Food sensitivities are important to consider with all clients. In particular, cows' milk dairy products and wheat are often problematic. Hair analysis patterns along with symptoms may help alert the practitioner to the presence of food sensitivities.
Stress. Stress is an important cause of food reactions. Stress interferes with the function of the digestive system, allowing partially digested food to pass into the intestines and irritate them. Stress also impairs the immune system, allowing the growth of yeast and possibly other intestinal infections. Stress depletes the adrenal glands, which maintain blood sugar levels and secrete anti-inflammatory hormones.
Poor eating habits. If one eats too fast, eats in the car or standing in front of the refrigerator, food is often not chewed well. Also, sympathetic nervous stimulation turns off the digestive system and digestion suffers.
Enzyme deficiencies such as lactase or hydrochloric acid deficiency contribute to food allergies. This may be due to nutritional imbalances, poor eating habits, stress, diet or anxiety at mealtime.
Leaky gut syndrome refers to excessive permeability of the intestinal tract. This allows partially digested food and other harmful chemicals to be absorbed into the blood stream, resulting in allergic reactions. Causes include nutritional deficiencies, stress and intestinal infections. Eating allergic foods such as wheat and dairy can also cause leaky gut syndrome. Eliminating these foods can allow the intestines to heal.
Natural food constituents that may cause reactions include food proteins, amino acids such as glutamate in MSG and aspartic acid used in artificial sweeteners. Glutamic acid in wheat has an inflammatory effect. Minerals such as copper in soy and chocolate, sugars including barley malt or other sweeteners and many other food components may cause reactions. Toxic metals which are high in tunafish, shellfish and possibly other foods can cause a reaction in sensitive people.
Food additives such as artificial colors, flavors and preservatives may cause reactions. Pesticide residues can also be a potent cause of reactions in some people.
Food processing and refining such as homogenization, pasteurization, milling, grinding, fermentation and many others alter foods and may cause a reaction.
Food varieties may cause reactions, such as today's hybrid grains, modern dairy products and fruits.
Among the most common symptoms are gas, bloating, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, dark circles under the eyes, edema or swelling, weight gain, ulcers, joint pain, asthma, addictions, behavior problems in children, fatigue, upset stomach, runny nose and skin rashes. Others include red ear lobes, red cheeks, bedwetting, ADHD, ear infections, psoriasis, colitis, headaches, malabsorption and failure to thrive, acne and sore throats.
Hybrid wheat flour is 33% glutamic acid, an inflammatory amino acid. Wheat, along with other grains, stimulates insulin production which increases inflammation. Wheat and other grains are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. This irritates the intestine, producing leaky gut syndromes that may then cause more food reactions.
Cows' milk dairy products are another common cause of food reactions. Cows today are fed corn, an unnatural food for cows. As a result, the milk and meat are high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. This favors inflammation. Also, corn-fed cows develop intestinal infections that must be treated with antibiotics which find their way into the milk and meat and may cause reactions in sensitive people. Grass-fed beef and dairy or goat products are definitely superior.
Many people are intolerant to gluten, a protein found in wheat, oats, barley and rye. Gluten intolerance causes celiac disease and malabsorption. Other common allergic foods are soy, yeast, corn, eggs and peanuts.
While tofu and tempeh are traditionally prepared soy foods, isolated soy protein found in textured vegetable protein, protein powders, bars and many other foods is a highly processed product more likely to cause reactions. Although it is possible to reintroduce some allergic foods on a rotation basis, wheat and dairy are best to avoid.