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January 10, 2011 @ 12:08 am

Food Sensitivities: The Hidden Cause of Many Chronic Illness


Award-winning author, inventor, and natural health and wellness expert Elizabeth Yarnell joined the show! Her clinical practice focuses on helping people who are in chronic physical distress.

Note: Refer to audio player below to listen to this episode.

Elizabeth Yarnell, CLT, CNC, CNHP, MLS, ( is an award-winning author, patented inventor, and natural health and wellness expert. Her clinical practice focuses on identifying and managing food sensitivities to solve chronic distress. She is the executive director of the Fight MS with Food ( project that examines the connection between multiple sclerosis and unidentified food sensitivities.


Edited Transcript of Interview with Elizabeth Yarnell

Refer to audio player below to listen to this episode.

Eric Michaels: What do you mean by “chronic physical distress”?
Elizabeth Yarnell: I’m talking about people who suffer constantly from physical ailments. If your stomach hurts every time you eat, or your joints ache every time you stand up, or you get debilitating migraines frequently… this is someone who is in chronic distress. Chronic distress can look like anything from Irritable Bowel Syndrome to fibromyalgia to behavior issues to autoimmune disorders.

Eric Michaels: What do you think is causing these people to have distress?
Elizabeth Yarnell: If you can trace the disorder back to inflammation somewhere in the body – and many, many issues are rooted in inflammation – then there is a good chance that food sensitivities are playing a role in that person’s health. Think about how many of our chronic health issues are related to swelling where it shouldn’t be: swelling in the joints, in the stomach and bowels, in the brain…Sometimes we don’t even recognize that the issue is related to an inflammatory response, like in the case of chronic constipation or behavioral issues.

Eric Michaels: What is a “food sensitivity” and how is it different from a “food allergy”?
Elizabeth Yarnell: A food allergy that we’re familiar with – like peanuts, shellfish, etc – can cause an anaphalactic reaction because it is an immunologic reaction that creates IgE antibodies. This is what allergy docs are looking for when they do a scratch test on your back and measure the hives that appear when the allergen is rubbed into the scratch. A food sensitivity, on the other hand, may or may not result in IgE antibodies. What will happen, however, is that the immune system will kick in with a mediator release. The best known mediator is histamine, and we all know that taking an anti-histimine will decrease swelling in nasal passages when we have a cold. This mediator release can cause widespread, systemic inflammation that can manifest differently in each person. Even more, food sensitivities may be dose dependent and delayed by up to 4 days. That means that something you eat one day may not cause you problems, but if you eat more of it another day – or maybe the next day – you may pay the price. This makes food sensitivities really difficult to identify and manage.

Eric Michaels: So what should you do if you think you might have food sensitivities?
Elizabeth Yarnell: Traditionally, you would have to do an elimination diet to figure out what foods you might have problems with. Not only is this really demanding, but it’s hard to know what foods might or might not be safe for you at the base level. Now, we’re lucky because there is an easy blood test that will show your exact immune responses to 150 of our most common foods and food additives. When you work with a Certified Leap Therapist like myself, we look for all of the hidden sources of these foods and additives so that we can design a customized menu based around your body’s needs. We work to bring you to a safe place and end your suffering, and then start to reintroduce foods again.

Eric Michaels: You were already a successful cookbook author before you started working with food sensitivities. What brought you this direction?
Elizabeth Yarnell: I became so frustrated and scared when my 6-year-old’s chronic constipation landed us in Children’s Hospital getting abdominal x-rays, that I knew I had to do something different. We had already visited pediatric G.I. clinics and other specialists, but nothing had changed. The one thing I knew for certain was that he was not deficient in laxatives! We found our way to a naturapath who suggested this blood test. It turned out he was sensitive to 41 foods and common food additives. Common foods like broccoli, honey, and celery, and some additives that are hard to avoid, like red food dye and soy lecithin. Once we changed his diet to avoid the problem foods, amazing things happened: within 2 months he grew 2”, gained 15 lbs., and ceased having tantrums. I am now a Certified Leap Therapist so that I can offer this life-changing dietary management and help other people live happier lives free of chronic distress. You can find out more about it at, by clicking on Health and Wellness Expert.


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