Those of us with food sensitivities know that if we keep the offending foods in our diets then we struggle to get better or even just to feel normal. The problem is, though, that eliminating multiple food sensitivities from our diets is TOUGH WORK!
There are periods where I thrive and I can go months without taking one single bite of a food that causes the influx of inflammation that I get from my food sensitivities. However, there are plenty of times where I dig myself into a whole and have no idea why my body is a hot mess of pain, symptoms, and inflammation.
There are many reasons why I may not be avoiding my food sensitivities 100%, but most of the time it is because of “user error.” I’ve become too comfortable and too complacent that I overlook little details that wind us causing a big problem.
Here are the top reasons that I have found issues with completely avoiding food sensitivities.
1. Not reading labels carefully
Reading labels can be tough work. Especially when the foods you are trying to avoid are not considered one of the top 8 allergens that is obviously labeled. For example: I have a gluten sensitivity, but I am also extremely sensitive to tapioca starch which is found in a lot of gluten-free food items. Therefore, we should not always assume that since something says gluten-free on the front of the label that it is completely void of all food sensitivities. We have all been in a situation, though, where we think “no way this has any of my food sensitivities in it” only to find out one of its main ingredients leaves you with a splitting migraine! (Once I forgot that gelato and ice cream are not the same thing – I’m good with dairy in ice cream but the eggs in gelato about took me down!)
2. Not having the kitchen thoroughly stocked with sensitive-free foods
Go to the grocery store! This is a demand! Set a date once a week, write up a list of needs, and go stock up on all your sensitive-friendly needs! Need some good ideas to get you started? Consider downloading my list of sensitive-friendly staples that you should always keep on-hand!
3. Eating too much processed foods
Processed foods are like a cesspool for food sensitivities because of the many ingredients that go into them, especially gluten, soy, dairy, and eggs. Processed foods are also the hardest foods to determine if any other food sensitivities are found within the food because of its mile-long ingredient list. This makes it no longer a “convenience food” and makes it more of a pain-in-the-you-know-what in order to go through each ingredient with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it is good to go! Best advice is to avoid processed foods as much as possible and make sure you thoroughly vet any processed foods for food sensitivities.
4. Not eating enough real food
This is sort of the same thing as eating too much processed food (because when you are eating a lot of processed foods, you may not be eating enough real food!) Life gets hard though, right? Convenience foods are just so much easier to do than cooking and preparing real foods. Unfortunately, taking our health and well-being off the priority list is all too common. It is actually the first that goes… along with adequate sleep! However, prioritizing real food over convenience foods can help improve your health and immune system so you can keep up with all those other tasks you need to get done! Need some ideas of quick, easy, delicious meals that will take you 45 minutes or less to prepare? Check out the 7-day food sensitivity challenge full of recipes to aid you in avoiding the top food sensitivities.
5. Dining out regularly
Unfortunately, we just cannot be guaranteed that the foods we eat while dining out are 100% good to go. Thankfully, there are several practices you can put in place in order to make your dining out experience as smooth as possible. I have several strategies up my sleeve that I use on a regular basis when I am dining out that keeps me symptom-free. Ironically, I am writing this while I am in the midst of my biggest dining-out binge since I started avoiding food sensitivities. I am currently on day 4 with plans to dine out for my next two meals.
6. Not asking enough questions when dining out
I typically frequent the same places that I KNOW I don’t have any issues with. I am also incredibly annoying when ordering food, asking for lots of substitutions. While this made me incredibly uncomfortable at first, the discomfort of getting hit with gluten made it totally worth it. Some questions that you should consider:
Do you have a food allergy menu? (It will at least should you the 8 major food allergies)
Can I substitute _____ for ____? (usually the answer is “no problem!”)
Can I add chicken on top of this salad (that has no protein on it)? (I use this one a lot)
Can I have a double side of veggies instead of this side?
There you have it! If you are able to maneuver these little food-sensitivity pitfalls, then you are doing great! If you need any extra support, consider setting yourself up for success with one of my 3, 6, or 12-month food sensitivity 1-on-1 programs where you will learn all the ins and outs of your particular sensitivities and how to avoid them all of the time. I offer a free 15 minute introductory consultation in order to discuss your needs regarding food sensitivity avoidance.