By Rev. Dr. Karen Cimaglia  |  February 8th, 2022

Allergies; Intolerance; Sensitivities; They are all different in the way they affect your body and yet the consequences can be the same. Anaphylaxis is the result of contact with an allergen. It is a severe reaction that requires immediate treatment to avoid serious health complications or death.  Intolerance reactions are not as severe and can cause a disturbance in the digestive system but there are a variety of symptoms. Sensitivities have a variety of symptoms some are similar to an anaphylaxis incident and/or intolerance yet mild in comparison.

Why is this important? When you ignore the signs of an allergic reaction of any kind you run the risk of over stimulating the system.  I had just such experience. 

All my life I have suffered from headaches and poor eyesight. By my 20s I was taking ibuprofen daily. By my 40 my remedy was a sinus tablet with 3 ibuprofen three times a day.  I had digestive issues as well. I would cut foods out of my diet, but it seemed like every decade my intolerance to a food changed.  I tried different eating patterns cutting out sugar then carbohydrates and then, the latest, gluten. 

In my 50’s I began a new lifestyle and decided to cut meat out of my diet. This was huge. Within weeks my pains were subsiding. Within a month I no longer needed sinus medications or ibuprofen. I was sure I found my answer.  Yes, it is more complicated than this, but the details are not necessary at the moment.  

I have eliminated meat from my diet for 6 years now.  In that time, I have been able to not just eliminate pain but also rejuvenate my body. My face began showing visible signs of repair such as my jaw line lifting, my wrinkles subsiding, acne breakout gone and more.  I had more energy. I slept better. My emotional state improved.  

My primary motivation was my lifestyle change, I became a Reiki master. As an energy healer and meditation facilitator I felt it was my responsibility to be pure in mind and body. 

Then I returned home to my parents’ house. I returned to help my family care for my dying father and was there for 6 weeks.  This was the beginning of the perfect storm. I live in a desert climate now and had not been in Michigan or similar environment in 30 years.

After returning from Michigan, I notice I was having trouble with pain again, head, leg pain and joint pain. My eating had shifted while I was in Michigan and I was again eating foods, such as breads and cheese, in quantities that were more than I had become accustomed to. Soon I had trouble breathing, throat was swelling, migraines returned; digestive issues; I even began experiencing a loss of eyesight and hearing trouble. 

I had developed what is called mast cell syndrome.  You can also call it histamine intolerance. Since not much is known about either my research suggests they are the same or can be treated as such.  The symptoms are the same as allergies and they result from an overexposure to allergens. 

I took an intolerance test and was surprised by several things; other results just confirmed what I know, and in some cases, it was like a flash of insight explaining many things I had questioned throughout my life. 

I am 100% intolerant to grass so being in Michigan during the summer for such a long time triggered the histamines. My body had no immunity since grass is no longer in my environment.  I am 99% intolerant to beef and all cow products, as well as all other meats, and cheese is not my friend. I am intolerant to grains, wheat, barley, oats, buckwheat and more.  I also have intolerances, to most preservatives, additives, gelatin and the like. Nothing processed for me. These things did not surprise me. I knew canned foods posed a problem for me; I just didn’t know why. I understood the wheat but had not realized I have the same reaction to all grains. The other surprises were beans, peas carrots, avocados, many fruits and bees’ wax. Yes, there is more. 

Now what? I recognize the path to healing was to ELIMINATE and CLEANSE.  

  • STEP 1: Remove all food intolerances from my diet. These are all the things I had been told are good for me. Well, if they present as an allergen, they are not good for me. Oatmeal out, Greek yogurt out, avocados out (I used to eat one every day), all processed foods with preservatives out.  It took me a week to clear things out of the kitchen. I still stumbled upon something about two weeks later.  It was an adjustment.
  • STEP 2: Remove all histamine foods and foods that aggravate mast cell syndrome from my diet. This was not as hard as you might imagine since most mast cell foods activators are histamine foods: spinach, tomatoes, caffeine, citrus, spices and much more. Just because it was on a good or bad list did not mean much. Potatoes were my staple food for weeks.
  • STEP 3: Begin intermittent fasting. Fasting was the easy part, in part because it can be done at night. I have fasted for years now and have researched the topic extensively. The fast begins 10 hours after you stop eating. Women who fast for 12 – 14 hours seem to show better result in most cases. This means if you stop eating at 9pm your body begins the fasting process at 7am thus a 12 hour fast would last until 9am.  50 calories will break your fast so a cup of coffee or tea before 9am is fine.

RESULTS: Within 30 days I was able to reintroduce histamine foods into my diet in small quantities. In some cases, I found they didn’t work in my system, caffeine is one. I am continuing to research and experiment with alternatives.

Today our society has a pill for everything. I am now an advocate for taking an intolerance test and encourage all my clients to take a test. I provide guidance to help you understand the results and find alternatives to foods you need to eliminate from your diet. There is so much information available on the internet that it can easily be overwhelming. My responsibility is to stay informed not just for myself but for my clients. Every decade you body changes, as does your ability to digest certain foods. The effect of allergens on the system increases as you continue to ingest them until you hit a plateau and your body begins to shut down. Medical science can treat your symptoms, but it is your responsibility to maintain health and avoid symptoms.

Change can be very difficult, and my experience is rather extreme. This change has been a process I have been working on for years and continue to perfect. If you have an interest in understanding your health; know that even with test results it takes time to understand your unique health situation. The healing process includes having the will to change. This is not the same as will power; it means having the desire to bring about change. Making that distinction can spare you unnecessary anxiety. This is not about success or failure, fighting and winning, it’s about deciding what you want and need for healing and a healthy life and committing to that vision.