I learned about Food Sensitivities many years ago and I also learned that I had many of them when I took a Food Sensitivity Blood Test. I avoided the foods that I was reactive to like “the plague”, believing that strict avoidance would be the only way to heal my gut, microbiome, and concurrent symptoms. My diet became more and more restrictive and boring, and so did I. I stopped going out to eat at restaurants, I was a party-pooper in social gatherings, incessantly and impolitely refusing generous offers of food and drink, and I felt like my vitality was withering away.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of food sensitivities, let me explain: food sensitivities, food intolerances, and food allergies are typically understood to be in interchangeable terms in the general understanding, but they are not.

Food allergies are rare (only 2% of the populations has them) and they involve an overreaction of a person’s immune system, which can sometimes even be fatal if the allergy is severe enough and they go into anaphylactic shock. People with food allergies typically know they have them because the symptoms are often severe and instantaneous or at least fairly quick to present.

Food intolerances do not involve the immune system, but rather are a result of having insufficient pancreatic enzymes (amylase, lactase, and protease) to break down and metabolize a certain food. For instance, if you are lactose intolerant, you lack enough lactase to break down lactose in dairy so that your body can absorb it. If you don’t metabolize it, it will cause various forms of discomfort such as bloating, gas, skin reactions, etc.  Often, taking some sort of digestive aid like digestive enzymes or digestive bitters can help with this issue.

Food sensitivities do involve the immune system, but in a more indirect way than with food allergies. The symptoms may be delayed, as they are not as severe as an allergy, so you may not even have a symptom from a food sensitivity for up to 3 days! That makes it very difficult to identify what the offending food was that produced the resultant symptom(s). Not only that, you can be sensitive to seemingly healthy foods, such as garlic and onions (like I was!), which may have you pointing the finger at the wrong foods, thinking it was the dairy that caused your reaction, and now needlessly avoiding dairy, but really it was the garlic.

Okay, back to the regularly scheduled programming. So, I vehemently adhered to my overly-restrictive diet for a very long time. Too long. Life sucked.

Then, I started asking the right questions: WHY do I have these food sensitivities? Why do food sensitivities change? What is the mechanism at play? This lead me down many paths but they all seemed to converge into one answer, ultimately: Leaky Gut, AKA Intestinal Permeability. Basically, having a damaged gut lining (most often due to eating foods sprayed with Round-Up / Glyphosate and/or having gut infections and gut pathogens that eat away at your gut lining so that they may spread to other parts of your body and then colonize there too). When you have holes in your gut lining, food particles can escape and enter into the blood stream, where THEY SHOULD NOT BE. Your body then ignites an inflammatory response to battle these mistaken “invaders” to protect you, and you experience this internal battle that’s going on as symptoms.

Frustratingly, most Americans have some degree of Leaky Gut because our food supply and food system is utterly wrecked. The overuse of Round-Up sprayed on most of our country’s agriculture is very difficult to escape and literally kills the good probiotics in your system and strengthens the bad pathogens instead. Then, we not only are over-prescribed antibiotics for every sniffle we have ever had going all the way back to childhood, but these antibiotics are also being added to our food supply. Antibiotics kill almost all the microbes in your gut, which is devastating to health as 80% of your immune system is in your gut, as well as millions of microbes that help you to digest food, feel happy (95% of serotonin is produced in your gut by gut microbes!) and now you have the perfect storm for a damaged gut and microbiome, mental and emotional imbalances, poor digestion in general, and the resultant food sensitivities, intolerances and allergies that come from all of that.

I tried all the things to heal my Leaky Gut and Food Sensitivities: strict dietary changes as already discussed, L-Glutamine, Bovine Colostrum, Ayurvedic protocols, Acupuncture, Energy Healing Allergy Protocols, but nothing helped. And then I started using Botanical Biohacking’s Microgard, which says it all in the name—it guards your microbiome. I read reviews that it helped people eat foods they were typically sensitive and reactive to, but I was skeptical. I wanted to put it to the test: I took Microgard before I ate garlic (which historically had always produced symptoms in me, no matter how much or in what form I ate it in). I waited for the reaction, but nothing happened. My disbelief was so strong that taking just one dose of Microgard could cure the garlic food sensitivity that I tested it out again the following day, this time with a bigger serving of garlic. I was fine. And then I was elated. Shocked, really. Since then, I realize that Microgard totally healed my Leaky Gut (in just 4 weeks!), as I formerly used to get a runny and stuffy nose, phlegm in the back of my throat, and sometimes a feeling of clogged ears almost every time I ate anything and it occurred to me after taking Microgard for several weeks, that those symptoms resolved. [Typically when someone has leaky gut they also have “leaky brain” since the gut and brain are so intimately connected. When one is damaged, the other one usually is as well. This may present as brain fog, poor memory, ADD, insomnia, feeling overly sleepy after eating, or in my case it was manifesting as runny nose and congestion in my ears, nose, and throat].

I define health and wellness as the ability to be resilient and adaptive. Having good health and feeling well means being expansive and not restrictive. Being able to go out to eat at a restaurant with friends is healthy. Being able to indulge in a piece of celebratory cake or a glass or two of wine shouldn’t set your health back for weeks. Being able to be adventurous with cuisine and try new things, both of which promote biodiversity in your gut and are fun to do, are the cornerstones to health and wellbeing, at least when it comes to digestive wellness. And when you have digestive wellness, it’s safe to say that many other of your “chronic health issues” will melt away, as most chronic health complaints can be either directly or indirectly related to your gut health.