Eating is an essential ritual in our daily lives that is not only highly pleasurable for many individuals but is also essential for fuel. While many people are fortunate to eat the majority of foods without a second thought, for others, it may be an activity of immense stress and anxiety.
It’s no secret that food allergies and sensitivities are on the rise – just walk down a grocery store aisle and you’ll find dairy-free cheese, gluten-free crackers, and nut-free butters. The cruel reality is some people have been traumatized by a simple ingredient causing congestion, nausea, or even a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction.
It can be challenging to cope when it feels like the world is against your basic needs. However, with the tips in this article, you can empower yourself to rise above your fear and live a fulfilling life with plenty of good eats.
Why Are Food Allergies & Sensitivities a Growing Problem?
As society has evolved, we have created an increasing disconnect between us and the natural world. As a result, we encounter fewer of the helpful microbes that train our immune systems to respond appropriately to foreign substances.
Growing bodies of evidence suggest that the more antibiotics a child receives, the more likely they are to have a food allergy. Other research shows that children who have a cat or dog are less likely to have an allergic disorder.
The fast-paced nature of modernity is not ideal for proper digestion. Inadequate chewing, artificial lights, deadlines, social media, and not eating in communal situations provide a recipe for increased permeability and dysbiosis.
While there is no one avenue through which a person may develop an allergy, a lot of the issues stem from problems in the gut and a disconnect from the outside world.
It’s Scary Out There
Food allergies and intolerances can cause immense stress and anxiety for those afflicted. Social situations involving food, such as birthdays or work lunches, may be avoided altogether by those who suffer.
Food allergies can have a challenging impact on many areas of a person’s life, especially since food is often at the heart of many social events.
Interestingly, food allergies can cause anxiety but the reverse may be equally prevalent. Anxiety may lead to problems with food allergies as a result of a weakened immune system. In some cases, the symptoms of anxiety can mimic symptoms of food intolerance. This may include:
If you aren’t sure what the problem is, it’s always best to see a professional, such as our integrative doctor at Seed and Soil Wellness. Schedule your evaluation today so we can find the root cause of your symptoms.
Coping with Food Anxiety
If you struggle with food allergies and experience anxiety as a result, here are steps to take:
Keep a list of foods that you are allergic to or have an intolerance to. Give a copy to those closest to you, so they can know what to keep off the grocery list and what restaurants to avoid.
Develop strategies to manage your mental and emotional health, such as deep breathing, time in nature, exercise, baths, etc.
Find a support group. You may be surprised by how many people are experiencing the same difficulties as you.
Ask for help by finding a holistic health professional, such as Dr. Damon, who can help you manage all areas of your health.
Have a plan in case of an emergency. Talk to an allergen specialist to see if you need an EpiPen. Notify close family and friends of what to do in these instances.
Accept that despite your best efforts, you may encounter an allergen. However, if you have a plan, this doesn’t have to prevent you from living a happy and fulfilling life.
Actions You Can Take
In many cases, allergies and intolerances can be healed. In certain people, food intolerance issues are the result of intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut syndrome. When the gut is damaged, substances can pass through the lining of the small intestine and get into the bloodstream, triggering an immune response.
Food intolerance is often the result of intestinal permeability or imbalances within the gut microbiome.
In any case, you must discuss this possibility with your healthcare provider. You should never expose yourself to a known allergen unless under the direct supervision of a doctor.
Learn More > Our Functional Medical Approach to Allergies
Overcome Your Fear with Seed & Soil
Facing food intolerances and allergies isn’t an easy path to walk, but you don’t have to let it get in the way of you living a rich and fulfilling life. With the help of our natural medicine practice, you can develop strategies to help you overcome your fear and retrain your immune system to appropriately respond to threats.