Who doesn't love a good puzzle? A murder mystery, or a jigsaw puzzle or food sensitivities? Not what you were expecting there was it? But food sensitivities can be one of the biggest puzzles that we try to figure out. And it's one of the most challenging, which means that it's not unusual for folks to lose hope that you're going to be able to solve the whole puzzle. And so we give up and we feel miserable and we have symptoms and we get more and more frustrated, which actually is only going to increase your reactivity. But that's for another time.
The thing I want to do today is offer a couple additional puzzle pieces for your puzzle discovery. Because the more pieces that we collect from different perspectives, I think, ultimately then you can find what works best for you. So my perspective on food sensitivities is that it really is more of an intolerance. So you might have heard of histamine intolerance. I don't know that the folks that are working on that definition and I would completely agree, but I do see a lot of similarities there.
And the reason I say that is an intolerance, when we're talking about allergies and sensitivities, an intolerance is when your body doesn't have enough of whatever it needs - an enzyme, a protein, whatever - to fully digest and metabolize the foods that you're putting into your body. So a lot of foods either have histamine in them or they cause histamine release when you eat them - when they go into your body and there's a couple of other mechanisms as well, but both of those situations increases the amount of histamine in your body. And for those of us...me...I'm one of these...for those of us who have some genetic predisposition to having higher histamine levels, we're going to be reactive to foods.
It's not that our body doesn't know what to do with the food and the histamine as it comes in. It's just simply that the way we're uniquely coded in our genetics and how the four cornerstones of epigenetics are playing out in our lives - more about that in moment - all of those things together impact how well our body is making and using that particular enzyme.
So ultimately what this can look like in practice is that you have an intolerance to histamine because your body doesn't have enough enzymes to get rid of the histamine so that you can void it out and make it go away. So there's the component here of the genetics, where you can spend some time with a coach or with a clinician and figure out your specific genetics, or the other side of this is that there are the four cornerstones of epigenetics that I just mentioned a second ago that you can control.
This is all stuff that will definitely impact the way your body metabolizes and uses histamine and estrogens and environmental exposure chemicals, and all sorts of other stuff. Right? But these are things that you can do without a provider, without a physician, without somebody coaching you along. It's nice to have help, but you don't have to wait for that.
So four cornerstones of epigenetics is sleep - how well you sleep and the quantity of sleep. So many of us are sleep deprived. Why? Because we wake up multiple times in the middle of the night because of our stress levels. And that's number two - stress management.
You're not going to get out of this life without having your fair share of stressful moments. And there's no way to completely get rid of it, regardless of how much we talk about getting rid of the stress in your life, making it go away. It's not going to happen. The important part is how you deal with it, how you manage it, how you minimize it to your best ability in your life.
The third one is going to be environmental exposures. These are things like drinking from the plastic bottles, storing stuff in plastic containers, using the microwave and plastic. Let's see...glyphosate in your food, aluminum in your deodorant. If you kind of get into this world of clean and healthy living, you're going to find a lot of resources. A big one that I'm going to throw out here real quick for you is the Environmental Working Group's Healthy Living app - EWG, Healthy Living app. It's a freebie. Very cool. It can help you find some awesome stuff.
Okay...then onto the fourth one, our fourth cornerstone of epigenetics. And this is a big one. You're not going to be surprised. Don't roll your eyes. It's simply going to be food choices. So it's looking at organic foods. It's looking at low oxalate foods.
It's looking at low histamine foods, which ultimately for those of us with food sensitivities is what we need to be looking at and seeing how we can incorporate more into our lives. It's a low histamine diet. Think of your body as a bucket, a big old bucket. And it's got one tiny little spigot down at the bottom.
The bucket is collecting all of the histamine that we either eat or, because of what we eat or we're exposed to, our body releases on its own. That little spigot down at the bottom is going to be the enzyme that metabolizes all that histamine so we can pee it out. Depending on our sleep, our stress, our environmental exposures, our food choices, that spigot, that enzyme is going to be faster or slower.
And that's independent of our genetics. Our genetics play a role in it, but we control so much by our choices in those four primary places. So that's where I want you to focus. If you want some more information on the four cornerstones of epigenetics, here is one of several posts I've written about them.
And, as always, feel free to shoot me an email, or put a message here. Ask any questions that you've got, because ultimately this is your puzzle, and I want to see you solve it and have a wonderful, enjoyable life where you can eat what you want to eat. Perhaps little bits here and there, but you can eat whatever you want because you understand how your body works.