Tackling Food Allergies & Sensitivities Part 1 with Shirley Plant

In this episode of The Functional Medicine Radio Show, Dr. Carri’s special guest Shirley Plant talks about the differences between food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances.

Shirley is the author of “Finally…Food I Can Eat” – an inspirational dietary guide and cookbook for people affected by food allergies and intolerances. She is recognized as a menu-planning expert. Shirley has given seminars on food allergies, cooking, and menu planning.

As a nutritionist and dietary designer, Shirley offers her clients and their families a rare understanding and unique expertise that few people can match. Her pleasant and caring manner, her own experience as a food-allergy sufferer and her creative design flair, helps offer hope for people struggling to find the light at the end of a dark dietary tunnel.

Main Questions Asked:

  • What’s the difference between food allergy and food sensitivity and food intolerance?
  • What are the most common food allergies/sensitivities?
  • What are some of the symptoms of food sensitivities?
  • What is food combining?
  • Why is the elimination diet considered the best way to determine food allergies/sensitivities?
  • What are some substitutes for common food sensitivities?

Key Points made by Shirley:

  • Food allergies and sensitivities are a reaction of the immune system, whereas a food intolerance is a problem digesting the food and not a true immune problem.
  • Food allergies are considered “true allergies” like when a person eats strawberries and breaks out in hives. But, food allergies can also have a delayed response.
  • The most common food allergies are: dairy, seafood, peanuts, nuts, and eggs.
  • The most common food sensitivities are: dairy, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, and nightshades vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers).
  • When someone has multiple food sensitivities their problem is actually rooted in poor gut health – fixing this often corrects most food sensitivities.
  • The root cause for most food sensitivities is a leaky gut.
  • Food sensitivities can affect the whole body and cause symptoms like: eczema, skin problems, bloating, acid reflux, and even dark circles under the eyes.
  • You may not have any symptoms and still have food sensitivities that are slowly undermining your health.
  • Food combining helps digestion and absorption. Each food has a different rate of digestion and absorption. The goal is to combine foods that have similar rates during your meal.
  • Don’t eat protein and starch together. The typical ‘meat with potatoes’ or ‘fish with rice’ don’t combine well. Instead, combine meat/fish with leafy green veggies.
  • Do not combine fruit with any other foods – eat fruit by itself.
  • With an elimination diet you would stop eating the most common food allergens and eat a simple, clean diet for a period of time (or until your symptoms are significantly better), then reintroduce those foods one by one waiting four days between each new food introduction.
  • Keeping a food diary helps you figure out what foods are triggering your symptoms.
  • Instead of cow’s milk you can substitute almond milk, organic soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, or flaxseed milk.
  • Instead of wheat/gluten you can substitute healthier grains like millet flour, brown rice flour, almond flour, or chickpea flour.
  • Instead of eggs you can use flaxseed or chia seeds mixed with water – it forms a gel-like consistence very similar to the consistence of eggs. This works well for most baking recipes that require eggs.
  • Instead of corn starch you could substitute tapioca starch or arrowroot starch.
  • Instead of corn syrup you could substitute honey or maple syrup.
  • Instead of corn tortillas you your substitute flax tortillas.

Resources Mentioned:

Shirley’s book

Shirley’s website

Shirley’s Facebook page

Book – Reclaim Your Energy and Feel Normal Again

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