Pinpoint the problem
So how do you know if you’re sensitive to certain foods? One way is to get tested for an IgG reaction— a simple pinprick can yield enough blood to test for antibodies to 96 different foods. With IgG results, you know exactly what your problem is (or isn’t), says Nenninger. His own family history turned Nenninger toward food allergy and sensitivity work early in his practice. “My mother was diagnosed with very high blood pressure, which came on suddenly and would not respond to medication,” he says. “I tried every trick in my naturopathic toolbox to help her—herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture, nutritional supplements. Nothing worked.” Until, Nenninger says, he did a simple IgG test—which revealed that his mother was highly reactive to eggs. “I took eggs out of her diet, and within two weeks her blood pressure went down and stayed down,” he says. In fact, Nenninger feels so strongly about the test that he offers it to anyone and everyone, patient or not, through his Arizona practice (you can order it online for $295 at stevenenninger.com). But IgG testing is not without controversy. A 1998 study from Bastyr University in Seattle found the efficacy of the test mixed, at best. If IgG testing feels like a roll of the dice—or if you don’t have access to an integrative practitioner to help you make sense of your situation—you can take matters into your own hand by experimenting with your diet yourself, says Reardon. “Keeping a food journal is one way to connect the dots,” she says. “If you’re feeling bad on one day, you can flip back and see what you’ve been eating that might be causing your problems. You can look for patterns over time.” A food elimination diet can also be an effective tool (see “Process of Elimination,” below).