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Why I Support Food Intolerance Testing

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I’ve heard a lot of strong opinions against food intolerance testing lately, both on the internet and off.   Now obviously, everyone is most definitely entitled to their opinion. They’re also entitled to choose what they want for their own health, but it starts to make me see a couple of shades of red when anyone starts condemning something they have no experience with – and that seems to be happening a lot recently in regards to food intolerance testing.

I’m not sure if I missed the media coverage or where all these thoughts on the subject sprung up from, but I do know, getting my tests done was one of the best decisions of my life and it’s something I highly recommend to anyone I see who’s suffering from vague and hard to decipher symptoms.

In my case, it was a long road.  My food intolerance test was done in 2007 after it became clear my diet had something to do with my MS crippling me.
I wasn’t in a good place in 2007.  I was getting a divorce, I had MS that they felt was headed toward chronic progressive,  I was taking injections daily for that. I had anxiety and and fatigue and almost constant headaches.  I was getting worse in a really bad way and nothing (natural or pharmaceutical) seemed to be doing an awful lot to turn it around.
I’d heard in some natural health circles that gluten free was the way to go for a lot of neurological issues.  So I just did it.  I cut out gluten, dairy, corn, soy and went partially vegan.
The diet change was overwhelming (especially in 2007) and without any immediate support it was kind of a huge undertaking, but it happened. I started to feel better.  To my surprise it wasn’t just a mild change, I saw a huge improvement in my MS and I also saw a pretty steady improvement in my anxiety and headaches.  I felt pretty good.
Thing was, suddenly I was experiencing a whole new set of symptoms. My stomach was swelling up a lot and there was nausea.  My skin was cracking and I’d started having almost constant ear infections.  Don’t get me wrong, it was much more preferable than where I was, but it I’d wanted to feel healthy, not sick in a different way.
It doesn’t look like much, but it hurts and my pants fit funny!
I finally understood the power of food, so I just kept going. I got more careful about cross contamination with the gluten free eating, I also gave up all grains, in hopes that somehow that would stop the new symptoms.
It didn’t.  My stomach got worse, my ears started bleeding intermittently.  I was doing something wrong and I felt lost, halfway across a frozen lake.  I couldn’t go forward, I could go backwards but I couldn’t stay there.
And then something changed.  I was staying with my girlfriend and her husband and we got talking about food intolerance testing.  $400 and one pinprick of blood later and I could find out what the hell was happening with my body.
I ran/tripped/flew/raced/sprinted (you choose) to get the test.

The Results

6 long weeks later, the mailman finally came and this is what he brought.

The list was huge! My jaw dropped just a little as I gazed at the “Can’t Have” list.  I’d been taking away so many foods I could have been happily enjoying as I tried to do the elimination challenge myself and I’d been eating so many that I shouldn’t have ever put in my face.

I finally had a guide. I knew that the blood tests for food intolerance weren’t fool proof and the foods mentioned would need a proper elimination challenge, but it gave me a starting point, a road map if you will, and I needed that more than I can ever say.

I started challenging my test results by eliminating the entire list.  It only took about 3 weeks for my stomach to return to normal and my body to start changing for the better.  I felt amazing and healthy, with more energy and better sleep.  By about the 4 month mark my neurological symptoms had subsided to barely noticeable and I wasn’t getting headaches at all.  Best of all, my hair was growing at a normal speed, which had never happened, ever.

As time went on, I was able to challenge each ingredient one by one and to my amazement, I was able to link each one to a variety of symptoms.  That meant being able to cheat and know what to expect the following days or weeks.

Potatoes for example are responsible for my bloating. They make me gassy and nauseous and are also partially responsible for ear infections. Tomatoes cause heartburn.  Sugar is the other half of the ear infection equation and is also responsible for itching skin.  Coffee = anxiety and dread and gluten? That’s headaches and neurological unrest.  I never cheat with gluten.

Food intolerance testing for me was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself.  It’s also something I’ve had done for my mom and one of my best friends.  It actually seems to be something I now gift to people, thinking about it.  The changes it helps you to make are priceless.

Is it perfect? No.  I still don’t know what beef does to me, if anything at all. But it’s at least a place to start in giving your body what it needs and that to me is pretty priceless.  I know I wouldn’t have caught several of the foods they listed in an elimination diet and I know I wouldn’t feel as awesome as I do these days without that weird little laminated piece of paper.

So from someone’s who’s grateful beyond words for the food intolerance testing, I say – don’t judge it until you’ve tried it.

To Good Health & Cookies!

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