Do you ever suffer from the following?
- Bloating, gas, heartburn, nausea, and other digestive issues
- Mild to severe skin rashes
- Runny nose, mucus buildup
- Muscle or joint pains, swelling, headaches
- Mood swings or depression
If you do, you may have undiagnosed food sensitivities. It’s important to remember that we often don’t connect the foods we eat to the symptoms we experience. As I’ve learned practicing integrative health coaching in LA, what is good and healthy for one person to eat can create havoc in another person’s body. If you get symptoms like those above, it could be time to explore whether any of these top ‘healthy’ foods could be at the root of the problem.
Legumes and Grains —Especially Soy
Legumes and grains are plant seeds. They contain lectins, plant proteins that are resistant to digestion. One well-known lectin is gluten, but many other legumes and grains contain non-gluten lectins that can cause serious gut strain. Remember, your body can still react to foods that are ‘gluten-free.’ Another thing that helps protect these seeds from digestion is phytic acid, which can wreak havoc on our guts, even preventing us from absorbing those legume and grain’s essential minerals, not to mention the nutrients from other foods.
Research on irritable bowel syndrome has determined that soy is one of the most commonly reported foods that causes or worsens people’s symptoms. I’ve found as a personal health coach, LA clients of mine have lots of soy sensitivities. If you have soy sensitivity, keep your eyes peeled for the ingredient on labels. Almost all processed foods contain some form of soy.
Gluten and Wheat
Gluten is the most well-known lectin. You can find it in wheat, together with other grains like rye, spelt, barley, durum and semolina. And, similarly to other grains, wheat contains phytic acid, making it difficult for our guts to digest. The immune systems of those with celiac disease treat gluten like a harmful foreign invader. But today lots of people suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which causes them to get mild to severe digestive issues when they eat gluten. Gluten especially irritates those with IBS, but gluten is just one of several wheat-based lectins. Wheat also contains agglutinins and amylase trypsin inhibitors (ATIs), which offer the wheat plant protection from insect damage. But agglutinins and ATIs are difficult to break down in the stomach ,and cause inflammation in many people.
Three out of four people can’t digest milk’s natural sugar because they don’t have the enzyme lactase. If you have trouble digesting lactose, you more than likely have gut issues. Pasteurization, the process of heating milk at high temperatures to kill bacteria, alters the proteins and nutrients, which can add to dairy sensitivity. In addition, dairy products’ hormones can create problems for some people – and there is some research linking them to certain cancers. As a Los Angeles health coach, I encounter many clients who find dairy causes potent stomach issues.
Nightshade veggies include bell peppers, potatoes, eggplant, hot peppers and tomatoes. And, certain spices are part of the nightshade family, like paprika, cayenne pepper and chili pepper. Despite their potent anti-inflammatory benefits, these foods are also high in lectins. And, just as with legumes and grains, these lectins pose difficulties for some people’s digestive systems and can put a strain on the gut.
Nightshade vegetables also contain alkaloids, which serve as a plant’s natural insect repellent. But like phytic acid and lectins, they can cause or exacerbate problems with digestion.
How to Figure Out if You are Food Sensitive
The most common way to identify food sensitivities is to undergo an elimination diet. If you have suspicions that a certain food makes you sensitive, cut it out of your diet. Over the following 1-2 weeks, notice how your body responds.
Keep track of how you feel different physically, emotionally, and mentally. Take notice of ways your stomach feels or ways your digestion has changed. In a daily journal, write down any foods you eat (or avoid), whether you exercise, changes in your mood – whatever might impact your digestive symptoms. Pay attention to changes in your bowel movements. And if you continue to experience food sensitivity symptoms, keep track of that, too.
After a week or two, reintroduce the food to notice how you respond. If you are now free from digestive flare-ups or other problems, you may have gotten over the food sensitivity. But if during your elimination period, you don’t notice the old symptoms changing, you may be sensitive to a different food you’re eating. So, you can continue the elimination diet to test for another common food sensitivity. If your reintroducing the food causes you to begin to experience the same old symptoms, you will know that you should avoid that food.
Alternatively, I can help you as a nutrition coach. Los Angeles residents or those who welcome a remote health coach, LA, can take the Complete Food Sensitivity Test from Equi Life, a leader in the functional medicine testing space. It will test your levels of sensitivity to 190 common foods. The test includes a 30-minute phone call to help solve your food-based health mysteries and let you know exactly which foods you are mildly to moderately reactive to.
Health Coach Hollywood LA
If you are seeking:
- Integrative health coaching in LA
- Online fitness coaching in LA
- In-person or online integrative health coaching
- Functional medicine, Los Angeles
- A corporate health coach, Los Angeles
Derek Opperman of LifeUp Health Coaching offers competent, compassionate care. Whether you live outside of Los Angeles and are interested in online integrative health coaching or you live in the Hollywood, LA area and have been Googling “health coach near me,” we invite you to reach out. Derek can help you to meet all of your personal wellness goals.