Food Sensitivity Testing

Elimination-provocation testing for food and environmental irritants is a two-stage process: an elimination diet and then a provocation challenge test. Elimination-provocation testing requires your determination and commitment because you must radically change your diet to find out which foods you are reacting to.

Often, the foods we are sensitive to are the ones we depend on most, so you may have to do without some of your favorite foods for a while. Over the past few years, I have been using an elimination diet that works well for nearly all of my clients (except those with candida).

This program allows all fruit (except citrus), all vegetables (except tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers), and white rice. You can eat as much of these foods as you like, plus olive oil and safflower oil for stir-frying and on salads. In addition, I often use a rice-protein, nutrient-enriched drink that helps detoxify your system and ensures your protein needs are met.

The foods allowed during the elimination diet are unlikely to cause food sensitivities. If food sensitivities are provoking symptoms, you’ll find you feel terrific eating this way. In fact, some people feel better than they have in years. Elimination of the offending foods gives your digestive system a chance to heal over several months’ time because you are no longer irritating it.

After seven to fourteen days on the elimination diet, you begin the provocation challenge. By slowly reintroducing foods into your diet, you can test yourself for your reactions. Do you become sleepy thirty minutes after eating wheat? Does cheese give you diarrhea? Do you itch all over after eating oranges? Do your joints ache after eating tomatoes?

Through careful observation, you can detect many foods you have become sensitive to. Once you become familiar with your body’s reaction, you can identify sensitivities, though it may be necessary to test a food several times to be certain of your reaction.

To enhance the elimination-provocation food testing process, many people also find it useful to have a blood test for IgG and IgE antibody reactions to determine food and environmental sensitivities. Some labs also include testing for IgA and IgM antibodies.

While many foods may be unmasked during the eliminationprovocation challenge, others may remain hidden. If you suspect that chemicals, molds, or pollens are causing problems, you should also be screened for them. (Labs offer these tests either separately or as part of a complete screening package.)

Sensitivities are rated from normal to severe reactions. In addition to a detailed readout documenting your personal reactions, most laboratories also include a list of foods that contain hidden sources of the offending foods, a rotation menu, and other educational material to help you in the healing process.