Food allergies and sensitivities are on the rise in recent years. Discover your hidden food sensitivities and unlock your best health!
Food allergies and intolerances can be rough sometimes. If you have read my blog for a while you know that my family has had a lot of experience with food allergies and food sensitivities (I often use the words sensitivity and intolerance interchangeably in my writing).
My son has severe peanut allergies, my daughter has a severe allergy to tree nuts (especially hazelnuts) and peanuts, and they both have several other food allergies between them, like dairy, soy, tomatoes, eggs, etc.
As for me, I have had food allergies and intolerances since I was a child as well, beginning with dairy, which has progressively worsened over the years. My food allergies and sensitivities expanded as I got older to include other foods, along with my IBS which adds some dietary challenges to the list.
All those food allergies and intolerances in our house definitely make cooking challenging! But on the plus side, it keeps us very aware of our food choices and it keeps me creative in the kitchen. I’ve discovered over the years that allergy-friendly food can still be AMAZING!
What’s the difference between food allergies and food sensitivities?
So many people have food allergies and sensitivities these days, and people often get them confused. What’s the difference between food sensitivity and food allergy? The answer lies in how our body is equipped to respond to invaders. There are different branches of our immune systems, and different ways our body can react to the foods we eat.
Our bodies respond to foods we eat by either thinking it’s fuel (yay!), or by thinking it’s a foreign substance that is bad for us (not good). If our body thinks a food is bad for us, it will create antibodies to initiate an immune response when we eat it again to take care of the “hazard” that is simply food.
True food allergies are mediated by IgE antibodies, while food sensitivities are mediated by IgG and IgA antibodies. Food allergies are usually sudden, quick onset, and more severe, while sensitivities and intolerances are usually delayed onset and much less severe but still damaging to our health.
The EverlyWell test kit for food sensitivities comes with everything you need!
Symptoms of food sensitivity can include things like acne, eczema and dermatitis, headaches, aching joints and muscles, fatigue, and many other subtle signs that people often overlook or mistake for something else.
Because food allergies are immediate, they are usually easier to spot than food sensitivities, which are a bit harder to pinpoint since reactions can be delayed. Food sensitivities are “hidden” in a sense because they are much more difficult for people to see and IgG and IgA food reactions have often been misunderstood and under-researched in recent years.
EverlyWell Food Sensitivity Test
If you suspect you have food sensitivities, it’s a great idea to get some blood tests done to see what foods work best with your body. I’ve had a food intolerance blood test before and it helped a lot with identifying foods that were making me not feel good. I have also had several standard allergy tests done with skin pricks, and these have been helpful as well.
New companies like EverlyWell make those blood tests easier to get (and more affordable oftentimes) by allowing you to get them through the mail.
Getting several different tests can give you a comprehensive idea of how our body reacts to foods and can help you make food choices that result in better health.
EverlyWell offers a convenient at-home food sensitivity test kit that measures your body’s IgG antibody reactions to 96 different foods. While there is currently no home-based IgA testing kit, EverlyWell is working on one to make food sensitivity testing more comprehensive.
The food sensitivity test results are easy to read
Getting an EverlyWell test done is easy:
- Order your kit online
- Once your kit arrives, collect blood samples with the enclosed lancet and sample card (it’s not bad!)
- Mail your samples back in the pre-paid envelope and wait for your results, which will be emailed to you
The lab tests for food sensitivities by checking the IgG reactions between your blood and different foods. The amount of IgG generated is categorized into 4 tiers: none, mild moderate, and severe.
EverlyWell will email a link to your results in about 1 to 2 weeks. When you click through and login, you can see which foods you react to most, and which foods you react to the least. Once you get your test results, you can start experimenting with your diet and foods to figure out what makes you feel the best.
Since food sensitivity is highly individual, it will take time to find out what works best for your body. This isn’t too bad, though, since it will give you a new appreciation for the connection between your food and your health.
Disclaimer: this information is intended to be informational only and is not intended to replace the advice of your qualified healthcare professional.
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist