Are you suffering from skin problems, digestive problems, fatigue, or even depression? Did you link these symptoms to a food intolerance? Food intolerances are surprisingly common. But while they are common, they are also uncomfortable, painful, and can be embarrassing. Food intolerances can affect the way you live your life.
Knowledge is power – finding out about the most common food intolerances can help you take back control over your diet. You do not have to live a restricted life, existing on bland rice. You can enjoy a varied diet, avoiding what you know makes you sick. Here is the natural way to identify food intolerance and switch out foods for equally delicious alternatives.
When Is Food Intolerance Actually a Food Allergy?
It is also common for people to use the terms allergy and intolerance to mean the same thing when it comes to reactions to food and other substances. But food intolerance and an allergy are different things.
What is an allergy? Normally, you’ll notice allergy symptoms almost immediately after you have consumed a certain food. An allergy comes on quickly, and therefore it can be easier to identify an allergy than an intolerance. It is important to note that symptoms of an allergic reaction can be life-threatening, and it is certainly important to visit a doctor or go to the emergency room if you have a strong reaction to a certain food or drink.
Symptoms of an intolerance may not be evident until hours or even days later. It can be very hard to see what is making you sick. And what’s worse, people can start accusing you of simply being a picky eater, or imagining your symptoms. But food intolerances are unfortunately real. And they can be caused by quite a variety of foods and ingredients. Here we look at some of the most likely foods to cause an intolerance problem.
What Are the Most Common Food Intolerances?
This is a big one – gluten intolerance is a disruptive condition that can cause digestive problems as well as other symptoms like skin and psychological problems. You’ll find gluten in grains – wheat, rye, barley etc. You’ll also find it in beer, pasta, sauces, breads…. The list is pretty endless so you need to check labeling for “gluten free” in order to be sure you are not consuming gluten. Thankfully many restaurants now offer gluten free dishes, and you’ll find plenty of choice in specialist and mainstream stores.
You can bake with different things like ground nuts, or use alternative flours like chickpea flour, rice flour, or potato flour.
- Tree Nut or Peanut
You’ll probably know someone who has a nut allergy, and you may suffer this yourself as it is very common. If you get symptoms from tree nuts or peanuts you will need to avoid nuts like Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, and pistachios. Peanuts are not actually tree nuts but they cause an almost equal intolerance. If you suspect that you have a nut intolerance – or an allergy – you can pay close attention to packaging to identify when nuts appear as obvious or hidden ingredients.
Instead of nuts, try seeds for when you want to get a fix of healthy fats. Or you can go for something like avocado or seed butters spread on bread. It is also worth remembering that nuts do contain fat so when you cut them out you will undoubtedly be cutting down on calories.
An intolerance to eggs is common in children. It often gets better as you get older, but if not it is important not to eat actual eggs, but also to avoid anything where egg is an ingredient, which could be a lot of things. Eggs are ingredients in everything from bread to pasta, desserts to mayonnaise.
If you have a problem with eggs it is worth trying organic eggs or eggs from grass-fed chickens rather than soy-fed chickens. It could be that you are experiencing intolerance to the soy fed to the chickens, and not to the eggs themselves. There are egg alternatives that are available in all major stores. These include tofu, and you can also try things like mashed bananas or creamy yogurt when baking or when you want to add some extra moisture to a dish.
So many people seem to have intolerances to soy, and because it is in so many different foods this can be a really difficult issue to solve. Soy intolerance can affect people of all ages, even babies.
It is not always possible to avoid soy. But one first step is to take out processed foods from your diet. Don’t eat pre-made foods, if you can avoid them.
A dairy or lactose intolerance is another common problem. If you suffer lactose intolerance you will experience symptoms that affect your digestion and these may start a few minutes or a few hours after you eat the offending foods.
With a dairy intolerance you may be able to have small quantities of dairy, or you may not be able to tolerate any at all. Sometimes people will be able to have goats milk, sometimes small amounts of yogurt. Food intolerances can be tricky – make sure that you get the best advice and help to manage your individual symptoms.