This is a summary of what I had to do to settle my system down from my multiple food allergies. In less than 7 months time I had developed 16 food allergies, with more developing each day!
Looking back, it appears that my problems were caused mainly by reactions to sulfites (or sulphites), a widely used preservative. Preservatives are not required to be labelled on foods in the USA, unless they are over a certain amount in concentration. This makes it impossible to know which foods contain preservatives and which do not, without a lot of work making phone calls or emailing companies. In fact, if foods contain less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulfites in the final product, they can legally be labelled as preservative free! I was able to work around this by buying only foods labelled as certified organic. Organic foods do not contain preservatives. They do not contain GMO’s either.
I also found that foods that are naturally high in histamines tend to make my allergic reactions worse. I eliminated high histamine foods from my diet for about a month and then slowly started adding them back in one at a time.
Keeping a food journal was extremely helpful. I kept track of all foods I ate, what brand or where I got them, my mood and my reactions each day, including the dastardly details of my gut/bowels. Sometimes it takes a couple weeks to figure out if something is not sitting well with me. A food journal is a lot of work, but it was a main tool in helping to figure out allergic triggers over time. It is also helpful in recording my progress as I add foods back in. I have been surprised by my results more than a few times.
I began taking an antihistamine every morning. To avoid preservatives and fillers, etc., I have Claritin formulated for me at a local pharmacy. It is just the active ingredient (the pharmacy special orders it for me) in olive oil. I had to request that it was made up in olive oil, and without flavorings. Even though Claritin is an over the counter medication, having it formulated at a pharmacy requires a prescription.
In addition to eliminating all additives from my diet, I try to also eliminate them from skin care products. Chemicals are absorbed through the skin. I find that using just organic olive oil or organic jojoba oil on my skin, rather than lotion, works well for me. I use gluten free baking soda as toothpaste. I am also switching to organic soaps, shampoos, and deodorants. I am finding I like the natural products better anyway! Organic witch hazel is a good topical remedy for those whose reactions include a skin rash.
Finally, I’m trying to add in things to my diet that naturally lower histamine and/or are anti-inflammatory.
The hardest part of this is that I cannot eat out at all. It was hard before anyway, because I have Celiac disease and am very sensitive to any gluten; but I now need gluten free AND all organic foods. Someday, I hope this type of restaurant will be the norm. Even if we have to start them ourselves!
I truly believe that people like me are not sick…our food is sick! We are reacting because our bodies are desperately trying to get our attention. My allergist said that when he started his practice 20 years ago, his having a patient with a food allergy was rare. His patients came in with hay fever/pollen and pet allergies. Now he says food allergies are the new normal. What has changed in the last 20 years? OUR FOOD! Eating organic food again is the only way out of this downward spiral.