For the last year, my favorite on-the-go, quick breakfast has been from Starbucks: a caramel macchiato with 2% milk, and a spinach, feta, and egg-white wrap. Little did I know that this very breakfast I thought was giving me energy was doing the exact opposite — causing lethargy and irritability — because of food sensitivity.
Turns out, ‘Food sensitivity’ really is a thing.
I never gave much regard to “food sensitivities.” All the hullabaloo, I thought, boiled down to overreactions. I laughed out loud at JP Sears in the below video, which contains such gems as, “Being gluten intolerant is a fantastic opportunity for you to assert your dominance on the lives of everyone around you,” and “Once you take your gluten-free vows, you’ll need to have an automatic understanding that every medical condition is caused by gluten.” (And, I still laugh at it!)
Recently, however, I discovered EverlyWell, an Internet/mail-order company that sells testing kits you can do at home, mail in, and receive results for a fraction of the price — and a lot more privacy — that it would cost for lab work at a doctor’s office. Intrigued and curious, I ordered an Everlywell Food Sensitivity kit. The regular price is $199. (However, you can save 10% by ordering with my referral link, below.)
‘Food sensitivities’ are different from ‘allergies.’
EverlyWell tests sensitivity to 96 common foods and ingredients, including ones you may not normally consider, like mustard, dill, black tea, safflower, lamb, corn, and grape.
EverlyWell does not test for “allergies,” and there is a difference between allergies and sensitivities. Allergies involve immunoglobulin E (igE) antibodies and result in an immediate response when the body encounters the allergen. Many times the reactions are severe and sometimes even life threatening. On other hand, food sensitivities are caused by immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies. Reactions to food sensitivities can be delayed and are much more subtle, sometimes never really noticed.
Food sensitivities can make us grumpy, icky, and blah.
According to EverlyWell and several other sources, food sensitivities can affect our digestive systems, causing bloating, gas, diarrhea, and difficulty losing weight; respiratory systems, causing runny noses or congestion; skin, causing acne, dry skin, or eczema; and our minds, causing moodiness, “brain fog,” depression, fatigue, hyperactivity, or even anxiety. Other side effects can include joint pain, inflammation, headaches, and more.
There have been times when, after breakfast or lunch, I felt a certain sluggishness. I used to call it the “afternoon lulls.” Concentration would be difficult, and occasionally I felt grumbly and slightly irritable. I often wanted to take a nap. Because these effects were never overly severe, I thought they were normal. To cope, I tried things like a short, brisk walk, a cup of espresso, citrus scented essential oils, or mid-day meditation. I had no idea, but my coping mechanisms were mere Band-Aids. Little did I know my afternoon“lulls” were food sensitivity side effects.
EverlyWell’s Food Sensitivity test is quick and easy
The test came with sanitary needles to prick my finger, a card to collect blood drops, band-aids, and a bag and box in which to send my blood sample to the lab. It took less than 15 minutes to draw my own blood (it was easy and painless) and package up the results.
I popped it in the mail with the postage-paid sticker and waited. Days later, EverlyWell notified me by email that my results were ready. I logged on and immediately saw them in in an easy-to-understand, interactive web format.
Of the 96 foods tested, only two were considered to cause “high reactivity,” and four “moderate reactivity.” The most likely foods to make me want to take a nap or have other reactions are:
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Cottage Cheese
My eyes widened because my common morning breakfast included eggs and milk! As sort of a test, I ate a salad containing eggs, then paid attention to the way I felt. Afterward, my face felt flushed, and I experienced sluggishness — definitely a “brain fog.” It was ironic because one reason I even ate eggs in the first place was because many consider them a brain food. For me, however, they are an anti-brain food!
I also better understood why I am so tired after eating bread. Brewer’s yeast was on my medium-reactivity list, and, on my “mild reactivity” list is baker’s yeast, wheat, gluten, barley, and bran.
For me, the results are still new, and it will take some trial and error as I learn how my body reacts to each food on the list. The best thing, however, is that I now am aware and can make a conscious effort to eliminate certain foods to avoid negative reactions — an having to double up on caffeine in the afternoons. Eliminating my reactive foods will help me on those days I need maximum concentration (which, frankly, ha, is most of them!), and hopefully increase my overall productivity.
Save 10% on EverlyWell tests
If you would like to try EverlyWell tests out yourself and save 10%, please use my special referral link here. You will save 10% and I will get a $20 credit toward my next test. The link and referral code will work on any test, including the food sensitivity, metabolism, thyroid, sleep and stress, women’s health and fertility, and more.
This review was not sponsored by Everlywell, and I have not been paid to write this review.