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


  1. Yayyy eat bugs parasites. Its like if u use bleach on ur whites to keep ur clothes looking new in time will go fellow when the fabric can no longer cope with being bleached. So eat some germs now and again . Hope helps people like me . All good things in moderation I say good

  2. I think it makes sence I eat live bio yogurt. Seems to be helping me. I love it as pudding or for breakfast. So to put germs * i call em “. In ur gut i think help. Like a child that lives is a dirty home seems to keep well that a child in a clean sterile home. Grow ur own and have a cow or chickens . So u know what they being fed prob ideal world so u know where ur veg meat etc cone from then prob be a great meal time just my take on things living with this sever problem . Of reaction’s grrrrr i have no intreast of food creams medication as all makes me so ill. I get fascinated by people who can eat drink what they fancy my world seems so errrrrr

    1. Anita,

      You got it exactly. We are afraid of germs in our environment, but many of them help us. I think for people who are allergic, then taking many different types of “gut bugs” is a good idea and probably helpful. People who support using parasites suggest that we co-evolved with them in our bodies – so our immune systems have adapted to them. When we don’t have parasites our immune system goes crazy. I think there is much more to learn about parasites, but eating many different types of probiotics/bacteria is a good step for anyone.

  3. I too have systemic mastocytosis and eating has become impossible. I have had to eliminate all foods from my diet and the only thing that I can eat now is apple or pear with out a reaction. Doctors want to start me on Gleevec and an experimental drug trial. I am concerned as I already am living in a bubble, unable to work, go out and even have food in my home for my husband or son to eat as it will cause allergic reation. I have had more than 40 major episodes in which I used my epi pen, two this year where i was unable to breath for my self and the medical team bagged for more the 45 minutes until they could get medicines to work to open the airway. I am very scared that I will not live long enough to get the treatment. As these drugs are not covered by ohip.

    Do you have any advise that might help. Am I trusting the medical doctors in which might cause my death.

    1. Melissa,

      Considering how bad things are for you, I do have a bit of a radical idea for you. There is a book called An Epidemic of Absence that suggests one of the reason why we are so allergic is because we DON’T have parasites in our bodies. The author suggests that having certain parasites actually calms down the immune system. You can read it and see what you think. I would say that I’m not completely convinced by the authors argument, but it is very interesting. What I think might work almost as well as parasites is taking many different kinds of probiotics (we used to be exposed to bacteria with almost every meal and now we cook/clean almost everything we eat) – so, introducing many different kinds of bacteria (probiotics) almost every time we eat might just do the trick.

      Hope that helps,

      Dr. Scott

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