Probiotics with Purpose
This post was created in partnership with MegaFood®. As always, all opinions and text are my own.
You guys know - I love high-quality probiotics! As someone with all kinds of food allergies and intolerances, taking high quality probiotics along with dietary supplements crafted with nutrients and whole food ingredients is a great way for me to make sure I’m getting all of the vitamins and minerals I need in my diet. That said, there are too many companies touting their products as ‘the best’ or ‘most effective’ that it can be really tough to figure out what’s worth your money and your time. I’m a big fan of MegaFood® products – not only are their supplements made with whole foods from trusted farm partners, they are also committed to supporting organic and regenerative agriculture. Even more, their products are tested free from the most common allergens: gluten, dairy, and soy. But there is a lot to choose from!
So how do you figure it out? Well, my friends, transparency is key. Most companies are quiet about where or how they source their supplement ingredients. Often they buy from farms that use glyphosate, the number one herbicide in the US - labeled by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer as “probably carcinogenic in humans”.1 NOT COOL. More on glyphosate below. Luckily for us, MegaFood is committed to quality, safety and purity above all. They are a brand you can really trust! And I love them for that. They’ve just released a new line of probiotics I’m head over heels for - their Shelf-Stable Probiotics are uniquely curated with probiotic strains formulated to support benefits like Mood*, Energy*, Digestive Health*, Immune Defense* and Women’s Health*! The capsules are acid-resistant to help protect the probiotics strains from our stomach acids while digesting, all in support of optimal gut health.*
Glyphosate is - terrifyingly - the number one herbicide used in the United States. It’s on ALL KINDS of things, including just about anything that isn’t grown organically. It’s sprayed heavily on GMO and conventionally-grown crops at harvest and frequently used in home gardens, public parks and schools. Its use has skyrocketed over the last two decades - nearly 15 fold! In fact, glyphosate is the number one herbicide used in the world, even with that scary warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) about it being “probably carcinogenic to humans” that we mentioned earlier. Ick - no thank you!
Organic farming bans the use of glyphosate and other fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones, which is why certified organic ingredients are so important and is why MegaFood partners with trusted farmers who share their commitment to organic and regenerative agriculture. MegaFood is the first supplement brand to have its ENTIRE LINE certified Glyphosate Residue Free by The Detox Project, an independent research and certification organization dedicated to bringing awareness to the public by testing consumer goods and food products for toxic chemicals. Because they are so passionate about delivering the best products on the market, MegaFood is working to ban the use of glyphosate as a desiccant, or drying agent, before harvest. Using glyphosate as a desiccant allows food to be harvested quickly but in turn, increases the likelihood that consumers will be directly exposed to the pesticide through the foods they eat, even after processing. They’ve teamed up with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and other powerhouse brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Stonyfield to help make this happen!
So how can YOU help? Well, you can start by committing to using products labeled Glyphosate Residue Free by The Detox Project (like ALL MegaFood products!) and then you can support this call to the EPA by signing this public petition aimed at joining and educating consumers. It’s that easy, friends! Ready to get started on your own healthy, whole food supplement journey? Head to MegaFood.com to get started and find the right products for you!
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1 International Agency for Research on Cancer: IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides
MY HELIX FOOD SENSITIVITY+ TEST RESULTS
I've had a TON of interest and questions about my Food Sensitivity+ testing since I posted about receiving my kit from Helix. If you’d like to read more about my experience using the kit to test my saliva + blood for my body's response to 96 foods, you can head here. Otherwise, I’ll catch you up. Basically, a company called Helix sent me their DNA kit to collect and sequence my DNA so that their partner EverlyWell could analyze my DNA for a genetic predisposition to different food sensitivities. Helix uses Exome+ sequencing which reads every letter of all 22,000 protein-coding genes and produces 100 times more data than most consumer genetics companies. Then, once you've taken and sent back your DNA sample, they'll store and protect your genetic data so you can access and share just the relevant portion with any Helix partner of your choosing (such as EverlyWell) without ever having to provide another DNA sample. And if you're interested in finding out more about your DNA, Helix offers other tests to help you dive further into that information too. They offer cool tests for ancestry, family planning, hereditary cancer screening - all kinds of different things if you're interested in exploring further.
I did a kit called Food Sensitivity+, made by Helix's partner EverlyWell, that tests elevated levels of immune antibodies in my blood, plus, it measures my genetic predisposition to metabolize and absorb foods and vitamins. Food Sensitivity+ needs just a few drops of blood (plus some saliva for the DNA part of the test) and it can test for genetic predisposition to reactivity to 96 foods (like gluten, wheat and dairy) as well as genetic influences on lactose intolerance, caffeine, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and magnesium. That’s AMAZING! And way more info than I get from my doctor in a single visit, too.
And guess what?! I just got my results back! I’m so excited to share them with you guys, and frankly was just so excited to have some insight on why I am having these constant tummy troubles. I knew there had to be something contributing to some aches and pains, but I couldn’t pinpoint what. You guys are not going to believe what came back in my results! Some serious surprises and things I was eating literally EVERY DAY. This test is a quick (results came back within about two weeks), safe, and effective way to figure out what your food sensitivities are.
So what were my biggest sensitivities? Soy and most types of dairy came up as highest reacting; no surprise there! I already do my best to avoid them because of how badly I do react, so this just reinforces for me that I should be reducing my intake of them. The real exciting (and disappointing) part comes next; I had sensitivity to the following foods, in order of reactivity: sweet potato, cashew, clam, crab, green beans, pineapple, sesame, wheat, chia seed, malt, sunflower, kelp + gluten. Yeah, I’m just going to let the take a moment to sink in. I had to. That is a LOT of foods that I very regularly eat showing up on my sensitivity test. Ugh.
For me, that means a lot of foods that I was eating nearly every day - cashews, gluten, pineapple and chia seeds, specifically - may be causing a reaction. And it made a lot of sense! For someone who eats a pretty healthy, balanced, nearly sugar-free, plant-based diet - I shouldn’t be having so many issues. Or so I thought! But compound that same diet with a host of inflammatory foods and you’ve got a recipe for an upset stomach + a bunch of skin issues - which is exactly where I’m at.
Along with food sensitivity testing, the DNA portion of the test also tested for genetic variants for things like B6 + B12 levels, lactose intolerance, magnesium levels and caffeine metabolism. Everything there came up normal for me except my genetic predisposition for low B12 levels. Even though the test doesn't tell me that I currently have low B12 (I'd have to confirm with a doctor), I'm definitely going to try to have more foods with B12 in my diet. I might consider grabbing a niacin-free B12 supplement too.
Just knowing what my body reacts to is going to help me so much. I can alter my diet to reflect the removal of said foods, and can be on high alert when I am having a stomach ache or reactive effect for what I may have ingested that affected me. I have started trying to reduce my intake of the other foods that I’m most sensitive to, but I still find that wheat, gluten, and chia seeds slip in here and there.
I am hoping to start the New Year by trying to reduce my intake of some of the foods I have highest sensitivity to, to see how my body reacts. Since finding out which foods most affect me I’ve been trying to cut back a bit on them, and have already started to see small improvements in my eczema and acne. Score!
I look forward to using the Helix DNA collection towards one of their awesome biomarker tests, too - because once they have it on file, they keep it on file. And they have so many great accompaniment kits I’d love to try! You can get 30% OFF any purchase on any Helix product with code: HelixJPfO. But HURRY - only the first 25 unique users get the discount!
This post is sponsored, which is a tool we use to keep the content on this site fresh and relevant. While I was paid for this post, all thoughts and opinions expressed are true and from my own experience.
At Home Food Sensitivity Testing with Helix
(This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Helix. All opinions are 100% mine.)
If you’re following me on Instagram, you may have seen that I recently got the coolest thing in the mail. A company called Helix sent me a DNA test. This particular test is called Food Sensitivity+, made by EverlyWell and powered by Helix. Together, they’ll tell me if I have any sensitivities to certain foods, plus measure my genetic predisposition to metabolize and absorb foods and vitamins. What does that all mean? Well simply said, Food Sensitivity+ needs just a few drops of blood (plus some saliva for the DNA part of the test) and it can test for my reactivity to 96 foods (like gluten, wheat, and dairy) as well as genetic influences on sensitivity to lactose and metabolism of caffeine, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, and magnesium. That’s pretty rad!
This test is a quick (results come within about a week!), non-invasive way to figure out what your food sensitivities are. Helix’s proprietary technology, called Exome+, reads every letter of all 22,000 protein-coding genes in your body, which produces 100 times more data than most consumer genetics companies. Then, once you’ve taken and sent back your DNA sample, they’ll store and protect your genetic data so you can access and share it with any partner of your choosing without ever having to provide another DNA sample. And if you’re interested in finding out more about your DNA, Helix offers other tests to help you dive further into that information, too. They offer cool tests for ancestry, family planning, hereditary cancer screening - all kinds of different things if you’re interested in exploring further!
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ‘IBS’ after blood and stool tests plus an endoscopy, colonoscopy and an ingestible camera found nothing but healthy organs with a lot of inflammation. Eventually, after many tests and dietary restrictions, doctors finally figured out that I was having reactions to soy. They figured that was what was causing all my abdominal pain, content bowel movements, and eczema breakouts - and they were mostly right. Now I’ve been soy-free for almost two years and while the abdominal issues, cramping, and overall IBS symptoms have stopped, the eczema and adult acne have only gotten worse. And while I’ve tried tweaking my diet here and there, it can be really hard to pinpoint when you’re shooting in the dark. With Food Sensitivity+, you’ll learn your body’s sensitivity to many common foods AND the impact your DNA may have on your ability to digest certain foods and nutrients. That’s pretty awesome, because it also gives you the tools to create long-term meal plans and food awareness for yourself, plus it'll help you understand which foods may be triggering you and causing your symptoms. You’ll know which foods your body should be getting more of and what you might want to try reducing from your diet to see how you feel.
The process was super easy. I ordered my kits online and they arrived within just a couple days. For the Helix part of the test, the DNA part, I just needed a simple saliva sample. Spit in a tiny tube, close it up, and shake it up! For the EverlyWell part of the test, the blood part, I did a simple finger prick, then put drops of my blood onto a biomarker collection card. Then all I had to do was drop my samples into a pre-addressed, safety sealed envelope and drop it into a mailbox! Two days later I got an e-mail that my results had been received by the lab, and now I’m just a few days out from my results. And I can’t wait! You can get 30% OFF any purchase on any Helix product with code: Helixivhk. But HURRY - only the first 25 unique users get the discount! And stay tuned - my results will be back soon and I’ll share them here!
See the video below for a sneak peek at contents of the FoodSensitivity+ blood test!
This post is sponsored, which is a tool we use to keep the content on this site fresh and relevant. While I was paid for this post, all thoughts and opinions expressed are true and from my own experience. Thanks for understanding that sponsored content helps offset the costs of keeping this site running, and thank you to out sponsors who allow us to create such awesome content!