Ever wondered why you feel like crap some days? Lethargic or cranky or bloated or the kids are just out of control? I did too!! And it’s so much easier now I know that it’s food intolerance and sensitivity! And how to manage it easily and stay well.
I’ve always loved food – eating it and cooking it – and I’ve also always been kind of unwell. As a kid, I had allergies, asthma and headaches, and I was often hyperactive and in trouble! We didn’t know about food intolerance!
We knew I was sensitive to chemicals, had sensitive skin and a sensitive nature, but we didn’t know that foods contain chemicals you can be sensitive to as well! As a teenager I developed regular migraines and when I was 28 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent the usual treatments. After chemotherapy, I developed rosacea and my doctor put me on 6 months of antibiotics. And gave me no probiotics to replenish my poor gut bacteria! From then, my intolerances become even more apparent.
When my food intolerance became too real to ignore!
While my food intolerances were probably always there (and an underlying cause of many of my health issues), it wasn’t until I had my first baby in 2010, after cancer treatment and 6 months of antibiotics, that I felt really unwell.
I was sensitive to everything – perfumes, wine, the smell of petrol, and I didn’t know what else. I just knew that something I was doing was making me feel tired, irritable, run down and angry. I would be fine one minute then screaming and feeling out of control the next. Some days would be great while others were really hard and I couldn’t cope emotionally – the chemical imbalance my intolerances were causing made me want to hit myself and I sometimes did. I also had bloating and poor digestion, which was new, and my headaches and migraines were coming more frequently. The black circles around my eyes and redness around my nose were getting worse. These symptoms, I’ve since discovered, are all signs of sensitivity and food intolerance.
Could food intolerance be why my baby was sick too?
At the same time, we were introducing solid foods to our gorgeous baby Maks and noticed a sore, red rash around his mouth that came and went, a red bottom, and upsetting behavioural issues (he’d become hyperactive, out of control and defiant). He was constantly unwell with a chronic cough and had a massively distended, bloated gut. Doctors said he was fine! I did not accept that and kept looking for answers.
He was tested for allergies and had a few – eggs, nuts, crab, latex (he’s since grown out of everything except dust). So we cut those out, but he was still experiencing the same reactions. It wasn’t until I researched and came across food intolerance, as opposed to allergy, that it all started to make sense!
Elimination diet is a saviour for both of us
It was a real journey to discover what we were both intolerant to – we did an elimination diet together, which takes time, patience and commitment, but it was so worth it. We were able to cut out foods we reacted to, which rested our gut so we could heal (and now can eat a lot more foods again).
For Maks and I, it was wheat, dairy, salicylates, amines, glutamates and anything artificial that caused our reactions. Since taking these things out of our diet, we have stopped being constantly unwell and have worked on our gut health. Now, we can eat most of those foods again!
We also discovered that citric acid, and not salicylates, caused our headaches and behavioural reactions! That was the most important thing to remove, and now we can tolerate almost everything else in small doses. We still avoid wheat and gluten, but we don’t get sick if we have gluten occasionally. We avoid cow’s dairy, but can tolerate a bit without a reaction, and we can eat sheep’s and goat’s dairy every day. We no longer react at all to salicylates, amines and glutamates. Maks is so well now, he almost never gets a cough or cold and has no behavioural problems. If either of us has citric acid, we do still develop headaches, so that is something we continue to avoid.
Now it’s baby Sofia’s turn to get well
Our daughter, Sofia was born in 2014. She developed eczema, and like her brother, one of the causes is cow’s milk. It took us a long time to discover the other food intolerance that causes it – rice! She is sensitive to all grains, including rice and wheat, and also egg whites. Once we learnt this, and cut them out, she stopped being intolerant to salicylates! And, she never gets eczema any more! So our gluten free recipes are now often rice and egg free too.
Sofia has continued to teach me the importance of gut health in lowering sensitivities and food intolerance. It is an ongoing journey and we constantly monitor to see what we can add back in.
My healing journey continues and takes an emotional turn
For me, I was migraine-free and cancer free for years. However, I was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time in 2019, and took a year off my nutrition work to concentrate on my health and my family. I realised I was ignoring some warning signs, like stress, poor sleep and too much tummy fat, and needed to focus on emotional healing as much as physical. 2019 was a very hard year, that involved 2 surgeries, 2 subsequent antibiotic-resistant infections and 5 trips to hospital.
I also chose many targeted, natural therapies, and an amazing team of healers who helped me in so many ways. Cancer is a slow-growing disease, taking more than 10 years to develop before it’s detected. So for me, treating the underlying causes of poor health was the most crucial factor in getting well and staying well. Now I am so happy to say I am feeling better than I have in years. I am grateful to be back at my nutrition work as of February 2020. And I am looking forward to a long, healthy life, where I continue to prioritise my emotional and physical health.
Home life now… intolerance friendly and emotionally healing
So our home life has been intolerance friendly since 2011, but is also now an emotionally healing space. Sensitive people are often the same ones with food intolerance. We are sensitive in all the aspects of the word. So, in our home, we focus on staying well both physically and emotionally. Everything we make at home is gluten-free and cow’s dairy free. We no longer need to be low in salicylates, or amines, or glutamates, but some of the recipes on this site still are. We don’t miss out on anything, we just make it ourselves and substitute where we need to. We take the time to rest and recover, and I meditate once or twice every day, because I feel better when I do. We are learning how to respect each other’s boundaries better and communicate our needs 🙂
How I can help your family too
I want anyone struggling with food intolerance and sensitivity in their home, to understand there is a path to better health!
Let me help give you the tools to understand and manage sensitivity and intolerance. Also, I want you to be able to make tasty, nutritious meals and snacks the whole family will enjoy.
That is why I share our stories, my nutrition knowledge and our family’s recipes. And I also offer personalised consults on Skype, so if you feel like you are sensitive too and wonder how a nutritionist can help, please reach out and contact me today.