delicious treats and tasty foods, and you might even lose weight. That’s got to be worth a little effort for changing your lifestyle, hasn’t it?
If you are really serious about changing your lifestyle and eliminating issues caused by food intolerances and allergies, check out my 25 day Transform programme where you can learn all you need to know to lead a healthier, pain free lifestyle and lose weight as a bonus! Check it out HERE.
Love Natasha x