Food sensitivities and intolerances are a hot-button topic right now. People are self-diagnosing left and right and you see all sorts of diets (gluten-free, dairy-free, etc) all over the place. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t people that legitimately need to avoid these foods, but I also am saying that are probably many people starting elimination type diets simply to be on trend or because they think they have an intolerance to something.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve often wondered the same thing about my body. I don’t want to be required to live a dairy-free or gluten-free lifestyle, but I can’t help but wonder if I should. Some of the symptoms of food intolerances are things I experience regularly, like skin issues (major skin issues), fatigue, brain fog, and of course the whole gas and bloating thing. What originally sparked my interest in food sensitivities was not because I had these symptoms, but because I seemed to get these symptoms at weird and random times. There are some days I wake up and am having a great skin day (some people have good/bad hair days. I pay more attention to good/bad skin days) where my acne and redness seems to be less angry than normal and I feel somewhat confident in my skin. Then there are days where I wake up and my skin thinks I’m 15 again, hormones raging and acne raging right along with it. Breakouts everywhere. I never know if it’s my skincare (not likely) or my diet. If it’s my diet, why do I have good days and bad days?
I also experience the same thing with gas and bloating. As a chronic Weight Watcher and calorie counter, I consider a good day of eating to be when I’m fueling myself with healthy, clean foods and staying within my calorie range. Imagine my surprise when I am fueling my body so well (think lean protein, fruits, and veggies, whole grains, clean, good stuff) and in the evening I still end up extra gassy and feeling bloated despite doing everything “right” and staying away from junk. Then there are days where I feel great and have no issues. What in the world is going on?!
It dawned on me recently that while I don’t have any food allergies, there could always be a possibility of there being foods that my body has a reaction to that could be causing my issues. Ever since I considered this possibility, I wanted to get an official test done. Not an allergy test (I’ve had that done and despite being allergic to plenty of things, I’m not allergic to any foods), but a food sensitivity test. Apparently, this isn’t as easy to find as you’d think.
I can’t remember how I heard of EverlyWell, but I know they were on my radar before they had their big moment on Shark Tank (one of my all-time favorite TV shows). EverlyWell is a company that offers at-home health testing. No doctors appointments, no health insurance. Just collecting a few drops of blood and sending it off to the lab the company works with. Then you can view your results online. I mean, how can you not want to participate in something that easy?
EverlyWell has a ton of at home tests available, but the highlight for me was knowing there’s a food sensitivity test available. The EverlyWell food sensitivity test measures the body’s IgG immune response to 96 different foods that are most common in western diets. This test is different from a food allergy test. Allergies can be life-threatening, so if you think it’s an allergy you should head to your doctor. Allergies are tested by measuring IgE antibodies, which cannot currently be done at home.
As I said, food sensitivities can trigger different physical symptoms. Some examples are:
- Dry and itchy skin
- Other miscellaneous skin problems (my issue is adult acne)
- Food intolerance
- Feeling bloated after eating
- Joint pain
- Gastrointestinal (GI) distress
- Stomach pain
Are you intrigued yet? I certainly was. Thankfully, I reached out to EverlyWell and they agreed to let me take the test in exchange for a review about the experience. As you guys know by now, I’m always honest and transparent about things like this, so yes, I got to take the test for free, but my experience and opinions are 100% my own opinions. Okay, now that we’re clear about that, let’s dive into my personal experience with this test.
My EverlyWell Experience
I received my test in a timely manner, and everything was so organized it’s basically fool-proof. Here’s what came in the box:
- alcohol wipe
- 3 lancets
- sample collection card
- biohazard bag
- EverlyWell bandage holder
- mailing bag
- registration code
The first thing you do when you have your kit is go to the EverlyWell website and get it all registered. Since all of your results are online, this is very important. After you get your kit registered it’s time to get your blood sample collected.
Using your ring or pinky finger (that’s what they suggest anyway) for the sample, all you do is wash your hands under running warm water (they don’t say anything about soap) for 30 seconds, dry, then take the alcohol wipe and clean the area. Use the lancet to prick your skin, then squeeze so you get a complete drop of blood. in a perfect world, you get 5 beautiful drops smack in the center of the circles on the first try, however, we all know things don’t always work out like that. Hence the bonus lancets, just in case you need to prick yourself again. Once your samples are collected let the card air dry for 30 minutes before putting it in the biohazard bag. Then package it back in the box, put it in the already labeled bag and send it off. Easy peasy!
Once the package arrives at the lab they’ll let you know and then it’s about 5 business days until your results are ready. I was super anxious to get them simply because I love knowing what is going on in my body, good, bad, or otherwise, and these results would hopefully give me even more insight into how my body works and how I can aid it in feeling its best. Finally, 4 days later (yes, earlier than estimated) my results were in!
My EverlyWell Food Sensitivity Test Results
The first thing you see when you log in to your test results is a summary page telling you how many of each of the 96 foods landed in which level of reactivity. Your 4 options are high, moderate, mild, and low reactivities. Foods clocking in at high and moderate are the ones most likely to be causing any issues and are the place to start when it comes to elimination in your diet. After doing that they suggest trying to eliminate some of the mild reactivity foods and after a period of time adding them back in one by one to see if they cause any of your issues as well.
Ready to see my results?? Drum roll, please!
Right off the bat, I can rest easy, as there are ZERO foods that I’m highly reactive to. Hallelujah, happy day! However, you can see that I’m not totally in the clear, as I do have a whopping 1 food in the moderate category and 19 in the mild category. Any guesses as to what my most reactive food is? I thought for sure I’d be reactive in some way to dairy products, because dairy can cause acne and digestive issues and thanks to my love of protein, which includes yogurt, cheese, and of course all of the whey protein found in Quest products, it would only make sense that dairy is my obvious answer. Was I right??
This deserves another drumroll…
Yup! Apparently, the food I am most reactive to is grapes. Who would have thought? Certainly not me!
Thankfully that’s the only thing that had a high enough reactivity for me to be concerned. I also reacted to 19 foods in the mild area, and the rest were low (meaning nothing to be concerned about) reactivity. See all of my results below.
The surprises (other than the grapes) were gluten (and everything associated with it) and eggs being reactive and dairy having low enough reactivity where it isn’t an issue. I thought for sure dairy would be something that causes an issue for me, but alas, I was wrong!
Will this change any of my habits? Maybe..
Grapes aren’t difficult for me to give up, as I don’t consume them much anyway. The biggest sacrifice would be having to give up wine. I don’t drink often at all, so having the occasional glass of wine is totally worth it for me, as I rarely overdo it anyway. Generally, leaving grapes behind will be easy.
Gluten and eggs were a big shocker, and they’re both things that are in my diet every single day. Will I stop eating them? Probably not, but I will be considerate of the amount I consume in the future. Mindfulness is key here.
If I wanted to properly do an elimination diet, EverlyWell suggests eliminating all reactive foods for 30 days, then slowly re-introducing them one by one until you discover which food is the one causing the problem. While this is something I could do, I don’t immediately feel the need to go through such a serious process. However, if lightning and being mindful of consuming the foods I appear to be reactive to doesn’t solve my problems, then I might consider doing an elimination diet in the future. For now, I’m just going to be aware of what I’m eating and try and focus on more foods with a low reactivity, and peppering in my miles reactivity foods when they really count.
So that was my experience getting a food sensitivity test done from the comfort of my own home. Does this have you intrigued yet? If yes, I’ve got great news for you. The lovely people EverlyWell gave me a special code just for my readers.
Use code DIVADIVINE for 15% off any EverlyWell test!! Hooray!
I emphasize the word any test because EverlyWell does more than just the at-home food sensitivity test. You can test your hormone levels, metabolism, and even get STD testing from the comfort of your own home thanks to this company. There’s an entire list of available tests on their website, so head over to EverlyWell to find out what tests are available to you. My code will get you 15% off whatever test you might decide to try.
Have you ever had a food sensitivity test done? What were your reactions to the results, and did they change your eating habits in any way? Let me know in the comments below.