What is Food Sensitivity?

The first thing food sensitivity is NOT is a food allergy. Everyone knows what a food allergy is. An allergic reaction is an instantaneous one in which, for example, a person eats a peanut or a shellfish and immediately has trouble breathing. On the other hand, food sensitivity is very different, more subtle and difficult to ascertain. I am currently taking a course entitled “The Science of Natural Healing” from The Great Courses.

In the course book, the teacher, Dr. Mimi Guarneri, says about food sensitivity, “It is one of the causes of chronic low grade inflammation. You keep taking in a food and your body keeps seeing it as a foreign invader, and your body works constantly to clear the toxin from your system. Even though the reaction may not be severe, the long term consequences are enormous.”

Dr. Guarneri is board-certified in cardiology, internal medicine, nuclear medicine, and holistic medicine. She earned her medical degree from The State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, where she graduated first in her class.

I have talked about stress previously and how chronic stress can be devastating to the human body. It appears that food sensitivity is, in fact, chronic stress brought about by what we eat, rather than our emotional reaction to a situation.

Dr. Guarneri lists the following as signs and symptoms of food sensitivity: fatigue, trouble sleeping, mental fogginess, mood changes, irritability, anger, skin irritation, nasal congestion, post nasal drip, sinus infections, arthritis, joint pain and muscle stiffness.

Regular readers have heard of my attempts to deal with the arthritis that plagues my hands. In addition, I also suffer from nasal congestion, post nasal drip and sinus infections.

So, if I appear to have some symptoms of food sensitivity, what do I do?

Dr. Guarneri says that symptoms of food sensitivity are most likely traceable back to six food groups: dairy, gluten, corn, soy, peanuts and egg.

She suggests going on The Elimination Diet in which you stop eating all forms of the above foods for two weeks. If the symptoms clear up, you reintroduce the foods into your diet to find out which is/are the offending group(s).

Clearly, this entails being aware of everything you eat as well as the nutritional components of each item. It can also get complicated quickly when you get into the gluten and non-gluten grains. Dr. Guarneri recommends working with a nutritionist on it for guidance.

Since I have several of the symptoms I plan to do just that. I have emailed my doctor for a nutritionist recommendation. When she gets back to me, I will contact the nutritionist and commence on the elimination diet.

Stay tuned for the results. I am a senior citizen with really painful arthritis in both hands. I have used (and reported on this blog), trace minerals, exercise, NSAIDS and, currently, I take one gram of acetaminophen every morning to combat the pain. In doctor terms, the pain has recently escalated from a level four to a level five. So, I am very hopeful that this diet can give me some relief.

Stay tuned.


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Filed under arthritis, elimination diet, food sensitivity

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