How do I know if I have a food allergy or a food intolerance and what’s the difference? A food allergy is when the immune system engages right after you have consumed, inhaled, or touched a food you are allergic to. The reaction is immediate; it could be a rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, vomiting, teary eyes, tight throat, etc. An IgE test (immunoglobulin E) will tell you what allergies you might have. It is important to stay away from food, pets, and molds that we have an allergy to as they over-stimulate the immune system and cause inflammation.
If you suspect you have allergies, you can ask your doctor to order an IgE test for you or you can order one for yourself. (Please note that I receive no compensation for any medical test mentioned in this article.)
Food intolerance symptoms take 30 minutes to 3 days to manifest and the symptoms are varied (see below) and cumulative. While there are blood tests for food intolerances (MRT or Mediator Release Testing, ELISA or Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay commonly called IgG testing, and ALCAT or Antigen Leukocyte Antibody Test), you can also test for food intolerances yourself.
Symptoms of Food Intolerance
Here are some symptoms of food intolerance:
- Gastrointestinal (stomach and digestive tract – bloating, diarrhea, gas, irritable bowel, colitis, etc.)
- Metabolic (over- or under-active metabolism causing weight gain or loss)
- Respiratory (lungs and breathing – chronic cough, asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis etc.)
- Dermatological (skin conditions – acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc.)
- Neurological (nervous system – chronic headaches)
- Mental – (behavioral, memory, mood issues, anxiety, depression)
- Musculoskeletal (muscle and bone disorders – stiff joints, arthritis, gout)
- Reproductive (genital and fertility issues – inability to conceive, miscarriage)
- Immune system (autoimmune conditions, allergies, frequent infections and colds)
- Malabsorption (nutrient deficiencies – anemia, osteoporosis etc.)
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, I recommend that you first utilize the Be in Health Eating Plan to eliminate as many of your symptoms as possible. If you find you are still experiencing some of these symptoms after a few months following the BiH plan, then I recommend either MRT testing ($395), which tests for 150 different foods, or following the Be in Health Food Reintroduction Challenge.
The BiH Eating Plan combines a plan to restore gut health with an elimination diet. Here are the foods that can cause the most issues:
The Food Reintroduction Challenge (FRC) is a coach-guided eating plan for those whose symptoms’ cause has not been identified. The purpose is to eliminate the 5 major known food triggers, as well as the 5 minor known food triggers. Then you will begin adding the trigger foods back to your diet in a planned manner.
Here are some of the benefits you will experience:
- You will gain clarity on what food is causing your digestive issues.
- You will give your body a break from food that is known to be hard on the digestive system (whether you are intolerant or not).
- It’s a form of a gentle detox – feeling lighter, brighter, and sharper is a typical outcome.
At least 70% of our immune system is located in the gut lining. This means that a healthy gut contributes to our overall health, and an unhealthy gut leads to a myriad of health problems. How do I know if I have a food allergy or a food intolerance? Sometimes, it’s a process of elimination.
Learn more in my new book, Be in Health: Bible-Based Health Restoration: Living in Harmony with God’s Ways Regarding Health. Available now.