It happens to all of us. If you are living with food sensitivities, you're going to have days when everything goes sideways because of something you ate - whether you know what it is or not. Maybe you even decide to intentionally eat a known trigger food because…well, just because! And there is nothing wrong in doing that…
But then we have to deal with the consequences, right?
Do you have a rescue plan for those days? How do you support your body to calm down the reaction and the symptoms? How long does it take you to recover?
Here are a few ideas for you to consider and/or discuss with your healthcare provider. (Because, remember, I'm not your doctor and these are only suggestions; some may work for you and others may not.)
Depending on the symptoms you experience, you have some options to explore to manage those symptoms. And that's ultimately what it is all about at this point - manage the symptoms so you can keep living. And then start addressing the deeper issues…
If you deal more with gut issues like bloating, acidic stomach/burning, nausea, loose stools, or explosive stools (think gut sneeze!) you're looking for the things that will decrease or calm the histamine in your gut. Things like standard H2 blockers (ranitidine, famotidine, etc.) or mast cell stabilizers like Tulsi tea or Chamomile tea can help calm an angry gut. Gas-X can be really helpful with bloating. Licorice, glutamine and butyrate are options for supporting overall gut health and can help in the midst of a reaction, as well.
Foggy brain and head symptoms
Maybe your gut isn't the biggest issue…maybe it's more of the head stuff. Foggy brain and irritability are quite common with food sensitivities. In the midst of a reaction, it may make the most sense to simply use antihistamines to manage symptoms and get you through the worst of it. Another option is a family of herbs known as adaptogens. Ashwagandha is a very commonly used adaptogen and it can help with some of the stress response components of a food sensitivity reaction.
Whole body symptoms
And if you're in the situation where it just seems EVERYTHING goes wrong when you mistakenly eat a trigger food, the antihistamine is potentially going to be your best tool. I'm not a huge fan of staying on them long-term but, again, we're trying to manage symptoms so you can keep living your life. Other options are using something like sodium bicarbonate which can help tummy quite a bit but will also help those overall symptoms. Mast cell stabilizers may help a lot here, too. Resveratrol is a common and pretty well-tolerated stabilizer, as are things like Tulsi tea and Chamomile tea.
Fast Action Intervention
If you've done any research into histamine intolerance, I am quite sure you have heard about the DAO enzyme. It is the primary enzyme in the gut which works on the histamine we eat. If you suddenly notice you ate something you shouldn't have, you can use DAO replacement (a dietary supplement) to help your body deal with what you just ate. It won't help one or two hours later…but if you're still sitting at the table, consider taking a couple to help decrease the impact.
Know you can always take an antihistamine. They are a tool with pros and cons, risks and benefits just like anything we take. (For more info on the challenges associated with antihistamines, click here.) I like to use a short-acting one available over-the-counter (OTC) called chlorpheniramine. They last about 4 hours and then give you a chance to reassess how you feel. And, yes, if you're taking other antihistamines, you can take this one in addition.
We all eat the wrong things periodically. It pays to have a rescue plan for when those days come.
Sixty-second Self-care Tip…
This may sound a little silly, or you may completely agree - but when you feel miserable and foggy brained, the stuff that you know so well on a good day is completely lost in the fog. Consider writing down your Rescue Plan. Actually get on paper (or in your phone) what helps you feel better when food sensitivities knock you down.
I can't tell you how many times I could find nothing to eat and someone else had to remind me of what worked well in the past. It's really common! Plan ahead and start keeping notes.
Then you only have to remember where you stashed your plan!
I'm curious! What works for you when you're feeling miserable because of what you ate? Leave a comment below or join me on our Facebook page!