One of the biggest questions that I get from potential clients is, “Should I get food intolerance testing done?” I wanted to jump in here and dispel some myths and talk about the why and how of this important tool. I consider food intolerance testing one of the most valuable tests that can be done. Because of the wide range of symptoms that can arise from food intolerances, we really get the opportunity to pull back the curtains.
Myth #1 – No digestive symptoms, no problem.
People often think, “If I do not have digestive issues, then food intolerance wouldn’t be my problem.” That makes sense, right? Because we think about food in relationship to the digestive system. But the thing about the digestive system is that it is truly at the root of the rest of the health of the body. So, when we have a food intolerance or food sensitivity, we can actually have these downstream effects that are all over the body. Showing up in mental health, skin issues, cognitive decline and the list goes on and on. If we have inflammation going on in the gut from the foods that we are eating everyday, we are going to also have a lack of absorption and nutrient deficiencies as well. Now don’t get me wrong digestive issues can also be linked to food intolerance. Issues like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, IBD, IBS and heartburn are often linked to food intolerances as well.
Myth #2 – I already know what to avoid.
The tricky part is that there are 90+ foods in the standard diet that can cause inflammation in the gut. That’s right! It’s not just the BIG ones that we need to worry about and for some people the BIG ones are actually ok! Seemingly innocent, or benign food can cause inflammation in the gut. Each person is unique! We all have our own roadmap that is tagging foods as friends or enemies. When we have foods that are tagged as enemy invaders going on in the diet on a regular basis, the body can become very acidic, as a way of fighting off these foods that are causing issues. Furthermore, one of the things that certain bacteria love is an acidic environment. It’s one of the things that helps them grow and to flourish. So oftentimes as a downstream effect from food intolerance, we’ll also see things like gut dysbiosis or gut infection. Sometimes it’s the other way around. Sometimes the gut infection comes first, and causes so much disruption in the gut, allowing more and more food intolerances to develop over time. Food intolerance testing allows us to capture the data we need to make the best choices for our unique physiology, without the guess work. It may not be your favorite food that you are so afraid of letting go of. It could be a single simple food at the root of your inflammation.
Myth #3 All food intolerance are created equally.
No, they actually have become so popular and the demand so high, it is hard to know what to choose. First, you want to go with a reputable company with years of experience in testing. Second, you will want to hire a practitioner that has years of experience interpreting the nuances and the patterns of the test. So don’t be fooled to think that they’re all created equally. After years of using them in my own practice with clients and patients in the clinical environment, I have realized how effective the right test can be when analyzed correctly.
Myth #4 You are going to take away all of my favorite foods!
Sometimes my clients resist testing because diet changes are hard or they are are afraid they will have to give up their favorite foods. But the opposite is actually true! Usually, it’s one, maybe two or at most three culprits that are causing the inflammation in the gut or other issues. That leaves 90 some other foods on the test that are totally fine to eat and most importantly, you can feel safe while you do it. I find that so many of my clients actually start to restrict the diet more and more and more and more over time as a way of trying to figure out what is causing the issues. They may start with a generalized anti inflammatory diet, then they read a book on lectins and they remove all the lectins, and then they remove all the nightshades because they read that the nightshades are bad for them. So by the time that clients get to me, the diet is very small, very limited and there’s not a lot of diversity (or joy!) going on in the diet. I actually love to use food intolerance testing to open up the diet and help clients heal the relationship with their food. Eating should be pleasurable and freeing, not calculated and anxious. This clarity is just priceless.
Myth #5 It didn’t show up on my allergy test…
Many people have had allergy testing during their lifetime to stave off the emergent allergic reactions to the environment and specific foods. This testing is looking at an IgE reaction. Food intolerance testing looks at IgG reactions, slow growing, immune reactions to foods. Instead of emergent, these reactions may take up to 3 days to show themselves. This is why chasing food intolerances via elimination dieting can be maddening. This is what happened to me, after 2 years of elimination trials, I finally went for the test. And I am so glad I did.
It uncovered some of the things that I believe caused a lot of unnecessary illness throughout my life since childhood. Everything from childhood sicknesses, having a weakened immune system and allergies like crazy. I had cancer in my 20s. I also suffered from severe asthma. After identifying my food intolerances, I was able to pull out the simple foods that I was eating that were causing inflammation and I was able to enjoy food again. I knew that food was something that was nourishing me, and not causing downstream effects. So it’s because of my own personal experience, because of the hundreds of tests that I’ve worked with for hundreds of clients that have seen the results and the effects of doing food intolerance testing, that I want to share this with you. It is so valuable, especially in a time when we can feel so much confusion about what is the right thing to eat and what diet is the right, or what is the latest fad that’s out there that everybody’s talking about. You can tailor and refine your diet for what works for your bio individuality. So, if this is something that you’re interested in for yourself, for your child or a loved one, please check out my private coaching options for more details. You will not regret it!