Food intolerance can cause many unpleasant symptoms. Skin, respiratory, gut and nervous system symptoms, and poor sleep, anxiety and muscle aches and pains can be experienced. Symptoms and intensity varies from person to person.
If you have food intolerance you will experience symptom relief by reducing your intake of intensely flavoured, richly coloured and highly aromatic foods. These are highest in food chemical substances that trigger symptoms in people with food intolerance. Some people will need to reduce their intake a lot, others just a little to achieve symptom relief.
As a general rule blander and everyday Aussie foods (e.g. Fresh Poultry and Meat, Potato, Green Beans, Carrots, Pumpkin, Cabbage), and resistant starch foods like legumes, grains (no nuts or seeds) and starchy veg are suitable choices for people with food intolerance.
What you can eat if you have food intolerance can be found in resources by the RPAH Allergy Unit e.g. Friendly Food Cookbook , and the Elimination Diet Handbook (see sample p 1-33RPAH-Elimination-Diet-Handbook-with-food-shopping-guide).
Other Lists (based around RPAH guidelines) include:
- Southderm – salicylates-amines-and-glutamates-diet
- Fusions Low Reactive Detox Diet Food List Note: but be cautious about the use of supplements and juices as these are not suitable for everyone. Even if madefrom suitable ingredients.
For increasing your understanding of food intolerance we recommend the RPAH Allergy Unit Food intolerance resources which can be found at Allergy Down under http://allergy.net.au and
Eating a nutritious diet on a chemical restricted food intolerance diet is not that difficult if you follow the standard dietary guidelines recommendation (eating allowed foods). However if you are on a very restricted diet low chemical, allergen and dairy and gluten free diet things can become tricky and guidance from a dietician is recommended. Here are some guidelines from the RPAH Allergy Unit found at http://allergy.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Good-nutrition-all.pdf
Sometimes people are sensitive to just one food chemical – Salicylates* or Amines ^ or Glutamates #, but it is not uncommon for people to sensitive to all three, as well as a range of additives, flavours, preservatives and other chemicals added to processed foods.
As food intolerance symptoms can mimic those of allergies, and malabsorption syndromes and diseases, e.g. IBD, Celiac, it is important to get proper diagnosis from a medical doctor, preferrably one also trained in allergies and food intolerance.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS is common to people with food intolerance (salicylates, amines, glutamates). It can also be caused by sensitivity to sugars and specific carbs, managed with a Fodmap Sensitivity diet. The difference between the too is that people with food intolerance usually have other ongoing symptoms like one or more of the following: hives, skin rashes, sinus issues, fatigue, headaches, non arthritic joint and muscle aches and pains.
If you have food intolerance and IBS symptoms that continue on reduced chemical diet, go dairy and wheat or gluten free. You cannot combine a strict food intolerance diet (Failsafe) with a Fodmaps diet, it is too restrictive, and not recommended.
A less restrictive food intolerance diet that allows some higher chemical foods (e.g. simply reduced) may be combined with a fodmap sensitivity diet, however this should be done under dietician supervision.
The Fodmap IBS Diet reduces resistant starch and sulfur foods. These have many health benefits so it is not recommended long term.
Many people with food intolerance also have medical conditions like Vasomotor Rhinitis, Migraines, Eczema, ME/CFS, Asthma, that may make them sensitive to fragranced products and everyday chemicals and pollutants. Reducing exposure to these may enhance symptom relief. Particularly when symptoms persist despite good self management (sleep, exercise, stress managment, etc), and proper management of food intolerance and medical conditions.
The RPAH Allergy Unit has developed a guide for people with more severe fragrance and chemical sensitivity
Finding products and other resources for managing fragrance, pollutant and chemical sensitivity can be difficult. Here are some we find useful. Suitability needs to be assessed on an individual basis.
- Hoppers HQ (https://hopperhq.com.au)- sells a range of fragrance free and low salicylate products as well as some foods suitable for the RPAH Allergy Unit Elimination Diet
- Cluere (USA) sells and ships low salicylate personal care products and make up to Australia
- Fedup.com (https://www.fedup.com.au/information/shopping-list/personal-medications-and-supplements)
- Improving indoor air quality (https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq)
- How to Reduce Exposures to Everyday chemicals (https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/emes/public/docs/How%20to%20Reduce%20Your%20Exposure%20to%20chemicals%20at%20home%20work%20and%20play%20fs.pdf)
- Learn less-toxic ways to clean, maintain, repair and improve your home, control pests, care for your pets and more.https://www.oregonmetro.gov/tools-living/healthy-home
- Healthy Home Happy Family by Building Biologist Nicole Bisjlma (https://www.buildingbiology.com.au/biology/healthy-home-healthy-family.html)
- Healthy Home resources https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/healthy_homes/healthyhomes
Some people with food intolerance and fragrance and chemical sensitivity report benefits from working with doctors trained in functional medicine – Nutrition and Environmental Medicine.
Others with food intolerance have reported benefits from working with Naturopaths, who use Kinesiology and food intolerance tests like ALCAT. However, due to lack of concrete scientific evidence and mixed results these are not approved by ASCIA.
According to ASCIA and the RPAH Allergy Unit the best way to diagnose food intolerance is by doing an Elimination Diet. After a period of food restriction, most people (not all) find their tolerance to food chemicals (salicylates, amines and glutamates) improve, and that they are able to reintroduce higher chemical foods back into their diet without triggering symptoms.