Diet. I hate that word. It has such a negative connotation for many to mean a restrictive meal plan of misery. In reality, diet just describes how and what we eat and can be such a positive and empowering part of life when the right diet is discovered.
I was never able to find a certain diet that made me feel best. I have spent most of my life suffering from IBS, asthma, eczema and allergies, all which can be improved and managed (to some extent) with diet. However, after trying out several different recommended diets, nothing seemed to help.
At first I avoided dairy because that was the obvious trigger, but there was something still bothering me. My doctors recommended following a Low FODMOP diet, saying that was the only way to guarantee managing my IBS through diet. I could not find complete relief from that either. I have spent spells being plant based, gluten free and many other recommended diets, but none have been completely right for me.
Finally, I was recommended to do a blood test that would enable me to find out which foods agreed with me and which didn't. I was skeptical because it sounded too easy and good to be true. I was right. While the test does exist, it required commitment to a lengthy elimination diet to test which foods truly react best with your system.
The test is called the MRT Food Sensitivity Test, which is given in conjunction with the LEAP ImmunoCalm Dietary Management Plan. Essentially, you find out which foods have are reactive, moderately reactive or non-reactive with your blood. The non-reactive foods are the ones you should stick to eating to feel your best. The moderately reactive foods should be avoided, especially in combination, which can exacerbate their negative health effects. The reactive foods should be strictly avoided.
When I got my results, some were obvious, while others took me by surprise. My only reactive food way soy. I had already been trying to avoid processed soy which is added to endless processed foods, so I knew strictly avoiding it at all times including while dining out and traveling would be a true challenge. Dairy was moderately reactive, which surprised me that there was something worse, since this was the only food I had ever been able to pinpoint, Common foods and spices like onions, cayenne pepper, mustard and chicken were all moderately reactive. Finally it all made sense to me- I have probably always been having some sneaky soy in my diet and in addition have been combining tons of moderately reactive foods into every meal.
The elimination diet instructs you to test the non-reactives and avoid the moderately reactives. I decided to notice how I felt eating the non-reactives that I usually eat and then proceed to test them if I did not feel okay. I felt okay with all of the non-reactives so I decided to test the moderately reactives to see which ones I needed to avoid more than others. This process has helped me to understand which foods I personally need to avoid and which ones help me feel best. At home I cook with only non-reactive foods, which is impossible to do out of the house. However, I know which foods to avoid at all costs and how to ensure I am not eating too many of my moderately reactive foods together and exacerbating their effects.
The takeaway is- the diet I was told to follow by doctors- Low FODMOP instructs not to eat garlic, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower and many other of my most non-reactive foods that I have found to help me feel best. While this blood test is not for everyone and can also be expensive, I hope others consider doing some form of an elimination diet rather than blindly following trending diets.
The answers are not always obvious or what the media/organizations portray as the most healthy, but they have helped me feel my most healthy. For example, I used to avoid red meat and ate white meat if I ate meat. I discovered that lamb and beef are two of my least reactive foods in comparison to other meats, many types of fish and vegetables. I now may eat a big juicy steak and fries (white potatoes are my least reactive compared to sweets) while dining out to feel my best. Obviously it would not be healthy to eat this every night, but in moderation and with its reactiveness to my body, this can be the right choice for me. I have finally, after a long journey found some relief. While I do not always feel perfect, I feel good knowing that I am in control and not a helpless bystander to how food affects my body.