Is Your Food Making You Sick

On Tuesday Nour of Nourition shared some of the ways our bodies can react to food.  In today’s post she takes the conversation further to focus on ways to deal with triggers and food issues.

Is Your Food Making You Sick? Part Two

In my last post, I described the three different types of food reactions: allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances.

To answer Amanda’s request of what trigger foods to avoid, I’d say there isn’t an answer I can write in a post. It’s all about the individual. If you suspect an allergy, see a doctor or allergist. If you have bloating, gas, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, you might have a sensitivity or intolerance. If you suffer from migraines, fibromyalgia, arthritis, eczema, or fatigue, you might have sensitivity. I can help with the last two.

I help people with food sensitivities:

I use a test called MRT (mediator release test) that measures your immune reaction to 150 different foods, chemicals, and additives. When I get my client’s results, I know which foods she is reactive to, and which ones are safe. Over the course of 3 months, we build a list of ‘safe’ foods to incorporate in her life, including menus, recipes, and shopping tips. The result: no more pain, headaches, or GI complications.

I help people with food intolerances:

I teach them the FODMAP diet. We eliminate all foods containing FODMAPs, then challenge, or reintroduce, one type at a time. We look for signs and symptoms of reactions, and if none happen, we consider the carbohydrate (and the foods that contain them) safe. If they cause GI issues, we know exactly which ones are troublesome and to be avoided.

How can you eat a balanced diet and make good choices when you have food allergies? The most important thing is to find out what the trigger foods are and avoiding them. Different types of allergies require different strategies. Your choices are going to depend on the foods you have to avoid, the nutrients they provide, and number of foods you’re allergic to.

For example, if you have a nut allergy, you can get the protein they provide from meat and poultry, fish, eggs, seeds, beans, and dairy, and you can get healthy fats from fish, avocados, olive oil, and seeds. There are many options for snacks and precuts to spread over bread or dip your apples in. You have to become an adamant reader of food labels, everywhere and all the time. If you have nut, egg, and milk allergies all together, it can be challenging, so I recommend a private consult with a registered dietitian.

If you have food intolerance and can’t digest fructose for example, you will have to avoid apples, pears, peaches, and mangoes. However, you can enjoy bananas, berries, grapes, or honeydew. They key is making substitutions from the very same group you have to make eliminations from. If you can’t tolerate multiple carbohydrate compounds and end up eliminating too many foods from different groups, I recommend a private consult with a dietitian familiar with FODMAP diet to ensure you’re optimally nourishing your body.

The challenge with food sensitivities is that a food we all consider healthy, such as broccoli or apples, can be very unhealthy for you if your body is reacting to it. Intolerances cause discomfort and disturb quality of life, but they’re not as bad as sensitivities that fire up your immune system. When that happens, you’re in a state of inflammation, and that healthy broccoli—if you are sensitive to it—is not so healthy for YOU anymore.

When I see a new client, I evaluate the person’s individual symptoms. I ask questions about what they eat, how much, how they prepared it. I check their labs and consider their full medical history. Based on their individual case and my clinical judgment, I either recommend testing for food sensitivity or the FODMAP diet to eliminate intolerances.

Did you know that women are more likely to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, and fibrmyalgia than men? My passion is to help women find relief from the constant pain and discomfort that just isn’t going away. Not only are women more likely to suffer from these conditions, we—women—tend to put everyone before ourselves and our health, letting our discomfort drain our physical and emotional energy. Pain medications only treat symptoms but don’t address the root of the problem. If you suspect you have a food sensitivity or intolerance that’s consuming your life, contact me. I offer free 15-minute consults to determine the most appropriate next step.

Thank you so much to Nour for providing some of her expertise here.  If you missed the first part of this series, you can find it here. Through the entire month of Ramadan I’ll be updating a lot of my Moroccan recipes that include gluten with a gluten-free version.  I know there are a lot of other food issues you may have.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you struggle with (or what you miss!) and you might see a future post featuring my recreation.    


Author Bio: Nour Zibdeh, MS RD CLT, is a nutrition coach who helps people with food sensitivities eliminate their symptoms so they live without their pain and suffering. She also helps people who struggle with their weight, heart disease, food cravings, and emotional eating figure out what and how to eat to reach their health goals while eating intuitively, nourishing their bodies, and enjoying their food. Nour is originally from Jordan, a wife, and mom of two young boys. She can be reached at and blogs on nutrition and shares healthy recipes at