Tuesday, April 21, 2015

If my tests are normal why am I still sick?

Normally when someone has symptoms like joint pain, constipation, headache or congestion, they start by taking an OTC remedy like pain relievers, laxatives or decongestants. 

But if that doesn’t help, that’s usually when you visit the doctor for answers.  Unfortunately, the doctor doesn’t always have the answer.
Because sometimes they can’t figure out what’s causing your problem—and it’s certainly not due to lack of trying or concern on their part.

It’s because all of your tests have come back normal…so all they can suggest is symptomatic treatment with medications.

But eventually medications can lose their effectiveness over time, and you can also be having side effects.

And this whole time, you still haven’t been able pinpoint the underlying problem…so you continue to suffer.

I’ve just described how a food sensitivity can unleash its ugly wrath on you.

Here’s the scoop:

Food allergy vs. sensitivity—what’s the difference?
People commonly confuse food sensitivities and food allergies, but they’re quite different.

When someone is allergic to a food, there is NO mistaking the cause-and-effect relationship.

With food allergies, your immune system sees a harmless molecule of food as a dangerous invader and your body reacts by releasing the hormone histamine.  This causes the classic itchy skin or swelling in the lips, mouth, tongue and throat. 

Most food allergies fall into these 8 categories: Milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.

Although many people use the terms interchangeably, food sensitivities differ from food allergies.
With food sensitivities, the cause-and-effect relationship is not so obvious because no histamine is released and you typically don't get symptoms right away after eating the food.

It can be several hours or even DAYS before your body reacts!

Plus, the symptoms triggered by food sensitivities can be associated with other conditions, so it's hard to pinpoint food as the cause.

Symptoms can include:
  • Migraines, insomnia, dizziness
  • Coughing, gagging, sore throat, hoarseness
  • Nasal congestion, ear ringing, blurred vision, watery eyes, hearing loss, dark circles under eyes
  • Irregular heartbeat, asthma, chest pain, shortness of breath, bronchitis
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, heartburn
  • Hives, rashes, psoriasis, eczema, acne, hair loss, dry skin
  • Joint aches, arthritis
  • Depression, difficulty concentrating, aggressive behavior, learning difficulties, confusion, cravings
So concluding that you even have a food sensitivity to begin with and then narrowing down what foods are the offenders can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. 

Plus unlike food allergies, there are no tried and true lab tests to pinpoint a food sensitivity.

So it’s no wonder that some people go for years with undiagnosed sensitivities and continue to suffer.

At-home tests you can try
There are a couple at-home tests you can try to see if food sensitivities may be your companion.

1- The elimination test
This will involve some tracking on your part but will be worth it if food sensitivities are, in fact, an issue for you.

For the next 10 days, jot down everything you eat and drink, as well as your level of symptomology (if any). 

For example, your record for Day 1 could look like this:
 2 eggs and bacon
 1 cup coffee with cream

Tossed salad with chicken
Italian dressing
1 glass milk
Felt fatigued at 2:30pm
Grilled shrimp
Green beans
Got a headache at 7pm
Handful of nuts

After the 10 days are up, note what foods you ate on the day before and the day of feeling any symptoms—those will be your “experimental” foods. 

Now look at your list of experimental foods and see if there are any foods you eat frequently that also seem to precede your symptoms.  Pick the two or three foods that seem to be most closely associated with your symptoms and eliminate them from your diet for a week and see how you feel. 

If you feel markedly better, well, there’s a sign for you.

After the week is up, reintroduce the foods into your diet one at a time, separated by three days between each food, and see if your symptoms return.

Although this process can take a while, many people have gotten tremendous relief by helping to zero in on foods they’re sensitive to.

2- The pulse test
This test involves checking your pulse to see if you may be sensitive to a certain food.

Start by taking your pulse first thing in the morning to get a baseline rate.  Then keep a record of the foods you eat for 10 days like in the elimination test above and pick your two or three experimental foods.

Eat one of the foods, wait 15 minutes, then check your pulse, comparing it to your baseline rate.  If there is a reaction to the food, you may see your pulse go up by as many as 10 beats, or down by five or 10 beats. 

The next day try another experimental food and see what happens to your pulse.

Again, this process is very much trial and error and is not an absolute diagnostic measure, but it may help you pinpoint possible problematic foods.

How you can help ease food sensitivities
In order to help ease food sensitivities, it’s important to know how they come about to begin with…and that is a reflection of the health of your gut wall.

You see, when your intestinal wall is healthy, it functions like a gatekeeper. It allows properly digested fats, proteins and starches "through the gate" to be absorbed into circulation so they can be used by your body.

At the same time, poorly digested food particles, toxins and harmful bacteria are "locked in" to the intestine and held there until they are eliminated with your feces.

But the problem arises when your gut wall becomes weak and too porous (leaky). Then it allows improperly broken down food molecules that are too big for nourishment to slip through into the bloodstream.

Your immune system mistakes these "big food pieces" for dangerous invaders and begins developing a reaction to fight them off.

If this happens over and over, your body will eventually see that food in ANY size molecule or state of digestion as dangerous…and you have triggered a food sensitivity.

So to help counteract food sensitivities, in addition to avoiding known offending foods, having good digestion and a strong gut wall are where it’s at!

Here’s how to accomplish both of those important goals:

Part 1- Good digestion
In order to help accomplish good digestion, it’s essential to structure your meals to make them easier for your body to break down.  

The Great Taste No Pain health system will show you how to structure nutrient-loaded meals that are far less taxing on your precious digestive system.

Not only will this help all of your foods to be broken down just like they should be, but by encouraging better digestion, you can also help curb gas, bloating, constipation and heartburn too.

Plus you’ll love the scrumptious recipes too!

Now, if you’ve got a known gluten sensitivity or intolerance, I’ve got you covered.  Great Taste No Gluten is for you instead.

You’ll get the same smart food pairing advice as in Great Taste No Pain, plus guides for avoiding gluten and a collection of delicious gluten free recipes.

Part 2- A strong (non-leaky) gut wall
One of the most common causes of leaky gut syndrome (which is the "instigator" behind most food sensitivities) is dysbiosis in the gut.

In other words, harmful microbes overcome the beneficial bacteria in your gut and "eat away" at your intestinal lining, making it too porous.

Thanks to processed and fast foods, stress, medications and other factors, many people have a degree of dysbiosis and don't even know it.

And while having a healthy diet can help counteract that, it may not be enough.

That’s why the additional beneficial boost from a probiotic supplement can be so helpful.

And for a good quality probiotic product, look no farther than Super Shield probiotic formula.

Super Shield’s 13 powerhouse strains will line up along your intestinal wall, helping to crowd out harmful bacteria and encourage a strong gut wall. 

When you get the upper hand on food sensitivities, you can help make their misery a thing of the past for you (or help prevent sensitivities before they take hold of you).

To your health,

Sherry Brescia

Follow me on Twitter @sherry_brescia and Instagram @sherrybrescia

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