Food Sensitivities and Healthy Choices

Elaina Love | CommonGround

Many of us suffer from food sensitivities and allergies and without recognizing the symptoms or the cause. Because food is so essential to our physical, mental, and emotional well being, it affects our entire way of life when these sensitivities develop. Physical reactions to food sensitivities can be as mild as hot feet and as severe as depression or anaphylactic shock. Sometimes people to deal with the symptoms with pharmaceuticals, pills, herbs, and even surgery. While these may provide a temporary “fix” for the problem, you can never be truly healthy unless you find out why your body is doing what it is doing.

Before discovering my own food allergies, I was cranky, had severe eczema, painful PMS that lasted for days, and other debilitating physical and emotional pain including arthritis, fatigue and depression. I thought it was just something I had to live with. I had no idea that I had the power to cure myself.

Ninety percent of all food allergies can be attributed to these foods: dairy products, soy, shellfish, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, egg whites.

To find out if you are reacting to certain foods, you can either get a blood test (it can cost $500 or more); or you can do your own research by eliminating the suspect foods from your diet for a week, then reintroducing them one at a time and noticing any reactions.

After I determined which foods I was allergic to, I had some decisions to make. I could either choose to keep eating those foods and live with the symptoms, or decide my health and well-being were more important. In my case, the offending foods were wheat, eggs, dairy and soy. Because I was a vegetarian who ate meat substitutes which were made with wheat, dairy or soy, my food choices appeared to be severely limited. I began making recipes from allergy-free cookbooks, and I looked for prepared and packaged foods that were allergen- free. While meticulously reading the labels, looking for the offending ingredients, I found that wheat, eggs and dairy are common ingredients in countless numbers of packaged foods. Even soy sauce and licorice contain wheat!

I also discovered a book on intestinal cleansing. It contained testimonials that inspired me to try an intestinal cleanse for myself. After a month, I had an amazing increase in my energy and many of my previous symptoms vanished. During the cleansing process, I discovered the surprising health benefits of raw, living foods made from a base of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It was the answer to my prayers. Not only did these newly discovered recipes contain none of my reactive foods, they were also so satisfying that they quickly replaced the old “comfort foods.” I completely transformed my diet and lifestyle. It is exciting to eat comforting foods knowing that they not only make me feel good but they are also highly nutritious.

After completing several cleanses and eating primarily raw, living foods, I am now able to eat foods to which I was previously allergic. I will never go back to my previous eating habits though because grains and starches make me tired and slow me down, and dairy products make me feel bloated and stuffed.

On a diet consisting of mostly raw, living foods, I have increased energy, and I look and feel better.

Elaina Love, a professional chef and instructor, writes about food. For more of her recipes, visit www.purejoylivingfoods.com

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