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Food Allergy Vs. Intolerance

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

About 10% of the U.S population has a food allergy. Food allergies can be severe and usually show symptoms immediately to up to 2 hours. Most people with food allergies carry epipens with them in case they accidentally come into contact with the allergen. The epipen will only temporarily treat symptoms and a trip to the emergency room is necessary to fully get the reaction under control.

Food intolerances don’t cause immediate symptoms, at least not ones that you're aware of. A food intolerance means the body is producing a negative reaction/ immune response to a food. Very different from an allergy as an intolerance isn't life threatening, it does not require an epipen, or an emergency room visit.

The symptoms that food intolerances cause are… sneaky. Symptoms of food intolerances include:

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Bloating

  • Gas

  • Inflammation response

  • Acne

  • Eczema and psoriasis

  • Nasal congestion

  • Post nasal drip

  • Diarrhea

  • Stomach pain

  • Heartburn

  • Anxiety

  • Nausea

  • Acid reflux

  • Lightheadedness

  • Tingling or itching in mouth/lips

  • Leaky gut

  • brain fog

Some of these symptoms you may not even be aware of or think much about. Like a headache, you wouldn't suspect that you've been getting headaches from, say, eating eggs like you do everyday.

If you’ve been suffering from any of the above symptoms for a prolonged period of time, you may be experiencing an intolerance to something that you most likely eat pretty much everyday.

Literally any food can cause an intolerance and everyone's body reacts differently to different foods. Through my research I did find foods that commonly cause intolerance symptoms like...

  • Sesame

  • Soy

  • Dairy

  • Wheat

  • Gluten

  • Fruits and veggies of any kind

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Seafood

  • Eggs

Last summer, I was really struggling with constant bloat and digestive issues. I could not figure out why. I tried everything I could to reduce the bloating and ease digestion. Tea’s, room temp water, not eating raw fruit and veggies, no dairy, no gassy foods, like everything.

One night, I woke up in the middle of the night and knew something wasn't right. To the bathroom I went to find I had a full body rash and my face was swollen! I could still breath and swallow so I visited the doctor the next day and got some blood tests done.

Turns out I have an intolerance to wheat (not just gluten which are proteins found in wheat). It all made sense when I got my results back. I was eating wheat every single day. My first meal was usually two pieces of avocado toast. I would eat things like cereal and cookies after dinner and was eating pasta about once a week. My body was so inflamed and it was telling me that it’s had enough.

Once I became aware of my intolerance to wheat, I began to cut it out. Not only did my digestive issues and bloating go away but my eczema cleared up a lot and my sinuses became a lot more clear.

Making this lifestyle change wasn't easy. I was actually pretty bummed out because wheat is something I consume on a daily basis like most other people. Knowing that my body was constantly in a state of inflammation and was causing so many issues, it motivated me to take care of my body and health even more.

Moral of the story, listen to your body. If you're experiencing issues within your body and you’ve done what you can to combat it, consider a food intolerance. There are many at home test’s nowadays that can help you shed some light on whatever issue you may be having. Look up "food intolerance at home test" and do some research on which one would be best for you!

Another, cheaper way to determine a food intolerance is by doing a diet elimination test. Basically, you remove a certain food from your diet that you consume regularly for about six weeks. If the issue hasn’t subsided, move onto the next food. This method does take a long period of time but is a good indicator of how your body reacts differently to certain foods.

You could go see your doctor to express that you believe you have a food intolerance, unfortunately, most doctors will try to diagnose you for something else and prescribe a medication. Again unfortunately, this is what they're taught to do. If you do prefer to see a doctor, my advice is to seek out an allergy specialist and have a chat with them to see what can be done. Most likely it would be an allergy prick test where they prick your back with a needle that has the allergen on it and wait to see if your skin reacts to it. The issue with this is that it leave many, many foods out.

Dealing with a new food intolerance can be stressful, it may require a lifestyle change like mine did. No more store bought cookie dough, cereals, bread, or regular pasta. But, we learn to adapt to take care of our bodies to our fullest ability. Now, I make my own cookies with almond flour and eat black bean or quinoa pasta which is all healthier for me in the long run. No bread or cereal but I’ve learned to be okay with that for my health.

Do I still consume wheat sometimes? Yes. When it comes to intolerances, you have a little bit of leeway. While it’s a good idea to avoid that certain food, eating it once in a while won't produce as harmful of an effect like if it was eaten everyday.

Learn to listen to your body. It is telling you something is wrong or that it doesn't like something through negative side effects such as bloating, headaches, and acne. Our bodies are the only true homes we have, treat them as such 💕

Wishing you a beautiful day 🌿

Much Love,

Bellamy Ryder


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