By Kris Scheifele
We all know someone who has a dietary restriction or two. Maybe a co-worker has celiac disease and can’t be near gluten or your nephew can’t eat peanuts without going into dangerous anaphylactic shock. These examples, the first, an autoimmune condition and the second, a true food allergy, manifest in some pretty dramatic ways. Meanwhile, a seemingly innocuous food sensitivity can wreak its own form of impressive havoc because its symptoms are more subtle.
What makes food sensitivities so devastating? Because most people can carry on with things like digestive distress, headaches, minor skin eruptions, moodiness, low energy, and joint pain. These types of symptoms can dance in the background of your life for years. You might even think they’re normal. Over time, however, they can wear you down. Additionally, it doesn’t occur to most people that the meal they ate on Monday could be giving them grief on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
This delay, accompanied by the nebulous nature of symptoms, makes the guesswork of elimination diets frustrating. It doesn’t take long before you’ve cut out so many things there’s hardly anything left. Even more vexing is going to the effort of eating extremely healthy foods or even superfoods only to find that you feel worse than ever. The kale and açaí smoothie that’s making your neighbor feel like a superhero has you laying low (and you don’t even realize it!) That’s the problem with health-food crazes. Foods that are deemed ‘good for you’ aren’t necessarily good for all.
Did you know that you can have a gluten sensitivity and not have celiac disease?
Dermatologists have an advantage when it comes to diagnosing issues with food because eczema, blistering, rashes, and acne—all visible signs affecting the skin—often go hand in hand with food sensitivities.
The red-flag symptoms that are not visible to the eye can elude busy practitioners who don’t have expertise or training in this area. They might even label a patient “difficult” and shuffle him off to a psychiatric office. What a shame since a simple shift in diet could unlock the door to feeling better.
The good news is there’s a simple blood test that eliminates confusion and saves precious time by determining a particular individual’s trouble foods. Dr. Robin Evans, a dermatologist in Stamford offers this test and has become an expert at helping people put their lab findings into action.
According to Dr. Evans, most allergists don’t do this type of food sensitivity testing nor do traditional medical doctors. “It’s still in the realm of complementary medicine, just as acupuncture and fish oil were ten years ago,” she said, “but the incredible results I’ve seen in my practice speak for themselves.”
Surprisingly, offending foods are often craved or eaten frequently. Testing prevents misguided regimens that keep you from enjoying foods that are okay or that restrict your lifestyle unnecessarily. When you know what to avoid and do so, you can sometimes reintroduce the food after a break.
If you could forego a food or two to feel fantastic would you do it? Many say it’s worth it.
If you would like to get tested for food sensitivities, you can contact:
Southern Connecticut Dermatology – Dr. Robin Evans, 1275 Summer St – Suite 101, Stamford, CT 06905 Tel. (203) 323-5660