Intolerance Lab

Your Food Intolerance Journey

Hello and welcome to our blog here at the Intolerance Lab. You may be joining us today because you have food intolerances, or perhaps you suspect so but aren’t sure where to go from here. This is the perfect post for you!

Our journey today goes right through from your first inkling of food intolerance, to diagnosis and then how to manage your condition. We’ll talk about how life-changing it can be to have food intolerance testing done and give you some important and useful tips and information on replacement foods and management of your intolerance/s.

Let’s first look at some early signs and symptoms of food intolerances, and where you can go from there.

The early signs of food intolerance.

Food intolerances are not a one size fits all, as each person can have vastly different symptoms. This makes it easy to get a misdiagnosis or no diagnosis at all. These are the most common symptoms that you may experience with food intolerance:

  • Gas – burping, belching, farting
  • Heartburn and severe reflux – GORD
  • Bloating and accompanying abdominal pains
  • Issues with bowel motions, diarrhoea and constipation

These are the more common non-digestive symptoms that you may experience as a result of food intolerance:

  • Inflammatory pains, particularly in joints and in the back
  • Headaches are prevalent, and also migraines
  • Skin conditions – eczema, adult acne, psoriasis etc
  • Mouth ulcers and other immune issues, such as frequent colds and flu
  • Breathing issues and asthma
  • Mood issues such as anxiety and depression
  • Exhaustion and fatigue

This is not a full list of the symptoms that could occur. However, you can see how varied the reactions are and why it can be hard to get a diagnosis if your practitioner is not versed in food intolerances.

An example of a classic food intolerance person would be someone who reacts reasonably quickly after eating their intolerance foods. They may become very gassy, and then bloat

soon after that. Potentially they will develop severe fatigue for no apparent reason, and suffer from itchy skin rashes and postnasal drip. Frequent colds and bugs may also plague them. Food intolerances are very inflammatory and can affect all the different body systems in different ways.

If you are someone who continually feels ‘not quite right’, and ‘always tired’, then we recommend you get a food intolerance test done.

Here is a testimonial that shows you the life-changing effects of our test:

I was very interested in this testing after reading the reviews, I have suffered with many unpleasant symptoms for a few years now and have drawn a blank with my GP, I honestly believe that she thinks I am a hypochondriac! My psoriasis developed about 7 years ago and has been getting me down, after extensive research I decided to give up gluten which relieved alot of my symptoms but my psoriasis remained.

My intolerance lab results found it was actually dairy that was my nemesis, I gave up dairy 6 weeks ago and my skin is starting to clear, I also feel less tired, more active and generally well.

I also had the test for nutrient deficiency and am now eating the recommended foods (not supplements) to rectify this. It’s fare to say I am feeling like a new woman and it was money well spent. Thank you very much Intolerance Lab.

What are the main causes of food intolerance?

The answer to this question is varied and interesting. The main reasons are either;

  1. Pharmacological – such as overuse of specific medications.
  2. Functional – such as having a lack of lactase enzyme which causes lactose intolerance.
  3. Structural such as in leaky gut syndrome.

Other specific factors that are known to cause food intolerances to occur also include:

  • Poor gut health overall, and any kind of digestive disease state such as IBS or chron’s etc.
  • Overuse of antibiotics, as this degrades the digestive lining and causes massive imbalances in the health of your microbiome. Overusing proton pump inhibitors is also a risk factor.
  • Reactions to naturally occurring compounds found in foods, especially salicylates and histamine.

Modern-day living has also given us some potential causative factors, and these include:

  • Poor food quality, due to over-farming and poor soil
  • Overusing pesticides and herbicides
  • Added chemicals, food additives, colours, preservatives etc in our food

Having a condition called Leaky gut is also a known causative factor for food intolerances. This is because the digestive lining is degraded in leaky gut, and food particles can get through into the bloodstream where they cause intolerance symptoms and reactions. Having an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your digestive tract can also cause a lot of gas, stomach cramps and bloating when certain foods are consumed.

If your food intolerance is caused by a lack of specific enzymes, such as in lactose intolerance, then your digestive tract simply can’t digest that food. In the case of lactose intolerance, the lactose reaches the large intestine and the bacteria there create massive fermentation. This fermentation is what causes all of the excessive gas, bloating, watery stools and more.

Certain people also have what we call idiopathic reactions, which means that it isn’t known why or how these reactions occur. There are a few substances that are known to cause these reactions, and they are:

  • Artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame
  • Mono Sodium Glutamate – MSG
  • Food colourings, most commonly an issue in children

Food intolerance reactions are not usually instantaneous and can occur up to 48 hours after food consumption. This is part of the reason why food intolerances can be challenging to diagnose. Food allergy reactions, on the other hand, are immediate, and often life-threatening. 

How do food intolerance and food allergy differ?

Significantly! Sometimes people confuse them and think they are the same, but they are very different.

Food allergy is life-threatening and gives a severe immediate reaction that can include Anaphylaxis, hives and severe swelling of tongue, mouth, lips and eyes.

Food allergies are IgE mediated immune system reactions. Mast cells are degraded when the food allergen is consumed, and they release a large amount of histamine. This is what causes the swelling to occur. People with food allergies need to carry an EpiPen and be very careful when eating out.

There is only a small list of foods that appears to cause genuine food allergy, and only a teeny tiny amount of that food is enough to cause a reaction. The list of foods includes:

  1. Peanuts and tree nuts
  2. Dairy milk and dairy milk products
  3. Eggs
  4. Soybeans and soy products
  5. Wheat
  6. Shellfish and seafood

Food intolerances, on the other hand, can be caused by a wide variety of different foods. Another significant difference between the two is that food intolerances are NOT immune system reactions. They are reactions that occur in the digestive system or bodily organs, and they don’t usually happen immediately. The responses from food intolerances can take up to 24 to 48 hours to occur, and each person may have a different reaction even if they are intolerant to the same food.

Let’s take a peek now at how food intolerance testing works.

Explainingour food intolerance test.

Urine samples, blood samples and skin tests are pathways for food intolerance testing. However, we believe that our hair sample test is the way to go, because it is not invasive, and it tests up to 700+ items.

The process goes like this:

  1. Order your test online.
  2. Receive an email with all of the instructions you need to take your hair sample and complete your test.
  3. Send your sample to us.
  4. We use a few strands of your hair and put it into our bio-resonance machine.
  5. Our machine analyses your hair against 700+ items that are both food and non-food items and then gives a detailed report.
  6. You are then emailed this report, which details any food intolerances present.
  7. We offer after test support to explain your results and what you can do moving forward.

Here is a testimonial from one of our customers:

For most of my life I have suffered with rhinitis, sinusitis, arthritis and breathing difficulties.

Since completing the intolerance test and eliminating foods, etc I can honestly say that i am breathing better and my sinus, rhinitis, etc a lot clearer.

If I accidentally have something that was indicated as an intolerance My nose becomes stuffy. Really pleased with results and intolerance advice.

Here’s what happens when you receive your results.

When we’ve thoroughly tested your hair sample, we send you a report that details all of your food intolerances, and also any non-food intolerances that you may have. You receive it approximately three days after we’ve completed the testing on your sample. 

Your list of intolerances may be on three or four, or there could be twenty. Having the list gives you the opportunity to truly change your health and your life, which is why we are so passionate about what we do here at the Intolerance Lab.

We recommend that when you receive your results, you cut out all of your food intolerances for six weeks minimum, and up to twelve weeks. This allows your body to get rid of any inflammation, and also allows healing and repair to occur in your digestive tract.

You can slowly begin to reintroduce foods on your intolerance list after your six to twelve weeks are up. Add them one at a time, and give three days before adding any new foods. This helps you to see where the reactions may be coming from, and if you are still intolerant to the foods. 

We also recommend that alongside removing your food intolerance foods, you also embark on some digestive healing. Let’s have a look at how you can do this.

Ways to support your digestive health at home

A significant cause of food intolerances is poor digestive health and bacterial imbalances. After removing your intolerance foods, you can then add extra support to your gut through the following simple methods as relevant to you:

Consume a soft foods diet for two to three weeks. Soups, stews and slow-cooked foods give your digestive system a break, as they are partially digested already via the cooking method. This is a gentle way to help increase your healing.

Take gut-healing supplements, such as aloe vera juice. 15ml of this each morning can be very restorative to your gut.

Chew your food very well, so that it feels like a liquid in your mouth. This increases the number of nutrients and vitamins your body can get from the food, and eases the load on your stomach.

Consume water between meals, but not with them. Having a drink half an hour either side of your meals is a reasonable amount of time to wait. The reason is that having water with your food can dilute your stomach juices, making digestion harder.

Stick to whole foods in their natural state—vegetables, fruits, good quality meats etc. Cut out processed foods, as they are not food and they take a real toll on your gut.

Digestive enzymes can be beneficial if you are struggling a lot with bloating and feeling heavy when you eat. Take one with each meal; you can access them from health food stores or online. 

Certain probiotics will also assist you. Saccharomyces boulardi, otherwise known as SB, is a great one to take. The dosage is one a day for eight weeks, or two months. It helps to restore your microbiome to a more healthy balance of good bacteria.

If you have further issues and need some specialised help, seek out a Naturopath who can take you on a personalised gut healing journey.

Food substitutes for common food intolerances

We know how daunting food intolerances can be, especially when it’s to something that occurs very commonly in our modern-day diets. For example, wheat, eggs and cow’s milk. Some people have all three intolerances but don’t worry, there are still plenty of delicious foods that you can try.

Cows milk and milk products – It feels like milk is in everything these days, in some form or another. Luckily there are loads of replacements.

These days you can readily find the following milks in the supermarket or health food store:

Almond milk

Coconut milk

Macadamia and other nut milk

Lots of varieties of soy milk

Oat milk

Other plant-based milk

We’ve found through our experiments that you can make excellent baked goods, have a delicious breakfast and make yummy hot drinks with the above milk options.

As far as yoghourt these days, supermarkets have several options. They include:

  • Almond milk yoghourt
  • Soy yoghourts
  • Coconut yoghourts

Savoury yeast flakes are an excellent option for giving a cheesy flavour in cooking and make great white sauce. There are also many vegan kinds of cheese that you can try.

Eggs – these are another prevalent intolerance.

Soft tofu makes a great alternative to scrambled eggs, as you can scramble it up with some mushrooms and spring onion to make a delicious breakfast or lunch. 

When it comes to baking, there are several excellent options for egg replacement.

  • You can buy egg replacer, most supermarkets stock it
  • Chia seeds and ground-up flaxseeds make good egg alternatives – you mix 1 tbsp of the seed with 3 tbsp water and allow it to sit and thicken.
  • Banana – mash it up and use it as an egg alternative in cakes and muffins.

If you want to make something like a pavlova, you can use aquafaba. This is the fancy name for the liquid from a tin of chickpeas. Drain it into a blender or food processor and whip it up like you would do with egg whites. It whips into white peaks, and you can use it just like you would ordinary egg whites. Amazing right!

Wheat – You can find so many good replacements for wheat flour.

  • Gluten-free flour blends – these are great for gluten-free baking
  • Quinoa flour – this is really nutritious
  • Buckwheat flour – makes delicious pancakes
  • Rice flour – is handy for thickening and binding
  • Coconut flour

Your local wholefood store will also have gluten-free pasta, bread, biscuits etc.

We have some posts coming out soon with recipes that are perfect for specific food intolerances. Keep your eyes peeled for those.

In the meantime, if you connected with this article, you can read more about our test and book yours HERE.

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