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Is your “healthy” diet making you sick, tired, or fat?

You’d have to be living under a rock to not have at least heard the word gluten. A trip to any supermarket reveals labels touting freedom from gluten, dairy, corn, soy, nuts, and eggs. Gluten-free packaged food is a $1.5 billion a year market in America alone! So what’s all the fuss about, and why does it matter?

Eight years ago, I was eating a diet that consisted of lots of “healthy” foods, but felt really tired almost all the time. I went to a naturopathic doctor, and she tested me for food sensitivities that revealed that gluten, dairy, and soy were the culprits of my mystery fatigue, bloating, and 10 pounds that no amount of dieting or exercise had been able to shake.

Within a couple weeks of eliminating these foods, I was the Energizer Bunny incarnate, and within a couple months, I had lost 15 pounds with zero calorie counting or additional exercise. Since then, I have made it my mission in life to help people look to the refrigerator before their medicine cabinet when dealing with their health concerns.

Note: A food intolerance is distinct from a food allergy. A food allergy causes an instant and potentially life-threatening reaction. Less than 1% of the population suffers from true food allergies, while some studies reveal that as much as 95% of the population suffers from an intolerance to at least one food. An intolerance causes the immune system to react to a food as if it were protecting the body from a foreign invader. It’s tricky to link food intolerance to health problems, because the reaction is delayed and the effect is compounded over time. The symptoms are so broad that many holistic health advocates believe that hidden food intolerances are at play in nearly all health problems.

Here’s how to diagnose food intolerances and resources that will help you live healthy, delicious lives without the foods that may be undermining your health right now.

Step 1: Do I have a food intolerance?

Since food intolerances can manifest in so many ways, it’s safe to say that if you are dealing with any chronic illness or even minor health issue (headaches, fatigue, acne, etc), food intolerances could be to blame. The end of this post has a link to a free questionnaire.

Step 2: When in doubt, take these out.

Anytime someone comes to me with almost any concern, I suggest they eliminate gluten for two weeks and tell me how they feel. Most feel a tremendous improvement; for some, a miracle. If they don’t, I send them back to eliminate dairy. This approach alone is hardly scientific, but works for many people. Other common trigger foods are sugar, yeast, soy, eggs, nuts, and corn.

Step 3: Identify specific foods.

Most people won’t do step two for very long without “proof.” I get it. I love grilled cheese, ice cream, and cookies as much as the next person, and I would have been hard-pressed to make this shift in my diet without some concrete evidence. There are several ways to identify your specific food intolerances ranging in cost, time, and effectiveness. Here are a couple that work for most people:

Elimination diet:

You essentially start with a detoxification program, and then reintroduce potential culprit foods one at a time and track your body’s response. If a reintroduced food causes symptoms, then you’re intolerant to that food. This approach is free and can be very effective if done properly, but requires time, attention, and that you follow it exactly.

Food diary:

Record what and when you eat each day, and include any symptoms you experience, as well as the time the symptoms begin. You will likely see a pattern as to which foods are triggering your symptoms. Works really well in conjunction with an elimination diet.

Food intolerance blood testing:

There is no single test that can identify every food to which you have a negative reaction, but there are labs that provide accurate results. Note that this blood test is not the same as a skin prick test that you would receive from an MD, which may be effective at determining allergies but not intolerances.

Step 4: Eliminate problem foods.

It can be a big challenge to eliminate entire food groups, especially when those foods are wheat and dairy, which are central to most people’s diets. Luckily, the landscape for allergen-free foods is much friendlier and more delicious than it was a couple years ago. It also may not be necessary to go the rest of your life completely without these foods, but an extended period of healing is usually in order.

Once you get into the swing of your new diet, the amazing changes in the way you look and feel will certainly outweigh any annoyance, I promise.

Reading Time:

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  1. Alia Joy

    I’ve been thinking that I may have some food intolerance, and after taking this questionnaire seems to indicate something is going on. It’s encouraging to hear there was a difference in your energy level. Honestly, being tired is one of the big reasons I haven’t done much experimenting with cutting foods out.

  2. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    I’ll testify. I’ve only just figured out (after months and months of trial and error) that my daughter can’s tolerate soy. Now that we’ve eliminated it (which is tricky, because it’s in everything!–even chocolate, and canned tuna!).

    It’s amazing how much better she feels each and every day. The hassle definitely outweighs the annoyance of getting–and keeping–it out of her diet.

    Now, I’m sure I need to do the same thing with sugar. Cheer me on, okay? 🙂

  3. Heather

    What a wonderful post! Yes, I have found some food intolerance in my diet. The one that sticks out the most is dairy. I have always had a lot of sinus issues and decided to cut dairy out of my life (it almost broke my heart!). After my little 2 week experiment I realized that I felt so much better not having the dairy. I do still eat cheese on occasion (we are big on Mexican food), but now I just prepare myself for feeling crappy 🙂 It isn’t always worth it, but once in a while I just get that craving. I realize that my body is happier if I eat mainly fresh fruit and veggies and a small amount of grains. Now, if I can get the rest of my family on board with this type of diet, I think I would be doing well!

    • Simon

      Hey Heather

      I had a similar problem to yourself regarding dairy and sinus problems and now I can not even consume products that have been prepared in an environment where dairy products have been handled. A friend of mine who is also a sufferer of food intolerance’s suggested that i try goat’s cheese as he it does not affect him. I did try it and can eat it in small quantities so if you have not tried it maybe you should give it a go.

  4. Steph

    I have been gluten free for about six years now and the difference it’s made in my health is unbelievable. Within a week I was starting to feel better and within a month I remember saying, “So this is what we’re supposed to feel like.” My migraines and daily headaches lessened tremendously, my digestive problems went away entirely and my energy also improved. Though I am quite sensitive and have to avoid cross-contamination, the payoff is well worth it.

  5. Life [Comma] Etc

    These are possibly the GREATEST illustrations I have ever seen! And the information is great. Thanks so much!

  6. Rachel

    Such a timely post!! I have been reading a lot the past few days about food intolerances and yeast overgrowth and I am pretty convinced this is why I feel so miserable. I am just struggling with the thought of living without so many of the things I love! AND it is also really hard to figure out how to cook for my family of 8 and make things that I can eat! Here I go…

  7. Nicole

    I did the questionaire and only scored 9, but I did it for my 9 year old son and he would have over 20! Maybe it’s time I try to eliminate gluten for him and see what happens. Thanks for pointing us to your website full of resources!

  8. Rena

    I love your blog, but Is there any science at all behind any of these assertions? I agree that food allergies are rare, and I would like to see a citation for the entire concept of “food intolerance.” I think this stuff is mostly made up. The placebo effect is remarkably powerful.

    • Rena

      Oh, I’m sorry, I thought this was a regular SimpleMom contribution. I am not familiar with this author’s blog at all.

    • MC

      An example of a classic food intolerance that is not an allergy would be lactose intolerance (this is very well documented, medically). When the body does not properly digest lactose, it causes problems, but is not a histamine-producing response. (you can also have a mild or severe histamine-producing allergic response to milk products, as my mom does, which she only figured out when she stopped drinking her daily glass of milk… and abruptly stopped needing allergy medication for her hay fever every day. Oops.)

      I really don’t think everything can be blamed on food intolerances, but obviously if we’re dealing with low-level allergies or with digestive problems or with chronic dehydration or malnutrition or sleep deprivation or high stress or whatever, if we remove that problem, we’ll feel better.

      There is a powerful placebo effect, and I’d generally recommend testing foods multiple times to counteract coincidences, but many people with food intolerances have… um… tangible physical responses to certain foods. If you end up hanging out for hours in pain in the bathroom *every single time* after eating food X, but you’re not allergic to food X, it’s probably an intolerance, and you’ll probably get a bit irritable when people suggest that food intolerances are mostly in peoples’ heads (another side effect is becoming absolutely infuriated when people “test” your problem by slipping in a food you’re avoiding, resulting in you having to hide out in the bathroom for the rest of the night; seriously, people, don’t do this! Most guests will not tell you if your party food resulted in serious problems anyway, so you’re not even going to “prove anything”).

      That said, yes, when symptoms are more vague, it’s harder to pin down exactly what is doing what (for instance, after you go to the gym, are you feeling more awake because of a) the exercise, b) the shower, c) the kale juice drunk before exercise, d) the gatorade drunk during exercise, e) the “treat” coffee drunk after going to the gym, or f) the hour off from dealing with the daily grind? Probably bits of many of these…).

      But if something makes you feel better (and is not prohibited in some way), do it! And if something’s wrong, poke around a bit to see if you can fix it… but don’t just automatically assume it’s the gluten.

  9. Seriously Sassy Mama

    This was very interesting. Thanks for the great info.

  10. Lisa

    It took me several years to figure out that I have a soy intolerance. I at first thought it was an allergy, but the symptoms take about 24 hours, so that is more like an intolerance, I think. It is very hard, because these allergens and soy are in almost EVERYTHING. It does take a little more time and brain work, but the health rewards are amazing.

  11. Chase Christy

    I don’t have anything substantial to add. I just wanted to say that your food bad guy illustrations are money! Hilarious.

  12. Kelly

    This is very interesting. I will have to look into this more. I’ve been trying to eat healthier but probably could do better. I have cut out as much sodium as I can, eat more fruits & vegetables and buy meat without added broth or chemicals. My question is how do you handle when eat away from home i.e. an extended visit with family? You can’t just buy all new groceries – can you? Seems like that wiuld be rude.

    • Ash

      I am allergic to: soy, corn, chocolate, onions, and peanuts…When I go home to family member’s houses I just “suck it up” and know that I will have some super upset stomach for the duration of my stay. It sucks, but family members usually don’t understand and/or I don’t want to burden them with trying to find ingredients for stuff I’m NOT allergic to:) Hard for me, but harder for them.

    • Amy

      We have recently discovered that my son has an intolerance for petroleum based products (artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and certain preservatives). Many people do not understand the intolerance and I think even some family members think of it as kind of hokey, so I often just tell people it is an allergy so I don’t have to waste time explaining. Honestly, when we started this program (Feingold) with my son I thought it was kind of hokey, too, and we just tried it to say we had tried everything we could. Less than a week later, we had a completely different child. When we went to visit relatives recently, we did go to the store and pick up some groceries so that he could eat what is best for him, and I did let them know of several restaurants that we can go to. I didn’t expect them to change their diets while we were there. I just got approved items for him to eat alongside them. We had a BBQ and I got him a kind of sausage that was ok for him, as well as a brand of beans that worked for him. I made some macaroni and cheese and fresh fruits for him to eat instead of the premade sides and desserts the adults were eating, and as it turned out, the cousins all preferred his foods so they all ate the same. I packed food for him to eat in the airports and also for when we went to Sea World. (People are sometimes more understanding of a child’s needs than an adult’s.) I expected more push back from my family than I actually got, and I think they were impressed by how different he was. (His intolerances manifest as hyperactivity, very loud talking, aggression, inability to calm down when upset, sleep problems, etc so this is the first time in five years that they’ve seen him as a quiet, calm, pleasant child who can sit and work puzzles or color or read to them.) For us, it was worth the “rudeness” of buying what was healthy for him instead of the “rudeness” of making him eat something that causes him to be out of control physically and emotionally. Hope that helps you.

  13. Keya

    This is so very helpful! I too have found that milk (but not yogurt and cheeses), chicken and pork don’t work for me. I think we all can get so caught up in what the diet industry and nutritionist tell us to eat and what not to eat that we literally lose our own natural bearing on our lives. We think that we are suppose to drink lots of milk, because that’s what the dairy industry says we should do. But if we just take some time and actually listen to our bodies. To become mindful of how the food we eat makes us feel while we are eating it and when we are done. We will learn what things work for us and what things to avoid. Every BODY is different. My husband tolerates meat just fine. But my body feels weighed down by it. I get do very small quantities, but not nearly as much as the standard american diet. So the solution for me has been listen to my body. It knows what it needs and wants. And when it comes to my kids, if they don’t really like a thing (my 1 and half year old doesn’t like milk) I assume there is a real reason behind it. Children are the most intuitive creatures you can deal with, and if they are repulsed by a food I trust that their body is telling them something.

    • Pam@behealthybehappywellness

      Great comment here – you are exactly right – everyone is different and if we can learn to listen to our bodies, they will almost always tell us what we need.

      I have found in my health coaching that many of my clients have food intolerances – and the elimination diet is the best way to find them. It’s hard, but wow is the end result worth it!

  14. Darcie

    Yep, I have a corn intolerance. It was discovered nearly two years ago when I started getting hives. Lots of hives. And a swollen face, angio edema in my joints. It took A LOT of time to figure out how to get corn out of my diet. I remained tired and sick for months because of hidden corn sources. Anything with dextrose, maltodextrin, natural flavors, vanilla extract, citric acid, ascorbic acid, most of the food additives that people see as harmless make me sick. We thought we were eating well, and now have had to totally revamp our food.

    And I’ve found it so interesting that people don’t believe this, like the commenter above. I had an allergist that suggested I take various OTC antihistamines to help the symptoms. Guess what the pills are bound with? Corn starch!

  15. Athaliah

    My 4 month old son has food sensitivities and so my uhsband and I have decided to journey together in order to encourage one another and continue on with our desire to breastfeed. My little one is sensitive to gluten, dairy, nuts AND soy… especially soy! What a joy and relief to have been able to track these down. And inadvertently, we finally tracked down a pesky intolerance in my husband — we knew it was there, but hadn’t been aggressive about identifying it… he too is sensitive to soy… very sensitive. We’re letting go of packaged food since they tend to have some form of soy and we’re cooking everything fresh — veggies, fruit and lean meats. We feel amazing and out boy is doing much better!

    I wrote a bit about the experience for me on our creative blog:

    • Athaliah

      screaming son was on hand whilst typing… please forgive my typos!

  16. Kari Scare

    I was daignosed with a dairy allergy along with gluten, crab and egg intolerances two years ago. I had testing done through Enterolab. Don’t need a doctor to have this done, and it changed my life. I then had a NutrEval completed, and this gave a comprehensive nutritional evaluation. (Do need a doctor’s RX for this.) I spent the last two years creating a lifestyle around the information found in these tests, and my life has completely turned around. The biggest change is that the depression that had plagued my whole life is gone. Turns out that digestive health plays a big role in mental health.

    Your articles on food allergies and sensitivities are much needed. I have been trying to figure out how I want to use my story to help others too. Been considering a devotional approach or perhaps a story-telling approach. I’m not sure yet, but I am so glad to see what you are doing. Great resources. Wish I would have had this years ago!

  17. angie

    this has been on the forefront of my mind lately for myself as well as my youngest son. thanks for all the great info and the questions hit home – we scored pretty high.

  18. Melanie

    I just took an intolerance test at a homeopathic clinic a week ago. I am an unusual case, according to the doctor, because I have four main intolerances along with a combination. I cannot have cane sugar, soy, dairy or peanuts, and I can’t have potatooes and grains within 8 hours of each other. I’ve had severe sinus issues for 14 years, and this was finally the answer. Surgeries and thousands of dollars in prescription meds, copays and more, were never the answer. If you have migraines, arthritus, digestive issues, sinusitus, extra weight or anything else chronic, and can find any way to afford to have a blood test, I would really encourage you to do it. I would have NEVER been able to figure this all out on my own elimination diet. And, I would have continued to pay way more, continuing the traditional medical route I was taking, without ever feeling much better, had a few people not encouraged me to go. This is a great article!!!

  19. SarahT

    How can anyone go about their normal life on the elimination diet? I’ve tried it a number of times, and I’ve never been able to go more than a day or two without being faced with “eat what’s here, or go hungry”. I have trouble gaining/maintaining weight as it is–a simple low-cholesterol diet caused me to lose ~10lbs in 2 weeks. Missing meals makes me feel faint and nauseous. Eliminating foods, especially a whole class of foods like gluten or dairy, would make it near-impossible for me to function at work.

    • Rita@thissortaoldlife

      I used to think the same thing, until it became clear to me that I just had to eliminate gluten. It was really hard at first, and it’s not really easy now. But there are lots of resources out there, and I’ve had lots of shifts in thinking and behavior. If you really need to–and I do–it’s possible. And mostly normal.

  20. Rita@thissortaoldlife

    A word of caution on just cutting out gluten: I did that on my own, and now my doctor cannot determine whether I truly have celiac disease or “just” a gluten intolerance. (And Rena, I can assure you that there’s no placebo effect going on with me.) To determine celiac disease, you must be on a gluten diet for the tests to work. The only way for me to know now is to go back on it, which I’m not going to do. The treatment (there is no cure) is the same regardless: A diet without gluten in it.

    I will say this: Since eliminating gluten from my diet (about 2 months now), the only time I’ve ever had migraine (and a bunch of other ills that are part of it) has been when I’ve accidentally eaten gluten. I’ve had health issues for years that were annoying and plaguing, and for which there seemed to be no clear source/treatment. I now know that my infertility, migraine, digestive issues, and fibromyalgia are likely all due to gluten. I can see that the problems have progressed–because if celiacs eat gluten over years, it does progressive damage. It is estimated that this disease is wildly underdiagnosed. For more information, you might check out the Celiac Disease Foundation:

  21. Sandy

    While I appreciate Camille’s including Irritable Bowel Syndrome in her list of medical conditions on her website, she has inaccurate information on how to eat for IBS. “Plenty of fiber” should be specified to mean mostly, or firstly, eating soluble fiber as in oats, peeled fruits such as mango, and the like. Avoiding wheat bran is correct, but not wheat in general unless the sufferer is also gluten-intolerant. Avoiding sugar? Some may want to cut down on that, but sugar is not necessarily the gastric stimulant as other things on the list, such as caffeine, dairy, and red meat. The authoritative go-to website for IBS is, Heather Van Vorous’ site. She is the ultimate patient-expert on IBS.

  22. Simple Living with Diane Balch

    I am going through trying to figure out what it is in my diet that keeps causing so much mucus in my system. It is frustrating… I think I will get some testing done. Thanks

  23. priest's wife (@byzcathwife)

    What a helpful post! I’m going to go through my diet…but I’m afraid I should eliminate some favorites 🙁


    It’s not only food what makes us tired and fat. It’s a life style. My recipe is: have a healthy, balanced diet (preferably organic), drink lots of water (exclude soda), exercise for at least 45 min a day, breath fresh air and get sun bathe at least three times a week. Laugh and be happy!

    • Lynika

      Is plain soda water an intolerance issue too?

  25. Crayl

    I just want to point out that sometimes it is not the actual corn, wheat or soy…it’s the GMO version of corn, wheat and soy that one is sensitive to. These products are huge crops and in everything, and now have been proven to actually cause intestinal upset and other issues due to their built in insecticide…that hmmm…kills the bugs through intestinal poison. It is a growing problem, look for NON GMO items. Thanks for being informative.

  26. Jen D

    I had to cut dairy for my children (and therefore myself when nursing). It was so incredibly overwhelming at first- especially with all the changes of having a newborn added in. It has been worth it, though! The most frustrating thing was that the doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her (screaming out of pain for hours at night, unable to breathe unless upright, eczema, violent spitting up, etc). A friend clued me in to the possibility of dairy and it made a night/day difference. We have to think ahead and pack food for them when we visit friends, eat at potlucks… My brother has had 6 blood clots (he’s only 26) and we recently found out he has MULTIPLE food allergies and is on a very strict diet now. The allergist (Dr. Born at the Born Clinic in GR, MI) said that some of the things he is allergic to can cause clotting! We’re hoping that this will prevent further clots since no other doctor has any idea why he keeps clotting.

  27. Jane Weber

    I am so saddened by this blog post, Simple Mom. I can tell the writer has her heart in the right place and a great concept for her blog but this info can lead readers down the wrong path. One should never eliminate gluten without first having the proper testing for Celiac Disease. If you have Celiac Disease, eliminating gluten will mean you may not be able to be diagnosed properly. You can be told you do not have it when you actually do. Here is better advice, see a Dieititian who is an expert in this area and can coach you on how to determine if you have an intolerance or allergy, how to eat to avoid the trigger foods and, the clincher, how to ensure you eat other foods to replace the missing nutrients. Just eliminating foods may seem wonderful for the short term but the long term can be harmful. Yeah, I’m a Dietitian myself and really don’t have the energy right now to debate but felt I needed to say something.

  28. Carrie

    My daughter suffered from recurring ear infections last year, from age 8 months to 13. This past October after her first one I knew we couldn’t go through it again, and the idea of her getting tubes scared me. I started reading- and was shocked to learn recurring ear infections are often a sign of a food allergy.

    She still breastfeeds but ate lots of dairy, so we decided to eliminate that first…. 6 months later and she has had ZERO ear infections since removing dairy from her diet! Talk about miraculous!!!

    I’m considering eliminating gluten now, after dealing with eczema. I dont quite know where to start but am thankful for this article and will be reading the resources provided- so thank you!

    • Ash

      This happened to me when I was young. I had recurring ear infections that eventually resulted in my left eardrum rupturing (yowch! I remember this from childhood!) before my doc figured out that I had dairy and wheat intolerance. There was nowhere near the amount of support for allergies then as there is now.

  29. Debbie

    I stopped drinking milk years ago and do not get headaches anymore. I have noticed that when I eat quick breads I get very tire. I can eat toast but not bread. Any clues on the later.

  30. Shawn

    Nice article, I’m a true believer in losing weight naturally. There are plenty of systems that work great. Look for impartial review blogs like to learn what works and avoid scams, or just look around on Google. Personally I’m a fan of the “31 day weight loss system” and “the truth about abs”. I added them to my regular routine and I managed to get a perfect six pack in a month and a half! 🙂

  31. Carole

    Perhaps many of you are ahead of the game on this one: no artificial coloring in what we eat or drink. This is not “real food,” of course, but it’s something we hadn’t been censoring as much as we should have. It is affecting our children in a wonderfully positive way: reduced temper tantrums, less aggression, and a little more focus for our son with ADD. (I have read that even red fruits may have dye added and that beef often has the dye added to enhance the color … so it’s not just in prepackaged foods.)

  32. Crafty Mama

    We’ve eliminated dairy, and that really seemed to help with my daughter’s problems.

  33. Emilie

    Gosh, I can definitely remember those times as a kid when I didn’t know I was lactose intolerant. Just a note about lactose intolerance, it’s not an ‘either-or’ type of thing, a lot a people (including me) can tolerate a little bit of lactose but not, for example, of full glass of milk. As in, I can tolerate the little amount of lactose that’s in cheese and yogurt, but CANNOT tolerate milk and ice cream. (it also has to do with the science behind the fermentation, I think).

    Also, I’m finding that I have a sort of intolerance to processed foods. I feel MUCH healthier when I eat more authentic foods, especially made from scratch. This also includes bread. I can tolerate classic french breads and rye breads, etc., but absolutely not the sliced white breads and those ‘so-called’ multigrain breads. I don’t know if anyone else has been testing this out as well, but it’d be interesting to hear your point on this.

  34. Chris

    I wanted to put out two very sincere thank yous regarding this post. I have a husband with food interollerances, and a daughter with both food intollerances and food allergies.

    Firstly, thank you for emphasizing the difference between intollerance and allergy. People have a tendency to use these terms interchangeably. It not only does a disservice to people living with either condition, but it also puts people with food allergies at a life threatening risk. If a person feeds my daughter corn, we’ll deal with eczema and some behavior changes. I’ll be disappointed, perhaps fustrated. If a person feeds my daughter peanuts, we’ll be stabbing her with epi, heading code three to the hospital, and watching our daughter fight for her life. I’ll be terrified. So, many thanks.

    Secondly, thank you for discussing the importance of understanding food intollerances. That might seem odd considering my first note, however, once we have established with a person that there is a difference (blah, blah, blah… I find myself educating frequently since we live with both here), they suddenly can’t understand why corn matters to me (or eggs, chicken, melon… pick your intollerance here, haha!). Because it has negative effects on her health. And if eczema and behavior is the only thing we can observe, what is going on inside that I can’t observe?

    I only want to add to the post that although I don’t suggest a sudden elimination diet for your six year old, please don’t think this info applies only to yourself. We discovered the corn intollerance at 13 months and the peanut allergy at 18 months. At three years old, our daughter is entirely aware of her limits and does not question us when we say no if these are the reasons. She’ll live her life a much happier person already knowing these things about her body.

    Mostly however, I wanted to say thank you.

  35. Queen of Chaos

    I wanted to say thank you. First for discreminating plainly between allergy and intollerance, and secondly for still giving intollerances the attention thry deserve. Our daughter, 3, has both, and my husband has multiple intollerances. It’s fustrating to have to educate people regularly about the true term allergic (since so many people use the terms interchangeably), and that even one bite is going to put my daughter in a position of fighting for her life (So glad epi-pens exist!), but it can be just as fustrating to have to explain to people that even if it’s not life threatening, her inollerances are also important. Yes, I’d rather someone give her corn than peanuts, but corn still needs monitoring too! Thank you for helping to spread the word on both!

  36. Karen

    The illustrations are too funny! Food intolerance though is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I learned this the hard way when I failed to realize early that my kid was intolerant of eggs. This is definitely something every one should read, especially mothers with little ones.

  37. Kim

    My husband has had sinus issues for about 30 years. He had recently begun to develop other issues-heartburn, restless leg, to name a couple. His doctor thought to check intolerances, and found my husband to be off the chart with gluten. Three months later, my hubbie has lost about 15 pounds, has lots more energy and feels so much better.

    We never looked at gluten in the past, but I am encouraging folks now who have similar symptoms to at least check it out.

    Thanks for bringing this to folk’s attention along with your resources. It is life-changing when someone is diagnosed and changes their diet!

  38. LCS

    While I definitely agree that everything you said can be true for some people, I think it’s also important to point out that gluten in and of itself is NOT unhealthy! For those of us who don’t have any food intolerances, lots of forms of gluten actually have many health benefits. It bothers me that every gluten-free product on the market is being advertised as if it were the healthier option, but there is nothing unhealthy about gluten unless you are allergic (which, as you said, less than 1% of the population actually is). And of course many people choose to cut it out of their diet because they have an intolerance and they feel better because of it, which is also obviously fine. I guess I just don’t appreciate that it seems like gluten-free seems to pushed and pitched as what everyone should do, when in reality, not everyone really needs that diet.

  39. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

    This is well written post on a very important topic, but I’m concerned that while you’ve done a great job explaining intolerances, and how they can affect people, you haven’t gone into any of the “why” behind intolerances. It’s fine and dandy to discover that you have an intolerance to something, remove it from your diet and discover that you feel 100% better than you did before. It’s absolutely legitimate and I can testify to the fact that intolerances are a real phenomenon and removing them can make a HUGE difference.

    But, WHY does the intolerance exist? Wheat, gluten, cow’s diary, eggs, etc. are not bad foods, in and of themselves. In fact, they are incredibly wholesome foods that can nourish us and in fact, have nourished people for literally thousands of years.

    Most food intolerances (not necessarily allergies, although sometimes this is true for allergies as well) stem from more foundational issues going on in the body:
    -weak/damaged digestive system
    -a permeable gut where the food proteins get into the bloodstream, creating a negative reaction by the body (a result of poor digestion)
    -high levels of Candida (yeast) due to a typical Western diet full of sugary, refined foods
    -conventional methods of growing foods (GMO crops, heavily sprayed foods, modern hybrids of things like wheat), changing these foods from their original way of being into something that the body actually begins to reject
    -improper methods of cooking and preparation (for example, grains are much easier to digest and assimilate when sprouted, soaked or prepared with sourdough culture, and raw milk is tolerated by many people that are “intolerant” to pasteurized milk)

    What I’m trying to say is that while it’s important to consider intolerances and be willing to remove certain foods for a period of time, we also need to look at the deeper issues of how our bodies are working and the types of foods that we eat in general. By changing the foods we buy and the way that we prepare them, and by working to heal many of these digestive issues, most intolerances will actually disappear. We have experienced this in our own family, and many naturopathic doctors will work with clients to this end, having them remove certain foods temporarily with the end goal of bringing healing so that those foods can ultimately be eaten once again, not removed forever.

    Sorry, I realize I just wrote a novel. Oops. 🙂 All that to say, I really appreciate this topic and this post, but I just wanted to bring up this important aspect that is often not mentioned.

  40. Sisa

    Thank you for the helpful article! I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but didn’t know how to take action. Now, I do! I have a few questions… With an elimination diet, do you have to eliminate things cooked or baked in what you want to eliminate (i.e. eggs or butter in pancakes)? Is there some kind of protocol that is best? Is it best to try to eliminate a bunch of things at once to cleanse the system, or can you eliminate only that food group (i.e. dairy)? At the end of the two weeks, if it’s not working, should I assume that food group isn’t the answer? Thanks for your thoughts!

  41. Charles C. Strunk

    This is awesome! Your article is very helpful with impressive images. Thanks for sharing!

  42. beth@redandhoney

    I had higher hopes for this article, to be honest. What you said was good, but I’m wondering if you’ve ever heard of the GAPS Diet, which heals food intolerances and a myriad of other health issues. If you haven’t heard of it, I’d encourage you to google it. You don’t have to live your whole life without gluten/dairy/eggs/etc… the diet can take up to two years depending on the severity of the damage to your gut, but the healing possibilities are incredible.

  43. Wendi

    I was wondering if it might be more of an intolerance to genetically modified grains and not a gluten intolerance. After all, all grains today are genetically modified except for organic grains.

  44. Harry

    It’s so hard for me to eliminate dairy in my diet. I love cheese, butter, milk, chocolates. I think I’d be needing a lot of help here.

  45. Indigo

    I cut out gluten, dairy and soya from my daughter’s diet – and it has had the most amazing effect on her severe dyslexia.

    I’m convinced that the original cause of her dyslexia was a gluten intolerance.

    Her reading and writing are now, for the first time ever, improving every day.

  46. MB

    Hi, I realize this post is old so you might not see this comment. I’ll try to be brief, but I was on a GFCF diet over a year ago. I felt ok. The one thing I really noticed was my ability to think was so much better. No more brain fog. But my family was constantly unhappy trying to eat this way and so I couldn’t take it anymore and just went back to eating how everyone else does. I never was tested for gluten intolerance. I was tested for the allergy which came back negative. I’m sure I have issues with dairy. They seem to affect me the most. Gluten probably does too, but to a much lesser degree. ANyway, since being back on dairy and wheat, I have noticed symptoms that are so terrible: tiredness, constant fatigue, brain fog, irritability, depression which I assumed was from a lack of sun or vitamin d (i do have a vit d deficiency, but even after remedying this, I still feel like crap), dizziness, hair loss, and most recently extreme vertigo. The biggest issue I have that has stayed with me consistently is the brain fog and tiredness. No matter what I do, this remains. The other stuff pops up now and then. Vertigo is a new thing for me…quite scary thing honestly. Vertigo can be caused from lots of things, but I’m trying to cut out dairy and gluten again. It’s only been one week. I don’t feel any better thus far. I still have brain fog. Still am tired. Still can’t get out of bed. I wake up in a good mood but then I’m tired by 1pm. It’s ridiculous. I’m hoping this is just my body trying to rid itself of the dairy and gluten, but honestly not sure I will ever feel better. I am probably going ot have to get tested. I can’t do elimination diets except what I’m doing now with gluten and dairy. If I eliminated more things, I feel like I’d go crazy. I think I might make an appt with a naturopath.

  47. Kathy

    Your link for ‘Food Intolerance Resource Center’ takes you to a page to finish setting up a blog!!

  48. Angelia Monroe

    To say that food allergies are the cause of all health problems is really, really ridiculous!

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