Hopefully, you read my post ‘5 Reasons You Might Have a Food Allergy’ and maybe you’re left wondering, ‘Now what?’ If you didn’t read it, go take a look and see whether or not any of the symptoms fit you. I’ll wait! Just don’t forget to come back!
Now let me teach you the easy to use method for discovering food allergies.
Of course, there are MANY symptoms that food allergies can cause. The list is just to get you started. Please remember that I am not a doctor and this is not intended to diagnose or treat anyone.
So what should you do if you suspect you (or maybe your spouse or child) may have a food allergy? GREAT question! I’m so glad you asked!
There are several steps that I would encourage you to take, yet the process is very simple. You’ll need a notebook and a pen or pencil, a set of highlighters, a little gusto and some time. OH, and will power. You will need that! It won’t be hard, though! I promise!
This process, which I am about to teach you, will save you time and money on lab testing and will render even better results since YOUR body will be telling you which foods you can and cannot tolerate. In the end, you will feel better, maybe even look better AND know EXACTLY what you can eat!
Grab your notebook and pen and let’s get started!
This handy little guy is going to become your companion for the next several days, so make sure and choose one that you like! You will become intimately acquainted!
I want you to commit to being faithful at this little task because it will mean EVERYTHING in the end. You can do it! Do you promise?
I want you to start with the date. Mark it down anywhere, just make sure you have it. Then, I want you to record EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth. Don’t cheat! The more information you can gather, the more beneficial it will become. This is YOUR handy-dandy guide to what you eat.
Next to the information you record about the food you eat, I would like you to record the time.
Now comes the fun part. Please observe what you feel after eating. If it is nothing, that’s fine. Pay attention to your body for the next several hours and be sure to mark down ANY symptoms that you become aware of.
Some things to take note of are: a headache, stomach ache, flushing (your skin becoming red and hot) heart rate, (increase or decrease) dizziness, anxious, heart flutters, sleepiness, irritability, inability to focus, itchiness, etc. You get the idea. If you’re not sure, write it down.
Continue to do this throughout the day. If you could commit to doing this simple little exercise for one week it would be very helpful. It will get easier and more habitual, the more time goes on.
After you have recorded in your food journal for the set amount of time that you have determined (remember – the more time the better.) then I would like you to go back over your food diary with your highlighters and mark the symptoms accordingly. Whenever you have to symptoms that are the same, mark them with the same color.
Once you have finished marking your symptoms, look back at the food you ate prior to experiencing that symptom. Do you see any patterns? If so, you have just identified the first food that you need to eliminate. If you have more than one pattern, it’s ok. We’ll get to that later.
Do NOT let that scare you. It’s gonna be alright! You can do this! To paraphrase Anthony Robbins, ‘Nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels.’ (his original quote uses looking instead feeling) Trust me! You may think you couldn’t live a day without your triple decker ice cream sundae loaded with toppings, but once you see how good you can feel without it, you’ll be convinced. (It takes time!)
You need to be ALL in for this one. As in ALL. No cheating. No stopping at your favorite deli on the way home from work. You can DO IT!!
So, with that said, and all my preaching aside, you’ll need to commit to at least a week of eliminating the food that you noticed a pattern of symptoms with. See how smart you are? You are going to teach yourself what you need to get out of your diet! I’m so proud of you! If you are able to commit to longer, it would be even better. It takes time for the body to cleanse itself and then heal from whatever damage that particular food may have been causing.
You’ll need to watch food labels. Read everything before putting anything into your mouth. During this time, it would be best to prepare your own food if at all possible. If it is necessary for you to dine out or eat at a friend’s house, then you’ll need to do some communicating and questioning of ingredients. Don’t worry – food allergies are so common now, most restaurants are very prepared for your questions and even offer an allergy menu. But please ask!
AFTER and ONLY after you have committed to that time of absolutely no cheating (remember you promised!) then it is time to reintroduce the food you think may be causing you the problem.
When you are ready to reintroduce the food in question, then I would strongly suggest that you do it in it’s purest form. For example, if you believe dairy is the issue, then it would be best to drink a glass of milk and wait for the results. This isn’t your time to go have a huge turtle sundae in honor of reintroducing milk! (Although that would definitely be more fun! But remember, this is science! We are busy trying to figure out what’s going on in your body!)
Take special note of anything you may be feeling. You are already an expert at that since you stuck so closely to your food diary earlier. Good job, by the way!
Do you notice any of the symptoms you did before? Are there no symptoms? Now before you drink one glass of milk and think that everything is just fine because you didn’t have any symptoms, just wait for a second!
Food allergies are tricky. You need to really listen to your body. Some people do not react immediately. Sometimes the reaction takes a few days for your body to process.
I would recommend you continue to consume the culprit in it’s purest form for a few days before going on and deciding if this particular food bothers you (or doesn’t bother you).
After you have dedicated a significant amount of time (I would recommend at least 3 days, but again, this is a slow process, so a week would even be better) then I suggest you go on to the next suspected food and repeat the process.
This is the BEST way to figure out if you have a food allergy.
CONGRATULATIONS! You have successfully completed a food challenge and figured out on your own what you may be allergic or intolerant to! Ok, let’s be honest, you actually just read the blog post, but I am confident that you are going to go get busy and do the hard work!
TIP: IF YOU ARE NURSING AND FIND YOUR BABY IS FUSSY, A FOOD INTOLERANCE OR ALLERGY MAY BE TO BLAME. YOU CAN FOLLOW THE SAME FOOD JOURNALING PROCEDURE WITH YOUR OWN DIET AND MARK DOWN HOW YOUR BABY REACTS
If you decide to go even deeper, I would highly recommend the Whole 30 challenge. Our family did it and we were able to discover some pretty amazing things about food allergies. I was able to avoid heart surgery, we found out my son can’t handle rice, and we solved an ongoing issue with grains for my husband!
I can’t WAIT to hear how it went for you! Did you discover any food allergies? Did you notice anything along the way? If you have questions, please comment or email me and I would LOVE to help you out! It is so worth it!