February 13, 2013

ALCAT completion! 6 months on my food allergy diet Summary and Review

*** Updated 1/2014***

Today I have completed 6 months of one of the hardest diets I have ever done. There were many days I wanted to throw in the towel but I did not even cheat ONE day. I was determined. I hate calling it a diet because it was not to loose weight; I did it to try to get rid of my food allergies and the symptoms that came along with that.

The science behind ALCAT is that our white blood cells renew every 90 days. That means that we have new white blood cells floating around in our bodies every 90 days. When a new white blood cell is formed it does not have a memory of what it was sensitive too before. Therefore ALCAT says if you stay off of these foods for 3-9 months your body has a chance of not being sensitive to it anymore.

ALCAT tested me for 200 foods, 50 functional foods and medicinal herbs, 20 food additives and food colorings, 10 environmental chemicals, 20 molds & 20 antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents. Out of those 320 things my results came back that I had sensitivity to 178 items! That is more than half of the items tested most of which were food.

After six months of eliminating these foods I can now rotate in one of these every five days:

  • Baker’s Yeast (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why) 
  • Banana (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why) 
  • Basil 
  • Black Pepper (very hard to stay away from for 6 months) 
  • Broccoli 
  • Butternut squash 
  • Cantaloupe (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why) 
  • Carob (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
  • Endive 
  • Garlic (this was also very hard to stay away from) 
  • Goat’s Milk 
  • Grape (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why) 
  • Kelp (I have Hasimotos Thyroiditis and until it goes into remission Iodine is not something my body should have. Kelp is full of it. It will only make my Hashi’s worse.) 
  • Mackerel 
  • Mahi Mahi 
  • Mustard 
  • Pear (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why) 
  • Pecan
  • Pinto Bean (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
  • Plum (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why)
  • Pork
  • Rice (hard to stay away from being Gluten Free) (I won’t be rotating in – read “verdict” section to find out why) 
  • Sardine 
  • Snapper 
  • Turmeric
  • There were a total of 99 foods that I had to eliminate for six months. Positives and NegativesNow that you have a bigger picture of the point of ALCAT testing and elimination diet let’s move on to my outcome after 6 months and the positives and negatives of this testing. ALCAT tagline is “Optimized Wellness through Customized Nutrition.” Did I get customized nutrition? Yes, but I did have to pay extra money for them to develop a meal, menu plan with recipes since I had so many sensitivities. Was the menu customized to my likings and needs? Yes, however, not customized enough. I will get into that in a moment. Do I feel that I have optimized my wellness through this dedicated 6 months? No I don’t. I will also get into that in a moment. The positive side of this testing for me was that it was a piece to my health puzzle. I also got to see how my white blood cells reacted to all of these foods and learn that my body actually recognizes abundance of foods, chemicals and such as foreign. Because my white blood cells do this, they cause inflammation. Another positive element is that they did give me several new recipes that I liked and I learned to cook with way more vegetables and fruits than I was previously used to.The negative side of this testing is it is expensive and when you are done with the 6 -9 months elimination they suggest getting another test to ensure your allergies went away. Mine would have tested worse than the first because my intestines were badly damaged after doing my recommend ALCAT regimen. Another negative is that ALCAT does not know your health history. They do advise that you do not eat anything you have been tested for and found to be allergic (not sensitive – there is a difference) to but they don’t know if you suffer from parasites, pathogenic yeasts, IBS, MS, or any autoimmune condition for that matter. In order to give you a “customized” (as they put it) nutrition plan they NEED to know your health history so that they are not exacerbating your symptoms. For instance, when my test results came back ALCAT said because I have so many food allergies that it looks like I may have “leaky gut.” I hate that term but have to use it. I didn't know this at the time but leaky gut is very serious. If let go it can lead to major malnourishment, more auto-immune conditions and at the worst death. With leaky gut the worst thing I could be eating were any grains, starches and legumes yet I was eating them EVERY SINGLE MEAL! They did give me a protocol (mostly supplements) to follow but nothing in my menu plan worked with the fact that I had leaky gut. At the time it didn’t really matter to me because I didn’t even know what leaky gut really was anyway and I just knew I would start feeling better within a week on the diet. I never did feel better. I just got worse. Boy do I wish I knew then what I know now (a year later with these updated comments I know have learned so much more about how my body functions and what it needs and doesn't need.) I will tell you more in the “Verdict” section of this post. The last negative I found is how they tell you to reintroduce food items. They suggest that on the day you are reintroducing a food item that you eat as much of it as you want. So on the day I get to introduce coconut I can have coconut flour, flakes, syrup, etc, etc, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. As much as I want all day long. I believe there is a flaw in this kind of introduction. Sometimes our bodies can be mildly sensitive to something and if we overrun it with that food item then we will most certainly have a reaction. Instead, if we simply had a handful of organic unsweetened coconut during the introduction day then we most likely would not have a reaction to that food. If we did it wouldn't be awful becuase we didn't overdo it on a food that we might not tolerate. Our bodies would not be overloaded. Basically the idea should be a SLOW introduction. ALCAT doesn’t suggest this.VerdictAm I glad I did this test? Yes because as I said earlier it is a piece to my health puzzle and helped me to learn some things that I may otherwise not have learned.If I went back 6 months and knew what I know now would I do this test over again? No. I would not because when a person has SO many sensitivities to foods, it truly does suggest that that person has a leaky gut. This is when your intestines do not absorb foods or almost any nutrients because of microscopic holes in your intestine walls essentially. The food remains undigested and the undigested foods and nutrients actually seep into the blood steam via the small intestine. It is kind of creepy! When the foods or nutrients pass through the normal barrier (our intestinal wall), don’t get digested properly and seep into the blood stream is causes a highly inflammatory reaction - skin lesions, achiness, psoriasis, headaches, flu like symptoms and more. Leaky Gut cannot be healed by just eliminated one food at a time here and there. Leaky gut also means that the person has an imbalance of bad bacteria that needs to be taken care of. It can be killed (or taken care of) by abstaining from sugars and starches as well as abstaining from antibiotics and NSAIDS. Sometimes natural antifungals and antiparasitic treaments must be used too. The person with gut dysbiosis must also be taking a therapeutic dose of probiotics to counteract the bad bacteria and make the good bacteria grow. My ALCAT menu had me eating a significant amount of sugar from fruit (which I slowly stopped because it didn’t make me feel good and I didn’t know why, now I do.) My menu also had me eating starch at EVERY meal. These foods are touted as good in our modern society today but these grains and starches are not health promoting foods. Sorghum, millet, buckwheat, white rice, brown rice and many other gluten free grains can be detrimental to our health - especially those who eat them every meal and have gut problems or autoimmune conditions. The menu also had me eating potatoes quite often with are full of starch and almost void of essential vitamins. These are the foods that feed parasites and yeasts and make them get out of hand. They thrive on them. They sustain their life on them. Basically I just spent six months of my life helping the bad pathogens in my gut grow as well as degrading my intestines more with the overdose of phytic acids and anti-nutrients in grains, nuts and legumes. If I only knew. ***At the end of this six months I stopped ALCAT entirely and started the GAPS diet which I did for 7 months.*** Click the link or go to my sidebars for GAPS labels to search as well as blog/website links. Am I feeling better now than when I first started the test? Absolutely not. Actually I feel worse than I have in my entire life. I have been at home consistently now for about a month and a half, too sick to go out because of my gut dysbiosis. My itchiness (which was the main reason I did ALCAT) is out of control, eczema is going crazy, burning skin is horrible and I feel like I am going insane. I am heavy with depression as well. It will be a long journey to recovery. I don’t solely blame ALCAT for how extreme these symptoms are because there were some other factors that contributed but ALCAT for me definitely made things way worse and played a major rols in my decline in health. **Turns out shortly after this post was written I would be diagnosed with Mono as well. Another autoimmune conditions - Yay - EBV.**
Would I recommend ALCAT testing to a friend? It depends. It depends on the friend’s symptoms and reactions. I do think this is a valuable test if your results don’t come back as having a leaky gut and if you only have sensitivities to a few foods. Then and only then can this test be worth it and effective. If you have a moderate amount of sensitivities then I do believe that the science behind ALCAT works. I would not recommend this testing or diet to someone with an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune conditions ALL start (and continue) with gut dysbiosis so the person getting tested with an autoimmune condition is wasting their time because their results will come back with a lot of sensitivities. You can get rid of or put into remission (lack of symptoms), any autoimmune condition by bringing your gut back to health.I know this was a long post but I pray that it serves to educate some people out there not only about ALCAT testing but about leaky gut and food allergies and sensitivities. I will do some more posts at a later date on our intestinal and digestive health and I will continue posting about my health journey. I have learned SO much in the past month. My lifestyle is going to change yet again but this time hopefully for the best! Lord willing.Please comment if you have any questions and I would love to help you out or answer your questions.PS Don’t worry this blog isn’t turning into a health blog only. I still plan to post on homeschool, life happenings, inspiring songs, recipes and more. Health is just where it is at for me right now and I know that other people suffer with many health problems so hopefully this serves a good purpose in helping others too.
~Blessings~Please note - I am not a medical doctor.  What I say on this blog is based on my own research along with my own personal experiences.  I assume no liability and my advice, ideas or suggestions should not replace those of your own practitioner.


  1. Hi. I just came across this blog. I need advice. I went on Alcat diet 8 weeks ago and have never been worse! My skin is horrible, rashes, melasma. Stomach the same as before (I have IBS). Still get headaches. But the worst is my skin! I don't know what to do or how to make it better! Any advice?

    1. Hello,
      Without knowing what you are eating I will do my best to give you suggestions..... The symptoms of our skin are directly related to our gut health. if there is any type of yeast or bad bacteria overgrowth in your intestines(gut) then eating anything starchy or that has sugar (refined or from fruits) will feed it. If you have all of a sudden stopped eating starches and sugars you are starving those bad bacteria and when they die they put out toxins. when they put out toxins they manifest in many different ways-headaches, fatigue, eczema, rashes, itching, moodiness, irritability, brain fog, sleeplessness and much more. Basically the symptoms you may have already had get much worse. if what you are going through is this, it is called a healing crisis. if I knew more of what you are eating I could tell you if this is what you have. I know with my ALCAT results they had me eating A LOT of starches(carbs) fur it sugars and legumes all of which made me horribly worse over 6 months. it sounds like two things though... You have a gut dysbiosis that needs healing (also called leaky gut) and that you should look into staying away from FODMAP foods since you have IBS (it will help you in a HUGE way to cut these out.) That is an acronym and I would recommend reading about it on the Internet as well as in several books. There is a lot of info
      out there on FODMAP foods. Did you get the full ALCAT test? How much were you sensitive to?

  2. I'm so surprised the doc did not have you do a stool test along with alcat. That would have saved you. I'm debating on paying $500 for the alcat 200 foods. Doc just said to try elimination but I react to so much I get thrown off then am uncertain what got me. This has been going on for almost a year so money of not I gotta throw the towel in. I have leaky gut from too many antibiotics in a short time due to having a baby. I'm hoping I can heal finding out all the inflammatory foods and not eating them for 3-6 months along with glutamine and zinc carnisol.I can barely go on and need this to end. I can't even tolerate my coffee, my chocolate, all those yummy nuts I loved so dearly. The deprivation drives you to depression and add a screaming baby. Geez. I sure hope you are better by now. Rachealjodyjayma@gmail

  3. Hi Rachael, I need to update this blog post. Please search the GAPS label on the sidebar and you will see my journey to continued health. I started GAPS after I finished ALCAT and it was THE BEST thing I have done. I rave about GAPS. After I was done with that (which was about 7 months) I took on the Paleo lifestyle. I will be this way for the rest of my life.

    I did have a stool test at the time I was doing ALCAT and I did come back wtih some parasites that I got taken care of naturally BUT my symptoms still did not go away. My symptoms were because of all the foods I was eating that were damaging my gut (grains, sugars, legumes, and starches.) I have learned SO, SO much the past year. With leaky gut you HAVE to eat GAPS to heal. Sometimes Paleo can work or Auto-Immune Paleo but with really bad leaky gut only GAPS works first.

    For you, I do not recommend doing ALCAT at all. It would be a waste of money. There is no way, with leaky gut, you can ever pin point what is causing the reaction because literally everything causes a reaction because your inestines aren't healed. They arent being the barrier they are supposed to and they are letting substances pass through the intestinal walls into your blood stream. Until that is fixed you will always have major sensitivites. Heal your gut first. You do that through GAPS. There are several websites on my sidebar that I have linked up with help. Also I will email you and you can email me back with any questions.

    With leaky gut DO NOT EAT NUTS. They are full of phytic acid and anti nutrients and they are VERY hard to digest. They do not promote healing in your intestines. This elimination may be temporary until you heal (providing you don't have an auto-immune condition) but your gut has to heal before it can handle chocolate, coffee and nuts. All three of those are some of the most gut harming foods (or drinks) you can eat. Please take it from me. I went down this path you are on for a long time and learned the hard way. I only got worse. I learned a ton in the mean time and only got better when I started Intro GAPS and then moved through the phases. This was the only way I started feeling normal again. The healing started within a week and I noticed some major changes that were so encouraging.

    I feel for you and I have a heart to help people wher you are. I felt so alone when I went through this and had no one who could help me navigate. I researched, learned and applied all on my own. I want to help you and others who are in this place of hopelessness and frustration.

    It does not have to be this way at all. Thank you for reaching out. Keep in touch and it WILL get better providing you have commitment and determination to do GAPS to let your body heal.

    It will get better, but seriously go get the GAPS (Gut and Physcology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride) and read it cover to cover. It will change your health. It will change your life.

    Blessings, Jennifer

  4. I'm so sorry you had this experience. Whoever was treating you should have treated and healed your gut first. ALCAT is helpful in determining which foods create an inflammatory response in the body and should be avoided, but the corresponding diet protocol needs to be tailored to a person's individual biochemical makeup and health history. I pray that the Lord give you complete healing and peace.

  5. Hi Jennifer,
    I recently came across ALCAT testing when I saw it on our local news talking about how of a important test this could be.. I have had hives for 9 years now, I have done so many allergy testing with all of them coming back negative. I've been told that my hives could be caused by anxiety and stress, but I wanted to take this test to completely rule out any food sensitivity that could also be contributing to my hives.. do you think this would be a good test for me to take? This test is so expensive (as you know) and I don't want to waste my money on another thing that would not work for the hives.. I greatly appreciate and thank you in advance for your respond.

    God bless,

    1. Hi Samantha,
      Hives are a sign of a histamine reaction to something. Histamine reactions can come from inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation in our bodies can come from a myriad of things but one of the biggest being what we put IN our bodies and what we put ON our skin.

      I would never do ALCAT again. It was a waste of money because I had leaky gut and needed to heal my intestines. What they prescribed to me was not healing. Instead it exacerbated my symptoms to the point where I nearly died. I don't recommend ALCAT. For you I would suggest eliminating the main foods that cause inflammation for at least one month and see if you notice improvement. The main trigger foods are Gluten, Corn, Soy, Grains, Legumes, Nightshades, Nuts, Seeds, ALL Processed foods, Dairy and Eggs. There are a few more but this will give you a great baseline. This is a major diet change but I know it will help you find the root cause of the hives. Once you have eliminated these things then, after one month, you introduce ONE THING AT A TIME) back in to your diet. This is crucial. If you don't do one at a time you will have wasted your last month because you wont be able to pinpoint if you have a reaction what it was too. Basically if you search anything online called AIP, AI Paleo or Autoimmmune Paleo you will find a ton of recipes and ideas on just what to cook while you are trying this elimination. You will be pleasantly surprised by what you find you can eat.

      I did the GAPS diet first (you can search that on this blog and see my journey) and then did AIP and have since transitioned to Paleo but still can't tolerate nuts or dairy. ALCAT is a waste of money when you can do all the same sort of elimination without the test.

      One other thing to note. To relief your hives topically (and any itching that may accompany them) use doTERRA Melaleuca Oil. It works wonders on me and my sons when we get hives. It takes the itch away and the swelling. You can get that at www.mydoterra.com/feastingonjoyoils

      **I am not a doctor and any advice I post on here is from my own personal experience. I am not liable for any outcome in following the advice given on feastingonjoy.

      Blessings to you Samantha. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  6. Hi, I just had the Alcat done for my 2 kids. I wish I would've seen this earlier! I'm curious, if food sensitivities cause inflammation, how can a person heal their leaky gut first before knowing what their sensitivities are? My son does have dysbiosis, but he has a sensitivity to carrots, beef, chicken & apples - beginning items on SCD & GAPS. Any advice on that? Do I ignore the sensitivities & just follow SCD?
    I'm pretty sure I have leaky gut, but I also have reactions to certain foods. Should I just follow SCD & forget the Alcat?
    Anyway, I found your blog because I was trying to find out if the 4 day rotational plan that they gave us can be switched around. The foods that they have listed for each day can't be mixed to follow a recipe. Nothing goes with anything else, so I don't know how to make anything for them!
    Also, SCD hasn't helped my daughter & she doesn't have dysbiosis. She has a LOT of sensitivities. Do you think something else is going on with her? Maybe she has something that didn't get caught on the stool analysis, or maybe she has SIBO?
    Any advice will be so appreciated! This has been such a long, drawn out journey & I thought with more answers, I would know what to do, and we'd be on our way. It's so frustrating!

    1. Food sensitivities DEFINITELY cause inflammation over our entire bodies. To heal leaky gut without pinpointing certain sensitivities is to eliminate all inflammatory foods. That is what I had to do. This would be gluten, grains (including corn and it hides everywhere), legumes, refined sugar, processed foods, dairy, nuts, seeds, bad/damaged fats, and toxins from chemicals that are put on a persons body or in a persons body. This is cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, supplements with fillers, etc. Once you eliminate the potential inflammatory triggers for a least a month then you have a baseline. Once you have a baseline the you will be able to reintroduce a food (one at a time) to see what the reaction is. If there is ANY reaction (includes irritability, headache, fatigue, achiness, restlessness, rashes, and more) then the body cannot handle it and the food needs to be removed for a while longer and sometimes permanently. It is not easy but when everything is eliminated all at once you have a foundation to build upon. When you have eliminated all inflammatory foods, ideally you want to wait for reintroduction until symptoms are gone (which is sometimes more than a month-for me it was 7 months). If some don't go away then you need to find a Functional and Integrative Practitioner who can also evaluate your kids nutritional status (vitamin and mineral levels) because there could be a deficiency there causing the remaining symptoms. I would not do SCD with someone with leaky gut. Not right away at least. SCD has some pretty heavy starches included in the diet that can wreak havoc on a person with leaky gut. Arrowroot starch, etc are not good for gut healing and can be extremely irritating. I personally could not even handle starchy vegetables (sweet potato and butternut squash, etc) for many weeks during my healing. They are vital to nutrition and should be included when tolerated but not in the initial stages of healing bad intestinal permeability.

      Do GAPS with no dairy and no nuts until symptoms are gone. Then you can work over to SCD or potentially Paleo once healing has happened. I would get a stool/parasite test every 6 months at least just in case something was missed. Also, there is an over the counter treatment for parasites by GAIA called Para Shield. That can be taken (with GOOD probiotics of course) and will kill parasites and their eggs if they are in someones body.

      I agree, this health journey can be frustrating - especially when you are treating your children. You have to rely on good communication with them and not really knowing exactly how they feel at all times like you would yourself. It is hard. I can tell you the journey is well worth it though. It takes a lot of trial and error, patience and perseverance but healing is amazing. I have a thriving life now and it is possible to heal- just stick to it. In summary, stay away from dairy, nuts/seeds and starch (except if starchy vegetables are tolerated) even when doing GAPS or SCD. They hinder healing and can only be tolerated by SOME people after healing. Blessings, Jennifer

  7. I just read through your posts again & I think I am understanding more. My daughter has so many sensitivities that it would seem that she does have leaky gut. Her stool tests showed nothing in the way of bacterial/parasite issues, but she did have high inflammation markers & occult blood. She has trouble gaining weight, and shows other signs of nutritional deficiencies, despite eating nutrient dense foods & taking supplements. We were on GAPS first and then SCD. On GAPS she improved a lot, but every once in awhile, she still got sinus congestion & a bloody nose. Before that,she had congestion most of the time & nosebleeds frequently. It was a noticeable improvement, but I was thrown off by the nosebleeds showing up out of nowhere. I couldn't account for the flare-ups. I couldn't keep us on the diet, then after awhile I did SCD. That didn't seem to make much difference. Her congestion was back and nothing seems to make it go away. Sometimes it's better, sometimes worse, but mostly it never goes away. Allergy tests only revealed spring allergies, but congestion is year-round. Do you think I didn't do GAPS long enough? Do you have any thoughts as to what might be going on?
    Thanks so much for letting me ramble. I want to get to the bottom of this, and every time I think I've found that *one thing* that we've been looking for, I find that it's not the solution. Ugh! I want to get off this crazy ride!

    1. Hi Tracy, It is great that you have been able to rule out parasites in your daughter. You can do all the healing protocols and if she still had parasites then you would not see much results. My thoughts in reference to you trying GAPS are - Way to Go! However, one thing with GAPS is that it includes dairy. Dairy can cause a great amount of congestion and inflammation. Nuts and seeds are also included in GAPS and those can also cause great gut irritation and inflammation. The lectins can also leach (or bind) to vitamins and minerals in our bodies and basically steal them from the individual who needs them. I still cannot eat dairy or nuts and it has almost been two years for me. Personally, if I were in your shoes I would be sure that you your daughter is not eating any dairy or any nuts. Make sure she is getting plenty of bone broth, clean meats and clean veggies. Go light on the fruit due to the sugar (fructose) that causes inflammation in someone who is not well and could have a intestinal dysbiosis. Allergies are caused by inflammation in the gut so once her gut is healed her allergies should get better. You also might want to look into the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet for her if you do the things mentioned above in regards to GAPS and don't see an improvements. I hope that helps. PS My website will be going live soon so stay tuned. It will be much easier to navigate and very helpful in a lot of areas for people. Blessings, Jennifer


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For any and all health advice/suggestions and/or posts on this blog, I do not assume any liability for you. The posts and comments on this blog are not meant to be a substitute for your own practicing physician's care in your life. These posts are based on my experience and research in my own healing journey and are placed here to encourage and help those ailing with their health. We are all individuals and there is not ONE pat answer or resolution that applies to everyone across the board.