If you’ve been around the Wellness Way or have been reading our articles for any length of time, you’ll know that our number one piece of advice is to get tested. Generally, the test we suggest first and foremost is an allergy test. But why? Can allergies really cause that much trouble?
Where do Allergies Come From?
The body is like a Swiss watch–something else you’ll recognize if you’ve been around the Wellness Way for any length of time. Each system in your body is finely tuned to work with the messages and instructions of other systems. The digestive and immune systems are no exception.
If you eat a food and have a leaky gut or some other break in the barriers of your GI tract, some of the compounds in that food can get into your bloodstream. Because food isn’t meant to be in the bloodstream, your body reacts to that food as a foreign invader. The NIH describes the purpose of the immune system as follows.
When the immune system first recognizes these signals, it responds to address the problem. If an immune response cannot be activated when there is sufficient need, problems arise, like infection. On the other hand, when an immune response is activated without a real threat or is not turned off once the danger passes, different problems arise, such as allergic reactions and autoimmune disease.
Most people see allergies and autoimmune disease as the body making a mistake. This is not the case. The body is responding to a foreign substance as it is supposed to.
Can you Have an Allergy to a Food You’ve Never Eaten?
How, when that food wasn’t able to get into your bloodstream if you’ve never eaten it?
Remember, every food is made up of other foods and nutrients and particles. If you have a cake in front of you, you don’t just have a cake. You have butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, salt, and multiple other ingredients. You haven’t eaten the cake before, but you’ve eaten eggs before, so if you’re allergic to eggs, you’re allergic to that cake, as well as everything else eggs are in. The same analogy can be made for the compounds making up various individual foods.
Why do Allergies Cause Problems?
The signals the NIH was referring to is the inflammation that happens when the allergen gets lodged into the cells of the body. The body reacts to the allergen not unlike how a clam reacts to an invading grain of sand. The cell gets inflamed–the same thing that happens when you slam a finger in a door or stub your toe. This inflammation is what causes stomachaches, headaches, joint pain, acne, sinus problems, and many other aches and pains within your body. This inflammation is also what causes your throat to close up, if you have an IgE response.
The body can only get so much energy from the food it consumes. When that energy is used to fight allergens and toxins regularly, you aren’t able to use that energy for other things throughout the day. Not having enough energy to make it through the day can lead to irritability due to a decreased annoyance threshold, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and brain fog.
Allergies Can Cause Autoimmune Disorders
When your body is constantly fighting allergens and toxins, the immune system gets fatigued. In these cases, it’s not as careful about distinguishing between necessary body tissue, and the foreign substance it’s fighting. When this happens, the body not only attacks the bit of shrimp lodged in the liver, but the liver itself. This is where autoimmune disorders originate.
Being Mindful of Allergies
If you’ve been around the Wellness Way, you likely know our first piece of advice like the back of your hand–get tested. When you get the results of that test back, cut those foods out entirely. Some of the foods you get back you may not normally eat, but more than likely, you’ll eat several of them a lot. Remember, you’re allergic to these foods because they ended up somewhere they weren’t supposed to be, and the body defended itself against them. The more you eat a food, the more chance there is that this happens.
Because allergies are often frequently eaten foods, it can be hard for people to make that transition. They simply don’t know what else to eat. This is why we have some easy and delicious, allergy-friendly recipes to help get you started. There’s also a very helpful app that can make cooking and baking with allergies easier.
There are some foods that are common allergies, as well as some that are naturally inflammatory. Until you get the final results of your test back, try cutting these out in order to start somewhere. There are other foods that, while not common allergies, aren’t good for the body. Milk and sugar are two of those foods. Try cutting them out while you wait for your results, as well.
Can Allergies Change?
Yes, just like a broken bone can heal if it’s allowed to, allergies can change if the body is given a break from them and allowed to. Get tested every few months if you can to see if you’ve eliminated or acquired any new or different allergies.
For more information about allergies, or to get tested, contact a Wellness Way clinic today.