Are Food Sensitivities Making Your Life A Misery?

Before I tell you my story – it’s important that you know the difference between the types of food reactions:

Food AllergyYes (IgE)Severe, Immediatecan be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention
Food SensitivityYes (IgA, IgG)Can be delayed by hours or daysuncomfortable symptoms
– depends on the person
Food IntoleranceNoGenerally within an hour or two
of consumption
uncomfortable symptoms
– will depend on the person

More info on these differences are HERE.

misery mystery

I recently did a food sensitivity test on myself and the results were very revealing.

Did I have the usual digestive symptoms that people have when we test for these things, such as reflux, bloating, diarrhea or constipation? No. But I had been having rather a lot of hayfever-like reactions. Itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. Miserable.

What are some typical symptoms that people might experience due to food sensitivities?

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Rashes, such as eczema
  • Skin itchiness and redness
  • Bronchitis and asthma-like symptoms
  • Hayfever-like symptoms
  • Muscle stiffness and swelling

I do suffer from a bit of hayfever in June/July time of year, due to grass pollen. And I’ve worked long and hard on my immune system so even that is much better than it was 20 years ago. So these new emerging, daily, hayfever-like symptoms in the previous 8 or so months were very annoying and frankly alarming.

About 20 years ago, I had a food sensitivity test which revealed sensitivities to wheat, dairy, and eggs as well as a few other things I don’t remember. Back then I had upper respiratory symptoms too and I felt those symptoms return at the times when I may have accidentally consumed those foods . But I worked on my gut and over time I reintroduced these foods and all seemed well and I thought those days were long since behind me.

Mystery solved

So when I started having these symptoms again, I confess I spent a few months in denial or thinking, well, maybe this is just another menopause thing. However, I finally came to my senses and decided it’s time to do another food sensitivity test. Yes, I could try to find my old test somewhere in a dark cupboard and just follow that again. Or I could do an elimination diet taking many weeks and months to pinpoint my issues. But I have a short attention span and new technology in food sensitivity testing is out there now, so I said “let’s test this”!

What tests did I do?:

  • Food Sensitivity Profile 1 (IgA & IgG) – 96 common foods
  • Wheat Zoomer (inc. Intestinal Perm.)
  • Lectin Zoomer
  • Dairy Zoomer
  • Egg Zoomer

The main profile of 96 different foods is obvious I hope. For the Zoomers, I wanted to drill down into the 3 areas that I knew had given me issues before. And the Lectin Zoomer was of interest to me because I do not know any other lab doing a test for this very specific group of proteins.

Each test can be done as a standalone but if you do a series of tests all reports are pulled together into one report and summarised. Very handy.

My Food Sensitivity Results Summary:

Food Sensitivity Test Summary

Items in RED were a positive (high) reactivity. Items in YELLOW were a moderate reactivity. And clear / blank were no or low reactivity. In the summary page of my report, these numbers don’t appear but I have added them to this snapshot for info since I can’t just post the entire 79-page report.

IgA reactions tend to clear from the immune system in less time. IgA antibodies have a half-life of ~6 days. Elevated IgA antibodies indicated exposure 8-12 days ago. The half-life of IgG is much longer and individually variable and can indicate prolonged exposure/sensitivity. For IgG reactions, one may need to consider cutting out a food for 3-6 months to give the immune system a long break and give your gut time to heal.

Now some of these foods I’m not that bothered about – like scallops. Couldn’t tell you the last time I ate them. But other foods – well let’s just say I have to rethink some of the things I was eating. Tomatoes and eggs are probably the toughest for me as these were cornerstones in my diet. But part of what prompted me to think about food sensitivities for myself again was that fact that I could tell I was having reactions after eating salad. I put lots of things in my salad – so what could it have been? Now I know – tomatoes.

Dairy wasn’t a huge surprise. I always say “I love cheese, but cheese does not love me”. I have been mostly dairy and gluten free for years.

You can also see that the Wheat Zoomer revealed a moderate level of intestinal permeability (i.e. “leaky gut”) so that is something I need to work on in order to reduce all food reactions. It also showed that I didn’t have reactions to the protein fractions related to celiac disease, but I did show reactions to some gluten peptides as well as non-gluten peptides. What does that mean? It means I don’t have celiac disease but I need to follow a wheat-free diet – not just gluten-free diet. (yes, I know that’s confusing, but that’s what I do).

Interestingly, wheat did not react on the 96-food sensitivity test but it did show up several specific peptides on the Zoomer report. This is the advantage of “peptide level” testing which I talk about more over HERE.

So what do i eat now?

The short answer is – the foods I did not show a reaction to. It’s best to not think “what CAN’T I eat” and focus on “what CAN I eat”. Of the 96 foods on the main test, only 22 of those showed a reaction and some of those reactions are relatively mild. So that leaves 74 foods with no reaction plus hundreds of foods not tested.

Putting on my professional hat I’d say I need to investigate some vegan-esque recipes because I’m trying to avoid dairy and eggs but also consider some auto-immune and lectin / nightshade free recipes for tomato and wheat free ideas.

I may need to get a little more creative with my cooking. Trying out vegan “cheese” sauces and “Nomato” sauces, for instance. I posted my test summary in the kitchen so I can see it and remind myself of what’s on the list.

There are a plethora of websites and books out there for “cooking without” so I can’t list them all here. I certainly help my clients on a one-to-one basis to point them to resources that will help them. One of my favourite websites is EPICURIOUS– you can search recipes easily by excluding or including specific ingredients. And A CLEAN PLATE which has a number of “free from” recipes to explore.

And if you want to know more about food sensitivity testing either book a call with me to discuss (little button below) or toddle over to my SHOP page and choose from there.

PS – Do I feel better for cutting these foods out? Yes. MUCH better. It works.

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