28. May 2018
Food and health are touchy subjects, especially within the body positivity community. Let’s try to desensitize the issue.
There are so many purists within the body positivity circle that will hate this post. They are vocal in not talking about anything health related, and that’s fine – you do you, boo.
But as much as you should be a body positivity and body confidence activist, you also need to shed light on health and the relationship with food. As I mentioned in my free Body Positivity Guide, get your copy here, you need to keep your body and mind healthy.
And I don’t mean forcing yourself on diets to fulfill social norms manipulating people into believing that a body with extra weight isn’t healthy and will be more prone to diseases. Because that is inaccurate.
I’ve already touched on regular doctor check-ups, but today I want to talk about something that is relevant to all – allergies and intolerance.
Most of us probably haven’t done a food allergy or intolerance test ever, or at least not recently.
But believe me, it is important as you can develop an allergy/intolerance at a later point in life and it could have health effects, including unexplained weight gain or loss.
Therefore, I thought I would share my experiences and issues with these tests.
For a couple of years now, I had been experiencing occasional red itchy spots that would show up on my neck, chest and arms.
And I always thought it was just a reaction to warmer weather or the heating system, but deep down I assumed it was an allergy to food.
So, I did my research and did a 54 universal and nutritive allergens test. These tests look for IgG antibodies that cause a negative reaction, specifically to your immune system. Allergic reactions can vary from (1) low to dangerously high (6).
These reactions show up on your skin as hives, itching, swelling, sneezing, abdominal pain and most dangerously, anaphylactic shock.
Cockroaches, penicillin, a selection of different types of common grass, rye, EGG (yolk and whites), COW’S MILK, crab, shrimp/prawns, ALPHA-LACTALBUMIN, BEEF, BAKER’S YEAST, PEANUT, HAZELNUT, ALMOND.
I only started experiencing these symptoms in the last couple years and these bolded food allergens gave me no reaction as a child. Yet now, I need to cut them out of my diet completely. Crab and grass are as high as a 4 on the reactive scale!
Food allergy testing is something I can highly recommend! This is one of those health-related things you really should do… you don’t even have to go to a doctor to do it, private laboratories will take the blood sample and send you your results directly.
Now, the test I have a serious issue with is the food intolerance one… don’t fall for the same trap I did.
Before I get into my experience, let me tell you the difference between the two testings.
Food allergies affect your immune system and can be extremely life-threatening, food intolerance irritates your bowels and can be an extreme discomfort. We’ve all heard the lactose intolerance jokes, right?
Testing for food intolerance is questionable – many scientists think it’s not accurate. Also, the testing for IgE antibodies only covers a handful of items.
I did not want to fork out $300 dollar for the IgE test, so I chose a screening test that covers 360+ items. I thought that it would at least shed light on items that could be irritating my insides.
Many laboratories recommend this test as a healthy way to find out what food could be causing you to bloat and put on extra kilograms.
Aside from giving blood, you fill out a questionnaire asking your weight, height and other general information. They also measure your wrist.
Let me put it this way, I was ANNOYED, to say the least, once I got my results.
The test doesn’t care about your intolerance, but rather focuses solely on the irrelevant BMI scale.
Out of 364 items, I was told that at least 200 of these items I had to cancel out completely and another 70 were to be consumed occasionally.
The honest truth was that the 90 items are were acceptable were just a selection of fruits and vegetables and spices. You literally couldn’t make a full meal out it.
Now this might not be the case for everyone, but it seemed that the more you weighed the more they were being lead to an extreme and unhealthy diet mentality.
What I wanted to get out of this post and letting you in on my experience is showing you all how we need to be both accepting and hesitant of the medical profession when it comes to certain things, such as food intolerance screenings.
We cannot deny there is a stigma within the medical profession that points the finger towards heavier individuals and sending out such vocal messages of illness, disease and unhealthiness, yet barely a finger is pointed towards those that are underweight!
Ironic since being underweight makes you much more susceptible to diseases, organ failure and infections, yet no one talks about it freely.
Getting back on track, I want you to feel like if you are experiencing similar symptoms relating to a food allergy that you can go and get it checked out, directly with a laboratory, without the dread of seeing a doctor and potentially having your symptoms be ignored because of your weight.
As for those body posi purists that probably think I’m a fraud, I will leave this message – Body positivity is just as much about having a healthy mindset and relationship with your body as it is about changing the way bodies are viewed by society, the media and fashion industry.