Are you allergic to [insert food here]? Test yourself for FREE

Are you allergic to [insert food here]? Test yourself for FREE

Allergy testing is confusing, subjective, and expensive at best. Skin test…blood test…IgE…IgG…IgA.

Are they accurate? Do they catch everything? What do those numbers really mean?

While I firmly believe in blood tests for those with stubborn sensitivities that are hard to narrow down, there is a much easier method for pinpointing the foods that cause stress to the body.

I use this method within my practice and at home.


A Little Background

Testing food allergies by testing your pulse works on the concept that allergens cause stress to the body. The pulse rises in response to the stressor and indicates that the ingested substance is not well tolerated.

This also works for other ingested – through scent or taste – and environmental substances.

The pulse test originates from the findings of Drs. Sanchez-Cuenca and Coca. Our version here was developed by the Nutritional Therapy Association.

I have also included slight variations that I have found to test better than the original instructions.


The Pulse Test for Food Allergies


1. Wait 1-2 hours after eating before testing new foods.

2. Sit down, take a few deep breaths, and fully relax.

Start with my deep breathing technique. Allowing your body to move into parasympathetic mode will give more accurate results.

3. Take your pulse for a full minute in this relaxed state and write down your number. (learn to take your pulse)

4. Put a piece of food/ small amount of liquid in your mouth and move it around for 30-45 seconds to be sure that you can taste it.

Some people will need to do this for up to a minute. You are sending a signal to your brain and nervous system that needs to be processed.

5. Take your pulse for another minute and record your score.

If you find outside distractions are affecting you (the chattering of small children perhaps?), set the test aside and try again at a later time.

6. Remove the food/drink from your mouth – without swallowing it -, rinse your mouth thoroughly, and repeat steps 1-5 with the next food if you are testing more than 1.

If your pulse rises by 6 beats or more, it is indicative of allergic tension. The food(s) should either be removed from your diet or incorporated into a rotation diet if there is only a mild reaction and your food choices are limited.


Smoking cigarettes, acute environmental allergens, viral infections, and other such stressors can cause inaccurate readings, but following the above steps should give you accurate results in most cases.

If you know that you are sensitive/allergic but your pulse does not rise, your nervous system is likely stuck in sympathetic mode. Practicing relaxation techniques can help you ‘flip’ into parasympathetic.

Use your best judgement when incorporating possibly allergenic foods into your diet.

If you test a food with multiple ingredients and react, then test each of those ingredients individually. You should only test single ingredients when possible.

You can also test different versions of a food – raw, fermented, sautéed, roasted, stewed -. Various compounds are broken down by the cooking process and affect each one of us differently.

Taking An Accurate Pulse

1. Take the back of your right wrist (the part you see when you type) and place it into your left hand. You have it right when both wrists are facing up, and you are gently cupping your right wrist.

Either hand will work when testing.

2. The fingers of your left hand should be directly on your pulse point. If you cannot feel your pulse under your fingertips with a gentle pressure, then move slightly to the right or left until you feel it.

Do not use your thumb, especially when testing others. It also has a pulse point and can affect the reading.

If you cannot feel your pulse, place your index and middle fingers on the carotid artery (main artery running down your neck) for testing.

Are you allergic to [insert food here]? Test yourself for FREE


Further Reading

If you would like to learn more about the Coca Pulse Test, please download this free book.


Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.

When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.

8 thoughts on “Are you allergic to [insert food here]? Test yourself for FREE”

  • Do you have any tips on doing this with my 12 month old? I think my daughter is sensitive to dairy, she had eczema when she was first born until I gave up dairy and it went away. At six months I reintroduced it and she didn’t get the eczema back but she got severely constipated so I removed it again. I would like to wean her onto raw milk but would like to find out if she is still sensitive.

    • Childrens guts don’t seal completely until they are around 6 years old usually. As a precaution, I would leave it out and focus on nutrient-dense gut healing foods in the meantime.

      You can try using a stethoscope on her heart or back to test her pulse and a very good TV show that will keep her still for a few minutes. 😉

    • There are a small subset of people whose bodies don’t respond to this method (usually indicating moderate overall dysfunction), but this test is to show distress from ingesting foods. For those who are responsive, I would say it’s at least 95% accurate to show that the body finds the food problematic and should be eliminated for a time.

  • Hi Jennifer, slightly convoluted question but here I go! My daughter is no 9 and a half months old. At 5 week, exclusively breastfed, she was diagnosed with acid reflux. I straight away cut out dairy, and the about 4 weeks later cut out wheat. I also cut out soy, though I’d been having v. little anyway. The mainstream doctors and many other routes we went (incl massage, homeopathy, herbal, craniosacral etc) didn’t really help and eventually I cut out oats, rice and almonds (the only nut I had been eating). My belief from the start was that it was food related – I’ve had a sensitive gut for years and never fully pinned it down. Since that point her AR seems under control – time to time I have a small sense it’s acting up, but v. rarely. She’s not a good ‘food’ eater (refuses most things), but she’s still breastfed and is absolutely thriving. My question is this – do you think Mama and baby have the same allergies as I sort of pass on my immune system to her? If I did this test could I start to slowly reintroduce things into my diet, and thereby hers? I’d love to eat a small amount of goat’s cheese!

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