This post is a response to a few comments I’ve had recently about being allergic to everything. To read the original article, click here: I’m allergic to everything.
What to do if you can’t eat anything
There is a food trap that some people fall in to where the number of foods that they feel that they can eat slowly dwindles down to almost nothing.
I’m going to suggest to you that this problem doesn’t have to make you crazy and is largely your brain’s fault (or maybe it is better described as your genes fault).
This problem is probably best explained by the book .
Omnivores have a problem that no other type of eater has: deciding what to eat. A cow, for example, never wonders what it is going to put in its’ mouth, the grass it is walking on is always the answer. Likewise, you don’t see lions or sharks contemplating their dinner choices; if it is running or swimming away then it is on the menu.
We omnivores, though, have to test foods to see if they are okay for us. The key to understand why this might be a problem is to understand that omnivores attach how they feel after they eat something with whether the food is good for them or not. This is a handy tool to have: You eat some berries you think are okay to eat and later you get a stomach ache; next time you see that berry, you stay away from it.
The problem is that this omnivore-avoidance-system isn’t very accurate. Studies have shown that people are poor predictors of what might be good or bad for them. Part of the problem also lies in the complexity of the food we eat; many of the meals we eat are a mixture of many different foods. To add to the difficulty deciding what to eat is that we might be feeling bad for other reasons and just think it is the food we are eating.
So, when you are spiraling out of control and unable to find anything to eat, consider that many things you think are not good for you, may be okay.
What to do next?
Let’s say that you have thought about the above and tried to add in more foods, but still find that there are foods that you still cannot eat. Here is a plan for taking your diet to the next level.
- Testing: Many people want to turn to testing to find out what foods they are allergic to. My experience is that testing generally doesn’t help. Testing done on the skin is silly as the part of the immune system responsible for protecting the skin is different from the immune system in your gut. Blood testing gets you a bit closer, but will only show foods that you are allergic to and not those you have an intolerance to (read the Food Allergy vs Food intolerance part of the previous article). The best testing is removal and reintroducing of foods.
- Brain/Gut: Your brain is closely tied to your digestive system. Scientists are now calling this the Gut/Brain axis: as you think, so your gut feels. If you are stressed out or anxious, your gut will respond. Many people with digestive problems find that they go away when they are on vacation (and they usually eat worse than they normally do). Consider taking supplements for anxiety such as , , , or others.
- Digestive Enzymes: Some of your problems may be due to not having enough digestive enzymes. Get a very high quality and see if that helps.
Rebalance Bacteria: The bacteria in your gut may also be part of the problem. Try using a product called that is used for inflammation, but I have found works wonders on the gut. You can also go on an anti-yeast or anti-parasite program; make sure you take enough of the herbs for it to be successful. I recommend these products:
- I’m also a big fan of traditionally fermented foods: such as sauerkraut, pickles… (make sure they are traditional and non-fermented)
Some combination of the above will work for you. It is a difficult path to return to normalish eating, but one well worth the journey.