Natural health with Megan Sheppard

I suspect I am gluten intolerant, as I have trouble with bloating, headaches, tiredness, brain fog, and generally feeling awful after I eat anything like bread or cakes.

Is there any way that I can get checked for this?

There is indeed. You can order home testing kits or make an appointment at a specialist allergy-testing clinic.

The Irish Food Allergy Network (IFAN) suggests it can be difficult to get answers that are reliable and useful from home testing kits and some practitioners offering allergy testing.

IFAN has issued the following guidelines: “Before any allergy testing is even considered, your health care professional should begin by taking a very detailed allergy focused history.

Only then, should testing be done and interpreted by a health care professional who’s trained and competent in food allergy and food intolerance.”

It is also important to identify whether or not you are dealing with an allergy, a sensitivity, or an intolerance.

Test results should indicate what you are dealing with, and the practitioner should be able to help you understand what changes you can or should be making, based on those results.

Both food allergies and sensitivities are related to immune functioning. With allergies, the immune system reacts to a specific substance by releasing fast-acting antibodies (IgE) in order to fight off the perceived dangerous substance.

This reaction is usually very swift, anything from a couple of minutes up to a couple of hours after contact or ingestion. A true food allergy causes symptoms every time the substance is encountered, no matter how small the amount of food.

Food sensitivities are far more common than true allergies, but are also the result of an over-reactive immune system.

In this instance it is slow-acting antibodies that are released (IgG). The symptoms are slower to appear, usually within hours or even days of ingestion. Unlike true allergies, the symptoms may be dose-related and may not occur every single time the food is encountered.

Sensitivity symptoms can include bloating, gas, arthritis, chronic fatigue, headaches, and mood disturbances. With food allergies, the symptoms range from mild to severe — skin irritation, rashes, sneezing, difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis, and death.

Where food intolerances are concerned, the issue is an inability to digest a specific food. This is thought to be due to a lack of the necessary enzymes for that specific food, and results in bloating, gas, and loose bowel movements due to fermentation of the undigested food particles. The important thing to remember is that this is not related to immune function.

How do I get rid of cellulite? I have recently noticed it on the backs of my thighs.

Cellulite does not discriminate – no matter what your size or shape, cellulite can occur in the fatty reserve areas of the body (breasts, buttocks, thighs, belly, and upper arms).

A fatty deposit in the reserve areas, cellulite causes the skin to appear dimpled and uneven. Basically, the presence of cellulite indicates fluid waste products are being held by the body as a result of dietary choices, insufficient exercise, and/or poor elimination.

A diet high in processed foods leads to a build up of waste and toxins in the body, so it makes sense that eating plenty of fresh whole foods and drinking enough water to assist elimination will reduce cellulite.

Movement is also important to prevent cellulite, even a 20-30 minute brisk walk each day. The body uses fat as fuel, so if you aren’t consistent with your exercise, then the fat is stored.

Lymph flow is key, so dry skin brushing really helps, as does rebounding on a mini-trampoline, and lymph drainage massage. Essential oils such as Juniper, Grapefruit, Fennel, Cypress, and Eucalyptus stimulate the release of fluids that can cause cellulite build up.


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