The Charity for Environmental Illness

Where to Begin?

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irst of all, make sure you understand the difference between food allergy and food intolerance. They can both have extremely unpleasant symptoms, but a true/ classic food allergy can be life threatening.

It is possible to be sensitive to any food, drink or ingredient. Food sensitivity/intolerance is usually temporary. After avoiding the problem food for 6 weeks many people find they can eat small quantities again without symptoms.

If you're not sure whether food intolerance is making your health worse, read the list of Symptoms. If you have even the slightest suspicion, begin keeping a Food/Symptom Diary for a couple of weeks. It doesn't cost anything and should give you a much clearer idea of whether food intolerance is causing all, part, or none of your health problems. The diary may also show up any environmental or chemical allergies.

If you do seem to be affected by food intolerance, the next step is to see your GP, taking your diary with you. A GP should be able to test for classic food allergies and some well-recognised types of food intolerance such as enzyme deficiency or leaky gut.

Above all it is important to have a general health check as there are a range of serious illnesses that can have the same symptoms as food intolerance.

There are currently no medical tests available for general food intolerance, but your Doctor might help you to carry out an Elimination Diet or refer you to a dietician, allergy specialist or gastroenterologist. If your Doctor does not have a special interest in food intolerance, he/she may be able to refer you to a dietician who can oversee any dietary changes you might wish to make. It is particularly important to have medical supervision when making changes to a child's diet.

If you suffer from multiple food intolerances, a Rotation Diet can help you to avoid acquiring new sensitivities.

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