Here’s a sentiment we hear with relative frequency from our first time cleanse participants: “I don’t have allergies.”
Most of us think of allergies as the bodily reactions that present themselves as hives, rashes, dry eyes, congestion, or a runny nose.
What most people don’t realize is that sensitivities to food can also surface in the form of anxiety, depression, joint pain, asthma, bad breath, body twitches, diarrhea, fatigue, brain fog, hyperactivity, puffy face, sluggish digestion and even weight gain — to name just a few.
My parents have a story about me as a toddler that’s a telling anecdote. As they tell it, I was usually a very easy going child. But once I was at a friend’s house and — not long after eating a meal containing wheat — I became agitated and combative and ended up biting my friend.
My mom, who was ahead of her time, understood that my behavioral reactions were related to my food sensitivities. As I got older, these reactions shifted from hyperactivity to fatigue and depression. With hormonal shifts and aging our bodies can suddenly respond very differently to foods we’ve eaten for years without problems.
I’m an extreme example of food sensitivities. For most people, their physical and emotional responses are far more subtle. This is likely the reason that of the estimated 90% of people who have some kind of allergy or sensitivity, the same percentage aren’t aware of their allergies.
Theron Randolph, recognized as the father of environmental medicine and the field of clinical ecology, writes:
“Most food allergies, by their very nature, are masked and hidden. It is hidden from the patient, hidden from his or her family, and hidden from the medical profession in general. It is said that often the solution to a difficult problem is right in front of your nose, but you cannot see it. In the case of food allergies, the source of the problem is literally in front of you, in the form of some commonly eaten substance that is bringing on and perpetuating chronic symptoms. In my experience, food allergies are one of the greatest health problems in our country.”
So how do you discover if you have an allergy? The most effective method to test for allergies is to eliminate typical allergens from your diet for a minimum of 14 days. After the elimination period the allergens should be reintroduced systematically to see how you feel after eating them again.
This is one of our approaches in the Conscious Cleanse program. The truth is that most standard allergy tests aren’t precise enough to detect all of the foods that are causing problems. This means that the best way to explore your reactions to food is to do the work yourself — to participate actively in a process of self-discovery and learn to recognize your body’s signs and signals.
You know better than anyone how you feel and what it’s like to be in your body, so you are your own best healer.
Below I’ve compiled a list of the most forward-thinking (and often not-so-obvious) ways to identify that you might have an allergy or sensitivity.
With gluten-free kisses,
P.S. Leave a comment below and tell us if you have discovered an allergy that helped improve your health.
5 Signs You May Have An Allergy
- You say “I can’t live without my (fill in the blank)”. Foods that you love and crave the most can be sabotaging your health. Many people with food allergies or sensitivities are actually “addicted” to the foods causing the problems. One of the sneaky things about allergens is that often, when you remove them from your diet, you actually feel worse — at least initially. Consider the effects of alcohol. When you wake up after a night of overindulgence feeling foggy and sluggish, it’s the Bloody Mary that takes the edge off. Food allergies work just like this so-called “hair of the dog” effect.
- You’ve tried several diets, eat “pretty healthy”, exercise regularly and still can’t seem to lose weight. When you’re eating foods that don’t work in your body, you become inflamed. That inflammation causes you to hold on to weight no matter how few calories you’re consuming or how much exercise you’re doing.
- You feel a bit “puffy”. Have you ever felt like you puffed up like a blowfish, literally overnight? Your pants feel too tight, your face looks a bit round and your hands may even be swollen. This puffiness is your body’s response to allergens. When you’re inflamed you retain water, resulting in what I always refer to as the “puffy factor.”
- Your health isn’t what you want it to be. Although not glaring, you may have less severe problems — things like bags under your eyes, skin blemishes, low energy, inability to concentrate, constipation or slight emotional highs and lows. You might also experience more severe problems like depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, fertility problems, insomnia, diabetes or other serious conditions. The food you put in your body severely affects your health profile. If you don’t feel 100% on a fairly regular basis, you’re probably eating something that you’re sensitive to.
- Your “seasonal” hayfever seems to stretch past the season. Many people experience allergies in spring or fall — the runny nose, dry eyes and sinus congestion. And maybe you experience some of these symptoms all year long. Congestion is commonly related to a dairy allergy; a runny nose can be related to a peanut allergy, and congestion is an inflammatory reaction. Start digging deeper into the symptoms you are experiencing to notice when they are showing up.
I’m glad you pointed out that bloating or feeling “puffy” may indicate a food allergy. I have been feeling very bloated this month. Maybe I should talk to a doctor about this.
Hi Anna, Thank you for your kind words. Have you ever tried an elimination diet for a period or a cleanse? We would love to work with you. Can you can find out more of what we can offer here: https://consciouscleanse.com/programs/ XO, J&J
It caught my attention when you said that dry eyes, sinus congestion, and runny nose are signs of allergy which many people experience in spring or fall. Whenever I get home, I keep sneezing. Additionally, there are dishes that give me red marks all over my body. To make sure that I will get the right medical advice, I will consider undergoing allergen testing. Thanks!
Hi Shammy, Thank you for your comment. It does sound like you are having strong reactions. When we eat things that we’re sensitive to on a regular basis, it can also cause our seasonal allergies to get worse due to our overactive immune response. We would love to work with you with your food sensitivities. You can find more about our program here: https://www.consciouscleanse.com/programs/ Please reach out if you have any questions here: firstname.lastname@example.org. XO, J&J
I never realized that a runny nose could be related to a peanut allergy, and congestion is an inflammatory reaction. Maybe, it will be best for me to undergo allergy testing this week so it will be easy for me to determine my triggers. There are times that I am having breathing difficulties breathing due to allergy issues, and this usually happens whenever I visit a certain place or meet someone outdoors. Thanks for sharing this.
Hi Ava, Thank you for reaching out! Environmental and food sensitivities can also be a sign of inflammation and an overload of toxins and sensitivities that your body can not keep up with. We like to cleanse our bodies regularly to get to ourselves to a sort of “clean slate” to enable ourselves to discover what foods serve us best and which ones don’t. We also find in this “clean slate” state that we are able to handle environmental allergens better. We would love to help you with this. You can find out more about this here: https://www.consciouscleanse.com/programs/ Also, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com. We would love to answer any questions you might have. XO, J&J
It is good to know that feeling puffy is a sign of an allergy. My brother recently told me that he has started to feel puffy. I’ll suggest that he go get tested for allergies.
Hi Charlotte, Thank you for your comment. We’re glad you found the information helpful! It’s definitely a good idea to suggest allergy testing to your brother. He can also try out an elimination diet to find out what his body might be reacting to. If he’s interested in our support doing an elimination diet, you can send him here for more information about our programs: https://www.consciouscleanse.com/programs/ XO, J&J
Thank you for the heads up on how to recognize allergies, from depression to weight gain. My husband is going to go see a professional on his allergies. We are suspect that he will need some kind of treatment after his visit to the testing lab.
Hi Vivian, thank you for your comment! We’re happy to hear that this post was so helpful for your husband. We hope everything goes well with his testing and treatment! XO, J&J
I have gone through the blog post and I must admit it is very informative. I liked the writing style too. Keep up the good work and share more contents. Cheers!
Hi Coastal, we’re happy to hear that you enjoyed this post! We really appreciate the positive feedback. XO, The Conscious Cleanse Team