Whilst we were away travelling I noticed that I was really suffering from having a bloated stomach. After noticing these symptoms and looking back to try and figure out when it started, I realised that this had maybe been happening for years and things started to add up. I think it was just that I had more time and head space to think about it more and notice it more whilst we were away travelling.
If you haven’t got your health, there’s not much else that matters. When you feel ill, all that matters is that you want to feel better. If you haven’t got your health, you can’t work, travel or do any of the things that you enjoy and love to do. Being away travelling really made me think that I really wanted to get to the bottom of any health issues I was having, and also that I really wanted to focus on and put lots of time and effort into trying to feel the most healthy version of myself, so this was when I decided to take a food intolerance test.
What are the differences between food intolerances and food allergies?
Before we go into anymore, I just wanted to explain what the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance is.
Food allergies and food intolerances are both adverse reactions to certain foods, but they differ in their underlying mechanisms and severity of symptoms.
A food allergy is an immune system response triggered by specific proteins in food, resulting in a range of symptoms that can vary from mild to life-threatening. Common symptoms include hives, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.
In contrast, food intolerances are caused by an inability to digest or process certain components in food, such as lactose, histamine, or food additives. While the symptoms of food intolerances can also be uncomfortable and range from mild to severe, they typically do not involve the immune system and are not life-threatening. Common symptoms of food intolerances include bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and nausea but can also include symptoms such as headaches and fatigue.
Symptoms of food intolerances and allergies
After a couple of months of really noticing that my bloating was worse than normal and happening more frequently than normal, I was really fed up. I was also feeling sick after eating sometimes and I couldn’t figure out why this was happening.
I knew that my stomach shouldn’t look as big as what it did and that I shouldn’t be feeling like this and I was really losing a lot of confidence and feeling really uncomfortable. I was eating fairly healthily, exercising regularly, but I just didn’t feel good about myself at all because my stomach seemed to be so big all of the time.
This is when I decided that enough was enough and that I wanted to take a test to try and get to the bottom of why I was feeling so bloated and uncomfortable all the time.
The bloating wasn’t the only problem for me. I was also getting a lot more headaches than usual, and feeling so tired and fatigued all of the time. I didn’t realise at the time, until I started to look into the effects of intolerances, that these can actually be symptoms of a gluten intolerance.
These are the types of things that a lot of people, like me, wouldn’t even associate with a food intolerance. It’s not until you actually start to research it more that things start to make sense.
Which food intolerance test should I take?
I carried out a lot of research online, looking into different tests that were possible to take from different companies, and looking at their customer reviews as there are quite a few on the market, but I decided to go with York Test.
Why did I choose York test?
York Test offer so many different types of tests, from the food intolerance and allergy tests, to male and female hormone and fertility tests, to diabetes and thyroid tests.
After looking into the many different tests that York Test offer, I decided to go for the complete health and nutrition bundle- Complete Health & Nutrition Bundle | YorkTest
The reason for this was that it included the food intolerance and allergy tests, which were the two main ones I wanted to do, but it also includes an essential health check test. This test covers 19 health markers covering: cholesterol and triglycerides, liver function, vitamin D, iron deficiency, B12, and folate, and as I felt like I was on a bit of a mission with my health, I thought it would be really great to know about these things too, to get an overall picture of my health.
Also included in this bundle is a 30-minute consultation with a Nutritional Therapist to discuss your Food Intolerance Test results and diet optimisation – so if there’s anything that you don’t understand, or you’re unsure of what you should be eating based on your results, you can seek help and advice from them which I thought was really great.
How does the test work?
The tests arrived a couple of days after ordering them and the process of taking the tests is fairly simple.
Each test is individual, so if you buy the same bundle as I did, then you have to do three different tests. Each test comes with the pre paid envelope and equipment that you need to take the blood samples, so you don’t have to take them all or send them all off at the same time.
Each test comes with clear and easy to understand instructions that you need to follow.
You have to prepare yourself a little before taking the tests, by drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before, washing your hands with warm water to make sure your hands are warm, as this makes it easier to take the test, and also moving your arms and hands to get blood flowing.
Once you have prepared and are ready to take the test, you have to use the lancet provided in the test to prick your finger to take the blood sample. Each test comes with 2 lancets.
I struggled taking the blood sample for my essential health check test. This test has to be taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, between Monday – Wednesday, i’m not sure on the exact reason for this, but I can only assume that it is maybe something to do with the fact that the lab is possibly closed over the weekend, and it is something to do with the amount of time it may take for the sample to arrive and for them to do the testing.
When I did mine first thing in the morning, I don’t think I had given my blood a chance to flow, so I was really struggling to get enough blood out to fill the test tube. I used both lancets on different fingers and still couldn’t get enough out.
I called York Test and they sent me a replacement test free of charge and it arrived the very next day, which I thought was exceptional service.
The next time I took the test, I made sure I waited a little longer in the morning, moved around a little more and got my blood flowing a little more, and then I had no issues taking the test.
If you don’t like blood, this may not be the test for you, especially if you do more than one test, as you are required to give quite a fair amount of blood.
You are required to send off all tests on the same day that you take the sample.
How long does it take to receive the results?
On their website, York test claim to provide results within 7 days. My food allergy test results and the essential health check results came back quickly within a few days of sending them off. The food intolerance test took a little longer, that actually took around 7 working days to come back. The results come back via email.
I did ring York Test to chase it up with them and they said that they were experiencing delays due to the amount of tests they were receiving. Each time I called the customer service helpline, the staff members I spoke to were very helpful.
Overall, the whole process from ordering the tests online to receiving my final set of results took just over 2 weeks, which I was very impressed with.
The reason I chose to do this test myself and not go through my GP was because I knew that the process would have been much longer and also my reactions were not so severe, so I probably wouldn’t have been a priority patient either.
For, what I think, is a very reasonable price for these tests, I decided that I’d rather take control of the testing myself, and spare the NHS time for more important things.
What are the benefits of having a food intolerance test?
If you’re reading this post and suspect that you may have trouble digesting or processing certain foods, let me tell you about the potential benefits of taking an intolerance test.
Taking a food intolerance test can have several potential benefits. First, the test can provide clarity and insight into which specific foods or food groups may be causing discomfort, allowing you to make more informed decisions about your diet and potentially avoid or limit those foods.
This can lead to a reduction in symptoms and an overall improvement in digestive health. Additionally, identifying and managing food intolerances can also have positive effects on other aspects of health, such as reducing inflammation, improving nutrient absorption, and even boosting energy levels.
Finally, understanding your food intolerances can help with long-term health and disease prevention by reducing chronic inflammation and managing chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
What have the results been?
My results came back with several food allergies and intolerances which I would never have known about if I didn’t do this test, and I am now able to manage my diet a lot better and remove/reduce my intake of these foods.
Already, only a few weeks after receiving my results and removing the foods I have intolerances to, I have noticed an improvement in my stomach and the bloating.
Also, after having the telephone conversation with the nutritionist, she advised that I take probiotics and enzymes to also help with my gut health and digestion so I feel like I have a much better understanding of my gut health now and I have learnt so much through this process.
If you are struggling with stomach issues or your gut health and you suspect that you may have some food intolerances or allergies, I really would recommend taking these tests.
They have helped me so much to better understand and improve my health, and for me the tests were worth every penny.
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I love everything about travel, from seeing new places, learning about new cultures and trying new foods! I believe that travel is one of the best forms of education you can get, I have learnt so much about myself and about the world from travelling all over. Travel is something I feel so passionately about, and I love the fact that we are now lucky enough to have this opportunity to do what we love as much as we can, it’s a dream come true.
Before we started travelling, I worked in local government in administration. I had been in this job for several years and had reached a complete brick wall where I was so fed up, but didn’t know what else to do. The only thing I knew that I wanted to do was to travel, and had wanted to do that for many years.
There were hundreds and hundreds of places on my wishlist that I wanted to go to, and I knew that going on a weeks holiday maybe twice a year if we were lucky wasn’t going to cut it.
After being in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, and working from home staring at the same 4 walls every day, 2021 seemed like the perfect time for us to take the risk to finally do what we had dreamed of for so long.
It was a hard decision to completely change our lives, but so far it has been the best decision we have ever made!