I’m Allergic to Everything!

I’ve recently had a few people tell me that they are allergic to everything, so I thought I would write a post to address what that means and the best way to approach these super-allergies. People who are allergic to everything often have outward signs of their allergy: eczema, asthma, hives, itching, headaches, sinus infections, they feel stuffed up, can’t breath, feel tired and overwhelmed.

Sneeze

Allergic to everything is no fun and there is a not-so-easy way out of this mess. There is a way out, though, and it comes in the form of a diet called an allergy elimination diet.

What Does Diet Have to do with Allergies?

The first question that pops into most people’s head when I tell them to try a diet for their allergies is: what does a diet have to do with allergies? After all, they are allergic to something in your environment, not a food.

Environmental allergies happen to a lot of people in spring when there are dramatic increases in pollen, but it can also occur in winter when we are spending more time inside and there is less fresh air in the house.

There are good reasons why, even if you have environmental allergies that you would want to try the allergy elimination diet:

The key to understanding using diet to control your allergies are these points:

  • The first is that there is very little you can do to change the outside world. Yes, you can stay inside when the pollen counts are high, but what if your problem is the mold in the house?  Food allergies are something you can change easily: simply avoid the food and you solve the problem. By reducing your food allergies, you are reducing the overall “allergic load” on your body, so that when you encounter environmental allergies, they are less likely to impact you.
  • The second reason why using diet works to reduce allergies has to do with your immune system.  Most people are unaware that over 80 percent of the immune system is located surrounding their digestive system. This makes sense because, when you eat foods, you are bringing the outside world into your body and your body has to determine whether this “outside world” or food is safe or not. When you are constantly eating foods that you are allergic to, you cause your immune system to become hyper-aware, leading to a more allergic you.

Food Allergies and Food Intolerance

Before we move on to the diet, I should spend a moment explaining food allergies and food intolerances:

  • Food Allergies: A food allergy generally means that your immune system is attacking the food you are eating as if it were a foreign invader. The body produces immunoglobulins (Ig for short) that attach to the protein in the food and then you immune system creates inflammation to try to rid itself of the foreign “invasion”. It is fairly easy to discover food allergies as there are a wide variety of skin and blood tests that can measure your body’s immune response (or the amount of Igs in your body).
  • Food Intolerance: Food intolerance is different. The classic food intolerance is lactose intolerance, where your body lacks the ability to digest the sugar in lactose. There are many other intolerances that are the result of different parts of the immune system being activated (other than the Igs), sensitivities to certain foods, inability to digest other foods, or a toxic reaction.

The most common food allergies and intolerances are: eggs, grains (especially gluten grains and corn), soy, nuts, shell fish and seafood.

Allergy Elimination Diet

The best way to uncover your allergies is to do an allergy elimination diet. You will find different types of these diets all over, but this is the one I recommend:

For two weeks, remove the following foods:

  • Food Additives: Including monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial preservatives,sweeteners, flavors and all food colorings.
  • Grains: Avoid all gluten-based grains, including: wheat, spelt, barley, kamut, rye, oats or triticale. Avoid pasta, flour, breads, cereals, cookies and other foods made with gluten grains. You should also exclude corn, along with high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, vegetable oils, corn chips and popcorn.
  • Alcohol: Avoid beer, wine and other alcohols. If you are really strict, you want to avoid mouth wash with alcohol and cough medicine containing alcohol.
  • Citrus Fruits: Including, tangerines, oranges, grapefruits, limes, lemon and any other citrus fruits.
  • Shellfish: These include, crab, lobster, clams, mussels and other shellfish.
  • Nuts: All nuts, including peanuts, pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios and other nuts.
  • Diary: All sources of dairy, including butter, cheese, milk, cottage cheese, whey protein, yogurt, sour cream and other dairy foods.
  • Soy: Soy is in a lot of processed foods, so you have to watch our for this, including tempeh, edamame, soy nuts, textured soy protein, tofu.
  • Eggs: Yolks and the whites.
  • Sweeteners: honey, fructose, dextrose, maple syrup, white sugar, maltose.

Foods that are allowed include:

  • Grains: You can choose any of these grains: rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, foods such as rice cakes or crackers made from these grains are okay.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: All vegetables and fruits are okay except the citrus fruits and strawberries. Salad greens are generally great, as are broccoli, cabbage, carrots and other vegetables.
  • Beans: All beans are okay except soy beans.
  • Protein: Meat is generally okay.

If you find you react to a food that is generally considered safe (I’ve seen this with potatoes), then add that to your avoid list.

The foods you crave, unfortunately are often the foods you are allergic to, so be prepared to have some serious cravings. The foods you crave are also the ones you should reintroduce first.

I generally recommend that you stay away from all allergic-like foods for two weeks and then start testing. You test by trying just one food at a time (per day), you should also consider eating a lot of it to make sure of the reaction. Wait a day or two and then try the next food.

There is hope if you are allergic to everything. Following an allergy elimination diet is hard, but it is the best way to find foods that don’t agree with you.

READ PART TWO OF THIS ARTICLE: Allergic to Everything, Part Two

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About the Author

I'm Dr. Scott Olson ND. I'm a Naturopathic doctor who specializes in diet, health, nutrition, and alternative medicine. I've written numerous books and articles on health, medicine, and alternative medicine I want to help you get healthy! Take a look at my blog and make sure you join in the conversation!

151 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Susan April 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Salisbury North Carolina 28146

    • Dr. Scott April 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      Susan,

      The closest Naturopathic doctor to you is: Crystal Abernathy, you can see her website here: http://www.abernathynd.com. You can also try: Jillian Sarno Teta, her website is here: http://www.nhcnc.com.

      Good luck!

      Dr. Scott

      • Susan April 13, 2014 at 7:25 am - Reply

        Have u ever heard of this do u think this will help I’m so scared

        • Dr. Scott April 13, 2014 at 7:44 am - Reply

          Susan,

          Yes, I have heard of it. If you scroll down the comments section you might find a few other people who had the same thing. I’ve a some patients with the same or similar problem: they can only eat a few foods.

          I can tell you this: you have fallen into what is called a feed-forward cycle (where things just keep getting worse). Essentially, your digestive track is being damaged by foods and that makes it easier for other foods to do damage. Look up “leaky gut” and “small bowel bacterial overgrowth” and you can start to investigate. Your problem is due in part to your sensitivity to the foods you are eating and in part due to your gut flora (the bacteria in your gut). You can back out of this cycle, but you do need someone you can work closely with.

          Best of luck and let me know how it goes!

          Dr. Scott

  2. Susan April 11, 2014 at 6:06 am - Reply

    I can’t come down I’m so scared they want to put me on drugs and I can’t take anything right now not Even supplrements I can take anything through iv I’ve been getting mega nutrients 2 days a week it seems to help a little please please help I’ve have 2 little kids help

  3. Susan April 9, 2014 at 5:47 am - Reply

    Omg I’m so glad to have read this my doctors said I had nervous break down that’s what happening to me I’m allergic to everything. I can only eat 5 foods ground turkey, romaine lettuce iceberg and frozen green beans no salt salt makes my throat go closed and reves my body up to the point I can’t sit down. I shake all the time my blood sugar a little off but I eat no sugar I was dringing glucerna now it makes me go into allergic redo once. Everything I try to eat sweet potatoe broccoli zucchini I can eat it but then hours later I get itchy and nausea at least it takes some of the hunger away. Sometimes I have to stay up all night drinking water because my kidney went into failure and no one knows why my dr was treating me with fluids but then stopped because he said I went crazy and that’s what happened to me. So now I’m scared dehyrated and don’t know where to turn. Could someone help.

    • Dr. Scott April 10, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      Susan, I sent you an e-mail. Let me know here if you didn’t get it.

      Dr. Scott

      • Susan April 11, 2014 at 5:55 am - Reply

        I did not please help

        • Dr. Scott April 11, 2014 at 7:20 am - Reply

          What I would like to do is to help you find someone in your area. Send an e-mail to support(at)olsonnd.com and send me your town information and I’ll see who I think you can go see near you.

          Dr. Scott

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