BILLINGS- Gluten free and allergy friendly foods are becoming more common in grocery stores and restaurants.
The adjustments to menus and stock coincides with an increase in Americans associating food with illness.
For years, Faye Egolf has struggled with her weight and an extensive list of health problems ranging from asthma and headaches to irritable bowel syndrome and chronic pain. She tried countless unsuccessful diets, some limiting her to 500 calories a day, and pleaded with doctors for help.
“Last year, three hours a day of work was all I could handle,” Egolf said.
In June, she met with a registered dietitian who tested her for food sensitivities. The test surprisingly came back positive for some “healthy” foods like tomatoes and green beans.
“It is so individual. I’ve seen people react to rice, salmon, olive oil, tumeric–which is anti-inflammatory and should help joint pain. Everybody gets a different set of genes, and some people just don’t have the ability to detoxify as well as others,” registered dietitian Tracy Konoske said.
Konoske said when trigger foods are removed, patients have at least a 50-percent reduction in symptoms in eight to 10 days.
“What we do on a daily basis is so important, whether that’s meth or not getting enough sleep, or eating out of all the boxed food stuff verses eating all of this. We now know enough about the body to know that when you eat something, it does cross over into the blood. Now it’s in the circulation, and it can effect anything from joints to things like cancer,” Konoske said.
She says the way society processes foods is at least partially to blame for the increase in food sensitivities and chronic disease.
“Celiac disease has risen 400-percent in the last 30 years or so. They’ve analyzed blood samples from 30 years ago and now, and it’s not just that we’re better at detecting it. It’s actually increasing, and it’s because our food supply has changed,” Konoske said.
Egolf said after eliminating her trigger foods, she lost more than 20 pound in three months without counting calories, and most of her other symptoms disappeared.
“It’s not worth it to me to pay the price to have something I’m not supposed to have because the life I have now is so much better than before with all the sensitivies,” she said.
While she says there’s still a long road ahead to optimum health, for the first time she feels she is on it.
Food sensitivities are different than allergies. Sensitivities don’t involve the same anti-bodies, and the reaction is usually delayed.
Testing is also different from allergy testing, and some in the medical community question it’s accuracy.