Who would believe that I would crave food that makes me sick? I am intolerant of milk and sensitive to gluten, and it’s all I want to eat. Are you craving a particular food? Believe it or not, you could be allergic, sensitive or intolerant to that food. Say what?
I crave food that makes me sick.
It took me years to determine which foods were causing my food-related health problems. That’s because all my favorite foods made me sick. All. My. Favorites. And I craved them, just like an alcoholic craves booze.
But I didn’t know I had a problem. I only knew I really love bread, pastries, cookies, cake, pie, rolls, and pasta. Give me some whole milk, cream, cheese, cream sauce, or ice cream and I’m in heaven. Or ooey, gooey, cheese-topped egg casseroles, taco salad with cheese, and cheesy potatoes.
I mean, who doesn’t?
Am I Addicted to the Foods I Crave?
Simple answer…yes. I crave the very things that make me sick, just like addicts do. Once I start eating any of these foods, I want more, more, more. The only way I can prevent the food cravings is to avoid these foods entirely. I cannot eat even one bite.
Maybe that happens to you, too. It happens to a lot of people, especially around the holidays when we eat so many treats. Come January, people start thinking, “It’s time to cut back.” But most of us can’t simply “cut back” and stop the cravings. We have to “cut out” because one cookie leads to “just one more” or “I don’t want these cookies to go to waste.”
Do you know what I mean?
Surprisingly, we crave the very foods that make us sick. Some foods have protein-like substances that mimic opioids and trigger our endorphins, giving us a sense of well-being. So no wonder we keep coming back for more!
How Do We Discover What’s Making Us Sick?
Sometimes it’s obvious. What you eat puts you in the hospital or you need to take antihistamines or use your EpiPen. That’s an allergy. It’s unlikely you will want to repeat that experience.
Most of the time, however, it is not clear what food (if any) is causing our problems. Reactions to foods can be varied, delayed, or only occur in conjunction with other foods. You can also adapt over time to foods to which you are allergic.
For a long time I was unsure which food or foods were causing my problems. I didn’t understand how to properly test for food allergies. Or even WHAT to test.
For instance, I would think I might have a problem with gluten. So I would try to give up gluten, and then go out to eat with every intention of not ordering anything with wheat in it. I’d look at the menu, make a choice, and then find out from the server it had flour in the sauce. I was hungry, and making choices when I’m hungry is hard for me. And maybe for you, too. That’s why someone invented the word hangry, right?
Or the bread would smell so good, and bread is my comfort food, so I’d have a couple bites. Because, you know, bread.
I Learned Through Trial and Painful Error.
The server would shake their head and walk away. While I was trying to figure out what foods affected me, there was a lot of that from servers, family and friends. I’ve experienced my share of tsk-ing and rolling eyes. And I’ve heard people say, “It never bothered you before. I’ve seen you eat pizza.” That may be true, but now I’m aware that it makes me sick. And I do my best to avoid gluten and dairy.
I even had an allergist/immunologist (a medical doctor!) tell me, “There’s no such thing as food allergies.” I can tell you this for sure: He’s WRONG!
Food allergies are mighty serious. You can die from them. On the other hand, food sensitivities and intolerances are harder to diagnose. They can make you uncomfortable. They are definitely bothersome, and often painful, even though you probably won’t die from them. At least, not soon.
When I figured out what foods were causing my health problems and eliminated them from my diet, my food cravings (almost) disappeared and I lost 40 pounds without dieting.
What You Can Do
You can do a test to see if you have a food sensitivity or intolerance. Check out my post on How to Test for Food Sensitivities using the Single Elimination Diet.
Over the years, I learned a few tips that I want to share with you to make your food allergy discovery journey easier.
- Keep a Daily Food Journal: Write down what and when you eat.
- Keep a log of how you feel throughout the day.
- Test only one category of food at a time.
- Keep track of your bowel movements because they are surprisingly helpful.
- Realize that hot flashes are not always related to perimenopause.
- Move, move, move, even if it hurts.
- Understand that when your body hurts, something is wrong.
It Ain’t Just the Diet
I’m here to tell you it ain’t just the diet that is making you hold onto all those extra pounds. At least, it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t keep weight off for love nor money. When I stopped eating the foods that caused my food sensitivities, I lost more than 40 pounds. The weight just slipped off and stayed off. And yet, I occasionally still crave the foods that makes me sick.
I tell you my story, explain exactly how to test yourself for food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, and give you the tools to do it in my new book, It Ain’t Just the Diet™ Food Journal | A Daily Guide to Finding & Managing Your Food Allergies, soon to be published. For updates and to get your own copy, subscribe to our email announcement list.
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Do you crave food? Here’s an article you might find informative about Why We Often Crave Foods We Are Allergic To. The most informative book I have read on this subject is Is This Your Child? by Dr. Doris Rapp.
This post was originally posted on Recipe Idea Shop on January 11, 2021.
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Disclaimer: The author is not a health professional or nutritionist. She is offering her research and personal reflections about her health journey and is not providing any type of medical or nutritional advice. This post is for informational purposes only. It is offered as a tool for people to discover their own suspected food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Readers are highly encouraged to read, write, and reflect on the ideas presented. Consult your healthcare professional before initiating any dietary or exercise program.