Did you know that fear of food might actually create intolerance? Now, no one is saying intolerance symptoms are “all in your head” because they’re not…but the nervous system is definitely involved. Fear is a full body reaction and the stories we hear about certain foods can imprint that fear on to our nervous (read: “limbic”) system. Wendy Busse knows that well: In dealing with clients who fell into what she calls “Conditioned Food Sensitivity,” the registered dietitian noticed people were both suffering from very real symptoms and only eating a handful of foods: one client had even eliminated all but 2 foods.
So Wendy decided she wanted to understand this phenomenon and, shortly after, developed a program called The Food Avoidance and Sensitivity Trap Freedom Program. Her resource is designed to aid those who have spiraled into a hole of avoidance, feeling better, and then engaging with more avoidance. She sees the adverse mental health effects this pattern has on her clients and today advocates for a more individualized approach to eating—and she wants people to understand why no foods are inherently bad.
About Wendy Busse:
Wendy Busse is a registered dietitian and food sensitivity expert (for over 25-years!). She is the FAST Freedom Program director: FAST = Food Avoidance & Sensitivity Trap. Wendy and her dietitian partners help food sensitive people rebuild body and food trust—so they can expand their diet and enjoy the simple pleasures of a good meal.
On this episode we chat about:
- The difference between food allergies, food intolerance, and food sensitivity. What causes each of these reactions?
- The two reasons symptoms can appear: physically driven reactions (e.g. celiac disease, peanut anaphylaxis) and conditioned food sensitivity (e.g. learned, fear-based reactions)
- Why there is no universal diet. Pssst: it’s all trends
- How mental health challenges can result from following a long list of foods to avoid
- Conditioned Food Sensitivity: a Pavlovian concept describing body/food mistrust and spiraling food avoidance
- How the fear of food or the expectation that specific foods will cause reactions may cause real physiological symptoms
- Why advice constantly changes and why that can cause confusion and suffering
- How the limbic system, a part of our brain that controls our fight-or-flight response, can suppress our immune system
- The importance of the body’s rest-and-digest state
- How to stop ruminating about food. (Have you ever heard of a scrap paper journal?)
- Why we need to step back from online research and online support groups: “Online support groups, though they can bring comfort to those suffering, are one of the biggest sources of fomenting fear.”
Wendy and I connected over our mutual exasperation of elimination diets gone wrong and her insights put everything into perspective … restrictive diets almost always cause more harm than good and Wendy dives into the nerdy science with me to explain why that is. Her grace (She calls herself “old-fashioned” but she’s really just classy!) and compassion both shine right through in this episode and I’m so excited for you to hear it! I know you’ll walk away feeling more at ease about food in general—and better equipped to tackle any symptoms you may have 😉
Learned something new? Have questions?
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Connect with Wendy:
Wendy’s Website: wendybusse.com
Wendy’s F.A.S.T. Freedom Program: fastfreedomprogram.com
Wendy’s Instagram: @wendy.fastfreedomprogram
Dr. Janice Joneja: Dealing with Food Allergies: A Practical Guide to Detecting Culprit Foods and Eating a Healthy, Enjoyable Diet