shining the light (on what may not feel right)
What’s your body telling you?
For the past few days I’ve been waking up with allergic shiners—dark and puffy little bags of skin beneath my eyes.
I’ve also been traveling recently for work, plus I’ve been under a bit more stress than usual.
But what’s up with the shiners?
What’s my body telling me and what do they shine the light on for me to see?
For one they’re telling me to ‘cool it’.
They’re telling me that it’s an ideal time to dial it back; that I may want to invite a gentle detox into my routine.
But hold on…how did I get from shiners to detox?
Let me explain.
Allergic shiners are a telltale sign of a delayed food sensitivity.
But they’re not the only sign of such sensitivity.
Allergies and sensitivities can be difficult to detect.
Testing doesn’t always do the trick.
That’s why listening to your body’s messages and shining a light on its responses is among the finest diagnostic tools for whether or not what you’re eating is best serving your individual needs.
Yes, there are the obvious responses to food consumed—anaphylaxis presenting as stomach pain, skin rashes, congestion or the inability to breathe within minutes to hours of eating.
Yet it’s important to note that reactions can be much more subtle.
Like a parent who learns to discriminate the difference in her child’s cries in order to appropriately tend to her needs, I suggest that we live as acutely in sync with our own bodies messages.
I’m not suggesting that you live in hyper-vigilance, jumping at ever cry.
I am recommending that you pay attention.
Shine the light!
The little signs and clues that your body presents, like my morning shiners, can be the insight you’ve been looking for. They can reveal so much more of the information that you need in your pursuit of optimal health, disease prevention and longevity.
WHAT’S YOUR BODY TELLING YOU?
First and foremost, if you experience any kind of inflammation—pain being the most conspicuous clue—you can suspect that there may be a physiological response to something you’re eating on a regular basis.
The following symptoms, other than pain, are also suggestive of underlying, internal or chronic inflammation, the kind you cannot “see”:
- bloating, burping, gas
- diarrhea or constipation
- fatigue, sluggishness
- itchy ears or eyes
- dark circles or bags under eyes
- joint pain or stiffness
- throat tickle, irritation or chronic coughing
- stuffy nose, sinus trouble, excessive mucus
- acne, cysts, hives or rashes
- ruddy, inflamed-looking skin
- water retention, skin puffiness
- craving certain foods
- compulsive or binge eating
While the inflammation may build over time, until you’re bearing the weight (possibly literally), of that manifestation on a regular basis, there’s also the more subtle evidence…just like my allergic shiners.
The puffiness isn’t something I usually experience, but, “hello”, it’s cropping up now.
It’s telling something.
And I’m going to listen.
So what might my shiner’s be telling me?
Yes, I’ve been on the road. Yes, I’m away from home and my normal meal routine. And, yes, the stressors have been heightened.
Those are three circumstances where unknown foods might sneak into my mouth under the guise of a shared meal, restaurant dinner, or something quick, easy, or (let’s face it) comforting.
But upon careful reflection there’s been nothing ingested that’s clearly off my path.
I have not indulged in cake or ice cream or a glass of wine. So the culprit must be more sneaky.
When I ate dinner out, was there some sugar used in my roasted vegetables or the sauce on my fish that my body can no longer process?
Was there something unusual to my diet in the protein powders used at either of the high-end juice bars where I purchased a smoothie?
Was the coconut sugar in those Paleo cookies I brought—usually OK on occasion—not so good for me two days in a row?
THE TRUTH IS: WHO KNOWS!
I’ll never be able to identify such a sly offender.
But what I can do is see the sign; take note; and recognize its time to reign it in and take charge of how I look and feel.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…
If you’re ready to shine the light on your symptoms, we at the Functional Nutrition Alliance Clinic are now accepting new clients and we’re here to help you navigate your health challenges and support your optimal health. At the Functional Nutrition Alliance, we’re all about helping you create an individualized plan that works for you.