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.


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 easier to control, because you have control over what you put in your mouth. That being said, it can be much easier said then done and requires a lot of label reading, eating foods that are farmed and processed correctly, and eating close to the food’s original state as possible. 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!

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

  1. Kate September 29, 2015 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Hi there. I am curious to know what your official diagnosis is. We have a lot in common. I am also allergic to many, many things. I could never count all of my “triggers” but it feels like I’m allergic to everything. Most foods, medications, environmental allergens, seasonal allergens, beauty care products, heat, cold, change in temperature, emotional stress including being scared, sad, mad, nervous, dyes, artiicial flavoring and coloring, additives and excipients in most medications and foods, and the list goes on. It is a miserable way to live and I’m so sorry you are going through this as well.

  2. Lisa September 3, 2015 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    I wrote a long post and it was lost. I have many allergies to formaldahyhe, dyes in textiles, shoes, clothes, metal/ minerals in food, water, medicines- B-12 from cobalt allergy, antibiotics , chemicals in all soaps shampoos, laundry detergent, deoderants, metals,- so I can’t shave. Propylene glycol and titanium etc in medications. And allergic to natural organic stuff like coconut oil, and un dyed organic cotton. Found through patch testing l, allergies and irritants to about 15 chemicals, metals, and natural products. I have severe contact eczema. I have laid in my bed naked for over 4 years and not been able to use anything. Been to many dermatologists. It’s a insult when they tell me to avoid. I haven’t used anything in 3 years, nothing, no soap shampoo. Allergic to steroids. I have seborrheic derm. I can’t treat, and allergic to gluten, as. I have celiacs. I have chronuc irritant contact dermatits, and Airborne ACD. I have no help. Dermatologists never informed me that just one chemical can be in building materials, debatable materials, clothing, food, water. Lost faith in doctors, especially this field, they only care about money and cosmetic now. I have been let down and have no quality of life. Lisa

    • Dr. Scott September 3, 2015 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      Lisa, sorry for all that you have gone through. There is a radical theory out there that suggests that our immune systems are over sensitive because we are lacking the right gut inhabitants (including bacteria, mycobacteria, and even parasites). Take a look at the book called “An Epidemic of Absence” – it is a technical read, but may be worth it in your case.

      Best of luck,

      Dr. Scott

  3. Lisa September 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I have contact type IV allergies found through patch test, to chemicals in all shampoos, metals/minerals in textile dyes, concrete paint, medicines, cobalt in B-12, food, water. I also am allergic to formaldehyde, and a lot of natual organic things like coconut, and organic shampoo.. Also bactracin, antibiotics. I have celiacs, so have to avoid gluten. I have airbourne allergic contact dermatitis and facial irritant contact dermatis to almost everything in my face even nautral. I have been to many dermatologists, with no help, only to avoid my allergens, Really? Do you know how ridiculous it is to say this. Dermatologists need to go back to school, and learn how many things just one chemical is in, and figure out a treament that wi help so many suffering oeople. The icing on the cake is that dermatologists, only want to give me steriods, which I am allergic to the propylene glycol and titanium. I am in pain 24 hours a day and have lived the last 5 years in my bed. I am also allergic to un dyed organic cotton. I have patch test extensive and have proven positives, and my dermatologists that specializes in contact allergies tells me I’m obsessed, as I sit there in front of him covered in painful rashes. This field of medicine needs compassion and more education. So saying to me avoid or eliminate, is ridiculous as I have laid in my bed 24 hours a day naked, for 5 years. I haven’t been abke used soap , shampoo, medication, laundry detergent. nothing. Everything causes painful rashes. I havent used anything in 5 years, not even nautral organic. Lisa

  4. amanda August 24, 2015 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    I have over 400 allergebs. All fruits all veggies. The list goes on n on. The only thing i can sort of tolerate is pancakes cheese butter bread and one certain kind of icecream and eggs ao,that,is what i have resorted myself to eat. I get lil reactions from those but if i eat nothin i wont be able to sustain my life.

    • Dr. Scott August 25, 2015 at 6:16 am - Reply


      A lot of people suffer as you do (read some of the comments below). Your best approach is to try an allergy elimination diet to try and narrow down closer what is bothering you.

      Dr. Scott

    • Jo wood August 25, 2015 at 9:52 am - Reply

      I lived food wise very much the same as you, I also react to perfums chemicals and medication.
      I have been diognosed with mast cell diease mybe it’s somthing you should look in to x

  5. Trish Francis July 13, 2015 at 1:36 am - Reply

    I have read all the comments. Do we have to resort to steroids….Tested 8 yrs ago after a cut on leg and had steroids then. Went to 8 doctors. I am allergic to All antibiotics. The final doc told me I will just have to try any antibiotic to see if it will work. Afraid of accident. Wanting to have foot or shoulder surgery, but am totally afraid of the antibiotics. Any suggestions….

    • Dr. Scott July 14, 2015 at 6:09 am - Reply

      Trish, I don’t think steroids are the the only answer. Many people do well when they remove common allergens from their diet.

      Dr. Scott

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