By Shin Kitane

Food intolerances refer to difficulty digesting certain foods, and can manifest through a wide array of symptoms. The most common of these symptoms are bloating, skin problems, headaches or migraines, bowel problems, and weight control issues. Food intolerances do not manifest as soon as you eat the food you’re intolerant to, as opposed to an allergies where the symptoms appear shortly after you consume a certain food item you’re allergic to. This is what makes it difficult to pinpoint what exactly you are intolerant to.

What types of food are you intolerant to? It may not be too easy to tell.

As a result, sufferers of food intolerance usually deal with a general feeling of unwellness, as the symptoms persist for many years and the person simply accepts that he/she often feels bloated, or suffers bad headaches seemingly out of nowhere. As if borrowing a line from a heartbreak song, “you just learn to live with the pain.”Here are some of the symptoms that may be due to certain food intolerances:

  • Anxiety (acute or chronic), Depression
  • Bloating
  • Asthma symptoms, bronchitis
  • Gastritis
  • Itchy skin / eczema
  • Coeliac disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Water Retention
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Weight Control Problems
  • Sleep Disturbances

I attended an event hosted by Life Science, a wellness centre that advocates functional medicine. I was scheduled to take a food intolerance test, too, and my decision to take the test was influenced by how much Mari Jasmine’s food intolerance story resonated with me. Read on if you also have trouble with any of the symptoms above and would like to find out how Mari Jasmine navigated her own food related health issues.

Mari Jasmine is an Australian model, blogger, and television host. She is passionate about travel, style, and wellness–and she writes about them in her blog, which is where I learned about why she took a food intolerance test:

“I’m often asked when and where I discovered my passion for food and healthy eating. (…) It actually began a few years ago when I was dealing with bloating, stomach pains, hormonal issues, as well as skin and digestive problems. Sounds like a lot, right? I saw a few doctors and ran a couple of tests, but nothing was conclusive and I was left undiagnosed. (…) On my journey to discover what makes me feel good, I have tried nearly every diet under the sun. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo/whole 30, FODMAPS…you name it. The one conclusion that I have made, however, is that there is no one size fits all diet. We all process food differently, and I’m a firm believer that we should listen to our bodies and see what works best for us personally. This is where the food intolerance test comes in. As I mentioned, I’ve toyed around with different diets to see what works for me, but this was the first time I’ve had personalised results.

I could see, on paper, what my body has difficulty processing.”                               –From marijasmine.com

In an effort to spread the word about being more aware and proactive about one’s health, Mari shared more about her personal health journey during her talk. Despite having a relatively healthy childhood–eating lots of fresh produce and healthy homecooked meals, being an active kid–Mari shared how a seemingly common injury had an effect on her overall health. “When I was sixteen years old, I was playing soccer and I tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament, a ligament in the knee) …so I had surgery to fix that.”

However, it was also around this time when Mari noticed that she started having some stomach issues– in the morning she would wake up to a flat stomach, and as the day progressed, she would start bloating even if she ate her usual clean diet. She didn’t pay too much attention to it though–in fact, she endured this for six more years, dismissing it as something that’s probably normal and not a big deal, as most of us to do.

Fast forward to six years after the incident, and Mari found her symptoms had progressively worsened. The bloating had escalated to a constant feeling of pain and bloatedness that it became horrible for her–anything she ate made her stomach ache and feel bloated.

“It’s amazing how we are as humans, [we]just get accustomed to [the pain]and you know, you deal with it,” says Mari of the chronic pain she had to deal with.

On top of this, Mari started experiencing symptoms that she didn’t previously associate with what was going on in her stomach, but found it peculiar–she started having skin issues even when she didn’t have acne before and she started having hormonal issues to the point where her periods were irregular. And I guess when you’re living an incredibly active lifestyle and eating healthfully BUT you experience health issues like these, you gotta ask, “What is going on with my body? “

Mari had this lightbulb moment about what may be causing her health issues when one time she was onboard a flight to India, and having arrived at night without any food at hand or open establishments to dine in, she had to go to bed without eating. Upon waking up, she was astonished that ironically, even if she hadn’t eaten in around 24 hours, she actually felt great–she wasn’t sore or bloated, nor did she feel tired or moody. That was when she knew it had something to do with food–and she wasn’t about to sign up for an eating disorder, she assures us. She simply knew it was time to take action.

She consulted doctor after doctor, but was pronounced generally well, according to laboratory results.

She was given quick fixes–a tablet or two, ointments–you know the drill. But nothing really solved her problems or gave her lasting relief.

“It was very disappointing,” Mari shares, and so she did her own research. She tried various diets in an effort to find out what works for her body, to no avail. It was only when she was referred by a friend to take the food intolerance test with Life Science that Mari found her answers: “I took the test, and it was really interesting! I did have a lot of food on there that I was intolerant to, as I expected already.” For example, it turned out that Mari was intolerant to nuts, which are generally accepted to be a great source of protein and good for the body. Mari’s results underscored the importance of paying attention to your own body, and knowing that there is no one-size-fits-all diet plan for everyone.

So, here’s what I learned: You’re a lucky little nut if your metabolism happens to be in tip-top shape and you are not experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above on a pretty regular basis In this case, you might not need to take a food intolerance test. For some individuals, however, there are little events in our personal health history that may derail our progress or disturb the balance in our bodies. For Mari, apparently her knee surgery at 16 exposed her to strong antibiotics that killed most of the good bacteria in her gut, and the bloating was a symptom of something lacking in her body.

Quoting Hippocrates, “All disease begins in the gut,” functional medicine practitioner Dr. Oyie Balburias emphasizes the importance of paying attention to what we eat. Things such as taking antibiotics, too much stress, over consumption of sugar, and lack of sleep contribute to the depletion of gut microbiota, good bacteria which help us digest certain food, produce vitamins, and have a healthy immune system.

If you’re passionate about wellness like Mari Jasmine, let us know if there are any other areas of wellness you’d like us to look into! Find us on socials @LifestyleNetworkTV or visit www.lifestylenetwork.tv

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