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I think I have a Food Sensitivity: Do You?

Category : Healthy Eating

I think I may have a food sensitivity.  I’ve been getting increasingly fatigued in the afternoons to the point where if I take a nap, I have to force myself to get back up.  It’s not everyday, and I haven’t been able to figure out a pattern.  Could it be the food I eat?  Those who know me know my breakfast and lunch seldom change, and any food eaten too often could be the culprit.  Read on and I’ll tell you what I learned and the action I’m going to take.

Based on the Dr. Oz show that I recently watched, I learned that food sensitivities are a lot more prevalent than you would expect.  You may have one or more symptoms that appear and disappear sporadically and you would never suspect a food sensitivity as the cause.

Do you occasionally have headaches, fatigue, or experience weight gain? How about bloating, arthritis & joint pain, inflammation, diarrhea or constipation, addictive food cravings, mood swings, skin problems, ADD/ADHD, narcolepsy, & migraines?  Yikes!  And that is just a partial list of food sensitivity symptoms.

Let me point out that food sensitivities are NOT the same as a food allergy or intolerance.   A food allergy is where your body not only doesn’t recognize a food, but it actively creates anti-bodies to combat the foreign substance resulting in hives, breathing problems or worse.  A food intolerance such as lactose (dairy) intolerance is where your body cannot digest a food resulting in digestive issues such as diarrhea, bloating or cramps.  A food sensitivity is less immediate and usually less severe than allergies or intolerances, but the symptoms vary widely and may appear irregularly making it harder to establish the cause.

The good news is that if you have a food sensitivity, it’s not forever.  Once you identify it, you can remove it from your diet for 3 months and then re-introduce it to see if the symptoms return.

So, how do you know if you have a food sensitivity?  You eliminate the trouble foods and then add them back in slowly.  Here is your food sensitivity action plan.

  1. First, document the symptoms that you feel may be due to the foods you eat.
  2. Watch this episode of Dr. Oz with Dr. Mark Hyman for the details of the elimination diet.  It gives you all the details you need.  I’ve summarized the nuts & bolts of the diet below.
  3. Consult your doctor if you are unsure if you should try the elimination diet.
  4. Plan when you will start the diet and use Dr. Oz & Hyman’s elimination diet food list to shop for the necessary foods.
  5. Start the diet and follow it for 5 days!  During this time take special note of how you feel: more energy, better digestion etc…  Also note which symptoms disappeared.
  6. Continue the elimination diet but add one potentially sensitive food in any order (soy, citrus, dairy, eggs, corn, nightshades(tomatoes/eggplant), and Gluten/Wheat) at a time at each meal for two days and watch for symptoms to return.   One reference said to note both negative AND positive reactions to food additions as a sometimes a positive symptom like ‘more energy’ could be due to a stress response of the body. 
  7. Remove any foods that cause symptoms for 3 months and try to reintroduce the food to see if the symptoms return. 

That’s it.  It’s simple and straight forward and I’m going to do it starting March 3rd, 2014.  Are you?   Follow my progress via my facebook profile:  Email me at if you are joining me so we can share notes.