There are several ways to check for food allergies on one's own. One is with the Coca test, based on Dr. Coca's observation that a person's pulse rate increases after eating a food to which he or she is allergic. The test consists of taking your pulse before eating and every 30 minutes after that for up to 2 hours.
Normally, the average person's pulse is between 70 and 80 beats per minute. After eating a food to which one is allergic, however, the pulse can increase significantly to a count that's 20 or even 40 beats above the normal level.
Another effective diagnostic measure that can be self-administered is the elimination test. Here, suspected allergy-producing foods are eliminated from the diet for 4 days. Every 5th day one of the foods is added back in to see if an allergic reaction occurs. So, if, for example, wheat is eliminated, on the 5th day a bowl of cracked wheat can be eaten. (Bread should not be used for this purpose because the person might be reacting to the yeast, sugar or additives.)
It is helpful to keep a food diary to isolate those chemicals and foods that make you ill. Ask yourself, "Do I get bloated? Tired? Headaches?" Even is symptoms are not immediate, write them down. If you are allergic to a food, patterns will begin to emerge. A wide array of symptoms can occur depending upon which systems are most affected:
Adrenal System Reactions: Low energy or chronic fatigue is a common reaction, with immune dysfunction being at the most severe end of the spectrum. Another possibility is obesity, which can stem from a tendency to overeat in response to low glucose levels. A hypoglycemic person eats to raise the blood sugar and overcome inertia and exercise too little because not enough energy is available.
Central Nervous System Reactions: Brain allergies occur when molecules, breathed in or eaten, leave the blood and enter the brain. These foreign substances can interfere with enzymes and lead to any number of reactions - diminished concentration, impaired thinking, spaciness, anxiety, headaches, aggressive or antisocial behavior, depression, rapid mood swings, insomnia, hallucinations or episodic memory loss.
Many children experience hyperactivity or fatigue from allergens. Even serious psychotic problems can result; it is estimated that for over 90% of schizophrenics, food or chemical intolerances are contributory factors to their conditions. Unfortunately many allergic reactions, and many psychological problems compounded by allergic reactions, are mistaken for purely psychological.
Skin Problems: Some people experience rashes, or skin redness, discoloration, roughness or inflammation.
Respiratory System Problems: There may be wheezing or shortness of breath, asthma or bronchitis.
Cardiovascular Symptoms: These include heart pounding, rapid or skipped beats, flushing, pallor, tingling, redness or blueness of the hands and faintness.
Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Numerous symptoms include dry mouth, burping, flatulence, bloating, canker sores, stinging tongue, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, rectal itching and indigestion.
Other Problems: Other annoying, uncomfortable symptoms are muscle aches and joint pain, ringing in the ears and frequent urination.
Unless corrected, subclinical signs can turn into disease states. Most people mask their symptoms with medication instead of addressing the cause of the problem. They do not realize that seemingly divers conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, migraines, irritably bowel syndrome, adult onset diabetes and skin disease, can have food and chemical allergies as an underlying cause.