I’ve got Food Sensitivies… So Now What’s the Plan?

Posted by on Thursday, May 19th, 2011 in Food Sensitivities

So you’ve done your food sensitivity testing, and you know you have foods you react to.. So now what?  Your practitioner will likely have recommendations for you based on your complaints but my usual suggestions are to avoid your most reactive foods and rotate through the milder sensitivities.

Its important to remember that food sensitivities and environmental allergies are additive and will accumulate.  Symptoms will show us when you hit a threshold.  Moderately or strongly reactive foods will hit your threshold even when eaten in really small amounts, and so should be avoided.   Whereas mildly reactive foods will be fine as long as you eat them in small or infrequent amounts or in rotation.  The Rotation Diet is fairly simple but does require some organization.  And I often recommend some form of Rotation Diet when testing shows multiple mild reactions.  In this diet, we try to cycle through the various sensitivities.  For example if dairy, chicken, halibut and salmon are all in the list of mild reactions, then I suggest we try to cycle through them and limit each to no more than twice a week.   So a week’s menu may include:  Mac n’cheese on Monday, Baked Chicken Tuesday, Breaded Halibut Wednesday, Lasagna on Thursday, BBQ’d Salmon Friday, and Chicken Strips on Saturday.   Obviously, the Rotation diet gets a little more complex if there are fruits, veggies or grains on the list too.  But the basics are still the same.  Try to limit your sensitive foods at each meal and give yourself a few days between each introduction of a specific food.  This helps to give the body time to clear out the reaction from each food so that you don’t hit your threshold.

Sometimes we have a food sensitivity result where there are just so many reactions that its not realistic to avoid them all or even to rotate through.  In this case,  the digestive tract is so inflamed and reactive that it needs to be healed up first.  So I suggest just focusing on avoiding the most severe reactions and using supplements (like digestive enzymes, probiotics and others) to support, calm and heal the gut.

Finally, the important question is “Do I have to do this forever??”.  No, you don’t have to avoid your entire list forever.  Most people need to be quite diligent for 6 months or so and then can experiment with introducing some of their foods.  Some of the key sensitivities (like soy or dairy) may remain and you may need to avoid them always, or you may find that you can now have them in small amounts.  But you will likely find that with avoidance and rotation your reactions have settled down and your digestive tract has healed such that you no longer have a sensitivity to most of your list.  Please be aware that this is not true of food allergies – these should never be reintroduced without consulting a physician.

As always, please let me know if you have any comments, tips for a Rotation Diet or topic suggestions.

~ Dr Kellie

Naturopathic Physician

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