Delayed food sensitivities vs allergies
Our immune system is there to protect us from invaders from outside and inside. Sometimes it makes a “mistake” and attacks completely harmless particles like protein in an egg or milk, causing us to be sensitive to those foods. There are two kinds of food sensitivities – immediate and delayed – either of which you can develop at any point in your life.
Immediate food sensitivities appear immediately within 15 minutes of exposure and are therefore relatively easy to identify. They result in typical allergic reactions like sneezing, watery eyes, hives or, in extreme cases, an anaphylactic reaction. These reaction of the immune system we call allergies.
Delayed food sensitivities are harder to identify because they can occur 24-72 hours after exposure. Symptoms are not as easy to identify because they are not very specific. You might feel vaguely fatigued or irritable. Or you may have a tummy discomfort or a headache. Some people have muscle or joint aches and pains, your feet or hands might tingle or go numb. Because symptoms are so non-specific and happen long after you eat the food, it’s very hard to connect cause and effect on you own.
Most common foods that trigger delayed food sensitivities
- Nightshade family (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes)
How can I find out if I have food sensitivities?
Tests for food allergies and food sensitivities exist, but they are notoriously unreliable. Therefore, the best way to find out what foods you are sensitive to is by doing an Elimination Diet. This diet is not meant to test foods to which you are allergic to! I recommend you find a practitioner like myself to guide you through the process. Keeping a food log can be very helpful as well. Write down everything you eat and the symptoms you experience and you might be able to find some patterns.
Changing eating habits is required
Once you find out which foods you are sensitive to, avoid them at all cost. This may involve making quite an adjustment in your lifestyle – especially if you are sensitive to something like gluten or dairy! Don’t despair however! You can find really tasty substitutes and still enjoy your food. For those who must avoid dairy, cow’s milk can be replaced with soy, rice and nut milks. Instead of ice cream a whole array of non-dairy frozen desserts like my “Watermelon Sorbet” are available.