Food intolerance, however, is not as severe as actual allergy, though it can be very miserable! Rather than being potentially life-threatening, it manifests as one of more of several kinds of symptoms. Removing the problem food or food chemical resolves the problems and makes life much more pleasant. I believe there are a lot of people who have unrecognised food intolerances that are suffering needlessly.
Most people have heard of gluten or lactose intolerance. But most have not heard of the other three common food chemicals (aside from additives, preservatives and colourings) that people are often sensitive to - salicylates, amines and glutamates. Most people don't think about food in terms of chemicals, but all foods, like everything else in the physical universe, are made up of basic components, which can rightly be termed "chemicals." Chemicals, components, molecules, matter - the term doesn't really matter. The point is, every physical thing is created out of certain components that, combined, make it what it is. And for some people, some of those components cause problems when consumed, inhaled, or via skin contact.
Common manifestations of food intolerances
Abdominal pain -- Aching muscles and joints -- Acne -- Addictions -- Arthritis -- Asthma -- Athlete's foot
Bad breath -- Bed wetting ---Blackouts -- Bloating -- Blood sugar problems -- Blurred vision -- Breast pain
Catarrh (is a disorder of inflammation of the mucous membranes) -- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome -- Coated tongue --
Colitis (swelling/inflammation of the large intestine (colon).) -- Constant hunger -- Constipation -- Crawling sensation on skin Diarrhoea -- Difficulty in swallowing -- Dizziness
Eczema -- Excessive thirst -- Excessive or no sweating
Fatigue -- Feeling drained -- Flushes -- Food cravings -- Frequent need to urinate
Gall bladder problems -- Gritty feeling in eyes
Headaches -- Heavy body odour -- High/low blood pressure -- Hives
Indigestion (recurring) -- Insomnia -- Irritable Bowel Syndrome -- Itching -- Itchy and red ears
Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
Menstrual problems -- Metallic taste -- Migraine -- Mouth ulcers -- Muscle aches and cramps -- Muscle tremors -- Muscle weakness
Palpitations -- Persistent cough -- Poor balance -- Post-nasal drip
Racing pulse -- Rashes -- Recurring ear infections -- Restless legs syndrome
Sensitivity to light and noise -- Sinusitis -- Sleep disturbances -- Sore tongue -- Sore, itching, puffy or burning eyes -- Stiff neck -- Styes
Temperature fluctuations -- Thrush -- Tics -- Tinnitus
Watering eyes -- Weight problems -- Wheezing
Accident prone -- Anxiety -- Anger for no apparent reason -- Attention deficit disorder
Behavioural problems -- Blankness -- Brain fogging
Changes in handwriting -- Clumsiness -- Confusion
Delusions -- Depression -- Detached or unreal feeling -- Difficulty waking up -- Disorientation -- Dyslexia
Feelings of dissociation -- Fidgeting
Hallucinations -- Hearing without comprehension -- Hyperactivity
Inability to think clearly -- Indifference -- Irritability
Maths and spelling errors -- Memory loss -- Mental exhaustion -- Mood swings
Panic attacks -- Phobias -- Poor concentration -- Poor self image -- Poor memory
Reading problems -- Restlessness
Slow processing information -- Slurred speech -- Stammering -- Suicidal feelings
Weepiness -- Withdrawn
An elimination diet involves a period of time (usually 4-6 weeks) in which one eats a diet with no additives, very low in salicylates, amines and glutamates (and if necessary, lactose and gluten) until one is symptom free. Then ONE food chemical at a time is re-introduced (or one food or additive at a time where specific food problems are suspected) to check for a reaction. If no reaction occurs after sufficient exposure, then that food chemical is considered safe to remain in the diet, and another is tested. If a reaction has occurred, the food/chemical is withdrawn again, and the diet continued until symptom-free again before another food is tested. Going through the whole process can take 2-3 months or more, depending how many foods or food chemicals need to be tested, and how quickly reactions occur.
To make it easier to do, gluten and lactose are usually only eliminated for the elimination diet (also known as "Failsafe diet") if either the subject is already known to be intolerant of them, or after eliminating everything else symptoms persist.
Our whole family (my husband and I plus our 5 children) all did the elimination diet several years ago, and it revealed a number of previously unsuspected food intolerances in the family. Eliminating the problem foods from our diet brought benefits beyond my wildest imagination! More about that in a separate post - Our Stories.