By Beth Blair

Several months ago I took a food sensitivity test through the Life Lab at Life Time Fitness.

Twenty-eight of the 96 items that I had tested came back positive for a food sensitivity, some more severe than others. Among the higher sensitivities were egg yolk and egg white as well as baker's yeast, banana, pineapple, and cow's milk.

As a result, I was set up with a plan to eliminate the higher Class 3 sensitivities (egg yolk, pineapple, and baker's yeast) for six months and the Class 2 sensitivities (banana, egg white, and cow's milk) for three months. The remaining Class 1 items could be rotated every four days.

Eggs had been a part of my daily breakfast as well as other meals I had throughout the day, but I knew they had to go. Instantly I felt better and lighter on my new elimination diet. But it was hard to stick to, and slowly I started to fall off the wagon.

As they say, old habits die hard. For example, I'd throw a banana in my protein shake, order a latté (dairy) from Starbucks, or have a few bites of a sandwich (yeast). (Do you remember Primanti's Bro's in Pittsburgh?) Most times my mistake wouldn't even occur to me until after the meal was long gone.

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When I met with my new registered dietitian, Heather Wallace, a month ago, she strongly suggested I pay closer attention to my food sensitivities. She pointed out that eliminating the eggs has a lot to do with why I've been losing lots of inches, but I would be even better off if I eliminated all of my higher-scale sensitivities.

She explained that these foods can cause a delayed and subtle onset of internal inflammation and stimulation of the immune system, and the more foods I consume that my body is sensitive to, the more inflamed my body can get. This means I'm likely not digesting, absorbing, or utilizing nutrients effectively-all of which negatively impacts metabolism, weight, and energy production. "Wow!" was my first thought. It's not fat but rather inflammation causing my larger clothing sizes.

With this in mind, I started paying closer attention to my 2 and 3-class food sensitivities again and did a pretty good job at eliminating them from my diet.

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However, recently when I was on the road with my family, we went to a restaurant that had only sandwiches on the menu. There weren't any really great choices for me, but the family was very hungry and I wasn't about to haul them out the door in search of another restaurant. I made the bold decision to order a Reuben sandwich with plans to skip the fries. Not only was I eating yeast (bread) but also dairy (cheese).

While the sandwich was delicious, boy did I regret it! Within a couple of hours my stomach was swollen, my clothes felt tight, and-the worst-my belly hurt for nearly three days. I was miserable.

Immediately I went back to my healthy way of life and eliminated my food sensitivities. I've felt great ever since-man, did I learn my lesson! Good-bye, internal inflammation! Hello, thinner, healthier body!

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