When you take a food sensitivity or allergy test, there’s apparent anticipation and anxiety that accompany waiting for the results. It may feel like your whole life is going to change with one sheet of paper that indicates positive or negative results. It is easy to get overwhelmed! The best thing to do is take it one day at a time. Changing your diet can be an empowering experience when you have the right information and a plan.
There are several different responses to getting these results back. Some people are shocked, others are distraught, and some see it as confirmation of what they already knew. Once the initial reaction wears off, it’s helpful to begin by asking questions and doing research. At Food Empowerment, we think knowledge is power; below are some useful hints when integrating your food testing results into your life.
- Foos sensitivities can be the result of a more significant health issue. Make sure to check with your doctor about other underlying health problems.
- It’s also helpful to analyze your diet and think about foods you may eat every day or more. Our bodies may have difficulty metabolizing the same foods repetitively. If this is the issue, consider a rotation diet to add more variety to your daily food intake.
- Consider meeting with a dietician or nutritionist to get tips on how to safely eliminate and replace foods in your diet.
After you discover more about what is happening in your body, the process of healing can begin. Each person is different and may need different approaches to diet changes and the healing process. Typically, a 4-6 week trial period of eliminating food allergies or sensitivities from your diet will deliver some changes in your health. This provides time for the body to heal and may result in a decrease in inflammation, a positive shift in gut bacteria, and the healing of the gut lining. Please make sure to discuss how to continue to eat a well-rounded diet when eliminating a whole food group (for example dairy) with your doctor or a nutritionist.
After an elimination, the goal is to see the body strong and healthy again. This is when the reintroduction of foods may be an option. Everyone responds to reintroduction differently based on individual sensitivity. Many who have an adverse reaction to reintroduction may chose permanent elimination, whereas some who don’t experience an adverse reaction may opt for limited reintroduction. The key here is to listen to you body!
If you decide on permanent elimination, then it’s helpful to know the details about your intolerance or allergy and how to best avoid it, including hidden sources. Conversely, it’s also a good idea to research the best replacements and substitutions for cooking and baking. Enlighten yourself to the options you have by learning about how to find fresh favorites and make new habits.
More than anything, always keep in mind that life is fluid, and the body is strong and capable of recovery. Remember that your goal is to feel good, so don’t limit yourself to the point of misery. Your intolerance should not limit the fullness of your life! Surround yourself with supportive people who encourage you in this process. Food is meant to be enjoyed, stay optimistic, and excited about new recipes and restaurants you can try!
Possible Side Effects
There is a rare occasion when people feel worse off their food sensitivity or allergy. If you have an imbalance of the bacteria in your gut (called dysbiosis), favoring less beneficial bacteria, you may experience a /€œdie-off reaction. These unfriendly bacteria live in your digestive tract and feed on the foods you have a hard time digesting, i.e., your food sensitivity. These bacteria (and sometimes yeast or parasites) are not strong enough to cause illnesses like fever, vomiting, or severe diarrhea, but may cause chronic inflammation, irritation, and tissue damage. Changing your diet and starving these bacteria can create a die-off response. As these microbes die, they tend to release all of their irritating cellular components right into your gut for your body to eliminate, temporarily increasing your inflammation and irritation.
This response can be uncomfortable and unpleasant for patients. However, our cells naturally turn over and regenerate weekly, so each week brings us closer to full healing and recovery. If you think you are experiencing a die-off reaction, be sure to contact your health care provider.