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Shining the Light

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2013-04-03

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 in California, spending the holiday weekend with my family, celebrating Passover and Easter and my son’s spring break.

But what’s up with the shiners?

What’s my body telling me & 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 it’s the perfect

time for a gentle detox, like the upcoming blood sugar balancing BOSS detox starting on Monday.
But wait, how did I get from shiners to detox?

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, so listening to your body’s messages and tuning-in to 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 reactions can be much more subtle. Like a parent who learns to discriminate between 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-vigilence, jumping at ever cry. I amrecommending that you pay attention.

These little signs and clues that your body presents 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 ~ 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 noise, sinus trouble, excessive mucus

  • acne, cysts, hives or rashes

  • ruddy, inflamed-looking skin

  • flushing

  • 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 contiguous evidence. . . like my allergic shiners.

The puffiness isn’t something I usually experience, but for some reason it’s cropping up now.

It’s telling me something.

And I’m going to listen.

Interestingly, allergy, whether acute or moderate, can manifest anywhere in the body, including the brain. Below are just some of the maybe more mysterious signs of food sensitivity that you want to be attuned to.
(You’ll notice that many are similar to the list of inflammatory indicators listed above, but these may not be there all the time, like my shiners. Instead they’ll present within moments or days of consuming the potential antagonist.)

  • nasal congestion, drippy nose, itchy or teary eyes

  • tender sinuses

  • facial or tongue swelling

  • coughing or wheezing

  • blue or black circles under the eyes (those “shiners”)

  • puffy bags under eyes

  • feeling spaced out

  • redness in the cheeks, nose or earlobes

  • frequent nose rubbing

  • incessant throat clearing

  • irritability, agitation, anxiety, unusual sensitivity to usual situations, and other mental health concerns

So what might my shiner’s telling me?

Yes, it’s the holiday. And, yes, I’m away from home. Those are two circumstances where unknown foods might sneak into my mouth under the guise of a shared meal or a family celebration.

But upon careful reflection there’s been nothing ingested that’s clearly off my path. I didn’t indulge in cake or ice cream or a glass of wine. So the culprit must be more subtle still. . . .
When my family went to Andrew Weil’s restaurant, True Foods, 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, once with my sister and once with my mom?
Could it be something in the marinade that my dad uses to flavor his wild salmon that I could gobble up like candy?

The truth is: who knows!

I’ll never be able to identify such a sneaky offender.

But what I can do is see the sign; take note; and recognize its time to reign it in and be the BOSS of how I look and feel.


The timing could not be better.

If you’re seeing or hearing some signs in your body, come join me!

We’re going to have a whole lot of fun listening-in to some new cues, learning what they mean and how to manage them so you (and your health) are no longer at the whim of your diet or your cravings. That’s what it means to really be the BOSS of you.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. . .


Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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