Food reactions are more common than you think, but they don't have to be a mystery.
Lunch Hour Lesson #14
At some point throughout your life you may have discovered that there are certain foods that you react to in a way that is undesireable. Some reactions are immune modulated, others are biochemical, and still others can be emotional.
Symptoms can range from anaphylactic shock, where a person may stop breathing, to gastrointestinal distress and hives or eczema.
Sometimes, a person definitely knows exactly what foods he or she reacts to. Especially if it is just one food, like tree nuts, and the reaction is severe, like stopping breathing. It’s not easy to miss!
But sometimes a person may have multiple unidentified food reactions going on, with moderate and mild symptoms. Add in the fact that there are reactions which show up within minutes of exposure to the food and others that can take days to present themselves, and it can get very confusing.
In my Nutritional Therapy practice, I often suspect food reactions if a client has been feeling chronically ill for a long time without (or maybe with) some sort of diagnosis from their doctor. Heartburn, fatigue, IBS, eczema, rashes, autoimmune conditions, and even hormonal disturbances can all be linked to food reactions.
There are many medical tests to determine specific food reactions, but today I’m going to talk about an easy self-test that can be done in less than 3 minutes! It is called Coca’s Pulse Test, named after Dr. Coca who invented the procedure.
The premise is that if the test substance (food or supplement) is stressful to your body, you will have a brief reaction that causes your heart to beat faster. You can test for a rise in pulse when a particular food is placed in the mouth.
It goes without saying that this test should NOT be done with a food to which you have a known severe allergy. Also, this test may not be valid if you are taking a drug that controls your heart rate such as a calcium-channel blocker or a beta-blocker.
Five meetings, each lasting for an hour and a half.
Here are some guidelines: choose foods or beverages to test that you suspect you react to, test only one food at a time, and try to test individual ingredients rather than foods containing multiple ingredients. Ex: a banana is better to test than banana bread as you will get more specific results.
You can test foods around the house that you commonly eat, even if you don’t suspect them of causing reactions. Some may surprise you. I had a client who had a large pulse increase with milk, but he had not suspected that milk was stressful to his body.
- Sit down and take a few slow deep breaths.
- Take your pulse for one full minute and record the number of heartbeats.
- Put a sample of food in your mouth and taste it for 30 seconds. You may chew but refrain from swallowing.
- With the food still in your mouth, take another one minute pulse and record the number.
- Discard the tested ingredient (do not swallow). Rinse your mouth out with water and spit out the water.
- If you want to test another food, start the procedure over from the beginning.
- An increase of 6 or more in your pulse rate is considered a stressful reaction. The greater the degree of stressfulness or reactivity, the higher the heart rate will be.
The general recommendation is to eliminate any foods that cause a pulse increase of 6 beats or more for about six weeks, and then re-test. The body has a powerful ability to heal if stressors are removed, and you may find that foods you reacted to previously no longer cause a reaction!
Choose one ingredient that is in your refrigerator and do the pulse test. If testing eggs, hardboiled works best.