Have you ever wondered if you have food sensitivities to foods you eat everyday?
Maybe you have your suspicions, but no real data to back it up. A lack of data makes it harder to comply and take your sensitivities seriously. I mean, who wants to avoid a food unless they have good reason to?
7 Signs Food Sensitivity Testing May Be For You
If you experience any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, food sensitivity testing may benefit you:
- Dry and itchy skin or other skin issues
- Food intolerance
- Feeling bloated after eating
- Joint pain
- Stomach pain
What Is Food Sensitivity Testing?
Food sensitivity testing measures your body's IgG immune response to foods commonly found in the standard American diet. The at-home test I tried tests your blood against 96 common foods and rates each of them on a scale of 0-3: Class 0 (low reactivity) to Class 3 (high reactivity).
Once you have your results, it's often suggested that you try an elimination diet with those foods that are of high and moderately reactivity to see if you feel better without them in your daily diet. The data from testing provides a good starting place to help you focus your food sensitivity efforts.
How Is The Test Conducted?
There are many ways to go about food sensitivity testing. Often you can ask your doctor or naturopathic doctor to run one for you if you have symptoms suggesting food sensitivity. However, food sensitivity testing is often not covered by insurance, so there is an at-home testing option that you can do yourself and avoid the cost of an office visit all together.
This is the at-home test I used.
All I had to do was order the test online for about $199. Once the kit arrived, it just required a finger prick or two to collect a few small drops of blood on the collection paper included.
Once my sample collection was complete, I just stuck in my mailbox and within a 7-10 days I got an email letting me know my results were available online.
My Personal Experience
Personally, I'd never considered doing food sensitivity testing before. Probably because I always *knew* the main things my body was sensitive to, by way of knowing my body and being able to feel the reactions to certain foods. Some people have trouble with this, but I always thought my own food sensitivities were pretty obvious, although they have become much milder and harder to spot over time.
My test confirmed most of what I already knew, specifically my sensitivity to certain cow dairy products, but it also showed I was not sensitive to some things I thought I had been in the past (soy and peanuts). Which maybe due to the fact that food sensitivities can change over time.
I also learned I was highly reactive to safflower oil, a vegetable oil that is in several processed foods - salad dressings, chips, baked goods and more. This was super valuable to me because I can now more actively avoid it and make sure it's never in a supplement I take everyday.
Here's a summary of my own highly and moderately reactive foods, so you get a sense of what I learned despite already being very tuned into my body:
- Safflower oil - I know that vegetable oils are inflammatory from a nutritional perspective, but being highly reactive to this particular oil was new to me and something I would never have thought of on my own
- Yogurt - confirmed what I already knew
- Cheddar Cheese - confirmed what I already knew
- Cottage Cheese - confirmed what I already knew
- Cows Milk - confirmed what I already knew
- Crab - new to me (I eat crab pretty infrequently and have never noticed any ill-effect, so I'll eat it anyways)
- Mushroom - suspected, but new to me
As you can see the test not only confirmed what I already knew, but it also gave me new information. For instance I have a favorite mushroom supplement that I take on and off for immune system support, but then eventually stopped taking it because I felt "off" when I took it. Now I have the understanding as to why that might be.
Anytime you can learn more about your own body through observation and data - it's a win-win situation.
How I'd Rate This Particular Test
Overall, I would highly recommend this test, even if you are very in tune with your body (like me). I was super skeptical that I wouldn't discover anything new, but I was wrong. There is always more to learn!
- Convenience: This DIY test was super easy to order from the company's website (here).
- Affordability: The food sensitivity test costs around $199 (about the cost of an office visit to your doctor), which is super affordable considering how much better the results could help you feel (priceless in that regard). You can't put a price tag on the decreased inflammation and how much better you could feel by fine tuning your foods better with food sensitivity testing.
- Testing process: Once you get your kit in the mail and register it online, it's a pretty quick finger prick where you collect a few droplets of blood on an included test strip to complete the testing. Then just drop it in your mailbox and you're good to go!
- Turnaround: Once I mailed my test, it look about one week for my results to get to the lab, and then only 2-3 days to get my results.
- Value: I highly recommend this test to anyone who is struggling with what to eat and what not to eat to feel their best. If you already have a good feel for what you tolerate and what you don't (like me), I still found a lot of value in doing a test like this to help me expand my understanding of my own body.
Food Sensitivity Testing Controversy
There is some speculation about the accuracy and even usage of food sensitivity testing. While I don't have the background to speak to those accounts, I did find the testing pretty spot-on for some of my own food sensitivities. However, I recommend using your results as a starting point to help pinpoint and guide your food sensitivity experimentation, and not a hard and fast rule of what to and not to eat. Personally, I would never avoid a food a test told me I was sensitive to if I couldn't also confirm it by observing my body and the way I feel consuming that food.
It's also important to note that anytime you are eliminating foods from your test, you must make sure you are still getting adequate calories. The more you limit your diet, the harder it is to actually reach your body's calorie and nutrition needs, and that can cause further issues.
Make 2018 The Year You Elevate Your Health
By combining food sensitivity testing to zero in the best and worst foods for your body, and by using hair analysis to tune into what supplements can best support your body's mineral balance, you can make big changes to your health quickly.
My hope for 2018 is that instead of going on limited fad diets, such as the paleo diet or a ketogentic diet that only a small part of the world would ever live on by choice (from a historical perspective, perhaps only those living in the Arctic), instead you will embrace knowing your body, your cravings and seek to understand them in the context of what your body is actually trying to communicate it needs.
I also hope that your supplementation will become much more targeted. Instead of just taking random supplements that have nice packaging at your local health food store, there's going to be a wave of "smart nutrition" that involves directly targeting your nutritional deficiencies and excesses, such as mineral testing with hair analysis, or other lab testing, to zone in on exactly what your body needs, and not anyone else's!
Cheers to elevating your wellness this year ♥
*September 2019 Update*
If you are a client of mine, you know that your body is always changing, and food avoidances, supplement protocols, and/or diets should be only as long as needed to correct a problem. The key is to try out something for a while, and then retest or recheck to see how your body has changed (read: improved) over time.
Your body wants to be as healthy as possible, you just need to support it and its natural desire for health!
Well, I practice what I preach, so I did just that with my food sensitivities, and here's what they are now, about 1.5 years after my original test:
- none 🙂
- Crab - (I eat crab pretty infrequently and have never noticed any ill-effect, so I'll eat it anyways)
- Egg white - new to me
If you compare the results, you can see most of my dairy sensitivities have gone away, which is something I've noticed over time and confirmed with my own food testing, as well as a new little sensitivity that escalated from my last test.
So the takeaways here today are:
- Get some data on your body! You can grab your own Everlywell Food Sensitivities kit here.
- Learn from the data — ie. make changes that give your body the ability to feel better (relief from inflammation or replenishing missing nutrients)
- Re-check to see how your body has changed so you can keep evolving to the healthiest version of YOU!
*Disclaimer: Everlywell provided me with a complimentary kit to re-test my original test purchase.
Have you tried food allergy testing before and did you find it worthwhile? Please share in the comments!