When you first hear the words “You’ve got a food intolerance”, for just a second, the world stops, the noise disappears and that little two year old inside you throws a giant tantrum internally screaming ‘noooooooooo’! And right then and there, you’re catapulted into an alternate universe that you don’t recognise, have no idea how to navigate and you’re wondering if you’ll even be able to survive it… well, you can and you will, and these three easy practical steps can help you get started.
1. Understand what you’re dealing with.
It’s estimated that 25% of the Australian population suffers from a food intolerance in some form or another, and the term is so commonly bandied around these days, most people think they understand what a food intolerance is, but here’s a simple concept, just in case. A food intolerance occurs when the body can’t digest a certain food, chemical or additive. It’s basically an adverse reaction to food that causes a wide array of unpleasant symptoms, usually digestive and can result in severe and prolonged illness. Though they can be quite debilitating for the sufferer, they are generally not life-threatening: which is significantly different from a classic food allergy, that can be life threatening and is an immune response to a specific food protein.
2. Recognise your symptoms.
People can develop sensitivity to anything from wheat and milk to sulphites and histamines, the list is actually mind blowing and the symptoms are as wide and varied as the ice-cream flavours at Ben and Jerry’s! Typically though, the most common symptoms of a food intolerance can be as specific as bloating, nausea, migraines and wheezing to vague ones like brain fog and general malaise. Once you’ve been diagnosed, it’s time to listen closely to your body and start identifying those symptoms that are related to your food sensitivity – understanding the symptoms and your reactions to food triggers, can help you make better and informed eating choices moving forward.
3. Take action to implement change
When you’re diagnosed with a food intolerance, change without your consent occurs across many aspects of your life, including: grocery shopping, cooking, dining out and travelling. It can be overwhelming and daunting and many people struggle to understand both the change required and how to implement it. The secret is to start small, with weekly goals that you build on and develop over time so that you will enact the positive, long-term and sustainable change required to live healthily and happily within your new food landscape: remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
The thing is you don’t have to figure out this new landscape all on your own, you can get expert guidance and support and in fact that’s where I come in! I am a lifestyle, food and wellness coach and a specialist in providing you the structured guidance and support that will empower you to learn, grow and develop beyond what you can do alone. I can help you navigate your way from confusion and panic about what to eat to confidence, ease and wellbeing.