Most people have heard of food allergy. Far fewer people have heard of food sensitivity.
Food sensitivities can lead to serious symptoms such as fatigue.
This website is written by someone - myself - who lives with the chronic illness ME/CFS.
I have met someone diagnosed with this illness who eliminated certain foods and was able to return to a pretty normal level of functioning.
If you experience fatigue or other symptoms without a clearly defined cause, it is well
worth exploring to see if a certain food is making you ill.
What is the difference between food sensitivity and food allergy.
To determine food sensitivity, you need to eliminate the
suspect foods and then slowly reintroduce them while monitoring for any change
in your health.
Foods which commonly lead to both food allergy and food sensitivity are the following:
If you have a compulsion for a certain food it may be an indication of sensitivity. You may feel better immediately after eating the food in the same way a drug addict feels better after taking a drug. You are effectively easing any withdrawal symptoms. (Alternatively, a compulsion for a certain food may be your intuitive guidance about something which is good for you.)
Once you have determined a food to which you are sensitive, you need to take a break from eating it.
You can then re introduce the food into your diet by eating a small portion on a single day.
If you don't have symptoms you then have a choice.
If the food is not important to you and is easy to avoid, you may be happy to eat it only rarely.
Or you can experiment to find out if there is a way to eat the food more often without
You may find that if you eat it less often (a rotation diet) you are symptom free.
Or you may find that if you eat it in smaller quantities, you are symptom free.
Alternatively, if the symptoms are dramatic, you may need to avoid the food.
A rotation diet is one where the foods are eaten in rotation and not continuously.
A typical British diet, for example, might include milk and bread every day. With a rotation diet you would avoid such repetition .
A rotation diet may allow you to eat foods that you would otherwise become sensitive to.
It can also allow you to eat a food that is already a known problem food for you.
If you live with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-ME or have a compromised immune system for another reason, I do advise a rotation diet. You are at risk of developing food
sensitivity. A rotation diet can allow you to avoid that from happening and therefore allow you to have a more varied diet.
I lived with very severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for many years. As part of a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet, I was on a permanent rotation diet.
In my case, once I was no longer healthy enough to make myself a meal or walk to the kitchen, I had snacks by the bed. I was at a level where even these were difficult to reach and eat due to the muscle fatigue in my arms and hands.
I ate the snacks if a caregiver did not turn up. Typically when there were days in a row when this happened, I became sensitive to the food and was no longer able to eat it.
My regular diet was set up to stop me developing food sensitivities by ensuring that I did not have any one food for two days in a row.
I won’t dig it out at the moment, but if anyone reading this
is living with severe CFS/ME and would like a copy of the rotation diet I
followed for many years, you can contact me.
My Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet was checked by 2 dieticians on separate occasions and passed as being healthy. I was however advised that I needed more calcium (I was not eating dairy products).
I warn you though that the CFS diet I had was very boring and designed for caregivers
It involved eating the same meal three times a day.
The time allocated for carers was short and there wasn't time to organise cooking different things.
My communication was minimal so I couldn't ask for something different to be cooked.
Wishing you health both within and beyond illness,
Katherine T Owen
Katherine T Owen runs this website - www.HealingCFSME.com.
Click for an article on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diet which links to 3 other suggested diets which may alleviate symptoms.