Is it Food Allergy or Intolerance?

Bloated tummy? Brain fog? A pounding head?

If mysterious symptoms appear hours or even days after you eat certain foods, maybe you are experiencing food intolerance? You may ask yourself if you have food allergies. Let’s look at the difference.

What is a food intolerance?

A food intolerance is trouble digesting a certain food. 

Reactions due to non-allergic intolerances (food intolerances) can be delayed by up to several days and are often long-lasting. Some people who experience food intolerances have a threshold for the offending food and can eat it in small amounts; larger quantities or more frequent consumption of the food will bring about a reaction.

Food intolerances induce undesirable reactions to the trigger food, including:

  • gastrointestinal symptoms
  • eczema
  • headaches
  • hives
  • lethargy
  • migraines
  • respiratory symptoms
  • sneezing
  • itchy and runny nose
  • watery eyes

Food intolerances may also play a role in irritable bowel syndrome, which is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder.

What is a food Allergies?

Allergic reactions are usually immediate and are brought on by even minute amounts of an allergen (see “Is it a food allergy 

A food allergy involves the immune system vs the digestive system.

True food allergies trigger an immune system response and often involve immunoglobulin E (IgE), which are antibodies produced by the immune system. (Non-IgE-mediated allergies also exist but are less well understood.) 

In the case of an IgE-mediated food allergy, instead of fighting off invaders, IgE binds to benign substances like food proteins. These immune system triggers are known as allergens.

In children, 85 percent of food allergies involve cows’ milk, egg, fish, peanuts, shellfish, soy, or wheat. In adults, the most common allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, and seafood.

To be classified as an IgE-mediated response to a food, symptoms must occur within two hours of exposure. 

Exposure usually occurs through eating, but skin exposure or inhalation of food residue may also activate a response.

Allergen binding causes the release of inflammatory substances that promote recognizable allergy symptoms like skin reactions (hives, rash, and swelling)—the most common IgE-mediated food allergy symptoms—as well as gastrointestinal discomfort (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain), itching or tingling in the mouth, runny nose, and sneezing. Symptoms like difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, dizziness, or fainting may also occur. 

Note that with many of these symptoms, you could be having a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis and should seek emergency medical help immediately.

Unlike food intolerances, food allergies can be fatal. Due to the potential danger of allergy tests, they are typically performed in a specialized clinic.

Both food intolerances and food allergies may play a major role in hormonal imbalance.

Be proactive—not reactive

Reduce then avoid these inflammatory ingredients:

  • Refined and modern grains
  • Wrong kind of fats
  • Refined sugars
  • Corn
  • Soy that is not traditionally prepared
  • All Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Pork
  • Peanuts
  • Foods intolerances such as gluten, dairy, nuts, grains, corn, night shade* vegetables
  • Pasteurized/homogenized milk even if organic. For gluten sensitive individuals it’s best to avoid dairy products until inflammation is gone.

*Nightshades include: Ashwagandha, Bell peppers (a.k.a. sweet peppers), Bush tomato, Cape gooseberry (also known as ground cherries—not to be confused with regular cherries), Cocona, Eggplant, Garden huckleberry (not to be confused with regular huckleberries), Goji berries (a.k.a. wolfberry), Hot peppers (such as chili peppers, jalapenos, habaneros, chili-based spices, red pepper, cayenne), Kutjera, Naranjillas, Paprika, Pepinos, Pimentos, Potatoes (but not sweet potatoes), Tamarillos, Tomatillos, Tomatoes

Reset your gut

To reset your gut and system to operate optimally, go on an organic mostly plant based diet for 60-180 days depending on your body’s needs and ability to reset.

Eat colorful produce that have plant intelligence. Color is an important part of our diet. We are biologically programmed to respond to colorful foods. After all, those color signals are how nature lets us know that foods are ripe and ready to eat.

If you are having any inflammation, get rid of all (ancient and modern) grains and gluten (dairy if sensitive to gluten) initially. Then slowly, after your gut heals, re-introduce ancient grains that are properly prepared using ancient wisdom. 

Regardless of whether you are tolerant or not, avoid modern grains that have been processed using modern methods at all times. For a deeper understanding, read Fifty Shades of Grain: The Truth about Eating Bread and Feeling Great

Include gut friendly foods: 

You want your system to be balanced. Since we are mostly made up of bacteria (more than cells), let’s make sure we have more friendly bacteria than not. Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that live inside your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and aid in repairing your gut lining. They’re helpful for supporting the immune system, facilitating digestion, decreasing inflammation, and the production of hormones.

  • Fermented foods: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha
  • High in fiber: vegetables, fruits, avocados, raspberries, lentils and split peas, sprouted whole grain and seeds, and legumes (aim for 25-30 grams of dietary fiber a day)
  • Prebiotic: bananas, artichokes, chicory roots, oats, garlic, onion, and legumes
  • Healthy fats: ghee, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) help to modulate the immune system and are potentially allergy protective. Fish oil supplements are high in omega-3s

Include Low Glycemic foods to keep blood sugar in check:

  • Non starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, green beans
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes
  • Yogurt and fermented dairy
  • Traditionally processed ancient grains
  • Fruit
  • Healthy fats
  • Quality protein
  • Acidic foods that act alkaline when consumed – yogurt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, fermented yogurt

If eating animal protein (after you reset your system), make sure it comes from a trustworthy and sustainable source. Organic and fully grass fed meats (with bone intact and slow cooked). Eggs from organically raised pastured free range chickens. Recommended brands are within the Smart Shopping Guide; ask me about it.

Digestive enzymes

These help you assimilate nutrients. The enzyme lactase, for example, helps with absorption of lactose.

What causes a food intolerance?

There are many possible explanations for a food intolerance. 

Reactions could occur due to a deficiency in an enzyme required to break down the trigger food, which is what occurs in lactose (milk sugar) intolerance. 

With lactose intolerance, gastrointestinal responses are common and include bloating, cramps, diarrhea, and flatulence.

Fructose intolerance, on the other hand, involves the inability to absorb fructose (found in fruits and added to some foods as a sweetener), or it may be induced by an imbalance of fructose versus glucose in the intestines. Unabsorbed fructose ferments in the colon and leads to symptoms similar to those of lactose intolerance.

Meanwhile, non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a recognized condition associated with consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. In affected people, eating gluten may cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as anemia, brain fog, chronic fatigue, depression, joint and muscle pain, numbness in extremities, weight loss, and changes in attention. 

In order to diagnose NCGS, both celiac disease (an autoimmune disease triggered by eating gluten) and wheat allergy must first be ruled out.

Overconsumption of a food or food additive can cause unpleasant consequences in some people. 

Naturally occurring chemicals and food additives that are linked with food intolerances include:

  • amines (in beer, cheese, chocolate, wine, and yeast extracts)
  • glutamates (in cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, stock cubes, and yeast extracts)
  • salicylates (in beer, nuts, wine, herbs and spices, jam, honey, yeast extracts, tea, and coffee)
  • flavor enhancers like monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners and colorings, preservatives, and sulfites.

Diagnosing food intolerance

Elimination Diet

One way to isolate the food culprit is through “elimination diet”. It is effective but cumbersome and depriving at times. 

Basically with the elimination diet, you strictly avoid all suspect foods for at least two weeks to establish whether symptoms abate. Then, reintroduce one food at a time, spaced out over a few days, to determine if symptoms reappear.

Because avoiding a number of foods may restrict your nutrient intake, it’s best to work with a nutritionist or naturopath to ensure you don’t become deficient

Tapp into your wisdom

There is another method that is painless, powerful and effective. 

Imagine learning how to be your own family healer and detective? Imagine how much time, money and energy you’ll save chasing after your health going to one doctor performing one lab test after another.

It takes time to teach the skills and it takes time to practice until perfect.

I teach it along other lifestyle “re hacks” or what. to all the women who go through the Happy Hormone Program. I call  it “re Hacks” because it is relearning what we already know. It is learning how to reach into OUR tool box. YOU hold the key to the answers. Every other practitioner is just out there applying some of the tools from their tool box.

To view this topic and many other relevant topics, join  Happy Hormones Collective FB group. It is FREE and is for women who want to take a proactive approach to getting back their balance.

If you are struggling with hormonal imbalance issues and want to get back to your vibrant self naturally, effectively and practically, be part of this group that is supportive, loving and empowering.
Joining is easy! Simply click on and request to join our group.

If you are:

  • struggling with allergies or food intolerances
  • You know it is effecting your gut, mood, and/or your hormones
  • want to re learn how to access your self healing tool box and 
  • are ready to become the powerful being that you are by taking charge of your own health. 
  • And you need immediate help

Book your 30 minute Discovery session and receive you mini plan to reduce your suffering. Limited space and time.

To Your Health,

About Caroline

My vision is to empower you to achieve your optimal health and lead a healthy life through awareness and education. It is to bring you simple, delicious, nutritionally dense foods and easy recipes that support the wellness of your mind, body and soul. My goal is to teach the effective principles and practices of our ancestors in a modern context forliving a vibrant life.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

Grab your Welcome Kit Gifts

3 simple, fast, effective, and profound Breathwork techniques to detox like coffee enema without the coffee or enema, clear mind and become heart centered.

Which Fats to Eat, Which to Ditch” visual cheat sheet

Two chapters of  book  endorsed by Sally Fallon- president of Weston A Price Foundation and Professor Michel Poulain- BlueZone Demographer



Masterclass Video

Which Fats to Eat.

Which Fats to Ditch.