Contributing Editor: Vivian Nweze

There is so much more information available now when it comes to deciphering how certain food affects your body, positively and negatively! To make things easier, we’ve broken down the different levels of sensitivity (allergy having the most intense affect and Intolerance having the least), and how to know which one you have.

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I woke up feeling super lean and tight today. This is a big deal for a few reasons for me. First of all it’s shark week, so it’s a rare day that any of us wake up feeling lean during that week. But more importantly because, while I’ve maintained my weight for years, this last year was still a struggle to feel “tight” to look lean and defined despite all of my hard work & being on point with my nutrition. I’ve talked a lot about my food sensitivities and how it threw my whole body out of whack including my vitamins, minerals & hormones. Now that we have it all figured out, everything is working again!!!! My vitamin B12 & my zinc deficiency threw off my energy & my testosterone. Now that I’m on the right vitamins, and doing what i need to to heal my gut so my body can continue to absorb its nutrients, my body is producing the proper hormone levels. Which means my hard work is showing up again!!! Listen to your body, be your own detective. Our bodies are incredibly intelligent they are supposed to work properly, when they are not it’s a sign that something needs a little help. #autumncalabrese #teamac #80dayobsession #health #wellness #plantbased

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Food Intolerance vs Food Allergy vs Food Sensitivity


An allergy can be life threatening and the reaction is pretty immediate. It can  affect your whole body, because it stems from your immune system. There are certain symptoms you would have with a food allergy which are more extreme than what you would with an intolerance or sensitivity. It only takes a small amount of food to trigger it. You will know it’s an allergy if there is a negative reaction every  time you consume it.

Symptoms: lips or tongue swelling, throat closing, trouble swallowing, turning blue, shortness of breath, drop in blood pressure, chest pain, loss of consciousness



A sensitivity, on the other hand, might take anywhere from an hour to days to spot. The symptoms are ongoing and involve immune responses. An example of an immune response is an asthma attack, where the muscles around your airways tighten making it hard to breathe.

Symptoms: brain fog, difficulty concentrating, heart palpitations, fatigue, joint pain, headaches, migraines, eczema, rashes, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, weight loss, behavioral issues


An intolerance differs from a sensitivity because it does not include an immune response. It’s when your stomach has difficulty digesting a certain food. You may feel more discomfort than anything else and it isn’t considered dangerous. With an intolerance, you might not see a reaction to a small amount of the triggering food (while you always do if it’s an allergy). 

Symptoms: diarrhea, gas, cramps, bloating, headaches, nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, flushing of the skin

How To Know For Sure

The most important thing is to know exactly what’s going in your mouth and how it affects your body. When you start feeling off or experiencing any of the above symptoms, keep a food log of everything you have been eating. Start reading nutrition labels on food you buy and asking restaurants what’s inside of their food. After a week of monitoring your food, you should be able to see a pattern. There are two things you can do afterwards for more precise results.


Elimination Diet

-Try eliminating some of these inflammatory foods, which are common food allergens: eggs,  sugar, dairy, corn, fish, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and crustaceans.

-Slowly reintroduce eliminated foods one at a time over a few days, to see how your body reacts.

-Try not to eliminate whole food groups. Replace what you can nutritionally so that you don’t become deficient.


Food Sensitivity Test

At home blood tests, like the one from Everywell, measures your body’s immune response to 96 foods. For 15% off at Everywell use Autumn’s code “AUTUMNC”.

If you do feel like you are experiencing a food allergy specifically, go see your doctor immediately.