Food is one of the few things I tolerate well.
I’ll patiently wait for good food even if I’m hangry.
My food tolerance is only mental. It turns out that I have
a shit load many food intolerances. I’ve never had any allergies to foods. I don’t experience pain from eating certain things. What I do get is bloating and gas. That bloat is something I either attributed to genetics (“I just wasn’t meant to have abs”) or to eating in volume (have I mentioned I love to eat?).
Reading this post by Megan opened my eyes to a whole new possibility. One can have intolerances to foods without necessarily being allergic. Who knew?! In fact, many of the foods people are allergic to (gluten, nuts, whey) I don’t have intolerance issues with. It’s all the other stuff that troubles me.
After talking to Megan, I decided to get the Alcat Test done. The Alcat Test is the “gold standard” laboratory method for identifying reactions to foods, chemicals, and other categories of substances. Up to 80% of the population may have at least 1 food intolerance! Here are a few signs that it might be something you should consider:
- Gas, stomach pain, or bloating
- Headaches or migraines
- Inability to gain or lose weight
- Skin conditions (like acne)
Food intolerances are difficult to diagnose without a blood test because symptoms may not occur every time, or reactions can be delayed. Looking back, this sounds exactly like what I was experiencing! It is not a cheap test, but after seeing my results I know it was worn every penny. If I can heal my gut, the return on that investment will last a lifetime!
So what were my results? I’ll show you… from what I have read and in talking with Megan, I have more intolerances that is “normal.” Why can’t I ever do anything the easy way?!
As you can see, I am intolerant to basically everything.*
The red is what I’m most severely affected by, orange slightly less, yellow is mild, and the green and blue are the foods I have no issues with. The red doesn’t look so bad until you realize that olives are on the list. Olives = olive oil.
The orange explains a lot about why – even at <10% body fat pre-figure competition – my abs barely showed. Most “standard” competition foods are in the orange! While I was shoveling down sweet potatoes, asparagus, and spinach… my gut was rebelling and bloating. No wonder!
The panel also includes food additives, food colorings, and herbs. Those weren’t bad for me – most of the herbs I didn’t even recognize.
*That’s only a slight exaggeration. I am intolerant to many of the things that are staples in my diet.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know i’ve been doing a cleanse already. I’m ditching that because there are SO many foods I now need to avoid. Girl needs to eat! Megan had a similar experience with having a lot of intolerances and was able to empathize and walk me through a work-able solution.
Unlike food allergies, intolerances can actually go away if your gut is given the opportunity to heal. Alcat recommends eliminating foods in the red, orange, and yellow areas. There are SO many on my list that we decided to break it up. Again, I need to eat! I’m not in pain or otherwise suffering terribly, so I took Megan’s lead and decided to do a rotation.
Everything in the red I will eliminate for 6 months. No compromises. Megan helped me divide the orange and yellow sections into two groups. I’ll eliminate half for 3 months, and then slowly add them back as I eliminate the other half for 3 months. It’s still a lot but I’m not as overwhelmed as I was initially.
This is a big one for me. I didn’t anticipate the results being so vast… or the feelings I had about it. I am not a terribly emotional person, but I went through a grieving process! First I was angry. I declared the test to be total bull shit and started researching.
Then I was sad. What would I do without olive oil, sweet potatoes, vanilla… who the f%&^ has an intolerance to vanilla?! (Obviously I wavered back to anger.) I felt a real sense of loss!
Finally, acceptance. I realized that 6 months isn’t THAT long in the grand scheme of things. I feel a little hope and relief knowing that doing this could solve my tummy troubles. How cool would it be to see my abs?! Not to mention the gas relief (I can clear a room, y’all). I talked to Megan, who gave me a ton of support and a plan that would work for me. We divided those orange and yellow foods up so that I can eat seasonally and have workable solutions to avoid nearly impossible food situations.
For example: I’m giving up wheat for the first 3 months, but keeping rice and oats. This way I can take advantage of many gluten-free carb options.
How Do You Get Tested?
Getting tested is the easiest part. My practitioner, Megan, ordered the test for me and helped me coordinate how to get my blood drawn. You can go to your doctor or a clinic to get your blood drawn. I opted to have a mobile phlebotomist come to my office – it took all of 5 minutes and the results were back in 5 business days. I then had a phone consultation with Megan, who very patiently explained the results to me, answered a million questions, and helped me determine the next course of action.
You can select any practitioner, but I do recommend Megan. (No, I’m not getting a kickback.) 🙂
So there you have it. It’s going to be an interesting 6 months, but I’m game. I have already told many of my friends what’s going on and am lucky to have great support system.
I also ended the weekend with a beer and ice cream (not together), and got to unwind with a mud run! It was a marvelous weekend and helped put me in the right frame of mind to start my elimination diet Monday with a BANG.
I’m still nervous.
Have you ever considered/had a food allergy or intolerance test done?
If you do have food sensitivities, how do you cope with the limitations?