Do you ever wonder why you react to certain foods? What is going on in your body that it fights the foods you enjoy.

Food Allergies are the most serious, they can cause life-threatening inflammation when the allergen activates the immune system. Let’s take peanuts for example. Someone encounters them for the first time. The immune system sees this as a threat and perceives it as a dangerous foreign agent, like a virus or bacterium. The body produces immunoglobulin E (IgE). That is a type of antibody that specifically binds the peanut allergens. Over time with repeated exposure, the body builds up an army of IgE against peanut allergens, hence a peanut allergy. The next time a person comes in contact with peanut allergens, IgE binds with cells and releases inflammatory signals that triggers the allergic reaction.

Food sensitivity is not an allergic reaction. It has more to do with inflammation in the body. When a food is consumed, the immune systems can increase inflammation in response to that food. “The immune system is complex and it can help ward off infections, clear toxins, and heal injuries. However, an elevated immune system also causes damage when it’s increased too much or for too long.”

“In people predisposed to autoimmunity, increased immune system activity can raise antibodies within certain regions of the body. For example, if an individual has Hashimoto’s, their thyroid antibodies will increase when they consume foods, such as gluten, that cause their immune system to spike too much.

You may have heard of “leaky gut,” also called increased intestinal permeability. It happens when the natural barriers between the intestine and the rest of the body break down, allowing potentially harmful compounds to pass through” Jasmine Foster, BSc, BEd


Karen Ellis is Functional Nutrition Specialist with 20 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. Her passion for a holistic approach to health came after a weight loss pill caused me to have a stroke and open-heart surgery at the age of 35.

With the unexpected death of my husband and the complexities of my own health issues, my well-being was paramount as a single mother of two young boys.

I am a Functional Medicine Practitioner through The School of Applied Functional Medicine. My health coaching training and certification is from Columbia University for the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York. I am board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. I also hold a B.S. in Psychology from the New York Institute of Technology and I’m  a classically trained raw and whole foods chef from Lincoln Culinary School.