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It can, because it often necessarily identifies otherwise wholesome foods as harmful. “We have to be careful to talk about food in a way that doesn’t create orthorexia,” says naturopathic doctor Sara Jean Barrett, ND, a holistic and functional-medicine practitioner in Minneapolis. Orthorexia is an eating disorder in which someone is fixated on eating only “good” or “healthy” foods. “We want to focus instead on what makes your body feel good, rather than saying, ‘This is a bad food.’”

Naturopath Dan Lukaczer, ND, director of medical education at the Institute for Functional Medicine, sometimes sees patients who believe they’re reactive to many foods after seeing their score on a food-sensitivity test. “But they’re still not doing well after eliminating those foods, so there’s something else going on.” He focuses on helping them improve their digestion and gut health while decreasing their exposure to toxins and improving their nutrition, with an eye toward aiding them as they expand their diet as much as possible.

Sometimes people who have experienced negative reactions to certain foods can be understandably fearful about reincorporating them. Working with a functional nutritionist or doctor can be helpful in these cases.

This was excerpted from “Making Sense of Food Allergies” which was published in the May 2022 issue of Experience Life magazine.

Mo Perry

Mo Perry is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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