Category Archives: Parenting

Food Sensitivity Testing

This post is about our excellent success with getting food sensitivity testing for myself and my son. We had it done through Immuno Laboratories and we were happy with the results and impressed with the process and the informational packet we received.

For several years, my son had suffered from sinus infections, congestion, and getting sick frequently. I as well have had sinus issues and even though I have found great relief from using a Neti pot daily (More about that in my articles here and here). We had tried a great deal of things for my son, including ear tubes, adenoid removal, and sinus surgery. Our ENT said his frontal sinuses were almost completely blocked with polyps when he did the sinus surgery to remove them and clear out the sinuses. This helped for a while, but eventually he started getting sick again. We took him to Allergists, and even pursued immune system tests and other systemic causes. I had heard about food sensitivity testing from my Chiropractor and from other sources. We finally decided to get my son and I tested.

What Is Food Sensitivity
Food sensitivity is similar to an allergy, but different in significant ways. Allergies are immediate and direct reactions to food or other things like pollen, pet dander, etc. In doctor-speak, these are called IgE reactions. Food sensitivity testing checks for more latent reactions, called IgG. These are not immediate reactions, but rather slow-burning reactions. It is almost as if the body is overreacting to the item in question. This can manifest as excess mucus production, swelling, inflammation, etc. It can reduce your immune system and make you susceptible to getting sick.

The Process Of Testing
Immuno Laboratories Info PacketI will focus on Immuno Labs, since that is the company we used and they are well known in the field. The testing must be processed through a Dr. who has some affiliation with Immuno Labs. They have good information on their website for finding a local doctor affiliate. We had discussed testing with our ENT and he was looking into it, but we went ahead and got tested through my Chiropractor who had an established account with Immuno Labs. From your affiliated doctor, you get a small cardboard box with instructions and blood vials. This must be taken to a clinical lab that can draw blood. Our local lab charged $24 each to draw the blood and properly centrifuge it according to the instructions. Once we had the completed boxes, we used the enclosed Fed-Ex labels and sent them to Immuno Labs. Within a week, we received very complete plastic binders with our test results along with several DVDs and a great informational packet.

Testing Tips

  • Check with your insurance, ours covered the testing 100%.
  • Keep your deductible in mind. We did ours at the end of the year, after all our deductible had been met. Waiting until January would have been expensive.
  • Follow the directions carefully. The process is simple, but since it must be sent in it is good to try to get it right the first time

Test Results
Your results will include a list of “reactive test results” as well as a list of “non-reactive test results”. Here is what mine looked like.

My Results From Immuno Labs

My Results From Immuno Labs

This tells you which foods you had an IgG reaction to and which other foods were tested that had no IgG reaction. Note that having an IgG reaction does not necessarily mean that food is problematic. Once you have your results, the best thing to do is an elimination diet (more on that in a future post) and get rid of everything on your list. My son and I did that for 4 months and we both had great success. Neither one of us got a sinus infection and we both felt much better. Once you reach a good place like that, then you can add individual foods back into your diet and try to figure out which ones are problematic.

Have you considered getting tested, or have you already gone through the testing? What has your experience been and did it help you at all. If you are considering testing as a possible remedy for unexplained sickness, I highly recommend it.

Parenting Tip – White Washcloths

This is a really simple tip for parents of young children. When kids are first in a high chair and starting to eat solid foods they make a huge mess and it is a big job to clean up after them. We started using paper towels and odd rags, but nothing worked real great. The tip is to go to your local linen store (I don’t remember which ones have gone out of business and which ones are still around!) and get about 20 basic white washcloths. They should come in big multipacks and are very cheap. We always had a big stack of washcloths available and they made cleanup so much easier! They are soft for the kid’s faces and hands and also very effective on tables and the floor. You also keep all those paper towels out of the landfill. Keep a bag of dirty washcloths near your laundry machine and when you get low just wash the whole bag of dirty ones. It saves paper towels and is much easier and cleaner. This one tip has saved us a ton of time over the years with three kids in high chairs. As the washcloths got completely frayed and worn out we periodically picked the worst ones and moved them to the garage for use as dirty rags and bought another multipack to replace them.

Now as our kids have gotten older and we don’t need them for mealtime, they have turned into general purpose rags and are still useful. Whether they are being use to clean up the cat throwup or if the boys missed the toilet, they are still so handy.

Keeping Your Nose Clean – Part 2

The other day I posted about using a neti pot and the benefits I have gotten from that.  There is an alternative which is similar, but a little easier to use called the NeilMed system.  The concept is the same as the neti pot- it is a salt water rinse of the nose.  It uses pressurized salt water instead of relying on gravity like the neti pot does.


I like the neti pot and ususally stick to using that system.  I do like to occasionally use the NeilMed either for a change of pace, or when the pressurized flow is helpful, like when I am a little bit congested.

The other reason I use the NeilMed is for my children.  For anyone younger or anyone who has struggled trying the neti pot this is a great alternative.  I can help use the NeilMed squeeze bottle on them when it would be much harder to try to help get all the angles right and tip the pot just right.

Adult NeilMed squeeze bottle

Adult NeilMed squeeze bottle

The System

NeilMed squeeze bottles are available at many drug stores.  I have found them locally at WalGreens, CVS, and places like Target.  They sell them in adult and pediatric sizes.  When you initially purchase a bottle it usually comes with a supply of little packets of pre-measued salt to make a proper salt solution.  There are different packets available for adult, adult extra-salty, and pediatric to match your needs and type of bottle.  Once you have used up your supply of included salt packets they sell refil kits so you can just buy the salt without the bottle.  I have found that the pediatric refills are harder to find and had to go to a specialty local pharmacy to find them.

The Salt

Here again, it is much cheaper to buy salt in bulk and measure it out yourself.  I do find that my kids don’t like the “sea” quality of the sea salt I buy, and the packets are very convenient for them, so I do buy the pediatric refills.  The packets are premeasured and easy to use and the salt is a special blend and seems to be very mild.


The process is very similar to the neti pot.  Start by running the hot water until it is warm, but not hot.  You can either put the salt in first or water in first, but get them both into the bottle.  Screw the cap on tight, put your finger over the hole and turn the bottle upside down to mix the salt, and then you are ready to go.  Tilt your head slightly to the left and insert the bottle tip into the right nostril.  Now squeeze firmly – I’ve found that slow and steady squeezing works the best.  You can either use the entire bottle up and repeat for the other side, or switch sides when the bottle is about half full.

Be very careful of using too much squeeze pressure.  You can easily force water out towards your ears – especially if you are a little congested – and this is very unpleasant.

NeilMed plastic neti pot

NeilMed plastic neti pot

Other Thoughts

NeilMed includes a nice detailed pamphlet along with their products.  It is a good read to get more information on the benefits of salt water rinsing of the nose.  Also of note is that they sell a pretty decent plastic net pot like the one pictured here which is a good way to try that route out.

New Year’s 2009 – My Resolutions

This follow-up to my previous post is a place to document my resolutions for 2009.  I will periodically check in and see how I am doing with these and keep you updated.

Do more

I have struggled with being “inert” my whole life.  I spend far too much time letting others or the world decide things for me.  In 2009, I resolve to be more active and assertive and simply “do more”.  That includes keeping this blog alive and continuing to post.

Spend more time interacting with my kids

I have been fortunate in that I have been able to spend quite a bit of time with my kids.  I get home fairly early, we’ve taken vacations, I had time at home with them when each one was born.  I have found myself being with them, but not necessarily interacting with them or really listening to to them.  In 2009, I resolve to interact more with my kids.

Stay in shape and maintain my weight

I lost over 20 pounds last year and I’m happy with my weight.  Look for future topics on what worked for me and some of my tips.  I resolve to keep the weight off and maintain the healthy weight I have worked so hard to achieve.  I also resolve to continue to stay in shape.  For the last few years I have managed to get out mountain biking at least once a week and I want to continue and build on that habit.

Get stronger

I have never been one for weight training, but have always had an interest in having more muscle and being stronger.  I resolve to find a plan or program to strenghten my muscles.

What Is – Organic?

Just about everything lately is available in organic forms.  What exactly does organic mean?  The terms “organic” and “conventionally grown” are typically seen.  Organic means grown without chemical pesticides and chemical growth enhancers (think Miracle-Gro), while “conventionally grown” means grown with chemical pesticides and chemical growth enhancers.  It is an unfortunate situation that has arrisin out of our modern society.  Only 50 years ago, everything was grown naturally and the idea of using chemicals on crops was unheard of.


In order to be labeled “organic” the product or produce must be certified by an officially recognized organization.  Some of these include: