YorkTest Food Intolerance Test Review - My Results
Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time will know that I've been having a bit of an ongoing battle with IBS for the last 5 or 6 years. At the beginning of 2016 I invested a lot of time, willpower and money in trying to understand the underlying problems that were causing my symptoms and doing my best to reduce them. It worked - I ended the year feeling better and more in control of my health than I have done for a very long time.
But there were still niggles - bloating after meals and painful stomach cramps every now and then that would result in me lying in bed, clutching my hot water bottle for dear life. I knew there was something still not quite right going on, so when the opportunity to work with YorkTest arose, I started to wonder whether there might be any food intolerances at play.
The test itself was incredibly straightforward - it arrived in the post (it fits through the letterbox so you don't need to worry about being home) and had everything included to take a little blood sample for them to test against. Don't panic though - they literally only need on or two drops, so it's as simple as pricking your finger.
Once I'd completed the test and sent it back, my results arrived back about a week later. I thought this was super quick, especially as it was over Christmas and there were a couple of bank holidays thrown in. My results arrived with a huge pack of info - as well as highlighting any foods that were flagging as an intolerance, there was also a booklet about what to do next and some helpful resources, like a food and drinks diary.
I have to admit that I was pretty surprised when I saw what had shown up in my results - I had two red flags, and seven foods that were ranked as amber. My two red flags were both nuts - cashew and brazil. I wasn't really expecting this as I eat nuts fairly regularly and had never thought about them being linked to my symptoms before. My amber flags were a little bit more predictable - especially the cows milk, as I do find that if I eat too much dairy I can end up suffering.
YorkTest recommend cutting out any foods that show as red flags and considering cutting down on amber flags in order to see if it helps reduce your symptoms. I've been cutting cashew and brazil nuts out of my diet now for nearly 6 weeks, and even though I was sceptical about whether or not I was really intolerant to these foods, I have been feeling better. I think the introduction of things like Nakd bars has seen me eating more nuts than I realised, and I think that cutting back has definitely had a positive effect.
I've also been trying to reduce the amount of cows milk in my diet - I haven't been cutting it out completely, but I've been limiting how much I have on a daily basis. So if I have a latte on the way to work, I won't have cheese on my pasta at dinner time - not rocket science, but again, I think this has been helping to limit my symptoms.
The other thing I've been doing is using the food and drink diary that was provided with my test. This has helped me to identify any other triggers that hadn't been flagged by the test - for example, I can eat a plate full of roasties and feel fine, but a sensible portion of brown pasta can leave me looking about 6 months preggers.
The great thing about getting an intolerance test with YorkTest is that you also get an appointment to speak with a nutritional therapist as part of the cost. This is invaluable as it really helps you to eliminate any triggers from your diet without risking any deficiencies. My previous experience of working with nutritionists taught me a lot about the dangers of simply cutting things out of your diet, so I was wary about eliminating anything without speaking to a professional.
Six weeks on I'm feeling much better - long may it continue! If you are also struggling with IBS or poor gut health and are struggling to get answers though the NHS, I would definitely recommend being tested for any intolerances. However, I would always recommend speaking to a GP first to make sure your symptoms aren't related to something else.
Have you ever been tested for intolerances? What was your experience?