My Family's Journey with Food Intolerances
Food intolerances are a hot topic right now, with more and more people realizing the foods they eat are directly impacting the way they feel, think, and move. We also know that each of us is different, and while one food or way of eating might be ok for you to eat, that might not be the case for the next person. I've experienced this in my own family, and with clients.
But before I tell you my story with food intolerances (and my family's), we need to clarify the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. Food allergies typically cause an almost immediate reaction after a food is consumed and are a result of IgE antibodies. Food intolerances, however, may have an immediate reaction after consuming a food, but often have a much more delayed reaction. Food allergy symptoms are commonly manifested as shortness of breath, swelling, hives, and itching. Food intolerances can manifest in a number of ways: skin problems, GI discomfort, headaches, systemic inflammation, and others.
For more information on food intolerances and food allergies, check out this article from the Mayo Clinic.
My journey with food intolerances
As a diabetic dietitian, I tend to think about the food I'm eating and the way it effects me a little more than the average person. So when I started to experience some rather unpleasant, and at times embarrassing GI symptoms after my youngest daughter was born, I knew something was off... and like a good dietitian, I suspected it was something I was eating. My body had been through a lot after two back-to-back pregnancies, and it was very possible my immune system had changed too.
I got tested for a number of food allergies, including celiac disease, and everything came back negative. So, I went on eating as I always had... until about a year later when my thyroid hormones started acting up (I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism back when I was 12). Suddenly, my medication dosage wasn't adequate and I was needing a higher dosage than when I was pregnant (which if you're wondering, is not normal at all). My doctor suspected I wasn't absorbing my medication properly, and it could be due to inflammation in my GI tract caused by food intolerances.