Picture of Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, the founder of Milk & Honey Nutrition, is a diabetes dietitian (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) renowned for combining her knowledge of diabetes and culinary expertise into easy-to-follow recipes and articles!


My family’s journey with food intolerances

Article Overview

fish tacos with avocado, lettuce, carrots, and pinner test box Food intolerances are a hot topic right now, with more and more people realizing the foods they eat are directly impacting the way they feel, think, and move. We also know that each of us is different, and while one food or way of eating might be ok for you to eat, that might not be the case for the next person. I’ve experienced this in my own family, and with clients.

But before I tell you my story with food intolerances (and my family’s), we need to clarify the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. Food allergies typically cause an almost immediate reaction after a food is consumed and are a result of IgE antibodies. Food intolerances, however, may have an immediate reaction after consuming a food, but often have a much more delayed reaction. Food allergy symptoms are commonly manifested as shortness of breath, swelling, hives, and itching. Food intolerances can manifest in a number of ways: skin problems, GI discomfort, headaches, systemic inflammation, and others.

For more information on food intolerances and food allergies, check out this article from the Mayo Clinic.

My journey with food intolerances

As a diabetic dietitian, I tend to think about the food I’m eating and the way it effects me a little more than the average person. So when I started to experience some rather unpleasant, and at times embarrassing GI symptoms after my youngest daughter was born, I knew something was off… and like a good dietitian, I suspected it was something I was eating. My body had been through a lot after two back-to-back pregnancies, and it was very possible my immune system had changed too.

I got tested for a number of food allergies, including celiac disease, and everything came back negative. So, I went on eating as I always had… until about a year later when my thyroid hormones started acting up (I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism back when I was 12). Suddenly, my medication dosage wasn’t adequate and I was needing a higher dosage than when I was pregnant (which if you’re wondering, is not normal at all). My doctor suspected I wasn’t absorbing my medication properly, and it could be due to inflammation in my GI tract caused by food intolerances.

Enter Pinnertest.

What is Pinnertest?

Shortly after my thyroid started acting up, and while I was still experiencing those pesky GI symptoms I mentioned… and after that conversation with my doctor; Pinnertest reached out to me to see if I’d like to try their at-home food intolerance test. I jumped at the opportunity! If I’m being honest, I was dreading having to try different elimination diets. Pinnertest eliminates the need for that… no guess work, just a simple finger prick.

Taking the test at home and sending in my sample was incredibly easy! (See the photo slideshow for just how simple.) I got my results back in about a week, and I was shocked… I was intolerant to chicken, shrimp, and barley. (The last one wasn’t a big surprise. I had suspected I was intolerant to gluten years before this and had been eating gluten free for quite some time.) But chicken, and shrimp?! That just seemed a little too weird. But I was desperate, so I tried cutting them out of my diet for about 6 weeks.

I’ll give you one guess what happened…

Yep. My GI symptoms improved, and my thyroid hormones came back into normal range and my medication dosage was lower. It really is as simple as that. I’ve eaten chicken and shrimp occasionally since then, but without fail, I get an upset stomach and other not so fun GI symptoms for about  24-48 hours afterwards.

Since my experience with Pinnertest, my husband and both my daughters have taken the Pinnertest too.

My husband has always had a “sensitive” stomach and even after eliminating all gluten from his diet after he was diagnosed with Celiac, he still gets random episodes of nausea and vomiting with no apparent cause.

My older daughter has random mood swings, and sometimes experiences higher levels of fatigue than is normal.

My younger daughter has eczema that never seems to go away (see our most recent family photo for proof).

 You can see one of the manifestations of a possible food intolerance in this recent family picture... my youngest is always itching and suffers from flare ups of eczema.  You can see one of the manifestations of a possible food intolerance in this recent family picture… my youngest is always itching and suffers from flare ups of eczema.

We just got their results back last week… we found out my oldest daughter tested intolerant to cocoa beans, my younger daughter to almonds, and my husband to coffee. While these won’t be the easiest things to eliminate, I’ve already been working in the kitchen to come up with some new recipe ideas! Keep reading to see those!

Want to try Pinnertest yourself?

Head on over to Pinnertest.com and order your test today. You can use the code MILKNHONEY for $60 off and free shipping.

*The above account is a review of my own personal experience with Pinnertest and is not intended to be a recommendation for all people. Your experience may be different than mine. Please reference this disclaimer from Pinnertest.

This article was sponsored by Pinnertest. All thoughts and ideas are my own.

Some new recipes I developed after getting our Pinnertest results back!

 Caffeinated Hot Chocolate... so good, you'll never miss the coffee! Click the image above for the recipe! Caffeinated Hot Chocolate… so good, you’ll never miss the coffee! Click the image above for the recipe!  Click the photo above for these delicious 30-minute Fish Tacos with a Lemon Avocado Cream Sauce. I developed this recipe after finding out I had a food intolerance to chicken.  These 30-minute Fish Tacos with a Lemon Avocado Cream Sauce are so delicious. I developed this recipe after finding out I had a food intolerance to chicken.

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