At health food stores, customers are complaining about food allergies more often now with statements like, “I can’t eat this”, or “I can’t eat that.” Why do so many people, especially those who frequent health food stores, believe they have food allergies? It’s funny, I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m allergic to coffee, cookies, cakes, popcorn, pizza or candy”, and yet these are things that people ingest regularly without a second thought. So, what’s up with all these health food store shoppers who have food allergies?

Food allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to a protein molecule in the offending food. This can happen even with those who stick to food from health food stores. The body is unable to break down that particular protein molecule, so it reacts by trying to “get rid of it”. It produces a chemical called ‘histamine’ and symptoms appear in the form of rashes, hives, itching, wheezing, breathing problems, and lots of mucus being expelled through the mouth, nose, ears, lungs, or sexual organs. More serious reactions from food allergies are: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness, drop in blood pressure, or even death.

Intolerance to certain foods is different than true food allergies, and this is a more common complaint at health food stores. With food intolerances like lactose intolerance, where a person has difficulty breaking down the sugar in the milk, the symptoms are much milder. One may have some bloating, excess gas, cramping or diarrhea. While food intolerance is unpleasant, it is not life threatening like food allergies can be in some severe cases. The usual distresses are intolerances to wheat, soy, dairy and anything at health food stores that the shopper feels is too expensive.

The question that customers at health food stores ought to ask is not, “What food am I allergic to?” But rather, “Why is my immune system reacting to what should be health food?”

When determining specific food allergies and intolerances, some factors to consider are:
1. What is the trigger food?
2. When am I eating the trigger food?
3. Am I improperly combining fruits and vegetables or grains or meat and dairy?

The list can be quite exhaustive to hunt down the offending trigger food and how it is being consumed. In fact, most food allergy experts will tell you to keep a diary of everything you eat, and when you find the trigger food to just avoid eating it. Well, that sounds simple, but if you react to many things, including those that should be health food, it’s not so simple? Of course, you can eliminate the most common triggers to food allergies like: corn, wheat, eggs, dairy, and peanuts, but if that doesn’t work, then what? The truth is, your immune system can overreact to many substances. The best way to address food allergies is to strengthen your immune system and get in balance with all the systems of the body. Shop health food stores for specific foods to feed your 5 main systems equally: immune, endocrine,

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