Food Sensitivities, Header Image

Do you sometimes feel lousy after eating certain foods? You might have a food sensitivity. Although food sensitivity isn’t as serious as a food allergy, it can cause major discomfort. After playing dietary detective for weeks, I figured out how to determine food sensitivities for my son. I was shocked by the food he was eating on the daily that turned out to be the culinary culprit.

The most common food sensitivities are lactose and casein (milk), gluten (wheat, rye and barley), eggs, soy, peanuts and tree nuts.


Food sensitivity causes gastrointestinal disturbance when our immune system has an antibody reactivity to certain foods. Food sensitivity symptoms include: nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, heartburn and headaches. Alternatively, food allergy symptoms include: hives, shortness of breath, chest pain and anaphylaxis. The purpose of this article is to address food sensitivity.

My eldest son has had a tough time with digestion since he was born. We took him to several specialists who conducted extensive tests, some terribly painful. We exhausted every medical resource at our disposal trying to determine why he was suffering.


There are few things more concerning than a Mom witnessing her tiny baby receiving a barium enema. Google it. Or don’t. No, definitely don’t. I still have PTSD from his experience.


Sadly, none of the specialists’ tests identified the source of his digestive distress. Without a source, there was no solution to offer. The doctors gave us zero direction to ease his pain. I felt like I was failing my child.



By the time my son was two-years-old, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I meticulously dissected blogs and books searching for symptoms that resembled his. Maternal instinct told me dairy was the culprit. But, his doctors had already ruled out lactose intolerance.

I learned the first step to tackling digestive issues is an elimination diet. So, I decided to remove cow’s milk anyway. That meant I’d need to remove the only foods his pediatrician insisted we give him daily: Carnation Instant Breakfast mixed with cow’s milk. In his pediatrician’s opinion, he needed this extra nourishment (and I use the word ‘nourishment’ extremely lightly) because he was severely underweight.


If I had known then what I know now. Carnation Instant Breakfast is chock-full of unhealthy ingredients and the only creatures that cow’s milk is meant for are baby cows. My baby was depending on harmful foods for a majority of his nourishment, thanks to a conventional pediatrician’s insistence.


Twenty-four hours after removing cow’s milk from his diet, my little boy’s severe cramping was gone. After twenty-four months of digestive and emotional distress, my child experienced the first normal poop of his life.


My Son's Food Sensitivity


Fast forward to present day. My son is a high school senior. After being quarantined for more than a year, he’s catching up with friends a few times a week over pizza and cheeseburgers. He’s also suffering with digestive discomfort.


I called five gastroenterologists in our area before finding one who could see him within a month’s time. But, what would he eat over the next thirty days? How would I curb his pain? A boy can drink only so much bone broth.


In desperation, I decided to order an Everlywell Comprehensive Food Sensitivity Test. It arrived two days later. The instructions were simple. With the prick of a finger, he dropped blood onto a card and we mailed it off. Three days later, the results were in.


ALMONDS! I’ve been feeding my son almond milk every day because he’s sensitive to cow’s milk. He was drinking protein shakes with almond milk, almond butter sandwiches, yogurt with almond-honey granola, and a handful of almonds between meals. It was an almond extravaganza up in here. My poor baby!



The Everlywell Comprehensive Food Sensitivity Test results are easy to comprehend, organized by HIGH, MODERATE and MILD immune responses. My son tested high to almonds. He tested moderate to: cow’s milk, eggs, winter squash and figs. He tested mild to: casein, Swiss cheese, mozzarella, yogurt, chicken, peas, gluten, barley, rye, spelt, asparagus, bell pepper, cloves, coffee, garlic, honey, Brazil nuts, macadamia and pine nuts.


The good news is the only food he should totally eliminate from his diet is almonds. The MODERATE and MILD lists of foods should be eaten with caution and discontinued upon adverse reaction.


My grocery list looks much different today. I buy oat milk instead of almond milk, organic peanut butter rather than almond butter, and pistachios instead of almonds. It’s a process and we’re learning as we go. We haven’t yet met with the gastroenterologist, but when we do we’ll have the Everlywell Comprehensive Food Sensitivity Test results in hand.

Discover additional healthful tips over on the Food & Health page. -Featured Image: Kafeel Ahmed