It’s been over 4 years since I did my own food intolerance test and started offering the testing to my clients, and the initial post is still one of the most popular on my site. I get asked about food intolerance testing all the time, so I thought I’d update you on my personal results, the results I’ve seen with clients, and a few tips on resolving your own food intolerance issues … with or without the test itself.
Did it work for me?
Yes! Before the test (and subsequent elimination diet), I had been experiencing pretty severe bloating, and even though I had implemented all of the supplements, diet changes, and lifestyle practices that I recommend to clients who are experiencing bloating, I still couldn’t get rid of it. I strongly suspected that I was intolerant to dairy, spinach, almonds, and oranges … and I was right! I had also not suspected several of my other intolerances (see my full initial results here), and after completing the elimination period, I felt much better.
I still have super sensitive digestion, and I manage it with a very anti-inflammatory diet (including no gluten, very limited dairy, and about 10 servings of vegetables per day!) and several supplements, but the unexplained bloating is gone.
However, almonds and eggs (two of my all time favorite foods!) tend to cause issues when I am overconsuming them (let’s say, almond milk in a smoothie, almond butter on fruit, almonds as a snack, and an almond flour tortilla – I love Siete tortillas!). When I know I’ve been overdoing it, I take a few weeks or months off to reset my system, and I’m back in the game.
Overall, it was incredibly relieving to get an answer to my issues, and I have repeated the Alcat test (as well as the Everlywell test) multiple times, since food intolerances often change, although some – like almonds and eggs for me! – tend to pop up repeatedly.
Does it work for my clients?
For those that actually complete the elimination protocol, absolutely. It seems obvious, but I wouldn’t say it here if I hadn’t had to tell clients before: just getting the test done (and then not eliminating the foods for the recommended period of time) does not help. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, though. I have worked with hundreds of clients (whether they do actual testing or not) on creating elimination plans that work for them, and I have substitute food products for almost everything. It doesn’t have to be as hard as it first seems in your mind!
The most common improvements I’ve seen from food intolerance testing and elimination are related to digestion, followed closely by skin issues. I’ve had clients resolve or dramatically improve all of these conditions after going through their elimination diet:
- Digestive issues
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic diarrhea
- Unexplained chronic bloating
- Acid reflux
- Skin issues
- Chronic itching
- Pain / inflammation issues
However, I also get a lot of requests for food intolerance testing for people who want to improve low energy levels, lose weight, or just “feel better,” and for those people, I have much higher success rates with health coaching alone. Food intolerance testing is not a magic bullet for anything that ails you, but improving the quality of your food intake can help with almost anything!
Do YOU need a food intolerance test?
Maybe, but probably not. Of course, food intolerance testing is part of my business, so it would make sense for me to recommend it to everyone. But if you know me, you know that my #1 goal is to help people live their healthiest and happiest lives, and for many people, I believe the test simply isn’t required to do so.
If you’re experiencing any of the issues in the list above, I encourage you to do the following steps, in order:
- Do a food journal and track symptoms. Even if you think you can’t notice a pattern, you can’t be sure until you actually write down everything you eat for a week or two. And I mean everything. Also track the symptoms associated with the issue you’re trying to manage and see if you can notice any correlation. If you can, try eliminating the food then reintroducing to see if the issues get worse. If so, you’ve found your trigger!
- Eliminate common inflammatory triggers. Here’s where it gets tricky: some foods that cause inflammation can cause issues in those with sensitive systems, even if they don’t have an actual intolerance. So if you’ve done the food journal and still don’t have answers, I always recommend doing your own elimination diet before spending the money to get a test done. I would recommend eliminating gluten (more on that here), dairy, eggs, and nuts to start out. Do each separately for 2 weeks at a time, then reintroduce intentionally and monitor your symptoms.
- Schedule a nutrition consultation. If you’ve done the above, or if the above seems to overwhelming to do by yourself, I can help. My one-time nutrition consultations are $179, and include a review of your food journal (that you did in step #1!), a 50-minute session to get your questions answered and get my guidance, and follow-up resources including recipes, tips, and strategies you need to feel your best. After seeing hundreds of clients with digestive issues, I tend to notice issues that you may not on your own, and I have significant practice guiding people through an elimination in a sustainable, manageable way. Interested? Schedule your consultation at https://www.thelyonsshare.org/clients, and make notes about your situation in the booking process, or shoot me an email at Megan@TheLyonsShare.org to discuss if a consultation is right for you.
- Get tested. If you’ve tried the above steps, or if you’re one of those people who just wants answers as quickly as possible, the test may be a great option for you. The Alcat test, which runs between $300 and $1050 for between 50 and 357 foods and chemicals, can be ordered through me – email me at Megan@TheLyonsShare.org for a full list of pricing and to set up your test. Or, learn more about the EverlyWell test (a slightly less reliable, less expensive, and more convenient test that measures 96 foods for $199) here.
Want more tips on bloating before you dive into these steps?
Want to hear my complete run-down of what could be causing your bloating? Check out my webinar on the topic here!
Now it’s your turn … Have you ever been curious about your food intolerances? Have you identified any foods that don’t make you feel your best?