Health Tips: Food Allergy Awareness Alert

by | Jan 26, 2012 | Food and Nutrition, Optic Neuritis | 1 comment

food allergyDo you have a food allergy? 

  • Are you even aware of the foods that bother you? 
  • Have you ever had scratch tests, or blood tests to identify the foods & chemicals that might be causing an allergic reaction in your system?
  • Are you sick & tired of feeling sick & tired?
  • Do you suffer from any chronic health issues?

After the experience I have had recently to identify my personal food allergies, I believe that everyone should consider being tested for  a food allergy.  And anyone who suffers from any chronic health issues should definitely get tested to identify if there are any foods that may be contributing to the way you feel, and your chronic poor health.  More pills to alleviate the symptoms doesn’t really solve the problem.  And it is possible, and probable that your health will improve if you nourish your body with the right foods, and avoid foods that your system cannot process or handle efficiently.

I have struggled with inflammatory issues almost my whole life.  As a child, the joint pain in my ankles had me popping anti-inflammatory pills like candy.  As an adult, I have had 3-4 flares of Optic Neuritis (an inflammation of the optic nerve which causes blindness.)  Lucky for me each time I’ve had to take high dose steroids to reduce the inflammation my eyesight has been restored.  But the fact that my system was so inflamed that it caused me to go blind in the first place IS something to take notice of.  Not to mention the back pain, joint pain in my hands, tender spots throughout my body, being tired all the time, depression…and the list of how I used to feel  eating allergy-laden foods goes on.

Personally, I’ve also had a bit of extra belly fat (inflammation in my gut…)  And it has always been practically impossible for me to ever lose weight.  The only way my weight has ever changed was to fast or stop eating – and THAT’s not a healthy way to live either!

My family practice doctor, eye doctors, and the rheumatoid specialists I saw for my eye never seemed concerned about the foods I was eating.  In fact, I specifically asked the rheumatoid specialist if there was anything I should eat, or avoid that would help heal my body and get me off steroids – and she almost laughed at me, commenting that what I eat has no relevance on my inflammatory issues!

But I’m here to tell you that what you eat DOES make a difference in how you feel.  And because we are all unique individuals, don’t assume that because it’s a food that should be, (or is advertised and marketed as “healthy”) that it is a healthy food for you – unless you’ve done your due diligence and had allergy testing done to identify it’s safe to eat.

Here are the Top 8 Food Allergens:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Peanuts
  4. Tree Nuts
  5. Fish
  6. Shellfish
  7. Soy
  8. Wheat

These are by far not everything you might be allergic to.  With any food you eat, your body has the potential to be allergic to it.  Some allergic reactions happen almost instantly  (like not being able to breathe…or breaking out in hives.)  But other reactions might not be as noticeably tied to what you eat.  Because of a potential  24-48 hour delay – you may find it difficult to actually tie symptoms you feel to the foods you have eaten.

Before the Holidays, I had blood allergy tests and a stool analysis taken to check my gut flora and tell how well I’m able to assimilate what I’m eating.  OH MY!  What a wake-up moment…

So I thought that as a Pilates teacher & health professional that I had a pretty good and healthy diet, but EVERYTHING that I was eating that I thought was “healthy” and good for me, was causing a reaction in my system! 

And nobody ever told me that if you had a latex allergy there were FOODS to avoid! (Bananas, Avocados, and Mangoes) are somehow related to latex…  So I think I’m eating healthy to put bananas & mangoes in my smoothies, and getting my good fats with a couple of avocados a week…but in reality – I’ve only been contributing to the inflammatory problems in my system with these and all the other foods I’d been eating.

So how have I had to change my lifestyle to eat allergy-free foods?

  • I’ve cleaned out my kitchen cupboards of every food & spice that I need to avoid to stay healthy.
  • I’m reading every label before I buy a product
  • For the most part if it’s not a fresh/ whole food, I’m avoiding it.
  • A little bit more meal planning, prep, and cooking.
  • IF I eat out, making good choices and asking for specially prepared allergy-free foods.
  • Rotating the foods I eat, so I don’t eat the same foods every day.
  • Adapting recipes to only use allergy-free ingredients.

How has this helped so far?

  • I FEEL 100% better!
  • My energy level is higher
  • I am sleeping more soundly
  • I am physically (& mentally) stronger
  • I have lost 6-7 pounds in only  4 weeks.
  • My belly is flatter
  • My face is thinner
  • I am Happier!

I am amazed at how quickly and dramatically the inflammation in my system has gone down in only ONE month by avoiding foods that I’m allergic to and only eating foods my body can digest and process easily! 

It was a little overwhelming when I discovered what I was in for and needed to change to make this positive improvement in my overall health and allergy-free eating plan.  But with the support of my good friend Kirstin Carey, owner of the amazing Nourish 123 restaurant, who understands eating with food allergies, the help of my doctor who ran my tests, along with my family to accept a new meal plan – it hasn’t been as bad as I expected….And the benefits of my improved health are making it easy to stick with my new healthy eating plan.

If you are on a personal journey to improve your health, and checking for food allergies is something that you have not done yet.  I highly recommend you consider finding a physician in your local area who can assist you with this.

It is a positive, life-changing, health-improving experience to live and eat with an allergy-free lifestyle!

For more information about food allergies here are a couple of helpful resources:

Arizona Food Allergy Alliance 

Nourish 123 

Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.

1 Comment

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