Episode 029: How to Detect Sneaky Food Sensitivities

 Using Functional Nutrition to Address IBS

When it comes to food allergies, making a diagnosis is pretty straightforward. That’s because a typical allergic reaction happens right after you eat or ingest a certain food. Symptoms like a rash, hives or even swelling show up almost immediately after you eat the offending food.

But food sensitivities are sneakier to pinpoint. Why?

Because in many cases, symptoms of food sensitivities don't show up until several hours or even several days after you eat the problematic food. And even then, the symptoms can be pretty vague - it’s not always a “cut and dry” to link to your diet.

In this episode I discuss:

  • Food Allergies vs Food Sensitivities
  • Why Food Sensitivities Are A Rapidly Growing Problem
  • Four Signs of A Food Sensitivity

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Before we get today’s episode, I wanna let you know that my next 21-Day Sugar Detox group coaching program is coming up!

If you aren’t familiar with the 21-Day Sugar Detox, it’s a comprehensive, simple and effective program. It's designed to help you break lifelong habits that have you chained to sugar and carbs and help you find food freedom.

There are no pills, powders, or shakes. No counting calories or weighing for food grams. During this program you will focus on eating whole foods while eliminating sugar to change your palate, normalize your blood sugar and kick your sugar and carb cravings to the curb.

I talked all about the 21-Day Sugar Detox in Episode 008 so go back and listen to that episode.

My next group coaching program begins on Monday March 26th. Although the actual sugar detox is only 21 days, my group coaching program is actually 35 days - or 5 weeks. And this is because we spent an entire week together BEFORE you start detoxing to prepare yourself - and your kitchen - and set yourself up for ultimate success.

Then after your sugar detox ends, we spend an additional week together after the detox to help you transition to your new way of eating - whatever that turns out to be for you.

With my group coaching program, you’ll get five live classes - so we’ll meet together in an online video conferencing call every Monday, I’ll teach a lesson and answer any questions that you have. We’ll also have a private Facebook group so you can get support every day of the detox.

Listen, we all know that sugar isn’t good for us. With all of the confusing and contradicting food information out there, I think we can ALL agree, that there is no nutritional value in sugar. And we also know that it’s super hard to quit. The food makers have designed it to be addictive - and some studies have even shown that it’s more addictive than narcotic drugs, which is why it’s so valuable to not only quit sugar, but to do it with someone to support you through the challenging process.

The first thing I recommend that anyone does who comes to me for advice, is to quit sugar. How can you expect any other things like supplements, like another diet, to work if you’re still eating sugar?

So if you’re ready to finally kick sugar to the curb, head on over to www.livefablife.com/21dsd, or to the show notes, where I’ll have a link to my group coaching program, to learn more.

Registration is open now, and will be open until Sunday, March 25th, the day before my coaching program begins!

I hope you’ll join me!

Now onto the show!

Hello and welcome back to the Live FAB Life podcast!

Last week, in Episode 028, we talked about what’s a gut issue, and if you listened to it, then you learned how just about every ailment we struggle with can be linked back to the health of our gut. From the obvious like gas and bloating, IBS and Crohn’s to the not-so-obvious like migraines, allergies, acne, autoimmunity and even anxiety and depression.

Today, we’re going to dig into this further and I’m going to share with your four signs that you might have a food sensitivity.

But first, let’s talk about what’s food allergy versus what’s a food sensitivity and how they’re different.

When it comes to food allergies, making a diagnosis is pretty black and white. That’s because a typical allergic reaction happens right after you eat or ingest a certain food. Symptoms like a rash, hives or even swelling show up almost immediately after you eat the offending food. Some food allergies that we commonly hear about are nuts, seafood, shellfish or even eggs, just to name a few.

But food sensitivities are sneakier to pinpoint. Because in many cases, symptoms from food sensitivities don't show up until several hours or even several days after you eat the problematic food. And even then, the symptoms can be pretty vague and it’s not always “cut and dry” to link to your diet.

In the United States, food sensitivities have become an epidemic, largely due to the process of genetically modifying food.

The most common culprits of genetically modified foods are gluten, dairy, corn and soy.

It’s estimated that 18 million Americans suffer from gluten sensitivity and those are the folks who have figured it out! There are millions more individuals who experience symptoms indicative of food sensitivities every day, and but have either not made the connection that their symptoms are tied to certain foods, or, have yet to identify the triggers, or the cause.

So you’re probably wondering, “Hmmm, I wonder what these delayed symptoms are, and do I have any of them…”

Well, here are four common signs that you might have a food sensitivity. I want to emphasize that although I’m discussing four signs today, there are many signs. And because we are all so very different, signs and symptoms can show up differently for each individual person.

#1: Fatigue

I’m not talking about how you feel tired because you aren’t making sleep a priority and getting enough of it. No, what I’m talking about is the kind of fatigue you feel when, no matter how much sleep you get, you still feel exhausted.

Now, I know that there are plenty of people who simply don’t get enough sleep. In our modern world, sleep has simply become devalued. We favor working, watching television and scrolling through social media in favor of going to bed at decent hour. I’m guilty of this just as much sa the next guy, and that’s a whole different topic in and of itself for another day.

What I’m talking about are those who do prioritize sleep, get a solid 7-8, sometimes even 9 hours of sleep a night, but they still find themselves dozing off during the day.

They have to rely on coffee and sugar, starchy snacks for energy. And they simply don’t have the energy to make it through the day doing the simple things that getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night should allow them to do. Because they feel tired all. The. time.

That’s the kind of fatigue that I’m talking about here that could be indicative of a food sensitivity.

#2: Unexplained Weight Gain or the Inability to Lose Weight

The second sign of a food sensitivity is weight gain or inability to lose weight.

You've tried every diet out there right? Yet none of them did anything for you.

I remember the first time I complained to my trainer that I was gaining weight despite all the workouts I was doing. He suggested that I go “caveman.” And I say that making air quotes because that was back in 2008 when the Paleo diet wasn’t as big as it’s grown to be. He told me to eat foods that were around a long time ago (like caveman days), that weren’t around now. I remember not knowing how to do it and eating a lot of nuts and eggs.

Fun fact: Up until then, I hated eggs - my entire life. Never ate them, but that’s what turned me around to slooooooowly started to eat them. I ate a lot of hard-boiled eggs during that experiment - which lasted for about 6 months. But I didn’t really know what the Paleo diet was and I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat a lot of veggies so I highly doubt my meals were very nutrient-rich.

Fast forward to 2012 when I did my very first Whole 30. I successfully did the program and learned a lot but I didn’t have the results that so many other people had. I didn’t sleep better, I didn’t feel more energized and I certainly didn’t have the dramatic weight loss that so many others had. You might have had the same experience with a similar program, even the 21-Day Sugar Detox.

At the time I was so disappointed and did a lot of self-sabotaging because yet again, something that had such proven results didn’t work for me. Although I did the program, I felt like a failure. Can you relate?

When it comes to weight gain or the inability to lose weight, there’s a lot of different things that can be going on. But when it comes to food sensitivities, when you eat a problematic food, it causes chronic inflammation, which causes all kinds of disruption in the body.

One thing that it does is that it impairs your brain’s ability to community with your hormones. Your hormones control your stress levels with cortisol, your blood sugar with insulin and glucagon, your metabolism with your thyroid, and even your appetite with leptin.

You may be familiar with cortisol can it’s a common discussion for those with adrenal fatigue, you may be familiar with insulin and even glucagon, especially for those with diabetes, and of course for the millions of women who suffer with thyroid disease, you are well aware of how it impacts your weight.

But leptin is one that I know many aren’t familiar with. Leptin is a hormone that is released after you eat so that you feel satisfied. In other words, leptin regulates your appetite.

When I was marathon training, I was still hungry all the time, no matter how much I ate. I chalked it up to all the miles I was running and to working out all the time, I mean, of course I’d be hungry, right? However, it’s not as cut and dry as I thought it was, meaning “burning more calories than I ate.” Without your brain receiving messages from leptin, you continue to feel hungry even after a big meal.

Now, one side note, before I move on, for those of you who are athletes, because this was a big “a-ha” for me. Eating a food that you may be reactive too causes inflammation, but so do the intense workouts, and you know this. This is why you do ice baths and wear compression socks after long runs. Because you want to minimize inflammation. Those can be instances of acute inflammation, but when you’re doing those exercises all the time, it becomes chronic. And when you add on all the other ways your body is susceptible to inflammation, then you can see how chronic injuries can happen. Like toxins, I think it’s worth noting that you take inventory of how much inflammation your body might be exposed to.

#3: Migraines and Headaches

You may have noticed that your headaches tend to occur when you eat certain foods … several hours after a meal, or even when you wake up the next morning.

A headache, of any kind, is a sign of inflammation in your head -- hence the reason you treat it with NSAIDs, also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil and Aleve. It's not surprising, then, that food sensitivities could be to blame.

A recent study showed that 56% of people who had been diagnosed with migraine headaches actually had an underlying gluten sensitivity.

#4: Joint Pain

You're achy all-over, but there doesn't seem to be any logical reason as to why. You know that you're waaaay too young for arthritis, but you're not a hardcore athlete, either. Or maybe you ARE an athlete who’s chronically injured like I was.

See where I’m going here? Yes - Food sensitivities = inflammation. Here, you're experiencing an inflammatory response in your joints.

If any of these symptoms resonate with you, there's a good chance food sensitivities are to blame.

I've seen my clients break through fatigue, drop pounds, even get rid of migraines and joint pain just by identifying food sensitivities and then putting together a plan to remove them from their diet. And this simple shift has helped them start having consistent, stable, high energy throughout the day. It’s helped them to tame IBS symptoms and even find food freedom because they’re no longer trying diet after diet looking for answers.

So how do you know if you have food sensitivities? Well, I’ve created a free exercise for you that will help you figure this out. It’s my brand new 5-day Finally Feel Better Challenge.

During this challenge, I’m going to teach you how to collect clues so you can uncover what's ailing you.

  • If you feel like you're fighting an uphill battle trying to figure out what's causing your health complaints...
  • If you've already made a number of changes in your eating, but you're still experiencing issues and wondering what's a good diet to follow...
  • If you’re frustrated and exhausted and you know it shouldn't have to be this hard!

Instead of looking for new ideas and feeling like you need to research yet another diet, how about you put your detective hat on and learn how to collect cools to uncover the ROOT of what ails you.

You can sign up for this 5-day challenge at www.finallyfeelbetterchallenge.com or go to the show notes for this episode and I’ll have a link to it! When you sign up, you’ll receive an email from me immediately with all the details, then every day for the next five days the challenge will be sent to your inbox.

There are no dietary changes that you’ll have to make during this challenge, there really isn’t anything you’ll have to change and I don’t want you to change anything - at least not yet.

This is merely an exercise to teach you a completely new and different way to listen to your body, to pay attention in a way that you’ve never had before. It’s a powerful diagnostic tool and unlike expensive lab tests, it’s completely free.

So head on over to www.finallyfeelbetterchallenge.com or go to the show notes and you can get started right now! I know what a huge difference it’s made for me, I know how huge of a difference it’s made for my clients and I know how impactful this can be for you.

Until next week, my friends, be FAB, because everyone deserves to live a FAB live!



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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.