I often get asked why food intolerances are so common now. Whether it’s coeliac disease, gluten intolerance, IBS, fructose malabsorption, nut and egg allergies, salicylates, the list is endless and appears to be growing as we learn more about the human body and the food we put into it. What exactly goes into our food poses a big question as to whether this is a contributing factor to the ever increasing allergies and intolerances.
Our food and diet have evolved so much in the past 50 years that quite simply our bodies can’t keep up with digesting it properly. Food now comes in any shape or form and not always in its wholesome natural form. There is an overwhelming amount of food that contains numbers, chemicals, additives and preservatives as shown on our labels.
Symptoms of food intolerance can range from bloating, gas, respiratory problems, fatigue, sore eyes, rashes, diarrhea, nausea, cystitis and brain fog. Mentally, some food intolerances can also affect us with anxiety, depression, sleep issues and irritability. Often people live with constant bloating and just think it’s normal for them. Unfortunately, over time if you don’t eat the right way for your body, nutrients will not be absorbed in to cells efficiently, which can lead to extreme fatigue and even disease.
There are a number of reasons collectively which contribute to allergies. The western diet is definitely a big contributor. Processed food and eating quickly, ultimately results in poor digestion. It can also damage gut bacteria which then make it harder to digest food – hence bloating, digestive discomfort and gas. Food intolerances also have a massive genetic component. If your mum or grandfather had some form of intolerance, asthma or eczma, chances are either you or your children will have some repercussion.
Research is showing the modern diet which can be high in sugar, animal fat, caffeine, alcohol and processed food, also damages our gut integrity and strength which can then have a flow on effect to other systems in our body. A diet and body that doesn’t support healthy gut bacteria but rather promotes bad bacteria, can suddenly recognise certain foods as being ‘foreign invaders’. This is one of the reasons why the FODMAP diet is suddenly so popular.
In some cases you can be predisposed to allergies due to genetic history and then something like a virus, a bad bout of gastro or a hormonal imbalance can completely change your gut flora which then can ‘switch on’ a food intolerance. All of a sudden you can’t tolerate foods you previously could.
Another theory as to why there are so many food intolerances is that we simply don’t know exactly what chemicals from pesticides or other treatments are being used in our food production. This is another great reason to encourage us to grow our own veggies or buy from farmers markets and local fruit shops.
The good news is that with some food intolerances, (not coeliacs) you can gradually build up your gut strength and over time start adding foods back into your diet. It just depends on how sensitive you are. By being diagnosed properly and with the right treatment such as dietary changes and gut healing, these symptoms can ease.
Food intolerances can be frustrating, even debilitating. Once modified though, a whole new lease on life can take place. The brain fog will clear and you will feel amazing!
RECIPE: CHOC BANANA MOUSSE
(Gluten free, dairy free, FODMAP friendly, nut free, egg free but not taste free!)
2 x large bananas
1 x tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
400 mls coconut cream (I used the light one)
2 x avocadoes
2 x tbsp maple syrup (may not be needed according to how ripe and sweet the bananas are)
Super, dooper easy…this recipe is so quick and easy. You just throw all ingredients in to a food processor/thermomix/blender until it’s all blended together.
*Works well with raspberries too instead of the bananas.
*Keeps in the fridge for 2 days.