New Year, New You – Identifying Common Allergens and Cutting them Loose

New Year, New You – Identifying Common Allergens and Cutting them Loose
If you’ve indulged a little too much over the holidays and are feeling a little sluggish and bloated, it might be time to help your body do what it does best, detoxify! This needn’t mean going on an extreme cleanse or following some celebrity doctor’s latest fad. Instead, to start off your year the right way, it may help to avoid a few common allergens so as to minimise the potential stress on your body and really give those organs of detoxification a good shot at getting you back on track. When we eat foods that trigger an abnormal immune response, this can lead to undesirable increases in inflammation and compromise our body’s ability to neutralise and eliminate toxins. This is true even when foods don’t cause life-threatening allergic reactions; ongoing unaddressed food intolerances can shift the focus of the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, skin and lymphatic system (the detoxification organs), letting other toxins languish unresolved. So what should you avoid, and how should you go about eliminating and identifying potential allergens? To give your body a break, try cutting out the following foods for three weeks, along with alcohol, caffeine, artificial preservatives, flavourings, and colourings:
  1. Wheat / gluten
  2. Peanuts
  3. Tomatoes
  4. Corn
  5. Sugar, white sugar, glucose, corn syrup
  6. Oranges
  7. Non-fermented soy products
  8. Milk, eggs, and dairy products
  9. Yeast
Gradually reintroduce these foods one at a time, and watch for any potential symptoms of intolerance or allergy over a 4-day period before moving on to reintroduce the next item in the list. Signs that you might have an issue with a particular food can include:
  • Headaches
  • Skin breakouts, itching or rashes
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Post-nasal drip or other sinus issues
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in mood or ability to concentrate.
If any of these arise after reintroducing a particular food, cut the food out again and see if symptoms resolve. After another 4 days, try reintroducing the food and see if symptoms recur. If they do, this is a fairly good indicator that this food presents an issue for you. If you do identify any likely candidates for allergy or intolerance, it is a good idea to talk to a qualified nutritionist, dietitian or immunologist. When allergies go unchecked they can escalate into serious problems, and continuing to eat that particular food can cause ongoing damage to your body that then raises your risk of other health issues. While the latest celebrity doctor detox program might seem extra appealing in January after a few too many glasses of wine at Christmas, figuring out any possible food triggers is a more significant step towards long-term health. That isn’t to say that you can’t offer your organs of detoxification a little extra support at this time of year. Indeed, this can help your body to better cope with issues raised by intolerances and allergies as you work with your health care practitioner. In practice, this means being sure to drink plenty of water (try adding fresh lemon juice), getting enough fibre (eat more fruits and vegetables), and perhaps using some tried and tested herbal extracts that help support the detoxification process in the liver, colon, kidneys, skin, lungs, and lymphatics. These extracts include:
  • Dandelion
  • Milk thistle
  • Green tea
  • Licorice
  • Cascara
  • Spirulina
Start your year off right by offering your body a little extra support this January. No extreme cleanse or detox diet needed, just a sensible approach to identifying possible problems and nipping them in the bud.