FOOD SENSITIVITIES, INTOLERANCE OR ALLERGIES
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© June 2019, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Food sensitivities are nothing to sneeze at. Over 60% of the population know they must avoid certain foods. Many others are not aware they have food sensitivities. Many think that fatigue, itchy skin or a runny nose are “normal” when they eat certain foods.
Terminology. Researchers may distinguish between food sensitivities, food intolerances and food allergies. Intolerances are reactions that do not involve the immune system, such as lactose intolerance. Food allergies involve typical allergic responses of the immune system. However, the terms are somewhat vague and are used interchangeably in this brief introduction to a huge subject.
A complete development program most often reduces and often eliminates all types of food sensitivities. However, it may take a few months to several years on a complete program to restore the digestive system, and one must avoid certain common foods such as wheat, all fruit and all sugars that are no longer healthful foods.
If you have a serious food allergy that could cause a shock reaction, wear a wrist band to let people know. Here is a website that discusses wristbands: https://www.wristband.com/guidetoallergyawarenesswristbands.aspx.
SYMPTOMS OF FOOD ALLERGIES
Food allergies can cause or aggravate an enormous variety of symptoms. According to the American College of Allergy and Immunology, they include upset stomach, gastroenteritis, runny nose, dark circles under the eyes, shock, edema or swelling, anxiety, ulcers, joint pain, asthma, addictions, and rashes. In children they can cause seizures, red ear lobes, red cheeks, excessive talking or aggressive behavior, bedwetting and attention deficit.
Other symptoms are bronchitis, celiac disease, diarrhea, chronic fatigue, colic, colitis, diabetes, depression, failure to thrive, hay fever, headaches, hyperactivity, bowel disease, insomnia, iron deficiency anemia due to blood loss, learning disorders, malabsorption, myalgia, nephritis, acne and sore throat
Still more conditions possibly related to food allergies are bulimia, anorexia, alcoholism, candidiasis, constipation, Crohn’s disease, conjunctivitis, delusions, dyslexia, epilepsy, fever, hypothyroidism, hoarseness, low stomach acid, irritable bowel syndrome, memory loss, multiple sclerosis, obesity, middle ear infections, premenstrual syndrome, psoriasis, ringing in the ears and dizziness.
CAUSES OF FOOD SENSITIVITIES
Eating Habits. For proper digestion and utilization, food needs to be chewed thoroughly, eaten slowly so that it mixes with saliva, and the body needs to secrete the proper enzymes to digest the food. Poor eating habits such as eating on the run, eating too fast, eating when anxious, eating too much, drinking too much water or other beverages with meals, or eating ice cold or scalding foods can all impair the digestion process.
Enzyme Deficiencies. Even if eating habits are excellent, imbalances in body chemistry can result in adrenal gland weakness, liver toxicity, enzyme deficiencies, imbalances in intestinal pH, intestinal inflammation or infection, or other difficulties that can cause food reactions. For example, many adults lack the enzyme to digest milk sugar, causing reactions to milk products.
“Leaky Gut” Syndrome. This is the condition in which the intestine is too permeable. Undigested peptides or other food components pass into the blood from the intestine resulting in allergic reactions.
The main cause of a leaky gut is an improper diet. Correct the diet and most cases go away in a few months. This mean no smoothies, no junk food, no wheat and no fruit.
Other, rarer causes of leaky gut syndrome include bacterial or viral infections, parasitic infestations such as candida albicans or amebic dysentery, Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. Other causes include the use of alcohol, Motrin, Advil, cortisone or other irritant drugs, nutrient deficiencies, antibiotic therapy, excessive sugar in the diet, excessive stress of any kind or impaired digestion for any reason.
Natural Food Constituents. Minerals, vitamins, amino acids and other food compounds and naturally-occurring chemicals are, at times, responsible for food reactions. For example, soy beans are high in copper while nuts are quite oily. These can cause food reactions in susceptible individuals. Another fairly common sensitivity is to salycilates, which are chemicals found primarily in many fruits, and in a few vegetables and nuts. For more on this topic, read Salicylates and Salicylate Allergies on this website.
Food Varieties and Processing. Many foods we routinely eat are hybrids, and may be genetically altered as well. This may affect the ability of some people to eat these foods. Our digestive tracts may not be prepared to handle the new food varieties.
Food processing and refining can create food intolerance. For example, some people can drink natural, whole milk, but not pasteurized, homogenized milk from cows injected with bovine growth hormone and fed antibiotics.
Many foods contain pesticide residues, as well as a chemical soup of up to twenty or thirty additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, and other chemicals - all in one food!
DETECTION OF FOOD ALLERGIES
Many methods are available to detect food allergies. None of these methods are perfectly accurate. If you have been eating a lot of a particular food, you are more likely to register sensitivity with many of these methods. Sensitivity can vary from day to day, and food reactions are often delayed, which makes testing more difficult.
I rarely recommend food allergy testing because I find that most food allergies will diminish a lot with a complete development program. The only time food allergy testing is important, I find, is if the problem is very serious. Even then, if a person will change their diet to a development diet, often within a few weeks many food allergies diminish or disappear. Here are some common methods for testing for food allergies.
Avoid and Challenge Testing. A simple and effective method is to eliminate a suspected food for a week or two and then reintroduce it. Many people will notice they do not feel as well if they reintroduce an offending food. Energy may decrease, or one may develop a runny nose, bags under the eyes, headache, upset stomach, gas or other symptoms.
Elimination diets. A more rigorous elimination method is to either fast on just water or juice for a few days, or eat only a simple diet of rice and turkey, for example, for a few days. This will often clear the system of food allergens. Then one introduces other foods, one at a time, and notes any reactions that may occur. This can be done at home, though you must adhere to the routine strictly. Some allergy clinics also offer this as a service, and there are books about elimination regimens that explain it more fully.
Intradermal, Scratch and Sublingual Testing. These are standard methods used by allergists. They involve placing a sample of a food under the tongue, or injecting it under the skin and watching for a reaction. Then neutralizing doses of the substance can be given to desensitize the person.
Blood Tests. Among the blood tests used to detect allergies is the RAST (radioallergosorbent) test. This tests for IgE or IgG antibodies in the blood, and is fairly accurate. Another good test for food allergies is the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test, often excellent to detect hidden food allergies and sensitivities. Others include the cytotoxic test, the FAST (fluoroallergosorbent) test, MAST (autoradiographic), IP (immunoperoxidase) and others.
Applied Kinesiology. This procedure employs testing of muscle strength to assess food sensitivities. It is a way to tune in to the body’s energy system. A food that reacts in the body will generally cause a muscle to go weak. The test is performed either by having the person eat a food and then test the muscle, or they hold a suspected food in their hand, and the test is done. Kinesiology in the hands of a skilled practitioner can be very accurate, fast and inexpensive, bearing in mind that sensitivities can change over time.
The Coca Pulse Test. With this simple test, one takes one’s pulse, then eats a suspected food, preferably after not eating it for a week. One waits 10 minutes and then checks the pulse again. If the pulse increases more than about 10 beats per minute it indicates a reaction. This is not an exact method and does not register delayed reactions, but may be helpful.
CORRECTING FOOD ALLERGIES
Step 1. Follow a complete development program. This is by far the best way to correct food intolerances because it actually heals the intestine and other deeper causes of food intolerance.
Step 2. Improve your eating habits. Regular, relaxed, peaceful, sit-down meals, eating slowly, chewing thoroughly, and preferably resting for a few minutes after meals greatly assist digestion.
Forty years ago the author had many food intolerances and had to be very careful what he ate. One day, he attended a friend’s outdoor wedding that was not only relaxed, it was also hilarious thanks to several noisy ducks next door that kept interrupting the ceremony. He laughed most of the afternoon, and ate half a dozen ‘forbidden foods’ - with no food reactions at all.
Improve Your Diet. For details, read Food For Daily Use.
Variety And Food Rotation. Simple meals, simple food combinations, and avoiding excessive quantities of liquids with meals may also benefit digestion and minimize food reactions.
Reduce Stress. Any method to reduce stress may be helpful. Meditation, regular exercise, rest, relaxation, massage and many therapies may benefit food allergies this way. Deep breathing can be particularly beneficial for digestion. A positive mental attitude can be a powerful factor to help reduce stress and restore adrenal gland activity to optimal levels.
Reduce Chemical Exposure. The body has a threshold for stress from all sources. Breathing impure air, drinking water containing chlorine, fluorides, heavy metals and other toxins, and general exposure to toxins all tax the liver, the immune system and other body systems. Even sitting under unnatural light all day stresses your body. Reducing your general exposure to chemicals and toxins can reduce food allergies.
Supplementary Nutrients. Correction of body chemistry and rebuilding the digestive system requires supplementary nutrients. The best approach, in most cases, is a complete development program. If one is not ready for this, this website also offers a ‘free’ or basic program.
Detoxify. This is part of the two programs above and needs to be done correctly.
Candida Albicans. Overgrowth of candida albicans and other yeasts in the intestines often produces food sensitivities and contributes to leaky gut syndrome. You can help starve the yeast by avoiding all sugars, fruits, juices and other sweets.
You may also need to stop eating sweets and excessive carbohydrates. Deeper correction of body chemistry is also necessary to correct the tendency for candida overgrowth. For details, read Chronic Yeast Infection.
Neutralization methods. These are used by medical and holistic practitioners. We usually do not find them necessary if one will follow a complete development program and we don’t like homeopathy or most energy medicine methods because they make the body more yin, which is very dangerous. Homeopathy is particularly dangerous and best avoided.
BRAIN ALLERGIES AND ADDICTION
Food reactions can affect not only the body, but the brain and behavior. This can give rise to bizarre symptoms from depression and anxiety to suicidal and psychotic behavior. This has been well-proven by orthomolecular psychiatrists and holistic allergists such as Doris Rapp, MD, who pay attention to the behavioral effects of allergies.
In Seven Weeks to Sobriety, author Jane Larson notes that some alcoholics have an allergic reaction to alcohol that contributes to their addiction. One can become addicted to any allergic food or beverage. This may seem odd, but it is one factor that can slow recovery from food allergies and conditions like alcoholism.
Food allergies contribute to hundreds of symptoms and illnesses. In part, they are the result of a depleted and chemically-contaminated food supply. (For details, read The Food Situation.)
In part, they are a product of modern unhealthy diets and lifestyles, toxic living environments and poor health.
Having suffered with many food sensitivities himself, the author found that food allergies are an effective, though annoying, way to force oneself to clean up one’s diet and lifestyle, and to tune in to oneself better to figure out what foods and eating habits are best. They may be our body’s way of keeping us from living on junk foods that aren’t healthful anyway.
So don’t despair if you suffer from food allergies. Improve your diet and lifestyle, take life slowly and gently, and begin a Development Program and you can overcome your food allergies.
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Dumke, N.M., 5 Years Without Food: Food Allergy Survival Guide, Allergy Adapt, Inc., 1998.
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FAAN, College Guide for Students with Food Allergies; The Alexander Series (for children); and The Food Allergy News Cookbook, Food Allergy Network, Fairfax, VA, 1999, phone: 703-691-2713. (They offer many educational materials about food allergies)
Gioannini, M., The Complete Food Allergy Cookbook, Prima, Rocklin, CA, 1997.
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Practical Allergy Research Foundation, PO Box 60, Buffalo, NY 14223, or phone: 716-875-0398. (Source for Dr. Rapp’s books and tapes).
Rapp, D., Is this Your Child’s World?, Bantam Books, NY, 1996. Also wrote Is this Your Child? And The Impossible Child.
Reno, L. and Devrais, J., Allergy Free Eating, Celestial Arts, Berkeley, CA, 1995.
Smith, N., Allie the Allergic Elephant, Jungle Communications, Colorado Springs, CO, 1999. (For young children)
Wedman, B., Living With Food Allergies: Complete Guide to a Healthful Lifestyle, Contemporary Books, Lincolnwood, IL, 1999.
Weiner, E., Taking Food Allergies to School, Jayjo Books, Valley Park, MO, 1999. (For children, teachers and care givers)
Zevy, A. and Tebbutt, S., No Nuts For Me!, Tumbleweed Press, Tampa, FL, 1999. (For children age 3 to 8)
Anaphylaxis Guidelines (PDF): Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that often has symptoms including a skin rash and breathing difficulties.
What Is Anaphylaxis? Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and demands immediate intervention.
Food Preparation for Children With Peanut Allergies: Creating a peanut-free zone is one way to manage a peanut allergy.
The Truth About Peanut Allergies in Kids: Parents might consider introducing peanuts in small amounts during early childhood to prevent the onset of a peanut allergy.
Food Allergy: A food allergy is an abnormal response to an edible trigger, such as peanuts.
Food Allergies in Schools: Schools use various methods for keeping children with food allergies safe.
Allergy Alert on Undeclared Peanut in Cumin Products: People with peanut allergies should avoid products with cumin in them for safety.
Caring for Children With Food Allergies (PDF): Learning all about food allergies is an important defense against potential dangers.
Food Allergies: Food allergies can be present at birth, or they may develop at a later time.
Overview of Food Allergies (PDF): Knowing common symptoms of a food allergy will help you understand the potential risks.
Food Allergy Fact Sheet (PDF): A facility that cares for children will need to institute policies and care plans to ensure that children with food allergies are kept safe.
Food Allergies: About four percent of adults and eight percent of children have some type of food allergy.
Peanut Allergy: Anyone who experiences symptoms after eating peanuts should seek medical advice to see if they have a peanut allergy.
Nut and Peanut Allergy: Peanuts are a common allergen, and this legume is present in many different foods.
Food Allergy Overview: An allergic response can occur with exposure to even a very tiny amount of an allergen.