Self-Testing for Food Allergies

by Allergy Guy

Why Self-Test for Food Allergies?

While there are many tests for allergies , none of them are not 100% accurate. You may get false-positives. This means you will be needlessly eliminating food from your diet that you could very well eat. Who needs the extra stress and inconvenience?

You may get false negatives. This is far worse: it means that you will eat foods that you think are OK, but are not. It is much harder to realize that an allergen is a problem if a test wrongly “proved” that the food is safe for you.

Keep in mind that few people have just one allergy. Most people have several allergies to food and air-born substances. Eliminating just one of these items could make a huge difference, but then again, maybe not. You need to find all of the major allergens that are bothering you, eliminate every last one, then see you feel.

Let’s say that you get tested, and test positive for corn and negative to wheat. Corn is in a lot of food – it is a major filler and additive. It is a major hassle to eliminate. On the other hand, so is wheat – you will be glad you can keep eating that one! Now if the testing turns out to be inaccurate (and it really can be that inaccurate), you may find that you feel no better, and are having all this hassle eliminating all this food from your life, so you will eventually go back to your original diet.

Now lets say that you don’t get tested, but eliminate some of the most common food allergens from your diet. After a while you start to feel better. It is likely that some of the foods you eliminated are causing the problem. Congratulations, you are on your way to finding out exactly what to eliminate and what to keep on eating! Here’s how:

How to Self-Test for Allergies

The following procedure must be followed without cheating, or you will have a lot of inconvenience, but without useful information. This method only works if, when you eliminate foods, you eliminate all traces of the food all the time for the full duration of the test.

The following procedure refers to the list of foods to avoid. This is the list of foods you will be eliminating from your diet. Initially, it will include all of the foods you are testing. As you re-introduce foods into your diet, you can refine the list of foods to avoid, striking off those foods which do not cause problems, and leaving on foods that do.

  1. Eliminate all traces of every food listed in the most common food allergens list. Initially, this will be your list of foods to avoid.

    You must eliminate these foods for at least one full month for a truly valid test.

  2. Note how you feel over this period of time. Keep a daily journal of your symptoms and energy level to track your progress (or lack there of).
  3. If you are allergic to any of the foods on the list of foods to avoid, you should feel better by the time one month has passed.
  4. Introduce just one of the foods from the list of foods to avoid. We will call it the test food, the single food you are testing for allergy symptoms.
    Eat a very small amount of the food – about one tenth of what you would normally consider a serving.
  5. Wait up to three full days to see if there is a reaction. If you get any symptoms, you should highly suspect this test food food.
    Keep in mind that other factors may cause symptoms, such as allergens that are not on your list of foods to avoid, or even fear that this food will cause problems. If you experience symptoms, put the test food on your tentative list of foods to avoid.
  6. If you do not experience symptoms, eat more of the test food: double your intake from the previous test amount.
  7. If you find you have fully reintroduced the test food into your diet, and you still feel fine, you can consider it to be OK (at least for now). Add it to your tentative list of allowed foods.
  8. If you experienced symptoms from the food you just tested, allow your body to recover. Wait several weeks (it may take a month) for your body to feel good and relatively symptom free, before moving on to the next test food.
  9. Test the next food on the list of foods to avoid. This becomes your new test food.
  10. Repeat steps 4 through 7 for each food on the list of foods to avoid.
    You now have a tentative list of allowed foods and a tentative list of foods to avoid. If you feel fine and have been eating all the foods listed on your list of allowed foods, chances are you now know what foods are OK, and what foods are not. It is now time to retest the items listed on your list of foods to avoid.
  11. Start the test over again for any items on your list of foods to avoid about which you are unsure.

Complications

The test outlined above is pretty accurate if you are careful to eliminate all traces of the test food from your diet, and if the symptoms caused by an allergy to a food are fairly clear. Sometimes it is not that easy. You may have allergies to other foods besides the common ones. It is also likely that you also have non-food allergies, for example molds, dust, pets etc. This muddies the waters as far as deciding if you feel OK or not.

You may have to wait longer than suggested for your body to recover between testing foods. The key is to feel good, before you can tell if a particular food makes you feel bad.

Cheating the Allergy Test

This test can be accurate over time, but it is not easy. You may be tempted to eat food on your list of foods to avoid, for example when you are a dinner guest. This may be unavoidable, in which case you must allow your body to recover by eliminating the allergenic food from your diet until you feel fine again. This could set you back for up to a month, so it is much better to do everything possible to avoid eating the food on your avoid list.

Another problem is that you may think you are eliminating all traces of a particular food, but it may be an ingredient in something you are eating without your realizing it.

Check ingredients of everything you eat carefully. If in doubt, leave it out!

Other diet-health effects
There may be a link between autism and diet.



What is your experience with discovering your allergies? Have you tried using the above method, or something similar? Did it help you or not? Share your experience and point of view, leave a comment!

(Visited 125,024 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Comment

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Edward Clark October 24, 2015 at 14:46

I went to dr 30 years ago he said I was allergic to eggs do you some times grow out of that I have not been tested since 1985′

Reply

2 Sarah September 6, 2014 at 09:20

I’ve discovered food issues by eliminating them one at a time. This may not be the best way, but it was how I found out I was gluten-sensitive and that I seem to react to vinegar. In both cases, I began to feel tons better within a couple of days. My digestive system seemed to work better. I also had mild insomnia and bloating/gas after meals (detox, withdrawal, healing process?). I basically know that gluten has to be eliminated for life. I’m positive for one of the two celiac genes, and I’ve had enough accidental run-ins with gluten cross-contamination to know it really affects me. The vinegar is a different story altogether. I’m not even sure if I react to all vinegars or if there’s something in particular about the vinegar that’s causing symptoms. It’s been nearly three weeks since I’ve stopped consuming vinegar, and I still feel so much better. The last time I had anything with vinegar was some guacamole on a bagel at breakfast, and I felt crappy for most of the rest of the day, really fatigued. I guess what I’m mainly wanting to know is if this is an allergy or an intolerance. Also, will I need to eliminate vinegar and foods with vinegar for life, or will I be able to consume these foods again safely at some point in the future? I guess I won’t know for sure until I reintroduce it at some point, but would what I’ve found out to this point provide any clues?

Reply

3 Allergy Guy September 8, 2014 at 18:19

I’m glad your elimination technique is working for you. Part of the reason is that your symptoms clear up so quickly – lucky you!

White vinegar is different from other types of vinegar, since it is distilled, or manufactured directly without fermentation, so that might be different from wine vinegar etc. As for the rest of your questions, time will tell. And the problem may go away after several years, you’ll have to wait and see.

Good luck!

Reply

4 Sarah September 9, 2014 at 12:46

Thanks! I go back to my GI in January so will probably bring this up to her and see what she thinks. I’m also hoping this will be enough time to see if symptoms resurface, suggesting there may be other problem foods as well.

Reply

5 Improvised April 11, 2012 at 04:30

Umm, this test seems impossible. Moreover, if someone has been living with allergies all (or most of) their life, how the heck will they know what “normal” feels like?

Reply

6 Allergy Guy April 11, 2012 at 09:57

What do you mean by impossible? I’ve done it and it worked fine. Why do you find this impossible?

If you’ve been living with allergies for a long time, you may not know what all of your symptoms are now, but you sure will when they disappear, don’t worry about that, believe me! You’ll get used to the new normal and you’ll realize how un-normal the old ‘normal’ really was.

Reply

7 Improvised May 3, 2012 at 04:07

I guess it’s not impossible if you eat the same safe foods everyday. Though I worry it would be tough to get all the nutrients you need if you ate just a few foods day after day. If you wanted to expand upon your non-common-allergy-foods diet, it seems like you’d be destined for failure. For example, I’m just reading about yeast alone and there are so many foods that yeast could be in that most would have no idea about. Yeast is listed as being in some fruit skins (grapes, plums, and ?). Is it in the skin of blueberries? If so and you eat blueberries, you could potentially “cheat” the test and have no idea you did.

It seems that Soylent Green would be great for food-allergy testing.

Reply

8 Allergy Guy May 3, 2012 at 16:22

The idea is not to for ever live on a restricted diet of just the usually allergy free foods. In fact, this would likely lead to becoming allergic to them eventually.

The idea is to start off by eliminating potential allergens and seeing if you feel better, then reintroduce foods and see if they are ok for you or not.

It is true that yeast can be in a lot of foods, but there is still plenty of other foods to choose from!

Reply

9 Nambi January 31, 2012 at 14:50

I have a multitude of health problems, the worst being fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and a large hiatal hernia. Also on the list are hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, osteoarthritis throughout my entire body, pernicious anemia. Many, many years ago I discovered that acidic foods like tomatoes and mustard aggravated the FM and CFS so badly that I barely functioned (I was working 40 hours a week). While living in Africa, I had a four day deep cleansing / fast done. I was allowed various supplements, multi-vegetable cooked broth, and extracted fresh apple juice. After work I had a 45-60 minute colon cleanse performed. I cannot tell you how much garbage I eliminated. Within a few weeks I attended a home dinner party with lasagne being the main course. I ate it because I love it and did not want to offend the host and hostess. Instead of dealing with the usual heavy pain and fatigue a few hours later, I felt fine. While working in Asia years later, I received regular acupuncture treatments along with a restrictive diet. I could not eat sugar, white flour, fried foods, alcohol except for red wine. I already knew that I had problems with the chemicals used to make decaf tea and coffee, but now I learned of my allergic reaction to MSG used in so many processed foods, including Doritos. I’m extremely careful now when buying processed foods. Also, while researching for skin problems in dogs, I learned that one tablespoon of coconut oil daily greatly reduces the pain and fatigue of FM and CFS. It also acts w/the thyroid gland. I added the coconut oil to my regime and also notice a reduction in pain and a bit more energy. This is very noticeable as my house is cold and I also attend four fitness classes weekly, two of which can cause me pain later. I might add that I exercise / stretch throughout the day to reduce pain. Since adding coconut oil, I maintain my warm weather OTCs of two 200mg ibuprofen daily. Despite the cold, I have not taken any acetametaphines. I’m pleased with my progress as I’ve suffered w/FM and CFS for -29 years now. Now I can be more active and not suffer so much. I am a 68-year-old female. Maybe I can help someone, or someone can offer me more advice.

Reply

10 annie October 15, 2011 at 19:05

has anyone else experienced burping symptoms? for the past few months i have had intermittent burping and mild bloating/pressure in upper abdomen. my doctor suspected gerd and had me try acid reflux medicine. it does not seem to be helping. i seem to burp after eating but there doesn’t seem to be a pattern to it. i also have some occasional days of just upset stomachs and constipation.

Reply

11 Alison Allen September 8, 2011 at 14:12

For about a year now, I have noticed that when I eat food containing gluten, I have a reaction. But not one that is typical for people with gluten allergies. Instead of a digestive problem, I develop a sore throat, or a feeling of a lump in my throat, or constriction. It is almost immediately after I have the first bite. Having said that, not every single gluten containing item does this. Recently, wine is starting to do the same thing, but other alcohol does not. I went to an allergist who tested me for several food allergies as well as did a blood test for the gluten allergy, and all came back negative. Has anyone else had this throat sensation? Has anyone else been diagnosed with a gluten allergy a different way? Anyone have any ideas what this could be?!

Reply

12 Allergy Guy September 18, 2011 at 10:24

It could possibly be yeast.

Reply

13 Val January 5, 2012 at 09:07

I have exactly the same reaction – plus instant hiccups. I was starting to think my intolerance had got so bad that it was now turning to an allergy? I’ve only been diagnosed by a Naturopath but have had Celiac blood test which was negative. I used to drink wine but gave up about 10 years ago due to terrible heartburn and headaches. Surely it’s all connected? PS I have no problem with Gin!

Reply

14 Alison January 5, 2012 at 16:38

I recently narrowed down a reaction when I had ranch dressing and margaritas… I started looking at packaging and noticed that both contained xanthan gum, which is used in gluten free items sometimes. I am thinking that my allergy might have spread to that as well. Has anyone else looked at ingredients to gluten free items (such as the above, or even sirracha) after having a reaction?

Reply

15 Courtney August 1, 2011 at 16:44

I have been dealing with food allergies for a number of years. I went through a series of blanket diagnoses (acid reflux, irritable bowel, etc.) before I found a doctor who thinks outside the box a bit. She recommended acupuncture to help with my chronic digestive issues. My acupuncturist suggested I talk to the naturopath who shared her office. He specializes in food allergies and IBS. Since I started working with him my symptoms have been relatively easily managed. Eliminating my problem foods is WAY better than being sick all the time!

My best suggestion when trying to find answers is to look outside the typical medical community. Naturopaths are fully trained and licensed, or at least the good ones are. Though my insurance-approved doctor is open to alternative therapies she isn’t fully on board with the range of symptoms caused by food allergies. I am thankful there are medical professionals who look beyond band-aids and symptom repression.

Reply

16 Aussie Allison July 12, 2011 at 07:03

Our 2nd daughter at the age of 15months developed eczma and appears to have asthma, which my brother has had since he was born and is now 31. We have tried a few things and have started to eliminate known allergy foods, she is already off lactose containing products which our 1st daughter also couldn’t have but out grew.

We found the use of goats milk soap and moisuriser helpped and has reduced the inflamation and itching. We were also using a steroid cream on the affected areas but found this alone didn’t get the rash to ease as well as the goats milk products.

We are about to do more testing and food eliminations, particularly grapes and the aussie staple Vegemite, both contain yeast and both she loves.

Reply

17 Allergy Guy July 12, 2011 at 09:37

Gluten is a common allergen, as is wheat.

Steroid cream provides temporary relief, but prolonged use has a negative effect on skin and possibly internal organs as well. Please uses as little as possible, and try controlling the eczema with moisturizing cream, che butter or similar as much as possible. Sometimes though, you need steroids. Just try to keep them to a minimum.

Reply

18 hopeless June 26, 2011 at 16:29

Hello I just moved to virgina a month a go after living in florida for five years; about a week of living here I developed a sore throat. a week later turned into a runny nose and blocked sinuses I have never, or my whole family, ever had any allergies or sinus problems well after being prescribed a steroid the pressure in my face went away but I randomly broke out in hives at night and went to the er andgiven some benadryl and an injection of steroids I woke up and felt brand new but the next day and since for about two weeks my eyelids under my eyes and my lips have been swollen not dramatically but my vision gets blurry every once in a while as in every couple Hrs. I get random pressure in mbetween my eyes and get exasted for a couple hrs. A day from around 12 to 4 or five and I get all my energy around 7 and feel happy and less irritable does this sound like food allergies or plant allergies or some sort of infection. I also have no appatite sinnce my face zwelledup and I have alot of confusion and lack of focus throught the day its making me extremly depressed I feel like I’ve had a serious illness for two months now. Oh and the swelling in my eyes gets better at nigt but I wake up and its back to the same point again im taking allergy medications they don’t seem to help. And I don’t have itchy face or watery eyes I do cough but its not alot the maim thing is my exastion brain fog and blurry vision oh and random pressure.

Reply

19 continued June 26, 2011 at 16:41

Also my heart rate has been around 100bpm since I’ve gotten sick/allergies its my first time dealing with this and I definatly can’t have a life feeling this way its even difficult taking care of my son who seems to sneeze alot when we walk outside sorry this paragraph os poorly constructed I haven’t been able to think straight since we have gotten here. Im getting a ct scan and some blood work done should I just move back to florida if they can’t find the cause or tuffit out see if I get use to it? No one I know has heardof allergies this severe. To someone who has lived in about ten states with no problems im 19 by the way and feel like im on my death bed most of the day blood pressure is normal the circulation in one of my arms seems a little poor and my hands randomly get red on the palms most of the day I feel sadated and extremly useless. I’ve lost weight from lack of appitite cooking just seems difficult. Doctors are really useless I just want to be pointed in the right direction. If I do have allergy tests how effective are the shots?

Reply

20 Allergy Guy June 27, 2011 at 08:51

Allergy tests are not all that accurate, but they are a good starting point. Use them as a guide. You may have false negatives or false positives, so you may find you are ok with some of the allergens that come up, and tests may miss other allergens, so you have to avoid some things that you may suspect are a problem, even if they do not come up on the test.

Reply

21 Going round in circles October 28, 2011 at 16:12

Hi hopeless did you get anywhere with this? Sounds allot similar to my symptoms.

Reply

22 Frank January 14, 2012 at 08:58

Hi, hopeless,
I see this is quite an old post so I hope you may have found a solution to your problems. If not and you’re still struggling, consider vitamin B12 deficiency as a possible cause. There’s plenty of information on the web, in particular it may be worth googling “Could it be B12” by Sally Polochok.

Reply

23 Lisa June 26, 2011 at 02:08

My 14 year old daughter has been suffering for almost a year now. It all started with fatigue and really sharp pains in her side and has now spread over time to include joint & muscle pain, swollen glands in her throat, extreme chest pains, asthma, low B12, iron and thyroid. Could this be a food allergy? She tested allergic to gluten, egg, milk, wheat, almonds & casein. We eliminated eggs first and after a week her excema cleared up but nothing else. The we eliminatied wheat and gluten for 3 weeks and no improvement. Help. She missed 62 days of school this year.

Reply

24 Allergy Guy June 27, 2011 at 08:37

Has your daughter been tested for celiac? It could be the culprit.

It can take weeks before you notice an improvement after eliminating food allergens. Stick with it!

Reply

25 Cazita March 27, 2011 at 03:48

Hi. I am writing about my 2 year daughter. We discovered she had a nut allergy last year after she was rushed to hospital after eating a cake that had nuts in it. We now have to carry a pen and completely avoid nuts. This is ok but she also has eczema. She has it bad in her hands wrists. Face and neck. Last night it was on her eyelids. We bath her in a milkly oil for her bath and cover her in cream morning and night but the only thing that seems to help is steroid cream. As soon as we stop using the steroid cream it comes back. I hate using the steroid cream on her little baby skin. It’s so upsetting watching her suffer and I dint want her growing up suffering depression from having it on her face. I’m desperate to help her. Can a food elimination diet help?

Reply

26 Allergy Guy March 28, 2011 at 14:27

Eczema seems to be the term doctors use for ‘rash’ when they don’t know what the cause is.

You are right in wanting to minimize the use of steroid cream. One thing you can try is use it less often than you are now. Also, rub in in for about 1 – 2 minutes rather than simply applying it. This makes it more effective, and you may be able to use less of it as a result.

Food could be the problem, so it is well worth exploring. Other possibilities are dust and mold. You’ll find information on this website about both.

Many people find that eczema reduces over time and may eventually clear up on its own. I’ve had it for about 3 or 4 years now and it is much less sever than when it started out. Children may grow out of it more quickly.

I’ve found pure che butter to be slightly effective in soothing eczema, and fairly effective at reducing it over a few days of religious application to areas that have been effected, even if clear now. This may help you reduce the use of steroids too (I now use steroid cream from 0 – 4 times per seek instead of 3 times per day). Pure che butter is sometimes available at a very reasonable price if you hunt around.

Hope that helps.

Reply

27 amber davis March 27, 2015 at 20:39

I was born with eczema. Had it so bad, from head to toe, the doctors tried everything to help me. I would wake up in the morning with my legs scabbed together from me digging in my sleep. My g-ma would have to carry me to the bath to soak until it softened and I could open my legs. I was told most children that have eczema usually grow out of it. Well, I never grew completely out of it, but around 12 or 13 it did clear up. Now I only have a spot here and there IF I am around something I am allergic to. (cats, dogs, mold, fresh cut grass, pizza, chocolate, ect ect) If she is still suffering from this she could be allergic to something in the home, something she eats, or even a pet. I hope this helps your little girly.

Reply

28 Margie February 28, 2011 at 08:14

I read this article over a year ago and was trying to pin what is wrong with me since a lot of us have no healthcare we end up self diagnosing. It said do not assume so I went back an forth eating things that seem to be the culprit. Now I am seriously ill and have to start from the beginning. My Grandaughter was born with allergies to milk and eggs and that is where I started. Why do companies hide ingredients in their foods? This is very disturbing, I have a list of symptoms that coincide with what I have read, the most obvious it my face turns beet red and then for days I feel awefull I have experienced deep depression, what is going on in this country. I get afraid to eat anything because of the ingredients. Why can I not post this information to facebook? Thank you for printing it. On my way back to health.

Reply

29 Allergy Guy February 28, 2011 at 10:05

Sounds like you’re having a frustrating time, Margie.

I suggest you avoid processed and prepared foods as much as possible. This means cooking more of your own food from scratch. Depending on how you feel about cooking, this may be a small suggestion, or a big deal. The more you can make yourself from basic ingredients like meat, fish, vegetables, herbs, spices etc., the more control you have over what you eat.

Reply

30 Hayley February 2, 2011 at 12:43

I have terrible acne (which is very itchy) extremely dry hands (they often crack and bleed) I have had severe bloating, pain and suffer with chronic fatigue syndrome.
I have been avoiding wheat ,gluten, dairy and eggs as they all seem to cause reactions to varying degrees I also try to avoid yeast although having looked into yeast allergies a bit more today it seems I have not come close to avoiding it.
Could a yeast allergy cause my symptoms? If not what else could it be?

Reply

31 Allergy Guy February 2, 2011 at 13:41

The trouble with diagnosing allergies is that there is no one set of symptoms for a specific allergy. It depends much more on the individual.

Yeast could be one of your problems, you’ll have to follow a ..yeast free diet.. to find out.

Look here for a list of common allergies.

Reply

32 Sara December 18, 2010 at 22:23

Can anyone suggest an actual elimination diet to follow? I need to know what I can eat, not what I can’t whilst I eliminate all those foods.
Thanks

Reply

Previous post:

Next post: