The question of whether or not to have blood work or skin testing done for food allergies is one I get asked a lot.

I thought I'd share my response to Stephanie's question below, which she sent in response to Guilt, Failure, and "Bad Food" Games, so that you can hear my thoughts on allergy testing and the steps I took to get me to where I am today with food.

Q:

Hi Sheila,

...When you thought you were allergic to certain foods, did you get tested or have reactions? Or did you just fear the food itself?

I got a skin test done that showed I was sensitive to wheat, rye, and barley. Although I don't avoid it ALL the time, 99% of the time I do, I feel so much better when I do, and I've done things to challenge myself to see if I will react, every time its pretty much the same way.

What do you think I should do? It's really aggravating having to constantly worry and think about it. I also feel like when I eat chicken it aggravates my stomach too.

- Stephanie


A:

Hi Stephanie,

You're frustrations sound really familiar. When I thought I was allergic to certain foods, I had been going to a succession of alternative doctors that used something called Nutritional Response Testing (NRT) to test whether or not a patient is allergic.

Basically the doctor puts various foods, supplements, etc on your body to see if you test strongly or if it weakens your strength, thus meaning that it doesn't do well in your body. Here's a video that shows you the gist of NRT.

Each doctor told me different things contradicting one another and I just kept spending more and more money on supplements to fix myself, all the while never really getting better. So, I gave up.

In hindsight I wonder if the doctor's own body could affect the results he finds for each patient because in NRT he is using his own body as a conduit for the testing.

I've never been tested for food allergies through blood work. I think I was scared as to what I would find (blood work seemed so permanent). By the time I got fed up with going to doctors to "fix" myself, I had come to the conclusion that my body could heal itself so blood work results seemed trivial to me because it was just a snapshot in time.

Who's to say the results wouldn't be different a few months or years later? Prior to the succession of alternative doctors, I had been seeing traditional doctors for many years regarding my thyroid and hormones, and wasn't really impressed by the care I had received.

I was so frustrated, exhausted, and angry that I wasn't seeing any positive results from all the work (and dollars spent) that I just gave up on both alternative and traditional medicine and I made a conscious, clear decision that I was done with everybody else's opinion of what I needed to do. I was going to do it my way.

My best advice is to fill your plate with foods that:

1) make you feel good

2) are super tasty

That way, you will miss the foods that don't seem to do well in your body less… you'll think about them less… and then not eating them will slowly become less of a big deal.

From my experience, I've learned that just because you have a sensitivity to them right now, doesn't always mean you will forever.

Our bodies change, especially as we work through emotional stuff and let go of stress and baggage. That being said, you're body isn't likely to heal overnight, which is why for now, it's probably best to just not eat these foods you mention that you have a reaction to.

After hearing that everything from chicken, to wine, to spinach, to chocolate!! and on and on (all things I love to eat) were "bad" for me, it took me a while to work up to being able to eat them again.

Our mind is a powerful tool… what we believe becomes our reality. I knew that if I just started eating them again right away while I still had the belief that I was allergic to them (even though I wanted so badly to believe that I could eat them), that they wouldn't do well in my body.

So, I waited. Over time that old belief that my body couldn't handle certain foods began to fade and a new, strong belief that my body is a resilient, amazing machine took over.

I had been working on a lot of emotional things and had been letting go of being so scared of eating the wrong things… ideas that I got from reading and researching A LOT about health, food, the "right" dieting (online, in magazines, in the media, etc).

Once I started feeling strongly that maybe I would be okay with these foods, I tested out high quality versions of them in small amounts… not all at once, but little by little and guess what… my body responded well!

Now I am able to eat most of the foods that I used to think I was allergic to with no problems, although at times I do notice that I have a slight reaction (gassy tummy). Most often though, this is when I eat while multi-tasking, stressed, or if it was a really low quality form of that food.

Most of my meals are Paleo-ish, but I do eat things like oatmeal most days and I have wheat, sugar, alcohol sometimes too. The difference though is that I'm not avoiding them now and I don't feel deprived of them, I just really really love eating other foods more.

I've found this balance through tuning into my own body/intuition over and above what "they" all say.

I hope that was helpful. I'm not a doctor, so keep in mind this is all from personal experience and my work with clients. Let me know if you need any clarification.

xo Sheila

Note: This is my own personal path and since I'm not a doctor, I am not suggesting this is the path for anyone else. I realize for some people with severe food allergies, this may not be the right path for them.

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