Mike asks: I just turned 29 last month and recently started noticing I can’t seem to tolerate certain foods like milk or bagels like I used to. I get a lot of bloating and stomach upset when I eat these foods that never used to bother me before. What’s up with that?
A: A lot of people can probably relate to this question. When we are younger it seems we can eat whatever we want and nothing bothers us. And then suddenly, one day we start to notice that we can’t handle certain foods like we used to.
There are a few good reasons this can happen. One possibility is that the you might have low hydrochloric acid (HCl) and/or lack of digestive enzymes. HCl is produced in the stomach and it is one of the keys to initiating the digestive process. It begins the breakdown of proteins in the stomach. Digestive enzymes are present in both food and our body makes them to help breakdown our food and prepare for digestion.
As we age we produce less and less of HCl and digestive enzymes; however this usually doesn’t happen likely until our 50s or 60s, unless a person has history of serious digestive problems. Less HCl means food can’t get digested properly and ends up fermenting in our lower digestive tract, causing a lot of digestive distress like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Low HCl is often caused by diet including too much meat, dairy, sugar, coffee, alcohol and processed foods. Low HCl is also more often caused by stress.
The good news is we can usually correct this problem by choosing a diet rich with whole foods, including fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes and limit/avoid things like coffee, alcohol and saturated fats like meat and dairy products.
The other more likely possibility given your age is that you may have developed a food allergy or sensitivity.
The best way I can explain this is to look at the body like a barrel. What we put into our “barrel” (our body) -food, water, pesticides, chemicals, stress, even the products we use on our skin, hair, nails, etc., will start to fill our “barrel” and have a negative or positive effect on it.
Once the barrel becomes too full of negative things like refined carbohydrates, sugars, Trans fats, chemical, pesticides and caffeine the barrel gets to a tipping point in which it becomes too full of this waste and eventually begins spill over.
This spilling over is a result of the body’s inability to handle any more “toxic waste” and as such, starts to produce symptoms of imbalances and sickness.
Food allergies and sensitivities are quite common a result of this tipping point. We go from eating anything and everything to suddenly not being able to tolerate certain foods like wheat and dairy. *Wheat and dairy are just a few of the most common food allergens along with: corn, soy, peanuts, gluten, eggs, yeast, processed fats & oils and sugar.
Reducing our “toxic load” by minimizing our toxic exposure to things like processed junk foods, environmental pollutants and harmful chemicals is one of the best ways to avoid or reduce potentially developing these allergies or sensitivities.
When it’s come to the point where we are in pain or discomfort and experiencing symptoms like gas, bloating, abdominal pain, etc. testing for food allergies is an excellent way to get to the bottom of the issue. These symptoms are not “normal” and are a very good indicator that you are eating something your body does not like. Other common signs and symptoms of food allergies can show up as: anxiety, itchiness, depression, diarrhea, eczema, fatigue, foggy brain, hives, irritability, weight gain and even more.
By knowing exactly what foods your body reacts to you will be able to eliminate these foods from you diet, replacing them with healthier alternatives. Then you can get on with your day without having to go hide underneath your office desk to fart! Yupp, I said it, fart. True story! And I got a whole lot more stories where that came from being a Colon Hydro Therapist—you have no idea!
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