Life would be much easier if there were a simple, precise test to pinpoint food triggers. Many companies claim to have the magic answer, but every test gives a different result, and there is no research to prove that one test is better than the others. IgG is the most common type of testing, so I’ve written a blog post specifically on this topic: Five Reasons I Don’t Recommend IgG Food Testing.
I understand why health practitioners sell food sensitivity testing. It is a lot easier than helping clients work through the difficult process of “figuring it out.” Luckily, there are a few of us that don’t mind helping clients with this! I’ve listed four tools below that can make this process easier.
If you have trouble pinpointing exact triggers or your food triggers seem inconsistent, non-diet triggers may be involved in your symptoms (see Inconsistent Food Sensitivity- Why is this Happening? and Is it Food Sensitivity? ).
Food and Symptom Journals
With a food and symptom journal, you record what you eat and your symptoms in a timeline (usually one page per day). Keep the journal for at least one week. If you have sporadic symptoms, try to capture at least four symptom episodes. After you have finished recording, review the journal to see if there are any patterns between your intake and symptoms. I will be posting an article with more details on this topic in March 2019. If you want further instructions in the meantime, please contact me.
Potential Food Trigger List
Another option is to keep a list of potential triggers. If you suspect a food trigger, record the date, food, symptoms, timing, etc.). Ideally, keep eating the food, because something else may have caused your symptoms. Once you have several entries, review your list and look for patterns. If there are no patterns, your symptoms are probably not related to specific foods. Some clients find that their perception of a food changes by re-reading their previous entries. In this case, you could write the information on a piece of paper and put it an envelope. Don’t look at the papers, until it is time to review them for patterns.
Elimination and Reintroduction
With this tool, you eliminate suspected triggers, then reintroduce them to see if symptoms return. If severe symptoms are suspected, reintroductions should be in a hospital or medically supervised office with equipment to treat anaphylaxis - particularly if you have asthma or have experienced a rapid drop in blood pressure. You should also consider medical supervision if your doctor has told you that you have IgE antibodies to the food you are reintroducing.
Rotation Meal Plans
A rotation meal plan is helpful for those who lose tolerance to foods they eat frequently. A greater variety can be eaten, by rotating foods. A four-day rotation is most common (i.e., different foods on day 1, day 2, etc.) In addition, rotation meal plans can help Identifying food triggers. For example, if your symptoms are usually worse on Day 1, a Day 1 food (or the previous day) is probably a trigger. If the timing of your symptoms is sporadic, despite following a consistent rotation meal plan, food is probably not the cause.
If you don’t tolerate enough variety for a rotation meal plan, I can help you expand your diet.
Need more guidance with these tools? I can help you through the process of identifying food triggers.