Interview with Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Sam Johnson about her personal experience dealing with digestive issues, self care and her health non-negotiables.
So many new services for allergy and food sensitivity testing are out there right now, pin-prick blood tests that can be mailed in from home are being marketed to us through advertising and sponsored social media posts.
A true allergy can only be to a protein, a sensitivity can be to anything.
Many people get their test back and see that they are allergic to many common foods, specifically foods they eat on a daily basis. Does this mean you can never have those foods again? Just cut them all out and carry on with life?
Being sensitive to foods that are being eaten frequently indicates a leaky gut. The wall of the intestines is our barrier between inside the body and the outside world, in some places, this barrier is one cell thick. A leaky gut happens when the cell membrane becomes permeable, small gaps form between cells where they used to be tightly joined. Anything floating around in the intestines can drift through these small openings with no regulation from the body. These undigested particles enter the bloodstream and the body's immune system reacts to these foreign invaders.
So let’s say you eat chicken, coffee and bananas almost every day. These are the things that will most frequently make it through the small gaps in the intestine and set off your immune system. If we just remove the three foods that were flagged as sensitivities but don’t heal the intestines a short while later your sensitivities will just change to whatever you replaced those foods with.
Heal leaky gut
Remove the items that were flagged as sensitivities, for now. These can be added back in one at a time after going through the below steps successfully.
Support digestion by making sure you have adequate stomach acid, digestive enzymes, gallbladder function. Ginger and apple cider vinegar are two gentle options for digestive support. If you have candida overgrowth which can cause leaky gut, you may need to take something additional like oil of oregano. Enzymedica is my personal favourite for digestive enzymes.
Add in probiotics to add back in healthy bacteria, supplement quality is key here because there are countless probiotic supplements out there and not all are great. Here is one I recommend but there are other practitioner options too. Incorporate fermented foods like cultured vegetables and kefir or yoghurt if you tolerate dairy.
Support your body to heal the intestinal lining. A diet of whole properly prepared foods is key here, soups and stews based on bone broth are calming, warming and healing to the body. Bone broth contains collagen that can help to heal the intestinal lining. The amino acid L-glutamine, marshmallow root can help soothe and repair the lining.
Be positive and know that your body only wants to be healthy, it's perfectly capable of healing itself!