BURNOUT: Food Sensitivities & Intolerances & Their Relationship to Burnout

August 3, 2016


You probably know someone who is severely allergic to peanuts or some other food item.  In these cases, ingesting the said food item could result in anaphylactic shock or even death, if prompt medical attention is not received. 


However, did you know that there are many more people who suffer more insidious food allergies, better known as food sensitivities and intolerances?  These kinds of "allergies" do not result in a full-blown emergency, but they can severely affect your quality of life.  In fact, some of the effects can occur days after you have eaten something.  This is where keeping a food diary can be important in identifying trends and patterns. 


If you are making full lifestyle attempts to overcome burnout, and you are still suffering from some fatigue, do not rule this out as a factor that may contributing to your burnout.


How does this work?


Again, it comes down to how your adrenal glands are functioning.  Your adrenal glands do so much for your body.  If you have food allergies or sensitivities, this causes extra stress or load on your adrenals.  This is because your adrenal glands need to release more cortisol to cope with the offending food items in your body.  If you continually eat items that your body is sensitive or intolerant to, your adrenal glands never get a break. 


What are some common food culprits?


Gluten -


You may have heard of Celiac Disease.  People with Celiac Disease are not able to consume gluten, because it does damage to their intestinal walls.  It also can make them feel sick or experience many other symptoms, one of which is fatigue (although not all people have symptoms).  Blood tests and a biopsy (when a small piece of tissue from the intestine is examined) can confirm that you have Celiac Disease.


However, there are many others who do not have Celiac Disease, but find that they also experience symptoms similar to those with Celiac Disease when they eat gluten.  You will hear this referred to as non-Celiac gluten sensitivity or intolerance.  Fortunately, the small intestine does not get damaged, BUT they need to stay away from gluten or they feel unwell. 


Cow's Milk -


You may be lactose intolerant, which means that your body is unable to digest lactose, the natural sugar found in milk.  You can experience uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and so forth, but it is not life threatening.  However, it can wreak havoc on a body that is already stressed, so avoidance is key.

Some people are also sensitive to casein and/or whey, which are both proteins found in milk.  In worse case scenarios, there can be allergies to casein and whey. 


In any case, milk can be found in many food items that you might not even think about, so it is necessary to learn to read food labels carefully and to be able to decipher them. 


Yeast Intolerance –


Yeast (which is a fungus) is found in many of the foods we eat, such as bread, cheeses, soy sauce, mushrooms, and more. 


The most common yeast problem is caused by the fungus, Candida albicans.  Normally, you have small amounts of yeast in your body, as well as healthy bacteria (probiotics) in your gut. 


However, when there is a reduction in healthy bacteria and overgrowth of yeast in your body, this is where you may notice symptoms.  Common yeast-type infections include vaginal infections, athlete's foot, thrush, but excess yeast in your body can also result in headaches, depression, fatigue, and other ailments.  If you have a weakened immune system, are overweight, or are taking or have taken antibiotics, corticosteroids, or oral contraceptives, there is a very good chance that you have problems with yeast and a reduction in your healthy bacteria.


In order to replenish the healthy bacteria in your digestive system and beyond, and gain control of the overgrowth of yeast, probiotic supplements are recommended for consumption.  Probiotics are healthy, live bacteria and yeasts that restore your gut's normal values.  You can consume probiotics in some plain, live-culture yogurts, but supplements seem to be the best source without all the calories. 


If you have yeast, it is also imperative to "starve" the yeast until you get it under control.  Yeast grows well when you "feed" it sugars through the foods that you consume.  You already need to avoid sugary pop and drinks as well as sugary food to help your body heal from burnout, so this is one more benefit of avoiding sugar.  You should also avoid bread, mushrooms, cheese, and sweetened fruit yogurt, for example, if you suspect Candida is causing your symptoms. 

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