Honest Mum

I paid for intolerance tests for the family over three months ago and whilst they’ve proved divisive within the medical community, with many taking the stance that more research into their validity is required, they have undoubtedly helped mine and my family’s health, so I wanted to share our experience.

I’m not a doctor of course so do please seek professional advice before embarking on any kind of tests if you’re concerned, but myself and my children have had life-changing results thanks to eliminating trigger foods from the tests we took with York Test.

In the interest of balance though I want to start by sharing registered Dietitian, Laura Clark of LEC Nutrition‘s professional opinion on intolerance tests,

‘Food intolerance tests tend to look at IGg antibodies. These are released by the body in response to exposure to a food so do not necessarily indicate an intolerance. It’s important to consider the whole picture and not alter the diet based only on results from these tests. The best way to know for sure is to exclude a food for a short period of time and then reintroduce. Seek advice from a dietitian to ensure the diet is not nutritionally compromised’.

As I stated earlier, myself and my kids have had super results after eliminating foods which showed a reaction in our tests 3 months ago, so here I share our own personal experience with you.

I opted for tests via York Test as my Mum had used them many years ago with positive results (they’ve been around for 35 years) and I’d reached a point where I was at my wit’s end when it came to my health with symptoms of bloating and aggressive red and itchy urticaria style rashes which were appearing daily at that point.

I wanted to investigate if the foods I was eating might be causing these issues.

I knew there would no doubt be several trigger foods listed in my own results, so I bypassed the York Test’s first step test where you post a blood sample to decipher whether you react to foods (not specifying which ones) in the first place. I went straight for the second step where a long list of foods are tested against your sample.

York Test would have refunded me the cost of the more expensive second step test if I hadn’t reacted to anything (bar an admin fee) but I was certain that trigger foods were bound to show up, as I was already aware soya disagreed with me as well as cashew and brazil nuts.

I’m not allergic to nuts but I have a severe intolerance to the aforementioned nuts so steer clear of them all.

My father has a nut allergy, and a tight throat and rash is incredibly uncomfortable for me and definitely not worth a spoonful of nut butter that’s for sure.

I had an anaphylactic reaction to an unusual Indian dessert whilst at uni in my twenties too which was incredibly scary and frustratingly I wasn’t able to pin down exactly what had triggered it.

We sent off a pin prick blood sample which is posted to you from York Test and can be taken painlessly from your finger or foot is sent into an SAE that fits into the letterbox. We received our results by email and post within a week of testing.

The reason I tested the kids was because Oliver, 7, had complained of feeling oddly sick most days and Xander had relentless ENT issues, mostly with his ears.

Oliver’s results came back with an egg intolerance and Xander, cows’ milk. They both instantly felt better after cutting out these foods. As in within a day.

Xander, who was on antibiotics frequently prior to the tests, has not yet suffered an infection in three months since we’ve switched to dairy-free foods.

I don’t believe it’s a coincidence as prior to the elimination diet, he was on back-to-back antibiotics for throat and ear infections that baffled doctors due to not shifting.

Oliver has equally felt better, only complaining of feeling sick when he ate a Yorkshire pudding we forgot had egg in it!

My own list of trigger foods was fairly long (you are sent a list with a traffic light system -the red being the worst triggers, the amber a 50% reaction with most feeling OK when they eat from that list every so often, and the green list showing no reaction.

My number one culprit was egg (which my husband Peter had predicted long ago but I’d hoped wasn’t the case) along with wheat, gluten, soya, yeast and cashew nuts as others I needed to avoid.

The amber list saw cow’s milk, garlic and lentils, which I now eat in moderation.

A nutritionist phoned me to discuss all of the family’s results and advised on the elimination process offering alternatives along with email support and booklets in the post.

I was encouraged to cut out both red and amber listed foods to start with a view to cut out the red list for 3 months before slowly reintroducing each one.

I’ll be honest, the first week was hard-going and some of my symptoms felt worse before they improved (I was reassured this was normal) but by week two I felt better than before, both emotionally as well as physically. It was like a fog had lifted mentally.

2 months in, I reintroduced some cow’s milk products, and as I’m originally Greek, a little garlic ( I can’t not) but I’ve yet to eat any red trigger foods in three months and I feel a million times better for it.

In fact I (unknowingly) ate a salad on holiday which had mayo in the dressing and I instantly felt dizzy. That’s how much egg affects me.

I’m not ready to reintroduce the red foods yet one by one as I feel so good without and have seen reactions still to egg and soya so my body isn’t ready yet.

I will do, down the line though.

The hardest food to bin has been chocolate (with soya). I’ve found some brands which without it and Kallo dark chocolate rice cakes forgo it too which has offered some solace during PMT thankfully but Dairy Milk it is not!

Prior to the test results, whilst I was aware soya beans and tofu didn’t agree with me, I still scoffed chocolate and soya sauce but since becoming stricter, my blotchy red rashes have reduced, I’ve lost weight without dieting (I love my food and can’t cope with tiny portions) and I have greater energy than before.

I have upped my exercise regime too so must note this, but I’m certain eliminating foods which cause inflammation has helped hugely.

I’m now a small UK size 10 and whilst I’ll never lose my Mumtum two c-sections later, I feel much happier in my skin (and my Topshop dresses!)

Honest Mum wears a Topshop dress

I also must note that don’t believe the way I feel is psychosomatic, my kids don’t have that kind of mind over matter ability anyway-and I’ve not had a migraine since stopping foods that were noted as reactive.

My migraines were infrequent but severe when they occurred and usually arose around menstruation with even partial blindness and flashing lights which once prompted me to head to A &E. Scary stuff. I feel more in control of my body since discovering the foods that trigger reactions in me.

Importantly, my kids are healthier and happier.

I just wish we’d taken the test sooner.

Next, I’ll be getting my husband Peter tested, but as he doesn’t have any symptoms, we’ll be opting for the initial test to check if he reacts to any foods in the first place.

There are lots of companies out there that you can have suspected intolerances checked with of course. This isn’t a sponsored review, I just wanted to share how full of beans we’re all are since taking intolerance tests.

My results also encouraged my own GP to take blood tests for allergies as well as IBS and Coeliac Disease (both negative).

I must note these tests were not cheap by any means, but in my opinion they’ve been completely worth it.

We would often run to A&E and out of hours doctors at crazy o’clock with my 4 year old’s incessant infections and to have had a break from hi being in pain and the disruption infections cause, has been a welcome relief.

Of course, if my kids become ill, we follow our doctor’s advice and would always take antibiotics and any medicine required to ease infections and illness, but to have seemingly helped the cause of Xander’s problem, over treating the symptoms so far, feels awesome.

As well as following a healthy, balanced diet and exercise, I personally take B6, B12, folic acid and vitamin D daily to support my mental wellbeing and health and the kids take an age-appropriate multi-vit.

As a sidenote, I loved watching Marie Forleo’s video with Dr Kelly Brogan on how healing your gut can help with depression, she advocates removing inflammatory foods and you can read the post in full HERE.

Have you had intolerance tests before?

I’d love to read your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

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49 Responses

  1. Mummy and the Mexicans

    The results on your and your family’s health really speak for themselves, don’t they? It’s amazing that the foods we eat can have such an effect on us, and most of the time we don’t even realise what is causing it. #brillblogposts

    Reply
  2. Rebecca

    Wow thats amazing that it helped you all so quickly! If we ever have symptoms of concern I will definitely bear this in mind <3 #brilliantblogposts
    Rebecca recently posted…Organise in style: Organisation ideas for Mums with Uncommon GoodsMy Profile

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  3. Tooting Mama

    Well, you are looking amazing so something is working. And thanks for sharing your experiences, there’s nothing like a personal testimony.

    I’ll be honest if I hard to start cutting out food I’d cry. Well, I kind of do I have PCOS and a glucose intolerance. So lots of veggies, lean meat and not too much sugary stuff. #brillblogposts

    I do believe we are what we eat, so it does pay to pay close attention to our food. And I love Maria Forleo too!
    Tooting Mama recently posted…7 fantastic Fathers Days gift ideas for cyclistsMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Absolutely agree there and as a fellow sufferer of PCOS I know how hard it can be to choose the food that suit us. Thanks for your kind words too x

      Reply
  4. Emma Peach

    I’ve never had an intolerance test but I know that certain foods do not agree with me. Onion often gives me stomach cramps, and sometimes Indian food makes me feel very tired and sluggish, which is a shame because I love a good curry!

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com
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  5. Finn

    Sure I have intolerances but kind of dreading finding out as it’s bound to be things that I love! On the other hand, I really should sort this out when it is so easy to at least get the information. Thanks for explaining how it works so clearly. #brillblogposts
    Finn recently posted…Uncertain timesMy Profile

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  6. Victoria Nilsson

    Hi Vicky! So good to read that others are suffering from gut health and intolerance issues (not just me) Always feel like the odd one out with what I can’t and can’t eat. Have a look at Gaps and AIP diets – similar eliminating common allergens and healing the gut naturally – I use some of the probiotics and bone broth on my little one and knock on wood she never had too many issues with food or digestion. I have hashimotos and with that also IBS and dry skin, pcos etc. Really love this post and keep on pushing forward. You are my inspiration – mumboss- wise and other 🙂

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Oh Victoria, thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry you are suffering from hashimotos, IBS and PCOS and amazing you have healed your gut. I’ve heard of Gaps and AIP and will look into to them more. I love Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Book (she has hashimotos too) and follow her principles too xx

      Reply
  7. Sarah

    I have been thinking about getting tested for a while now, I’m sure something is not quite right. This weekend I am going to order my kit and see how I get on. Thanks for inspiring me to order a kit.

    Reply
  8. Liz Petrone

    You look amazing! It’s incredible how the things we eat and drink shape so much of our lives. I’m so glad you have the information you need to take these steps! Congrats!

    Reply
  9. Lucy At Home

    This is really interesting. We don’t seem to have any food intolerances in the family so I don’t know much about it, but it’s great that it is making such a difference to you and your boys. You can tell from the post how excited you are about this progress, and I hope that it encourages others to take the test if they’re wondering #brillblogposts
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Blogcrush Week 17 – 9th June 2017My Profile

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  10. mymummymanual

    We had an allergy test for our son – it came back negative but he still has symptoms when eating dairy – we’re under the dietician too so hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of it. Glad your family is all feeling better #Brilliantblogpost

    Reply
  11. five little doves

    I had intolerance tests two years ago due to stomach issues and although I am not coeliac, I do have a gluten intolerance. I cut it out and have never felt better for it! I am also intolerant of dairy and a few other random things (pork, various legumes, loads of additives!) and feel a lot healthier in myself for cutting them out. You look great! #brillantblogpost
    five little doves recently posted…Sharing The Blog Love #48My Profile

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  12. MyCityMyLondon

    Welcome to my world, being a pharmacist I am very much interested in this. I am gluten intolerant and have cut out dairy too. I love my dark chocolate so that is so hard. Green and blacks were my favourite. I was also told to cut out fructan foods like apples and avocados, peaches! Yes avos which are my fav:(

    I already don’t eat garlic (heartburn), no gluten (maybe I cheat a bit), no soya beans as they dont agree with me too and its been tough! I hear you. At least my bloatedness has reduced.

    You look fab and yes you have lost weight:) I also take Zinc supplements 50mg a day. Its great as a microbe balancer for the gut and great for hair and skin. Keep with the Vit D, surprisingly enough a lot of illnesses/diseases arise from Vit D deficiency.

    Healthy gut, healthy mind:)
    Great post

    http://www.mycitymylondon.me
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    • Honest Mum

      Oh wonderful, didn’t realise you were a pharmacist, love Zinc and I take it with Magnesium before bed. We are so similar when it comes food huh, so many of the same foods affect us. The intolerance tests have really helped me. All about a healthy gut, I loved that video with Marie Forleo!

      Reply
  13. Petra

    It’s really interesting to read about your experience and how much the elimination diet has helped you. I’ve done the food intolerances test at home last month and I had interesting results which I am yet to take action on. I am also intolerant to eggs and milk but also cashews. I am going to try an elimination diet at some point but first I want to see my GP about my results and see whether he can give me some advice about it and maybe send me for further tests. I wrote about my food intolerances test on my blog, if interested: http://www.behealthynow.co.uk/natural-health/intolerances-test-kit-selfdiagnostics-uk-review/
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  14. Heidi Brown

    This is really interesting, I haven’t had an intolerance test, but I think my other half would really benefit from one as he struggleswith extreme fatigue and very bad IBS. He works for a healthcare insurer, wonder if there is something on his works perks. Thanks, Really informative!

    Reply
  15. Laurie Girl & Tonic

    I haven’t had any intolerance tests but from reading this I would be really interested to do so.
    I love Kelly Brogan’s work & have used her system to help alleviate my own systems of depression – so far so good!

    #BrilliantBlogPosts

    Reply
  16. rachel

    Brilliant to hear you’re all feeling so much better after your intolerance tests! I had mine a year ago and, like you, had a number of things flagged, Wheat being my number one, along with wine (!!) and a few other things. Since ditching wheat i have felt so much better. As you know im vegan too so don’t have dairy or eggs and its amazing to feel so very well in myself, something i hadn’t experience for years!. Its so good to hear that xanders issues have cleared since switching to non dairy.. its really incredible and i bet a great relief. Wonderful post sweetheart, its great to bring these things to attention as it may help others who are considering it, xxx
    rachel recently posted…Embracing My Body Just as it is: Why I’ve Chosen To Ditch The BraMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Intolerance tests have helped us so much too and I eat very little dairy. I think I’m going to join Xander (and you) in no dairy whatsoever. I always feel so much better without it. Glad you are feeling great too xx

      Reply
  17. Jo @ Jo's Kitchen Larder

    Really fascinating post! It is quite incredible how what you eat can affect your wellbeing not only physically but also mentally. I’ve come across quite a few interesting articles and studies regarding this plus one of my friends have been treating her sever psoriasis and eczema through elimination of trigger foods with remarkable results! I have been tempted for quite some time to look into this a bit more for myself to see whether I can improve some niggly little health issues and after reading about your experience I think it is worth giving it a go. It’s great to hear it improved they way you and your boys feel now! xx

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      I can’t recommend having tests done enough, it’s helped us all so much and my ezcema is almost totally gone too x

      Reply
  18. Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    What an interesting post. It’s such a fascinating area of science/health – more and more I think we are coming to realise that what we put in our bodies has a really big effect on our healthy and well-being…so pleased for you and your family that you’ve been able to been able to make such a positive change, simply by adapting your diet a little! Eb x
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  19. Monika Dabrowski

    Thank you for sharing your experience, I’ve never had an intolerance test before but I think there must be foods that disagree with me, but the symptoms are not very severe (occasional itchiness and bloating) so I just brush them off. I think it’s a good idea to take this test if the symptoms really impact on your well-being, as in your and your children’s case. For the time being I’d rather not know that chocolate disagrees with me:)
    Monika Dabrowski recently posted…Carrot and Walnut Scones with SkyrMy Profile

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  20. Steven Lea - FitDadz.com

    Great Post!

    I think we could all benefit from tests like this to raise awareness of what works best with our bodies.

    #BrilliantBlogPosts
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  21. Rach

    I’m sending this post to my best mate, she’s been considering going for intolerance tests so will find this useful! Cheers for sharing love #brillblogposts
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  22. Natalie @ Be Kind 2 You

    I have never done an intolerance test but think I need to with one of my kids. They are constantly snotty and it’s not normal. I am sure it has to do with her food.

    Reply
  23. Jody at Six Little Hearts

    So thrilled to hear the positive results from small but significant changes. I am going to look into this. My youngest son has decent eczema. It would be great to avoid the cause. I too have food reactions. I suspect wheat…
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  24. Susanna

    Hi. I’ve not had an intolerence test but I think it’s a fabulous idea. I’m convinced that there are certain foods I eat that make me feel bloated and nauseous. Great article. Thanks x
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  25. Susie/So Happy In Town

    It’s great that you’re sharing your family’s experience of the benefits of intolerance tests Vicki, as it’s obviously helped your and your boys’ general wellbeing hugely. Isn’t it amazing how much better you can feel after a few days of changing your diet? As a coeliac, although slightly different and my diagnosis involved endoscopies and colonscopies, my whole life transformed within a matter of days of cutting out gluten altogether from my diet. The energy and zest for life that had been missing for so long immediately came back. I love Kallo dark choc rice cakes too! Do miss other choc though, but I have to be so careful of soya too. You’re looking fantastic and super slim and I’m so happy for you all that you’ve found out what foods work well for you and which ones don’t. #brillblogposts
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  26. Rebecca Smith

    Brilliant post Vicki, I did a similar test in August last year and have written lots about my experience on my blog under the title; diary of an intolerant mum! I know the science world is hesitant but my goodness the proof is in the pudding…or in my case maybe not as I too cannot tolerate egg or dairy, I also cannot have potato or kidney beans…I was off soya, wheat and corn too but thankfully after 8mths of complete ban and probiotics I have been able to reintroduce these. My daughters the Coeliac and my son I have had tested but kind of wish I didn’t know now…he’s intolerant to dairy, eggs and hazelnuts. The latter is easy as he doesn’t like nuts…not even Nutella but the other two are an issue, more so because he is ASD and VERY particular about foods…meal time are enough of a battle as it is! I’m going to need to gather all my strength for that hill to climb x
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  27. jodie filogomo

    I’ve read about eliminating certain foods from your diet, but I didn’t realize there was a test for them.
    You think it’d be hard to not eat the food you love, but I bet once you know how much craziness they cause to your body, it’s a little easier??
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com
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  28. Chloe

    Hi, I’ve never had an intolerance test before, but I think it’s beneficial for some and it’s great that cutting out certain food types for you and the boys have helped. I would love to get rid of that bloating #brillblogposts
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