Unlocking the Secrets of Food Allergies: Understanding, Managing, and Thriving

Diving into the realm of holistic and alternative medicine unveiled a reality beyond the realms of mere meditation and focused breathing in the pursuit of optimal well-being. My upbringing was steeped in a family culture where taste took precedence over nutritional value; as long as it tasted good, the quality was a secondary concern. However, now at the age of 41, standing at the peak of life's "hill" and descending its other side, my body incessantly signals the repercussions of my consumption patterns over the years on my overall health.

In 2018, I embarked on a novel experience – an encounter with an acupuncturist. Admittedly, this venture wasn't something I eagerly embraced, as my fear of needles had me apprehensive. My introduction to this realm occurred at a community resource event, where a husband and wife duo spoke passionately about holistic and alternative medicine. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try. While the acupuncture session was far from my expectations, it was an okay experience overall. However, the real surprise came when the acupuncturist, after assessing me, pronounced that my gallbladder felt as hard as a rock. This unexpected statement led to an unsettling moment when he pressed on it, a memory etched with horror. The aftermath was marked by excruciating pain that drove me to consult him again. He suggested a hospital visit to assess the situation.

Before proceeding with any new methods, it's crucial to have a conversation with your healthcare provider, a point worth noting. This simple step could potentially save you from unnecessary pain and frustration.

The hospital visit yielded mostly normal lab results, albeit a possibility of mild to severe gastritis. Despite this, the pain persisted, leading me to my primary care doctor. Unfortunately, he couldn't offer much beyond cholesterol medication and a referral to a specialist – an option I was growing weary of, having encountered multiple specialists without significant resolution.

Fortune smiled on me as a close friend recommended a doctor versed in biofeedback. This proved transformative. After undergoing an array of scans, the doctor unveiled a revelation – my dietary choices were amiss, a revelation aligned with broader insights into my overall health. Armed with a list of essential vitamins and supplements, along with tailored dietary adjustments, I began to experience significant improvements. The doctor's counsel also spurred me to explore organic foods and recipes to prevent recurring symptoms. Intriguingly, at this point, I remained unaware of my food allergies. Without pursuing a formal food allergy test, I continued my holistic journey, acquiring coping mechanisms for past traumas and tools for healthier living.

In 2021, following the birth of my youngest child, a diagnosis of Hypothyroidism emerged, leading me to collaborate with a Naturalist doctor. This time, a food allergy test was conducted using hair and saliva samples. Astonishingly, the results unveiled my allergies to certain organic foods and ingredients that I had previously considered healthy. Uninformed about the potential side effects of consuming these seemingly healthful foods, I delved into research about the connection between food allergies and significant health issues. Below, I've outlined a synopsis of the consequences of unidentified food allergies. To explore further, you can visit my blog "Embracing a World without Gluten," where I delve into an at-home testing kit and offer insights on adapting to life with food allergies once they are identified.

Food allergies occur when a person’s immune system wrongly identifies certain proteins in food as harmful. This triggers an immune response that can cause a range of symptoms, including skin rashes, hives, and in more severe cases, anaphylaxis—a life-threatening reaction that can result in difficulty breathing or loss of consciousness.

If you have any of these symptoms, then consulting a doctor or a food nutritionist is important. Another way to figure out if you have food allergies is to purchase an at home testing kit. Then create a meal plan that can help you live a healthier life. There are many ways to know if you have food allergies and this could help reduce symptoms that you may be experiencing. Below are some of the most common food allergies:


  1. Milk: Milk allergies are one of the most common types of food allergies in children, though most will outgrow this by the age of five. Allergic reactions to milk can range from mild (hives and vomiting) to severe (anaphylaxis).


  1. Eggs: Egg allergies are also common in children, but they too often outgrow this allergy. Symptoms include skin rashes, hives, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis.


  1. Peanuts: Peanut allergies can cause severe reactions, and some affected individuals may be at risk of anaphylaxis. Even trace amounts of peanuts in a food item or in the air can cause an allergic reaction.


  1. Tree nuts: Tree nuts, such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts, are also a common allergen. These allergies typically last a lifetime and can be severe, with some people at risk of anaphylaxis.


  1. Soy: Soy is a common ingredient in many food products, and soy allergies can cause a range of symptoms, from skin rash to anaphylaxis.


  1. Wheat: Wheat allergies can cause mild to severe reactions, including digestive symptoms, skin rashes, and in some cases, anaphylaxis.


  1. Shellfish: Shrimp, lobster, and crab are all examples of shellfish that can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include hives, swelling, and in more severe cases, anaphylaxis.


If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing a food allergy, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. An allergist can provide a diagnosis and guidance on avoiding the allergen. In severe cases, they may also provide an epinephrine auto-injector (e.g. EpiPen) to be used in case of an emergency. Also, below is a link to an allergy at home testing that has great reviews about the results and the ease of use.

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