Most people assume that if a doctor has never told them they have allergies, that they don’t. However, knowing if you have allergies requires using common sense and taking some self-responsibility for your body. If you eat a cheese pizza for dinner one night and feel extremely tired afterward or discover you have a headache, you are most likely allergic to wheat, yeast, cheese, or tomatoes. This is not brain science, and it can be extremely frustrating to be around people who are clearly having an allergic reaction but will not admit it, for fear of admitting they are not perfectly healthy. Here’s the harsh truth: none of us are.
I recently discovered that I had a whole host of food and environmental allergies, and underwent intradermal allergy testing. This is where you are injected with a small amount of what you may or may not be allergic to just under the surface of your skin and see if you have a reaction. How did I know I had allergies? I got very sick for no apparent reason, had migraines all the time, had chronic fatigue, and couldn’t think straight. My doctor asked me if I noticed certain times when my symptoms were worse than others. I answered that I did not know, and vowed to pay closer attention to how I felt so I could let him know.
As soon as I made the decision to pay attention to my body, I found answers. I noticed that I was tired after eating bread or pasta or pizza, and that certain foods made me stuffy and sniffly. Other foods made me stupid! I got headaches when around smokers, or when new pollens came into season. After reporting these things to my doctor, he decided to start testing me for allergies in pretty much every category: food, chemical, environmental, metals, and molds to name a few.
I knew that as a child I had allergies to things like wheat, corn, sugar, chocolate, food dye, and pretty much everything that made up “normal” kid food. These foods were removed from my diet and slowly reintroduced. To my knowledge, my allergies were “cured.” As soon as my doctor told me I did not have allergies anymore, I stopped listening to my body. Now, I find it extremely frustrating to talk to people who say “I don’t have any allergies” but not even a doctor has told them this!
One time I was on a plane waiting to take off, and the lady who was sitting next to me was eating a delicious looking asiago bagel with tons of crème cheese. Before she ate the bagel, she was quietly sitting next to me, minding her own business, and seemed completely fine. After she finished scarfing that delicious mess of grains and dairy, she started making a disgusting noise. It was some combination of a cat having a hairball and a toad croaking… and something dying. The worst part is this woman did not even seem to notice the obvious change in her breathing. Her throat was practically closed, and this was her body’s way of telling her “stop that!” Yet to no avail….
The moral of the story is, knowing how to tell if you have allergies is easy. Listen to your body, pay attention to how you feel, try your best to notice when something changes. Changes in your body can come from ANYTHING. Allergic reactions can be ANY CHANGE you experience as a result of exposure to something. Do not be so narrow minded to think that just because you don’t get the sniffles in the spring that you are allergy-free. Once you figure out what is "setting you off" allergy-wise, you can make some changes in your life like implementing a 4-Day Rotation Diet or The Paleo Diet that can seriously help reduce your allergic reactions. But the moral of the story is this: most people experience negative reactions to one thing or another, and it is your responsibility to pay attention to these reactions.
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