What is a Food Intolerance Test?

With allergies on the rise, many people are worried about whether they, or their children, may have an allergy, or intolerance to certain foods.

Intolerances are very different from allergies. They cause symptoms that take hours, or even days, to manifest and can be difficult to diagnose. They are often caused by someone not having the right enzyme to digest a food properly, although they can have other causes too, such as sensitivities to certain chemicals/additives found in food.

As part of my health journey, I went to see a qualified nutritionist in the UK who was registered with the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (www.bant.org.uk) to help with my diet. I was suffering from bad Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and migraines. (A nutritionist is a person who advises others on matters of food and nutrition and their impacts on health).

She recommended I have a food intolerance test as she was convinced I was intolerant to wheat and dairy.

I had my intolerance test with the Cambridge Nutritional Sciences (CNS). You literally have a pin prick of blood taken as a sample and sent off for analysis. This takes approximately two weeks. (N.B this is for the UK only, I am not sure who the qualified body is in countries abroad). Please do make sure you see a qualified professional on these matters.

When my test came back it showed three different categories:

ELEVATED

BORDERLINE

NORMAL

If any foods are listed as elevated or borderline, they should be eliminated or rotated for at least three months. However, foods such as wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs and soya can be more difficult to eliminate. Once your body starts to adjust it will tell you very loudly when it doesn’t like something. If I have a small amount of cream on my strawberries these days, I get a headache followed by an upset stomach, I feel dizzy and sick. It is amazing the strong reaction your body can develop.

I will have to cut wheat, gluten and dairy out of my diet forever now as they just do not agree with me. You may be different and please don’t jump to any major changes in your diet unless you have spoken to a medical professional.

When you first eliminate a regular food from your diet you can feel rather unwell. You may experience a fever, headache and stomach cramps. This is normal and your body will need time to overcome the withdrawal symptoms it is experiencing, so be prepared to persevere. It does pass and then you will start to feel a lot better.

If you find it easier then keep a diary to monitor your progress. Record the foods you are consuming and continue as new foods are introduced.

Avoid eating any one food too regularly. I used to have two pieces of toast for breakfast for years. I really didn’t think about what I was putting in my mouth. I had a demanding job and lifestyle and food at times was like a function rather than a pleasure. I am sure there are readers out there who can relate.

I am a lot more careful what I consume these days both from an intolerance point of view and general health and wellbeing.

Egg white came up as another elevated food for me. I remember thinking how did that happen! I used to love eggs and a treat on a Saturday morning after a busy week at work was to have a boiled egg with toast. Of course this treat had to stop. I have now replaced this with fruit salad. I will often eat a lot of fruit for breakfast to feed my liver. This will be another area I hope to cover in depth in my future blogs.

I was able to introduce eggs back into my diet but only as an occasional treat and obviously without the toast. A single egg is better than scrambled eggs as the quantity can be too much for the body.

As I mentioned you will often have a strong reaction if you eat the wrong food and in time you will know when it is happening. As a tip if you are gluten and wheat intolerant and happen to eat either of these while out for dinner (a notoriously difficult place for anyone with allergies or intolerances).  I find eating an apple and drinking a glass of apple juice helps, not from the supermarket but any locally sourced and produced apple juice, e.g. a farm shop. This seems to help reduce the bloating and gas. And if you are like me and you suffer with acid reflux, it will help relieve the symptoms of this. I am sure there is a clever chemical reaction going on, such as the alkaline neutralising the acid. But I am not an expert and I merely guess at this.

Incidentally, did you know acid reflux is not having enough acid to break down food rather than too much? I was surprised when my nutritionist shared this with me.

As I have stated I am not medically trained. However, I have spent over twenty years going to see professionals in different areas of health. I am sharing with you what has drastically changed my lifestyle and made me feel so much better. I wish someone had saved me the time and money, but having climbed this long mountain, I feel a lot more in control of my diet and life now.

Giving up gluten and wheat will be one of the best things you can do to lose weight around the stomach. Dairy is another one. I am amazed how I fit into jeans I could not even do up before eliminating these foods from my diet. Plus the jeans are now baggy.

I hope this post has been helpful and if you have any questions on the subject I am happy to help?

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