What your body can tell you about food sensitivities…

For some reason, this postcard is really hard for me to write.  And since I like having a real conversation in these pieces, I’m going to share that little hiccup with you! 

I know I want to write about the importance of listening to your body.  There is it.  That’s today’s topic – listening to the incredibly wise, true and honest body you’re living in.

Why?  Because it was built to maintain homeostasis.  It was built to carry you through difficulties and challenges and keep you breathing, moving and living. 

Have you ever considered everything that your body has survived in your lifetime?  Illnesses, hormonal changes, infections, surgical removal of organs, broken bones, giving birth, or the invisible challenges like depression and anxiety. 

Your body is a champion! 

If this feels a little woo-woo, let’s blame it on my training as an osteopathic physician.  That is actually one of the core beliefs of osteopathy – the body will always move towards a state of health if we get the barriers out of the way.

And your body is pretty good at letting you know when there is something “in the way”.  It could be a migraine headache or an upset stomach or a rash or a panic attack.  Any of the things that medicine generally calls “symptoms” can be a signal from your body that there is something in the way of health.

And since we are all on our own journey searching for health, what could we each gain by pausing and truly listening to what your amazing body is telling you?  (In many ways, it is a lot smarter than the healthcare provider you see…)

The place this really comes in handy is when we’re talking about food sensitivities.  Allergies, too, but most folks have a pretty clear picture of their limitations with allergies.  Food sensitivities are hard because there are multiple causes and it truly is a moving target!

The foods to which you may be sensitive today may not be an issue at all for you in a few years, depending on how you manage your food choices and how well you listen to your body.

One of the standard approaches to food allergies and sensitivities is elimination diets.  Generally, you pick two or three food items that you suspect cause you issues or that you really crave and you completely remove them from your diet for about six weeks.  At the end of six weeks, the hope is that the symptoms you were having are significantly improved.  Then you know you excluded some trouble foods.

Then it gets a little interesting.  You choose one of the food items and slowly reintroduce it into your diet.  If symptoms return, you know that is your trouble food and that guy stays out of your diet for 3-6 months to see if your body can reset.  If nothing happens, no symptoms pop up and you’re simply enjoying that item again, you know it’s a safe food so you set it to the side as you test the other food items.  However it plays out, you only test one food at a time for 3-4 days.

But the key is listening to your body.  Yes, a healthcare provider can do testing for food sensitivities (or you can even do at-home testing, too!) but the results don’t always match up with what your body is telling you.  And at that point, your body is the smarter one in the conversation! 

Sixty-Second Self-Care Tip...

Run your own body scan!  This is a great way to start really tuning in and listening to your body. 

Get comfortable in a quiet space.  Doesn’t matter if you’re standing, sitting or laying down – the key here is how well you can objectively observe what your body is telling you.  Close your eyes and then focus your attention on your feet.  How do they feel?  Anything feel “odd” or uncomfortable?  Do they feel the same, right and left?  What is the temperature? 

Then move up to your ankles, your lower legs, your knees, your thighs, your bottom, the front of your pelvis, your belly, your chest, your back, your shoulders and neck, right arm from shoulder to fingertips and then left arm from shoulder to fingertips.  Then come back to neck and jaw and face and ears and scalp. 

You might even take a little bit of time to observe what is going on in your mouth, your throat, your stomach, your lungs, and your bowels. 

This one sounds like a lot and it certainly can be, but it can also be a relatively quick scan just to get in touch with your body.

Consider keeping a little log with the date and time and what you noticed.  It can actually become pretty handy when working with your healthcare provider when you have an issue!

And if you're finding the hardest thing about your own food allergies or food sensitivities is figuring out where your trouble foods are hiding, I totally feel you!  After living with my own allergies and sensitivities for over 45 years, I know a cheat sheet with alternative names for those trouble foods can really come in handy.  And that's what I have for you in my FREE download!  You'll be reading labels like a pro in no time! 


Tags

60-second self-care, elimination diets, food sensitivities, listening, self-advocate


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