It seems that just a few moments ago we were all singing about the most wonderful time of the year. After the cold has lifted, the sun comes out, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and you are diving for the Kleenex, and the medicine cabinet. Itchy eyes, runny nose, sore throat, not to mention feeling like a bus ran you over from the side effects of the medications you have to take.
Ever wonder why you’re the person suffering from allergies while your friend is out enjoying the welcomed sunshine of summer. Are we as humans so far removed from nature that the life giving force of plants that keeps the world alive is now making us miserable? Is it just bad luck? I’m going to let you in on a little secret, it is not what is outside that is making you miserable – it is on the inside!
To take a step back, lets look at some physiology and biochemistry. Our body comes with natural defense mechanisms to protect us from foreign invaders. As with all chemical reactions we can keep the reaction going until we run out of the limiting reagent (the thing that is used up first). Once we stop a normal reaction that is protecting us, our body has to compensate. In the case of allergies, the reaction that was designed to protect us creates a lot of misery too!
This relates to the inside of the body and what is coming into the body on a regular basis. Human physiology has been around for a very long time, and follows very specific rules. However the diet of humans has been changing very quickly over the last 100 years, and even more rapidly in the past 50 years. This is due to the ever-increasing amount of processed food that we are now consuming in our S.A.D. (Standard American Diet). We as a society are becoming very nutrient deficient. We are also consuming very high amounts of refined sugars.
Because of this 3-part trifecta we are leaving our physiology open for a barrage of attacks creating all sorts of physiological catastrophes. When lacking minerals and nutrients, our body cannot mount the defense it was designed to. By consuming processed foods, we are ingesting many chemicals and partially hydrogenated oils that inhibit our body from working properly. With the consumption of too many refined sugars we are increasing the amount of inflammation in our body, decreasing the function of our immune system, and causing a leaky-gut effect that is creating allergies to foods we are eat.
That’s right if you have allergies to grasses, pollens, trees, cats, dogs, etc. you also have allergies to something in your diet. Please understand I did not say you might have a food allergy; I am saying you definitely have a food allergy! This is 100% true with all the patients I see who suffer from allergy symptoms. I am sure you do not want to believe me on this, but there is another physiological reason for that.
When we eat a food that we are allergic too, before our body releases the histamine that causes the allergic symptoms, our body releases endorphins, the feel good molecules. Our physiology was designed to protect us and keep us alive, so when we ate the poison red berry, our body could ease the suffering until we could get it out of our system. Now food is easily assessable and right at our fingertips. We keep going back to the food we are allergic to because it’s “comfort” or “feel good food” due to the endorphins effect on brain chemistry.
That’s right I just made it even worse for you, not only are you miserable with your allergies, but you have to give up the food you love to eat the most. The good news is if you can handle the withdrawal period, which is not very long (just a few days) you will see a dramatic decline in your allergy symptoms. Remember nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.
You are probably asking now, how this is true because you only notice your allergies when the cottonwoods are blooming? Good question, here is the answer. Allergy symptoms vary depending on the stimulus. Allergies can vary from blips in the radar, to the extreme anaphylactic reaction that someone may have to shellfish or peanuts. Many food allergies are more like sensitivities that do not cause extreme reactions. But that little irritation over a long period of time wears us down until we use up all our reserves and the floodgates are open and we develop more allergies to things outside of us.
It is my experience that there are eight foods that are the biggest offenders. They are wheat/gluten, corn, milk, nightshades (tomato’s, peppers, eggplant, white potato’s, paprika), eggs, soy, yeast, and peanuts. Many times it is just one of those but it could be many of them or other foods. There are a few different ways to be evaluated for food allergies. Each has its pros and cons and sometimes the results from two different types of tests can be different. There are blood tests, scratch tests, saliva tests, and neurological kinesiology tests. The results can differ because the parameters are different, like comparing apples to oranges. The only way to test for sure is to take the suspected offending food away and see if you feel better, then reintroduce the food and see if you feel worse. The elimination diet requires remove of all major food offenders for two weeks. After that time reintroduce the possible offending foods (one food at a time) every 3 days. This is a self-test, but it does require strict discipline and observation and would be best monitored by a healthcare professional.
Understanding your allergies is a major key to living healthy, naturally, and optimally.