As a neurologist who specializes in chronic migraines, some of my patients struggle for decades before they come to see me. They’re often surprised when I zero in on their diet. I personally didn’t give food allergies much thought, until a fateful run-in with a former patient and her mother. It sparked my curiosity when they told me that eliminating gluten was the missing link in her treatment plan.
I decided to experiment a little myself, and the results were astounding. In my small outpatient practice in the suburbs of Chicago, I found that food allergies or sensitivities are an ever-present threat. Based on a blood test to identify IgG antibody responses, I’ve found three dominant food allergies in my patients:
- Dairy: 59% moderate to severe
- Grains: 47% moderate to severe
- Eggs: 36% moderate to severe
Upon treatment for these food allergies, their migraines are more manageable, if not completely eliminated.
Is it a food allergy?
Food allergies and sensitivities can be difficult to spot; the response in the body may take 4-72 hours to develop, and symptoms vary from person to person. Sufferers may notice:
- Low moods
- Difficulty focusing
- Digestive symptoms
Just as reaction times and symptoms differ in each person, so do foods that could trigger an allergy or sensitivity. The seven most common food allergies and sensitivities are caused by:
How do food allergies develop?
A handful of causes likely contribute to this widespread problem. Some believe that processed foods damage our digestive systems. Others think a lack of healthy bacteria, digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid in the gut are to blame. Most explanations come down to poor digestion.
Ayurveda has long believed that undigested food in the digestive tract, also called “ama,” can wreak havoc on the entire body. In the case of food allergies, one theory is that the body cannot digest foods you are allergic to. As ama builds up in and damages the digestive tract, food particles can escape into the blood stream. The body’s immune system treats these foreign food particles as dangerous invaders. A body at war with itself in this way can experience a host of health issues.
How does Zira Mind and Body treat food allergies?
Zira Mind and Body tests for food allergies, but an elimination diet can also help you determine if you have an allergy or sensitivity. In addition to testing with your own diet, we also recommend measures that improve digestion. Here are a few things we advise:
- Add digestive enzymes and probiotics. More and more research suggests that your gut health is a direct reflection of your overall health. Check out this TED talk about the importance of your microbial community. Give it a boost with DigestEase and Megasporebiotic – which can be purchased through our store. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
- Get more vitamin D. [We recommend 1000-5000 IU daily based on your blood levels] Our favorite is Pure Balance 1000 IU drops or 5000 IU caps.
- Aim for a healthy balance of all six tastes. You may be wondering, So, what do I eat? According to Ayurveda, you should aim for balance between these six tastes for a satisfying meal:
Sweet: Chicken, grains, molasses, honey
Sour: Lemon, lime, pickled foods, berries
Salty: Table salt, soy sauce
Bitter: Greens, broccoli, sprouts
Pungent: Onions, garlic, peppers
Astringent: Pomegranate, apples
- Eat warm, grounding, oleic foods to fuel your digestive fire, which is constantly challenged in the winter by cold weather. For Vata and Kapha types, this should be the goal during warmer months, too. Incorporate warming and grounding spices like cinnamon, cumin and cloves. Cook with ghee to lubricate the digestive system.
- Avoid ice water – especially during mealtime. The ice counteracts the digestive fire and slows digestion.
- Chew your food. A Chinese study showed that subjects who chewed each bite 40 times consumed 15% less calories. These subjects also had lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that signals feelings of hunger.
- Eat your largest meal when digestion is strongest. Ayurveda believes pitta digestion occurs when the sun is at its peak – around noon.
- Eat smaller portions. No meal should be larger than the amount of food that can fit in your two hands put together. This ensures you don’t overload your body with more food than you can digest in one sitting.
- Pay more attention to your body’s cues during mealtime. Eat until you’re satisfied – not full. If you chew your food properly, mealtime should be at least twenty minutes. Stand up towards the end of your meal. Stop eating if you feel comfortable, but not overfull.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when diagnosing and treating food allergies and sensitivities. Consistent changes to your diet and digestive health may be all it takes to clear some of your toughest health hurdles. There is no risk in exploring food’s connection to your health concerns – no laundry list of side effects; No operations involved. So ask yourself, what do you have to lose? Maybe a little excess weight around the middle! This is one of the many beneficial ‘side effects’ with removing a food item that you may be intolerant to, along with adding digestive healers as listed above.