The Day I Gave Up Chicken Meat. At Least Temporarily
Email received from my wife Lisa on Tuesday, December 1st, 2015 at 10:28 AM
Copyright: imtmphoto / 123RF Stock Photo
That’s all it said. That’s all it needed to say. I knew Lisa was pissed. And was probably thiiiiis close to tossing her computer out the window.
I’ll be honest: when I read those two words I couldn’t help but chuckle. Of all the things to come back positive on her Pinnertest, we were both keeping our fingers crossed that coffee was going to be safe.
For one, Lisa loves coffee.1
And two, on my side of the fence (a non-coffee drinker), I bought her what’s equivalent to the Cadillac of Nespresso machines for Christmas a few years ago. If we come to find out coffee is on the “hit list,” does it just become an expensive paperweight, albeit one that makes delicious caffeinated beverages?
Alas, there it was, plain as day…coffee: a “Level 1” intolerance.
Lets Back Up a Bit
Without going into too many personal details, Lisa was having a conversation with a friend of ours (Eric Gahan of Iron Body Studios) last year on the topic of diet/nutrition and food intolerances. The two of them steered towards digestive and skin issues and how both believed some of the foods they ate may be playing a role in each.
The idea of food intolerances or elimination diets is nothing new in the industry. In fact, many books extolling the virtues of eliminating “this” (gluten, dairy) or “that” (meat, anything that’s delicious) have been written. And many “gurus” have been made (and made a lot of money) as a result.
Copyright: xamnesiacx / 123RF Stock Photo
By and large, much of the dialogue you see in the mainstream media on food intolerance is sensationalistic and wishful thinking at best, and predatory at worst.
Many charlatans will prey on people’s fears on a particular food (0r category of food) and try to convince them that if they don’t eat or eliminate said food(s) they’ll lose weight2, get a six-pack, be able to deadlift a bulldozer, win the Boston Marathon, balance their checkbook, solve global warming, become a Navy SEAL, and/or have endless threesomes.
I’m a skeptic. And I’m right there eye-rolling with the best of them. Most of the time, anyways.
In fact, on the seemingly pseudoscience of it all I agree with much of what Mike Samuels had to say recently:
If you’ve been reading my messages for any time whatsoever, you’ll know my response to these will be – B.O.G.U.S.
On the whole, any tests you can buy off the Internet are kinda crappy.
What I would say (and the point of this email) is that how you feel when you eat a certain food does matter. Bloated after a bagel? Maybe bread’s not your thing. Feel crappy following a big cheese-fest. Perhaps your guts don’t love dairy as much as you do.
It’s worth a try.
It doesn’t mean you have to ban anything, it just gives you the data to make an informed decision over what the best foods for you are.
Hard to argue with that.
However, sometimes people need a little nudge or some form of “expedited” information to help point them in the right direction. A starting point if you will.
And that’s where Eric and Lisa’s conversation from above led to her taking the Pinnertest.
The Pinner…What Now?
From the website:
The Pinnertest makes use of the MicroARRAY – ELISA Method IgG (blood) test for determining permanent food intolerances.
It does NOT test for food allergies.
Food allergies can kill you.
Food intolerances, on the other hand, can lead to things such as indigestion, IBS, bloating, skin issues (acne), and even unexplained weight gain in rare cases.3
The latter – indigestion, skin issues – is what served as the impetus for Lisa taking the test. After listening to Eric speak about his experience and how the Pinnertest helped to “pin point” a few food(s) he never would have thought of as culprits, and after hearing all the success stories of many of his clients taking the test…she was in.
To remind you of the result:
And there were other foods that popped up too, like green peppers for example. Which was amazing, because Lisa avoided green peppers since they always “disagreed” with her whenever she ate them.
She now had some proof to back up her inclinations.
Egg yolks were a +2
Coffee (at +1) was the biggest blow, however. There are varying “levels” of intolerance with the Pinnertest:
- Level 1 (Low Reaction)
- Level 2 (Moderate Reaction)
- Level 3 (High Reaction)
Or, if I were in charge of naming them:
- Aw, Man, This Kinda Sucks (Level 1)
- No, Really, This Sucks Donkey Balls (Level 2)
- Fuck (Level 3)
Per the recommendation of Pinnertest, Lisa omitted all of the above from her diet for three months. Even coffee. I don’t know how she did it, but she did. She was a champion, instead opting for lots and lots of tea (and long, mournful stares at the Nespresso machine).
Low and behold, friends and colleagues who hadn’t seen her for a few weeks started to comment on her skin and how much better it looked. She noticed the difference too. Stuff she had dealt with for much of her life had resolved.
After the three months was over she had her first shot of espresso. I wish I had filmed her reaction. It was on par with Frank the Tank from the movie Old School:
In the time since she’s experimented with varying degrees of coffee consumption and has figured out what’s “worth it” on her end. The Pinnertest helped make the decision making process and planning a little easier.
So, Tony, What’s the Deal With Chicken?
As you may have guessed after a bit of pressing from Lisa, I finally ended up taking the test myself.
Again, not to get too personal, I fart. I fart a lot.
Granted not nearly as much as when I was a bachelor living off of nothing but chicken breasts, Ramen noodles, and boxes of cereal…but, you know, I have my days…….;o)
In addition, I have been battling some dermatitis on my face for many years. Sporadically I’ll get red blotches and flaky skin on my face which, as you can imagine, makes the ladies go crazy.
Not! (<— Sorry, Roman, for the exclamation point)
I still managed to snag this one, though:
After some pining from Lisa (and the kindness of the people at Pinnertest to send me a complimentary kit), I was in too.
Here’s me watching the video of the How, What, and Why’s of the Pinnertest (FYI: It’s super easy):
Here’s me signing the form:
Here’s me pricking my finger with a needle:
And here I am sending off my sample to get tested (and crossing my fingers that dairy was going to be safe. No cheese or ice-cream = rip shit city):
Fast Forward Two Weeks…The Results
I got my results back (via email) two days ago. And as you probably guessed one of the foods that came back to avoid (a +2) was…chicken.
Yes, effing chicken.
What’s a meathead to do? Chicken is like, the thing, a food group in of itself. When it doubt eat chicken.
This is analogous to telling James Bond he’s intolerant to Vespers, or that E.T. is intolerant to Reese’s Pieces, or that a vegan is intolerant to, I don’t know, sawdust.
The rest of my results included:
+2 Reaction: chicken, shrimp, carrot.4
+1 Reaction: potato (<— dammit), grape.
[Thankfully things like dairy, red meat, wheat, and Adamantium were in the clear.]
I never would have guessed chicken (or any of the others for that matter), and as it happens the day I received my results I took this picture of my face. My beautiful, beautiful face:
See those red blotches? They weren’t as profound the day prior. Guess what I had for dinner no less than twelve hours before?
So What Now?
I asked Georgie Fear, a Registered Dietitian I respect a ton and author of the book Lean Habits, to chime in. Here’s what she had to say:
Some people think it’s a sham: example –> HEREOthers have tested it and found benefit –> HERE
My take has actually changed on this. I used to be skeptical and tell people to save their money, not waste it on this stuff. Then I had a client who had chronic stuffiness in her nose, throat clearing constantly, and we had done serial elimination of all the usual suspects to no avail. She did a test and it gave her a laundry list of things. I rolled my eyes. AND it TOTALLY cured her symptoms.
So my skepticism has gone away and my current stance is that if someone has no GI/allergic/IBS symptoms, don’t create problems by looking for foods to eliminate (don’t you have real problems to solve in your life?)
If someone does have symptoms, it can’t hurt to take the test. If your symptoms don’t improve after 8 weeks, quit. But if they do, then you can decide if the pain-in-the-ass-factor of avoiding those foods is worth the reduction in symptoms. It might be, and it might not be. But you can make an informed decision.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I’m not turning my back to evidence-based research or dialogue. On the flip side, it’s hard for me to discount anecdotal evidence and the bounty of people who have seen results and benefitted from such tests.
So I’m gonna take the next three or so months and see what happens. I’m gonna refrain from eating the foods that came back positive. Why not? It can’t hurt.
Curious? Want In on the Action? Save $$
Are you curious to see if some of the foods you regularly eat may be contributing to indigestion, bloating, acne, or other issues?
Pinnertest is the only food intolerance test on the market that 1) uses a simple finger prick and 2) as a result, doesn’t require additional incurred costs of driving to the doctor’s office to get blood taken or driving to a lab.6
I feel I’ve done a pretty good job of relaying a well-balanced and un-biased opinion. I’ll leave that up to you to decide, though. Maybe I’ll chime in a few weeks from now and say “nope, no change.”
I’m testing the waters here.
At the end of the day it’s information. Based off my experience, my wife’s experience, and that of several coaches I respect, it’s information that may make a difference.
It’s not like a ever crave chicken anyways.