A food sensitivity can be a catchall term to describe both food intolerance and food allergies. But keep in mind that these are two very different reactions. While the spectrum can range in severity, food sensitivities can affect just about anyone, including vegans.
For those who eat a strict plant-based diet that’s free of any meat, dairy, and animal-based food sources, the challenges of encountering a food sensitivity can be even more complicated. This is because vegan food allergens, such as those found in wheat, soy, and nuts, are common staples in a plant-based diet. Having a food allergy or intolerance to such foods can further limit one’s options, thereby resulting in nutritional deficiencies.
Getting Tested to Pinpoint Food Sensitivities
When embracing a vegan diet, it’s vital to accurately identify problematic food sensitivities (particularly allergens that can cause severe reactions) as a way to prevent devastating symptoms or unnecessary elimination of otherwise healthy foods. The best route to take is a food sensitivity test from a lab-accredited provider, like the kits that YorkTest has to offer. Such test kits can be done at home and provide a better view into which foods you may be sensitive to.
Once problematic trigger foods are identified and removed from your diet, the next step is to mindfully follow a diet that’s free of any food sensitivities.
The Gut’s Role in Food Sensitivities
The gut is the primary connection between us as humans and the various types of foods that we consume. As the key player involved in the digestion process, the gut wall is composed of a semi-permeable membrane that enables small molecules to pass while blocking other larger molecules. While the small molecules are absorbed in the bloodstream, the larger molecules travel through the intestine and are eliminated.
When the gut is properly functioning, these larger molecules are effectively passed along, thereby preventing food sensitivity reactions. However, certain circumstances like poor diet and other lifestyle factors can cause leaks in this important barrier. As such, maintaining the integrity and health of the gut wall is critical in minimizing food sensitivities and preventing unwanted reactions to certain types of foods.
A healthy gut wall provides critical protection against various types of diseases and food sensitivities. The immune system cells found along the gut wall provide oversee and protect these critical digestive activities, surveying all of the different molecules that the gut encounters. An important duty of these immune cells is distinguishing between which food molecules are good and which are bad. In cases when bad food molecules are present (or the cell wall is compromised and mistakes good molecules for bad ones), the body can trigger an immune system response, otherwise known as an allergy.
A Leaky Gut and Food Sensitivity
A resilient gut wall serves as critical protection against unhealthy or unwanted substances that get consumed. In cases of a compromised gut wall, such contents can infiltrate the body, or leak into our body can trigger a host of symptoms.
Commonly known as leaky gut syndrome, this issue in the digestive process can allow harmful substances to pass through that would otherwise be excluded as waste. This increased intestinal permeability puts additional stress on the body’s immune system and detoxification, which can contribute to various pathologies (namely food sensitivities and specific food allergies.)
Healing the Gut Wall
The membrane that lines the intestinal tract has a tremendous ability to heal itself. Repairing a leaky gut often requires improving one’s diet with more whole, plant-based foods. Nutrient-dense foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, protein, essential fats, and phytochemicals are essential for growing, maintaining, and repairing the cells of the intestinal wall.
When food sensitivities crop up, familiar food sources may now be prohibited, which can feel like a tremendous challenge. Certain legumes and grains, which are vegan staples, can wreak havoc on some individuals’ systems. It’s important to take inventory of the foods that can cause flare-ups. For instance, some soy products, like milk or tofu, may be more problematic than fermented forms, like tempeh.
Most vegans have attuned to eating plant-based for the vitality and longevity that nutrient-dense whole foods can offer. A diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes provides a massive range of foods available to us. While foods may trigger a sensitivity, being aware and conscious of those foods will open a range of creative alternatives.
About The Author
This review was conducted by Tyler Tafelsky, the lead editor here at VeganProteinPowder.reviews. Tyler is an experienced writer in the health, nutrition, and athletic space, and he offers over a decade of experience blogging on various reputable platforms. Having experimented with a vegan diet over the course of his life, Tyler has tried hundreds of plant-based nutritional products and writes about his favorites here on this blog. Learn more about Tyler by viewing his full author bio or by following him on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. You can also view his personal site TylerTafelsky.com to learn more about what he’s up to.