Tag Archives: Beverages

YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test – Part 5 – Product Reviews and changes I’ve made

16 Aug

Note: This is my last post in a series about YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test. You can find the earlier posts here:

Part 1 – http://bit.ly/M8QPne  Part 2 – http://bit.ly/L7okuY  Part 3 – http://bit.ly/N2T92g  Part 4 –bit.ly/MqTQj8

As I had mentioned in my previous post, once I found out from my YorkTest Program results that I needed to avoid cow dairy, I decided to try non-dairy alternatives to supplement my diet. There are so many products out there and while I had a great time trying them, some were certainly better than others! I’ve reviewed some of the products below: 

Almond Breeze Original (sweetened)

I tried this beverage first, simply because it’s readily available at major grocery stores. I was pretty happy with the smooth, slightly creamy taste it provided however it was a little too sweet for my liking. It looks like milk but it certainly doesn’t taste like milk. It is however a decent substitute!

Uses: In cereal, oatmeal, coffee, smoothies and homemade ice pops.

Would I buy this again? Maybe (only due to the amount of sugar in it).

 Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened

I loved this beverage as it’s (obviously) the unsweetened version of Almond Breeze Original. Wherever possible, I like to be in control of the amount of sugar I’m consuming, so I appreciate that they’ve created an unsweetened version.  

Uses: In cereal, oatmeal, coffee, in soups, smoothies and homemade ice pops.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely!


 Almond Breeze Chocolate (sweetened)

I enjoyed this beverage as it is really tasty, creamy and has the right amount of chocolate, giving me the same satisfaction I used to get when I drank a glass of chocolate milk. It’s not very low on the calorie scale, so it’s more of a treat, but it’s definitely a great product to keep on hand for when a chocolate craving strikes.

Uses: Great chilled on its own but also tasty in smoothies and homemade ice pops. It’s also delicious when heated up, for a “hot chocolate” treat.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely!

Rice Dream Enriched Vanilla (sweetened)

This beverage was just okay for me. It was thin, watery and had more of a milk-like texture than Almond Breeze but it didn’t give me the same satisfaction I used to get when I drank milk. I also found the vanilla flavouring to be a bit odd.

Uses: In cereal, oatmeal and smoothies.

Note: Since Rice Dream is sold at every major grocery store, I assumed it would be fabulous. Perhaps I need to try the other flavours?

Would I buy this again? Maybe

Coconut Dream Original Unsweetened

This was my least favourite non-dairy beverage. Some of my friends really like it because it’s “creamy” but I actually found it kind of oily. I didn’t enjoy the coconut flavour in the background, even though I  usually love coconut.

Uses: In cereal (I found it tasted really odd with my Cheerios), oatmeal (the oatmeal did mask the flavour) and smoothies (everything gets hidden in a smoothie!).

Would I buy this again? Probably not, however I would be willing to try other coconut beverages to see if there’s a difference in flavour.

Becel Vegan margarine

If you’re looking for a mainstream, non-dairy margarine than this is it. It looks like margarine and tastes like margarine. This is also one of the only non-dairy products my husband will consume because it’s made by a brand he trusts.

Uses: Anywhere you would use margarine.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely. P.S. Well done Becel for creating a specialty product and putting it on major grocery store shelves. Kudos to you!

Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

After hearing so much about this product on Twitter, I finally had an excuse to try it. It’s very interesting in that it looks like cheese, it (sort of) smells like cheese and it (sort of) melts like cheese. I applaud the creators of the product at it really does mimic the real thing quite nicely. The flavour however is different and it’s a lot more pungent.

Uses: I used it in pizza, on nachos and in veggie fajitas with success.

Would I buy this again? Yes, but I’d like to try the “cheddar” flavour next.

Note: Once opened, it has a short lifespan in the fridge but it does freeze quite well.

Liberté 1% Goat Milk

I felt like I was missing out on the calcium that’s in cow dairy so I decided to give goat’s milk a try. A few of my colleagues (and their families) drink it in place of cow’s milk. It is quite expensive though, as I paid almost $4 for a one litre carton of it. You can buy it in bags as well and save a few dollars.

Uses: I’ve only tried it in smoothies so far (I’m not brave enough to drink it straight up yet.)

Would I buy this again? Absolutely.

 Liberté Plain Goat Milk Yogurt

I’m South Indian, so when we have a traditional meal we always end with rice and plain, unsweetened yogurt. This is meant to cool the stomach at the end of a spicy meal and it’s one of my favourite things to eat. With my new diet, I knew I needed a backup option and I found that Liberté goat’s milk yogurt was a perfect substitute. It is a little pricey at almost $5 for a 500 g container of it but a little goes a long way with this product. Bonus: It’s high in probiotics!

Uses: So far I’ve had it with rice (as mentioned above), in smoothies and as a snack with fruit. The flavour and texture is similar to sour cream, so I think it would be great on a baked potato too.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely.

President’s Choice Soft Unripened Goat’s Milk Cheese

People (including me) often forget that those with dairy issues usually only have an issue with cow dairy. A good goat cheese is made strictly from goat’s milk, making it a pretty safe bet.

Uses: I’ve had it on pizza, in salads, mixed into pasta and in sandwiches. I’m looking forward to trying it in dessert recipes too.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely.

 President’s Choice Formaggio Di Bufala (Buffalo Milk Cheese)

Another product that’s perfect for those who cannot have cow dairy as it’s made from water buffalo milk.  It’s delicious but quite expensive, so you have to use this product wisely!

Uses: So far I’ve only used it in a salad that consists of sliced tomato, sliced buffalo milk cheese and fresh basil with fleur de sel, fresh pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s delicious!  You can also use it on pizzas and in pasta dishes.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely!

I know there is a whole world of other non-dairy possibilities out there. If you have any products to recommend, I would be happy to try them out!

Overall, I am so very thankful that I participated in the YorkTest Program. If I had not taken the test, I would have continued to consume foods and beverages that were causing harm to my body. Even if I had wanted to figure out what foods/beverages were causing a reaction, it would have been almost impossible to identify the specific items by trial and error. The YorkTest Program results were clear, easy to read and only required a quick finger prick and a drop of blood to provide me with the detailed information I needed.

By replacing cow dairy with alternative sources, I’ve found a huge difference in my body and I no longer feel the bloating and stomach discomfort I used to face on a daily basis.  My clothes fit better now and I have a lot more energy. I’m certainly looking forward to continuing on this path and I would sincerely encourage others to look into this test as it can really change your life for the better. Thanks YorkTest Program!

Want to learn more about the YorkTest Program? Visit their website at http://www.yorktest.ca/ or follow them on Twitter and Facebook

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this series of blog posts, I’ve received a free Food & DrinkScan and enrollment into the program. The opinions expressed are my own.


YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test – Part 2 – My Results

13 Jun

Note: This is Part 2 in my series of posts about YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test. If you missed Part 1, view it here –> http://bit.ly/M8QPne

So after a short wait, I’m happy to share that I’ve received an envelope with the results from my YorkTest Program Food & DrinkScan test. Here we go….

I found that my results were organized into 3 categories:

AVOID (highlighted in RED) – indicates you have raised IgG antibody levels to these foods and you should try to eliminate them completely from your diet.

LIMIT(highlighted in YELLOW) – indicates you have a borderline reaction to these foods and may or may not benefit by limiting their consumption. It is best to eliminate these for a minimum of 4 weeks and slowly reintroduce these back into your diet and see how you react to them.

ENJOY (highlighted in GREEN) – these foods can be eaten without restriction, unless you already know that these foods do cause you a reaction and you have been avoiding them, in which case you should continue to do so.

Below is a breakdown of what was on each of my three lists. Here’s a copy of my results file –>Sandy – YorkTest Program Results

Based on the information I was given, the list I needed to be most concerned about were the foods and beverages that were marked in RED (my items to AVOID), in order of appearance.

Sandy`s list of items to AVOID (highlighted in RED):

  • Cow’s Milk
  • Yeast
  • Grape (Pinot Gris/Grigio)
  • Juniper
  • Grape (Red/White Zinfandel Mix)
  • Grape (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • Grape (Chenin Blanc)
  • Grape (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Grape (Shiraz)
  • Grape (Riesling)
  • Guarana
  • Beetroot
  • Lentils
  • Grape (Chardonnay)
  • Elderberry/Elderflower Mix
  • Salmon/Trout  – Not supposed to be part of my diet
  • Beef – Not supposed to be part of my diet
  • Dandelion/Burdock Mix
  • Grape (Concord)

Sandy`s list of items to LIMIT (highlighted in YELLOW):  

  • Rooibos (Redbush tea)
  • Lychee
  • Grape (Merlot)
  • Prune
  • Almond
  • Egg White
  • Hibiscus
  • Tuna – Not supposed to be part of my diet

Sandy`s list of items to ENJOY (highlighted in GREEN):

My list of “items to enjoy” was (thankfully!) a very long list, too long to post here. Here is the link to the PDF file of my results —> Sandy – YorkTest Program Results

Based on the above RED (AVOID) list, my number one offender was Cow’s Milk! Yikes! As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I am not happy with these results. I rely on dairy both for nutritional value and enjoyment. As East Indian food is a staple of my diet, avoiding plain yogurt was going to be a challenge as I have it with rice at least 3 times a week. I also love cheese, so it was certainly going to pose a problem.

Item number two on my avoid list is yeast! Again…yikes! Ohh how I love bread…

Cow’s milk and yeast were followed by a LONG list of grapes which make some of my favourite wines such as Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Riesling. I don’t drink wine often but I do enjoy the occasional glass with dinner or while socializing with friends. Why oh why did some of my favourite wines have to be on the list?

Beetroot I could avoid pretty easily as it wasn’t a major part of my diet…but it was still upsetting to find out that something so delicious could be causing harm to my system.

Lentils…wait…lentils?!?  I`m an East-Indian vegetarian, how am I supposed to avoid lentils?!?  Okay Sandy…breathe…

There were thankfully a few items that I didn’t feel that I had to worry about. Juniper, guarana, elderberry/elderflower mix and dandelion/burdock mix were all items that I’m not in contact with often, so avoiding them would hopefully be easy.

Moving on to the YELLOW (LIMIT) list, I was also in a bit of trouble as almond and egg white showed up here. What`s the name of my blog again you ask? Ah yes, that`s right, MILK & EGGS…trust me, the irony of it all is not lost on me. This was getting funnier (read: more terrifying) by the minute.

On the “yellow” list were lychee, rooibos, prune and hibiscus which are all items of low significance in my diet. I was quite happy to find that a majority of my AVOID (RED) and LIMIT (YELLOW) foods and beverages were ones that I rarely come into contact with, so that put my mind at ease.

I did find it interesting that salmon, trout, beef and tuna were on my RED (AVOID) and YELLOW (LIMIT) list as I had specified that I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I decided to contact YorkTest Canada to find out how these items came to appear on my intolerance results, especially since I don’t consume any meat, seafood or poultry. I was very surprised to find out that in order to have an IgG reaction, the food particles must be in your system….so that meant that particles of salmon, trout, beef and tuna were in my body? But how? I’ll update you all when I have more answers…

After reviewing my results and hearing that I had particles of seafood and beef in my system, my mind was racing and I was feeling a lot of different emotions at the same time…

First off, I felt joy and relief in FINALLY having detailed insight into the foods/beverages that are giving my body a hard time. I`m also feeling fear and frustration as I consider what it will be like to remove some of the foods/beverages that I rely on the most. Horror of horrors…will I have to look into becoming a vegan?!?! Would I have to change the name of my blog to Almond Milk and Egg Yolks?!?

I took a step back from the situation and realized that should probably wait for my first phone consultation with the Nutrition Advisor before I panicked too much (it was too late for that!). I felt confident that they would start me off on the right path…

Want to learn more about the YorkTest Program? Visit their website at http://www.yorktest.ca/ or follow them on Twitter and Facebook

Stay tuned for my next post in the series YorkTest FoodScan`s Food and Drink Intolerance Test – Part 3 – IgG antibodies and a call with the Nutrition Advisor

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this series of blog posts, I’ve received a free Food & DrinkScan and enrollment into the program. The opinions expressed are my own.

YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test – Part 1 – Why I Took the Test

4 Jun



For over 15 years now, I’ve gone through life eating anything and everything that fits the lacto-ovo vegetarian profile, meaning that I follow a vegetarian diet with no meat, poultry or seafood but I do consume dairy and eggs. Some of you may think that it’s limiting but there are so many products and cuisines from different countries to try that I’m never lacking for options.

Unfortunately in the past few years, I’ve found that I’m unable to drink plain milk from a glass or have avocado. How did I find these things out? I paid attention to my body and after some time I realized that my stomach was getting upset whenever I consumed either of these items. From that point on, I avoided avocado entirely and only consumed lactose-free milk if I was having a glass of milk or including it in my cereal. I still ate yogurt, cheese and dairy in other food products because I didn’t feel any reactions taking place. I was happy that I had paid attention to my body and had figured out what it didn’t like. Unfortunately, there were still days when I felt “heavy” and also days when I was tired, even after sleeping perfectly well the night before. I basically got used to feeling like this and on the days that I felt terrific and energetic, I simply ignored the bad days and carried on.

After years of living this way, I read an article in January 2012 that changed everything. Barbara Turnbull, one of my favourite writers from the Toronto Star, published an article, Food Intolerances Can Be Found With a Blood Testhttp://bit.ly/y3WKwn and it hit me that perhaps my issues with milk and avocado were more complicated that I thought. In the article, she talked about food intolerances and how simple tests could assist in finding out exactly which foods could be affecting the body in a negative way.

A few months later, I remembered reading the article and I decided to do some research on the food intolerance tests she had referenced. On my hunt, I found out that one of the companies mentioned, the YorkTest Programwww.yorktest.ca – was active on Twitter and Facebook and was using social media to spread the message about food intolerance testing. I contacted the company to find out more and it turned out that the program not only includes the test, it also includes one-on-one nutritional counseling sessions via phone to help you interpret your results and provide you with advice on the types of changes to make to your diet. It is also one of the only tests with science on its side to support the results. YorkTest has clinical evidence to ensure the accuracy of the results that it presents to patients. I was so pleased to get these details and I was even happier to hear that many supplemental health plans are able to assist with partial or full coverage of the test costs. Why hadn’t I heard of this test earlier? Surely there were others who would benefit from taking the test too…if only they knew about it…

It was at that moment that I decided to contact YorkTest Canada to see if they were interested in allowing me to take the test and document my journey in a series of blog posts. I wanted to go through the process for my benefit but also to help others understand what food intolerance testing is all about. I was thrilled to find out that they liked the idea and that they not only wanted to run my blood sample against their set of common foods, they also wanted to run it against a new test (coming soon) that covers beverages as well! A few days later, I was excited to receive a YorkTest Program package in the mail…

Included in the kit was a pamphlet explaining the differences between food allergies and food intolerances and I learned that food allergies are usually quick to develop and can often be life-threatening. Reactions can take place after having even a small amount of an offending food. Symptoms of food intolerances can develop slowly and can often take hours or days to appear. Due to this, it can be difficult to determine exactly what is causing the issue. According to information I received, food intolerances are believed to arise when certain incompletely digested food particles enter your bloodstream and are treated as foreign substances. Your immune system then produces tailor-made antibodies (IgG), which attach to the food in question. Researchers believe that the inflammatory response in the body can cause certain symptoms and that bloating, tiredness, constipation, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), eczema and other issues can be caused by food intolerances. After reading this, I just knew that this test was going to help me out.

I was excited to take the test and I was happy to find out that it would be easy to take at home. Apparently all I had to do was collect a drop of blood in the collection vial, send it back to YorkTest Canada and shortly afterwards, the scientists at YorkTest Laboratories would be able to identify food intolerances across 100 common foods and drinks including:

Foods:                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Dairy, seafood, fruit, herbs & spices, meats, nuts, grains, vegetables

Beer, wines, hard liquors, juices, coffee, tea and energy drinks

This all sounded great but first I had to get over the hurdle of pricking my own finger to draw blood! Thankfully, the kit included easy-to-follow instructions on how to take the test and included everything I needed to process the test correctly. A copy of the instructions can be found here on the YorkTest website – http://bit.ly/LWfAD3

After preparing the collection vial, I used the provided antiseptic wipe to remove any residue from my finger. When it came time to actually pricking my finger to collect the sample, I found that the lancet they provided made it so easy and virtually pain-free. All I felt was a tiny prick, as the push button on the lancet did the work for me. I massaged my finger to encourage a drop of blood to form to collect the sample and closed the collection vial. That was it! They had even included a finger bandage in the kit, which I didn’t really need as the pinprick was so small. Then, I labelled my sample and filled out the Patient Information Form to provide YorkTest Canada with some background on my symptoms. I sent the forms back along with my blood sample and used lancet (they look after safe disposal) and all I had to do now was just sit back and wait for the results…

Want to learn more about the YorkTest Program? Visit their website at http://www.yorktest.ca/ or follow them on Twitter and Facebook 

Stay tuned for my next post in the series – YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test – Part 2 – The Results!

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this series of blog posts, I’ve received a free Food & DrinkScan and enrollment into the program. The opinions expressed are my own.

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