If you are someone who struggles with unexplained, sometimes “chronic” symptoms you never seem to be able to pinpoint…or maybe notice a wax/wane, ebb & flow pattern thinking maybe, just maybe…you’re on the right track, eating the right foods, taking the right supplements…just to have it all stop making sense again….then I feel you. I feel like I’ve gone through it all…but completely blind. To be honest, this isn’t something I ever talk about on Instagram but behind the scenes, in real life—I’ve been on a wellness quest to figure out why my body just isn’t feeling—right. And to be even more honest and transparent, have become somewhat frustrated by doctors citing stress as the cause of everything, or wanting to jump to medications without really addressing the root cause or acknowledging that there might be an easier, more holistic fix.
Don’t get me wrong, I do know how impactful stress can be on the body and am in no way saying you shouldn’t speak up to your doctor about your own concerns or consider stress as a legitimate cause. I’ve just recently started to realize the importance of being my (your) own health advocate.
For me, that has looked like hours of scouring the internet and self-diagnosing. As much as I’m embarrassed to admit that, it’s completely true and I can’t imagine I’m the only one out there doing this! This is where EverlyWell comes in so perfectly. EverlyWell is a service that provides at-home lab testing that’s easy, affordable and insightful. They have 30+ at-home testing kits for everything from fertility to hormones to thyroid, inflammation, metabolism, food sensitivity and more. Essentially, they allow you the freedom to get real results in the comfort of your own home, no random self-diagnosing required. 🙌🏼
One of the things that has given me quite a lot of confusion lately has been diet and wondering how much what I’m eating is playing a role in my symptoms. In the past, I’ve gone dairy-free, gluten-free, avoided this, taken that…and sometimes I will notice myself feeling better or experiencing less symptoms but I never 100%, without uncertainty, know what’s right for my body—and, more importantly—what foods I’m eating might not be.
I’ve considered doing a full-on elimination diet on my own, but that is quite a process, and to be frank—requires some serious dedication, tracking and time that most people just don’t have. As much as a try to track symptoms, I get completely lost and have a hard time following through. That is why I am so thrilled to partner with EverlyWell to take their at-home Food Sensitivity Test to help me through the process.
Maybe I’m in the minority here but I honestly had no idea the extent of the impact food sensitivities could have. I’ve always struggled with stomach issues and have suspected certain foods, but did you know foods can also trigger an immune response that can manifest in physical symptoms like fatigue, migraines, joint pain, headaches, trouble concentrating?
While I do have some symptoms I’ve also suspected might be hormonal, I thought a food sensitivity test would be a great place to start because I also know the impact the right foods and diet can have on your body—even in balancing your hormones—and I want to make sure I’m creating the best possible environment for my body to thrive. Basically, as someone who experiences many of the above symptoms, I set out to start by finding out if any foods could be in play!
How does EverlyWell work?
It really is so simple. You head to their site where you can choose from any of their tests, which you then purchase and have delivered to your doorstep. Your kit arrives with everything you need to perform your sample collection at home—bandaids included! It’s actually really adorable. The Food Sensitivity Test requires a blood sample, which I did have my boyfriend physically perform but they truly make it so easy and it was quick and painless. If you’re a rule/instruction follower like me—they lay it ALL out for you. And you only need 5 small drops of blood, it’s really not bad!
You then return your sample via pre-paid shipping to a certified lab and an independent board-certified physician will review your results. Once received and verified, your results will be ready online within a few days! Mine was exactly 3 days from when the lab received my sample.
How does the Food Sensitivity Test work?
This is a blood test that tests your body’s IgG (immunoglobulin) response to 96 foods that are commonly found in our diets. Basically, certain foods can trigger a reaction from your IgG antibodies, which can then manifest in those symptoms listed above plus things like bloating, dry and itchy skin & stomach pain. Your results will tell you if you have a low, mild or high reactivity to those 96 foods. What I really love about EverlyWell’s Food Sensitivity Test is that you don’t just find out if you’re sensitive to “dairy,” it will actually pinpoint the type of dairy, i.e., cows milk, yogurt, cheddar cheese… That’s huge.
ALMONDS! Almonds?? I eat almond butter every. single. day, you guys. I’ve been experiencing extreme bloating (like we’re talking food baby bloated) and when I think of my stomach issues, even itchy skin, rashes, etc—I think of dairy, gluten, wheat…the things I’ve eliminated from my diet in the past. I would never in a million years have guessed almonds or any other tree nut might be causing a reaction. But it turns out, almonds are a HIGH reactivity for me. This is the only food listed in my high reactivity category, which gives me a great place to start. The next top 5 that follow are in the mild reactivity category and include green beans, wheat, bakers yeast, cows milk and gluten, which makes sense to me and I do already generally try to avoid gluten and cows milk. Green beans—that’s a new one.
Results are in…what now?
To be clear, just because something is listed as having reactivity doesn’t automatically mean you will experience symptoms from consuming it, but it does mean you can consider removing it from your diet to see if your symptoms are alleviated, followed by adding it back in. It’s so fascinating to see my results list almond as a high reactivity, because it gives me a starting point for what could potentially be causing some of my symptoms. And I never would have guessed it on my own.
You can also use your results to try out potential substitutions or identify hidden sources like supplements, sauces, etc. For me, I generally avoid cows milk but you know what my usual substitution is? Almond milk. Moving forward, I can try alternatives like coconut milk to see if this might make a difference. I’m also looking forward to seeing just which symptoms might be coming from my almond consumption, so I can have a clearer picture.
It’s been pretty mind-blowing to me how many women, men, people I’ve had conversations with who experience so many of the symptoms we’ve talked about above. Or just have a general lack of knowledge or answers about their health issues. I think doing a test like this (or any of EverlyWell’s tests) is such an amazing opportunity for self-awareness and care.
If you have lingering symptoms you can’t explain and suspect food sensitivity is at play—I highly recommend trying out this test as a starting point, so you’re able to more easily pinpoint what may be causing a reaction. I am thrilled to have this knowledge and do plan to try more of their at-home tests.
EverlyWell has so generously provided a coupon code for any of you to use at checkout. You can use code “GOLD” for 15% off.
If you’ve done this test, plan to do this test, or have figured out a food sensitivity on your own—I would LOVE to hear! Was it surprising? Do you suspect you might have a food sensitivity? Let me know if you have any questions at all and I’m more than happy to answer.
As always, thank you so much for reading! I know this was a long one!
*This post is brought to you in collaboration with EverlyWell. All thoughts and opinions remain my own*