Food allergies and sensitivities force many people to live a life restricted from many foods. While that may be difficult at any time during the year, it becomes particularly challenging during the holiday season. However, there are other ways to deal with food sensitivities than avoidance. And this is the best time of year to learn about those alternatives.
What Are Food Intolerances?
Food intolerances are very common. It is estimated that over 20% of people in the US suffer from food intolerance. A food intolerance or a food sensitivity occurs when a person has difficulty digesting a particular food. This can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as intestinal gas, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. In addition, many children and adults suffer from eczema, hives, and other skin conditions as a result of food intolerances and sensitivities.
Food intolerances are sometimes confused with food allergies. Food intolerances involve the digestive system, while food allergies involve the immune system. With a food allergy, even a small amount of food can lead to a severe or life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. A food sensitivity usually leads to gas, bloating, diarrhea, even mood changes, or skin conditions that are definitely uncomfortable but rarely life-threatening.
What is an Elimination Diet?
The conventional standard to discover food intolerances and sensitivities is to do an elimination diet. There are two phases to this approach: the elimination phase and the reintroduction phase. Sometimes a blood test or skin scratch test is administered first to determine which foods appear to be problematic. However, most allergists believe that the gold standard to discover food sensitivities is the elimination diet after blood or scratch testing.
These diets require the removal of foods known to cause symptoms; and then the slow reintroduction of those foods, one at a time, in order to determine which one produces symptoms. Elimination diets usually last 5-6 weeks and, for some people, can be helpful in identifying which specific food a person is sensitive to. Once the food is identified, it’s recommended to be removed entirely from your diet to prevent any recurring symptoms.
This phase lasts about 2-3 weeks. Foods suspected to be triggers are completely eliminated from the diet. Typically, the elimination phase includes strict avoidance of many of the following:
- All nuts and seeds
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits.
- Nightshade vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, white potatoes, cayenne pepper, and paprika.
- Foods containing gluten
- Legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas, and soy-based products.
- Starchy foods, such as wheat, barley, corn, spelt, rye, oats, and bread.
- Meat and fish, such as processed meats, cold cuts, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and shellfish.
- Dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
- Fats, such as butter, margarine, hydrogenated oils, mayonnaise, and spreads.
- Harsh Beverages, such as alcohol, coffee, black tea, soda, and other caffeine sources.
- Spices and condiments, such as sauces, relish, and mustard.
- Sugar and sweets, such as honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, desserts, and chocolate.
In the reintroduction phase, you slowly bring the eliminated foods back into your diet. Each food group should be introduced individually, over 2–3 weeks while looking for symptoms. Some symptoms to watch for include:
- Rashes and skin changes
- Joint pain
- Headaches or migraines
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in breathing
- Stomach pain or cramps
- Changes in bowel habits
If you experience no symptoms when reintroducing a food group, you assume it’s OK to eat and move on to the next food group. If you experience symptoms, you have identified a trigger food and should remove it from your diet.
Risks of an Elimination Diet
Elimination diets come with their risks. First, they should only be followed for short periods (4-8 weeks). If followed for longer or if several food groups need to be eliminated, it can cause a nutritional deficiency. Second, children or people with known or suspected allergies should only do an elimination diet under a doctor’s supervision. Elimination diets are incredibly restricting and, in extreme circumstances for children, could lead to stunting their growth.
This conventional elimination strategy has been used for decades. Elimination diets may help some people discover which foods cause them problems, but it comes with some risks and means eliminating many foods from your diet. Does it have to be this way?
Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT) and St Louis Allergy Relief Center
There is another way to test for and treat food sensitivities: Advanced Allergy Therapeutics or AAT for short is a unique and highly effective approach for both testing and treating the many symptoms and health conditions associated with food allergies and sensitivities. AAT is a precision-based therapy that treats the organ systems involved in reactive behavior. AAT does not treat the immune system. The treatment focuses on the relationship between symptoms and organ systems to produce rapid, long-term results. Anaphylaxis is not treated.
This holistic treatment combines 21st-century scientific methods and biofeedback with 3,000-year-old traditional acupressure principles to offer an effective alternative in treating symptoms associated with allergies and sensitivities. The treatment is non-invasive:
- No needles
- No herbal remedies
- No supplements
- No avoidance
- No pills
- No pain
- Just great results for the majority of people treated
We hope this article has helped you see there is another way to handle food sensitivities rather than merely avoiding food. Discover AAT today, and experience the best alternative to elimination diets and return to feeling healthy while eating healthy.
If you suffer from food allergies or sensitivities and you have been unsuccessful with allergy treatments or are looking for something different, St. Louis Allergy Relief Center treats allergies holistically without the use of pain or pills. We are an allergy wellness center specializing in natural treatments. We specialize in holistic, natural allergy treatments using Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT). We provide you with a detailed treatment plan after completing a comprehensive assessment to determine environmental stressors that may be triggering allergies or allergy-like symptoms. Visit our website stlouisallergyrelief.com to learn more or call us at 314-384-9304.
We also deliver community workshops as well as a free monthly informational workshop on the first Thursday of every month at 5:45 pm in our Chesterfield clinic. Our free monthly workshop provides the public with information on our unique approach to allergy treatments and includes an opportunity to meet with our patients for a question and answer session. If you are interested in attending one of our free monthly workshops, please call our office at 314-384-9304 to reserve your space. These workshops are currently on hold due to COVID-19 and will resume when it is safe to do so.