Have you been searching for a reason that things aren’t quite right or wondering why those annoying symptoms keep popping up? Or do you feel great but are curious how you are doing on the inside? These 5 tests are a great place to start as you search for clues and gather information. The cost of functional lab work that we use to check hormones, detoxification, intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and food sensitivities can cost a lot of money! Although they are often needed, why not start with the basics? Read on to find out how to use these cheap (or free) tests in the comfort of your home. Great tools for monitoring your own progress!
To test at home: Blood Sugar Levels
Did you know that balanced blood sugar is the common attribute of people who live to be over 100? Keeping blood sugar from fluctuating is extremely important to health and longevity. Monitoring your levels can give insight into how your body reacts to the foods you eat.
1) Buy an inexpensive glucometer. Glucometers can be really expensive and the strips can be even more expensive (I pay $1.00 per test strip since I didn’t have this handy information before!). Amazon has the Tru 2 Go for only $13.25 and the test strips that go with this are $17.50/100 (17.5 cents ea).
2) For 7 days – test your blood sugar first thing in the morning before having any food (ideally 12 hours since your last meal) for your fasting blood sugar level. An ideal level is less than 86 mg/dL. Although this is not the number that is considered “normal” at the doctor’s office, this study shows that a person with a fasting glucose level of 90-94 has 49% greater risk of developing diabetes compared with a level less than 85. While testing, I highly suggest that you keep a detailed food journal to watch the patterns. For my more advanced testers you can check blood sugar levels 1,2 & 3 hours after a meal to see how you are reacting to a food. If you want more information about this topic Chris Kresser has an awesome article Why your “normal” blood sugar isn’t normal (Part 2).
To test at home: Food Sensitivities
An elimination diet is a good test to find out if you have a food sensitivity. According to Dr. Mercola, food and chemical sensitivities are estimated to affect up to 50% of Americans. Sensitivities are much harder to pinpoint than a true food allergy, because sensitivities cause a slower and more subtle response. The top 5 Food sensitivities are corn, soy, gluten, dairy and eggs. But, your sensitivity could be to any food. If your gastro-intestinal tract is compromised or has been under attack for a long time, you might have devolved sensitivities to many foods. To test: Remove most common food sensitivies corn, soy, gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, and processed foods, alcohol, sugar and anything else that you suspect might cause a problem (I also have my clients remove most beans & grains since this can be hard on digestion for many people) for 2 weeks. Add one new food back in every 2 days and watch for any reaction. Reactions can include digestive problems, skin issues, headaches, or low mood and energy. A food journal of mood as well as physical symptoms is imperative in this process.
To test at home: pH
An Acid-Alkaline balance in the body is an important factor for your health. Just as we know it is important to keep your pool at a certain pH or funky things will grow, this is the same within your body. Cancer thrives in and acidic environment but cannot survive in an alkaline environment. Maintaining a proper pH will help the body be able to detoxify and will increase our immunity.
6 days in a row
1) Buy pH strips from your local drug store or health food store in the supplement section
2) Upon waking (before eating or drinking anything) put one strip in your mouth to test your saliva
Should be 6.8 to 7.2
3) Test 1st urine between 5 am and 8 am – this should be more acidic because during the first 4 hours of sleep your body removes acid from the joints.
4) Test 2nd urine (before eating if possible) – This is the most important reading to give you a good baseline of where you are for the day
Should be 6.8 to 7.2
To test at home: Candida
6 days in a row
Spit in a glass of water 1st thing in the morning when you wake up before eating, drinking or brushing your teeth. Check the glass over 45 minutes. If after 45 minutes your spit is floating on the top, you are good to go. If the spit has formed legs and traveling down, we need to work on your balance. If the spit has completely dropped to the bottom, then candida is planning a major takeover and we need to take care of the candida to improve your health.
To test at home: Thyroid Health
3 days in a row
Take your temperature first thing in the morning when you wake up. Put your thermometer under your armpit and then get back into bed for 10 minutes. You can also take your temperature before you go to bed and 20 minutes after each meal. If you are consistently under 97.4 then you might have a sluggish thyroid.