Saturday, June 13, 2009

Food Sensitivity Testing - Exploring the Unknown

Sometimes if we are not feeling well it is more important to narrow down and address or eliminate the potential causes than to keep trying new ways of managing our discomfort. For psychological issues this is why it is typically recommended that some form of counselling accompany drug therapy (in order to tackle underlying issues, not just mask the symptoms). For physical ailments it is also often necessary to evaluate what we need to change in our lifestyle in order to bring ourselves to better health. Having experienced digestive ailments for many years, I recently went for a detailed naturopathic assessment including food sensitivity testing. I knew I was lactose intolerant, and I suspected I was having problems with wheat but lately I had been having digestive problems with almost every meal and was at a loss at how to figure out what was going on. The tests did confirm that I have a sensitivity to every kind of dairy product - and white flour - but also sugar, soy, corn, chocolate, curry and several artificial colours! I was definitely not aware of those... that would certainly explain a thing or two about why I seemed to be having so many issues with food. After following a strict diet for 4 weeks, I can confirm that my symptoms absolutely abate when I avoid all the listed foods. This is a good example of when it is helpful to seek professional advice - I don't think I would ever have identified this list on my own. Although it is obviously up to me now to adhere to this diet or make changes as I see fit, I am grateful to have this starting point figured out! I have been following it quite strictly for about a month and have not found it as difficult as I would have expected - although I did visit a local natural foods market this weekend and splurged a little on their rice bakery products! (The urge for treats does not disappear, let's face it). Overall it has been an interesting experience so far, and I'm hopeful about seeing longer-term benefits as my system starts to recover. I'm curious about how sensitivities develop in the first place - a topic for further research and discussion.

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