- autoimmune disorders
- skin conditions
- mood disorders
Gut sensitivities are distinct from allergies and intolerances because they do not produce an antibody reaction. This doesn’t mean it won’t affect you. How do you know what’s afflicting you, and how do you make it better?
I’ve been there. I have had digestion issues for quite some time, stemming from childhood health issues. I didn’t know then what I know now: that gut health dictates overall health for the body. If your gut is not absorbing nutrients the way it needs to, your body cannot get what it needs to function.
The most important thing you can do for your body if you think you have a gut sensitivity is to pay attention; don’t ignore it. This is your body telling you something is up! As a healthcare professional, I like to remind people that symptoms are a late sign of body trouble. Most people do not realize and understand how resilient our bodies are and how hard they try to strive for homeostasis; they are truly miraculous!
Gut sensitivities arise from a variety of mechanisms, though a leaky gut is most common. This condition can result from chronic inflammation, damage to the gut, strain to the liver, or damage to other tissues. Besides a leaky gut, you might have an enzyme deficiency, microbial imbalance, motility issues, and/or detoxification abnormalities.
The crux of diagnosing gut sensitivities is through performing an elimination diet.
How do you do an elimination diet? The simplest way to start is to eliminate these foods from your diet with the plan to reintroduce them later on:
1) gluten and wheat
5) nightshades (ex. tomatoes and peppers)
6) legumes (ex. Chickpeas, peanuts, peanut butter)
(some people have problems with digesting soy, which is pictured here)
You might be wondering after reading this list just what in the world is left to eat!
This is a basic start and one that you can work into if you need to. It’s also temporary and not forever. You eliminate these foods for a period of time, and then slowly reintroduce specific foods and monitor your symptoms for possible reactions. A good rule of thumb is to perform the elimination diet for 30 days, as this seems to work for most people. You can certainly get food allergy testing performed as well, but the elimination diet is the most affordable way to find the clearest answers.
(homemade almond milk was a great find when avoiding dairy)
Reintroduce foods you eliminated one at a time over the course of 5 to 6 weeks. Pay close attention to symptoms. Keeping a food journal might be especially helpful for both the elimination and reintroduction phase. If you find that you continue to have an issue with specific foods following reintroduction, its worthwhile to avoid these foods for a longer time period, if not long-term.
Discouraged by foods you can’t have? You can do it! When I found out I was gluten sensitive, it was pretty emotional for me. You take for granted all the things you got to eat all the time, and then knowing that I had to move forward completely removing these foods was difficult. You will feel better because of it!
Just how do you explain gut sensitivities to your family and friends at the dinner table without them thinking your on some crazy diet?! It can be challenging, but let me encourage you with this: it is worthwhile.
Remember your body is a temple, and you must treasure it. Each food you put in your body is to nourish it, to help it be better…now and in the future. I remind myself that I do this not only for myself, but for my husband, son, family, and friends…to be better for them. Look for those that can encourage you in this journey and seek out friends, blogs, and accountability to share ideas, recipes and to challenge one another.
Take one day a time, and applaud yourself for the important things you do.
About the author
Lindsay Tuttle is a 28-year-old God-loving mama, wife, nurse, and blogger. Currently in her last 6 months of my graduate studies to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, which she plans to use to practice integrative and functional medicine with a focus on nutritional healing and autoimmune disease. Visit her blog at http://