Discovering Food Sensitivities with EverlyWell
Over the years I have gone from no food awareness at all - literally surviving on Cheez-its and Oreos - to becoming a raw vegan, to where I am now which is eating a predominantly plant-based diet, with an emphasis on eating local foods. I travel for a living, so my current way of eating helps keep me grounded. Since I met my fiancé over 2 years ago, I have not had any gluten or dairy because he is highly reactive to those foods and it was just easier for me to stay away as well.
When EverlyWell reached out to partner, I was overjoyed to see that they offer a food sensitivity at-home test! I had never taken a food sensitivity test before. In fact, the most scientific assessment I have ever done of my diet has been keeping a food journal for a week. I was grateful that EverlyWell offers a better way to take control of my health.
The test-taking process is so easy. The morning I took my test I was rushing to catch a flight, so I only had a few minutes to take the test. It turns out, that’s all I needed! It was foolproof with pictures and clear instructions. I even forgot to register my kit (which was step one) but with one email, we were back on track. I was honestly worried about pricking myself with the lancet to collect my blood sample. All of my grade school nurse’s office nightmares came flooding back. To my surprise, there was ZERO pain. It was the tiniest little prick, no big deal at all. Once I filled the paper sample, I placed it in the box, placed that inside the prepaid envelope, dropped it into the mail, and that was it. Done! Super easy. I received a confirmation email within a few days.
Once my results were ready, I had a call with EverlyWell. They were so helpful and answered every question I had for them. First being: “But I’ve never eaten that…so why is it showing up?”
They said the main reason I may have some reactivity to foods that I’ve never eaten before, or haven't had in a very long time, could be due to cross-reactivity. While they are testing IgG reactivity against certain food proteins, sensitivities I may have to other substances can cause a cross-reactivity and yield a result you might not expect. For example, dairy came up on my “Mild Reactivity” list, and I know I haven’t had any dairy in the last year. The cross-reactivity in this case is environmental, specifically from Cedar trees. This can show up on the test the same way as Dairy products. That was fascinating to me, because I hike everyday and see that tree all over Boulder, CO.
I didn’t have anything that came back as “High Reactivity” but I had 3 that were considered “Moderate”: 1. Gluten 2. Wheat 3. Peanuts.
Noooooooooooo…. I could eat an entire jar of peanut butter in one day (and I have haha.) To be honest, some part of me knew this, since I would experience symptoms of bloating and stomach after eating peanut butter. But I liked the taste so much that I was in serious denial...
The gluten and wheat was very interesting since I hadn’t had any of that either, but they said cross contamination can occur in restaurants and cross reactivity I mentioned above could also be the cause. While I am not taking any prescription drugs right now, they told me that approximately 80% of prescription drugs use gluten as a filler. Gluten and/or wheat can also be found in supplements, chapsticks and lip gloss and other crazy things you may not even think of. What?! That’s nuts.
They suggested I eliminate my top 3 from my Moderate list, and the top 10 on my Mild list.
The EverlyWell team suggested an elimination diet, which is to remove these foods from my diet for thirty days. Then begin re-introducing one food at a time, eat as much as you'd like on the first day. Do not eat it on days 2-4 and pay close attention to your symptoms (if you have any). Then you can start the process over again with the next food. This process if very tedious but it's great at pinpointing which foods are causing the most symptoms.
Honestly, I found the process of taking an at-home test and having results at my fingertips almost immediately so empowering! Everlywell has thirty-one tests available - everything from food to fertility, to sleep and stress tests. I cannot wait to keep going on this journey - to understand my body and address health issues as a person, not as a patient - creating a deeper understanding of life, health, and longevity.