Do you know you can test for food sensitivities and intolerances on your own? This post gives you the basics of discovering—within a few days—what foods might be causing your symptoms, including pain, digestive issues, and foggy brain. I know you want to figure it out quickly!
How to test for food sensitivities: Follow a single-elimination diet.
You can do a “quick” test on a food with a single-elimination test, meaning you test only one food category at a time. That category would include every form of the foods within the category. For instance, to find out if you have a dairy or milk allergy, you would test the entire category of dairy. The category of dairy would include milk, cheese (all kinds), yogurt, casein, butter, ghee, cottage cheese, sour cream, ricotta, etc.
What to Test First
To determine which category to test first, make a list of all your favorite foods. Why would you want to start with your favorite foods? I’m sorry to tell you, but they are the most likely offenders for your food-related problems.
Yup, it stinks that the foods you really love and crave are the ones that are most likely to cause your problems. But it’s true.
Now determine the commonalities between the foods you listed as your favorites. For example, you might love bread, pastries, and pasta. What do these foods have in common? Wheat (gluten).
Test your overlapping favorite foods first. If you have “allergy” issues, you are likely allergic or sensitive to these foods or something that is common in all of them.
How Long to Test
In a single-elimination diet test, you should totally eliminate every form of the suspected food for four days, and then on the fifth day, after not eating anything for at least four hours, eat only the product you are testing.
So, you would eat no dairy, for instance, for four days. Then at breakfast, eat cottage cheese, a glass of milk, and a piece of cheese. That is, on the beginning of the fifth day, you sort of “load up” on the suspected allergen.
Keep a Daily Food Journal
You are, of course, writing everything you eat and drink down in a Food Journal, right? On your Daily Food Log Diary page, note any physical, mental (including mood), or behavioral reactions throughout the day.
Be sure to continue your test with only one category at a time until you have a clear result. In five days, you will probably know if a food causes you problems. If it is not clear to you, but you think you experienced a negative response, it might be time to get help from a health care specialist.
How to do a single-elimination diet test
- Pick one category of foods (for instance, dairy).
- Read all labels and do not eat any foods within the chosen food category for four days (not one bite).
- On the fifth day, after eating nothing for at least four hours, eat only products containing your chosen food.
- Eat multiple types of the chosen food (in one sitting), for instance, a piece of cheese, a glass of milk and some cottage cheese.
- On your Daily Food Diary Log page, write down any symptoms you experience and when they occur.
This can be a definitive test and you may know quickly if the food bothers you. When I tested dairy, I ate about two ounces of mozzarella cheese and was hit with severe joint pain within an hour. The pain lasted for nearly a week. Voilà! I had my answer.
Can My Reaction Be Delayed?
However, you may not have a definite reaction, and you still might be allergic or sensitive to the food. You may have to do additional testing or get help. When I tested gluten, it took a long time to figure out I had a reaction. That’s because my reactions to gluten are delayed; it takes about three days for it to bother me (and Dr. Doris Rapp, allergy expert and author of Is This Your Child?, says it can take up to six days for some reactions to manifest). But by keeping a Food Journal and writing absolutely everything down, I eventually realized the connection to various symptoms. Mine were caused by both dairy and gluten.
When I finally gave up these two foods, I began to slowly lose weight and feel better.
It Ain’t Just the Diet
I’m here to tell you it ain’t just the diet that is making you hold onto all those extra pounds. At least, it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t keep weight off for love nor money. When I stopped eating the foods that caused my food sensitivities and seasonal allergies, I lost more than 40 pounds. The weight just slipped off and stayed off.
I tell you my story, explain exactly how to test yourself for food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, and give you the tools to do it in my new book, It Ain’t Just the Diet™ Food Journal | A Daily Guide to Finding & Managing Your Food Allergies, soon to be published. For updates and to get your own copy, subscribe to our email announcement list.
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The most informative book I have read on the subject of food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances is Is This Your Child? by Dr. Doris Rapp.
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This post was originally posted on Recipe Idea Shop on January 12, 2021.
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Disclaimer: The author is not a health professional or nutritionist. She is offering her research and personal reflections about her health journey and is not providing any type of medical or nutritional advice. This post is for informational purposes only. It is offered as a tool for people to discover their own suspected food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Readers are highly encouraged to read, write, and reflect on the ideas presented. Consult your healthcare professional before initiating any dietary or exercise program.