Bloated belly.  Heartburn.  Itchy, rashy skin.  Acne.  Weight gain.  Stuffy nose.  Morning cough.  Food cravings.  Joint pains and stiffness.  Bags and dark circles under the eyes.  Full ears.  

The list could go on…the signs of food reactivity, aka allergies, intolerances or sensitivities, is quite long.  Discovering the true root cause of your reactions to food - or are they really reactions to food? - truly is a puzzle.  And one of those crazy double-sided 1000 piece puzzles!  (Would they really make one like that?!)

The benefit you and I have with actually putting together a box puzzle is we can see all of the pieces.  They may not make sense as we see them, but we know they belong in the picture if they were in the box!

Figuring out food reactions isn't as easy.  We tend to focus on the two or three puzzle pieces we hear about and read about, but we don't always know what we don't know.  It skews the final outcome of our puzzle!

I get a lot of questions about what can cause food sensitivities.  It's never an easy answer…because of all the pieces.  Each one of us truly is so unique - our diet, our environment, how well we sleep and manage stress.  Each of these represent the four cornerstones of your life and wellness story.  And we each have a very unique story that impacts our wellness, as well.  

With each unique story is potentially a different answer to the question of What is causing my food reactivity?!  

Even so, it helps to see all of the puzzle pieces.  Here are seven causes of food reactivity (and the list isn't comprehensive!):

  1. Decreased gut integrity.  This has been the big focus for many years.  When your gut is inflamed and when your microbiome is significantly imbalanced, the barrier that keeps foods in your gut weakens and allows partially digested food to get into your system where it activates your immune system.  

  2. Mold exposure.  Toxins from mold and mold exposures can cause a number of different symptoms in the body, not the least of which is food allergies and sensitivities.  Mold is hard to eliminate, especially if it is currently in your environment.  

  3. Allergies.  This is a big domino right here.  Why?  Because allergies to anything, when aggravated, cause inflammation (see below) and already have your body primed to react with histamine.  If you have allergies, it is extremely common to also have sensitivities to items - even if they don't show up on testing!

  4. Estrogen dominance.  Estrogen and histamine (the primary cause of allergies) are friends who travel in the same circles.  Frequently when estrogen is high, so is histamine.  And when histamine is high, estrogen increases, too.  In fact, for many of us menstrual cramping is caused by elevated histamine.  

  5. Inflammation.  This one is hard because there are so many causes of inflammation!  In fact, allergies and sensitivities cause inflammation.  It turns into the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum.  Regardless, if you have increased inflammation in your body, food reactivity will follow.  Also keep in mind that chronic stress increases inflammation, as well.  Figuring out how to intentionally cut down on your stress really does help your physical health!

  6. Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).  We're primarily talking food stuffs here.  And there are a few different mechanisms at play here.  One is simply that many GMOs are similar ro prepared foods - our biochemistry has to work harder to digest and use the products from these foods.  Another is the relationship between GMOs and glyphosate.  The farming industry uses glyphosate to ripen crops and to keep out weeds; to keep the glyphosate from killing the crops they created a GMO plant that is resistant.  But that means we're also eating more glyphosate which has repercussions in the body - impacts the microbiome, causes inflammation.  

  7. Genetics.  We each have specific genes that code for specific biochemical enzymes.  Those enzymes help us metabolize toxins, histamine, estrogens, and glyphosate, among so many others!  Does that list sound familiar?  Many of us have genes that tell our enzymes to work slower or faster or respond differently to types of exercise or timing of meals.  We can learn a lot about our wellness weaknesses by looking at our genetics.  

When you start to suspect food sensitivities or allergies, keep in mind that you are looking at a puzzle with a lot of pieces.  You're not going to get the whole picture by only doing IgE (allergy) and IgG (sensitivity) testing.  Keep this list in mind when you start evaluating your own story and situation.  Ask the questions…and if your provider can't address your question, consider looking for another provider to assist you with this puzzle!

Sixty-Second Self-Care Tip...

A big part of being your best health advocate is knowing enough to ask a question.  If food reactivity of any kind is part of your story, consider choosing one of the seven items above and do a little bit of research.  Which one is totally brand new to you?  Write down one or two questions about that topic and take it to your next healthcare appointment.

Or…consider joining me on Facebook!  It's 2022 - a New Year!  It's time to finally work on you.  To help get you going and to answer questions about food sensitivities, I'll be on Facebook every Tuesday and Friday through the month of January talking through a different aspect of food reactivity.  (And if it's helpful to you, I may just keep going!)  Find me here.


60-second self-care, epigenetics, food reactivity, food sensitivities, histamine

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