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A Simple At-Home Method for Testing Food Sensitivities

The Coca Pulse Test is a simple test you can do at home to help determine what your body is reacting to and if you have any food sensitivities. It is as simple as taking your pulse in several key steps. Read on to learn the procedure.

Food Allergies Used to Be Almost Nonexistent

This is a a simple at-home method for testing food sensitivities. There once was a time when having a food allergy was virtually unheard of as only a few people here and there had one. Peanuts were the most notable one and the most deadly. As time has gone on and man has continued to pollute the air and Earth with chemicals, pesticides, and toxic waste, and has begun to take food production in its own hands with genetically modified food, the number of allergies and sensitivities have skyrocketed in the general population.

Difference Between A Food Allergy and Sensitivity

What is the difference between a food allergy or sensitivity? A food allergy is a reaction to the protein of the food. These are often severe reactions and can manifest in hives, swollen tongue, the inability to breathe, rashes, and even anaphylaxis. A food sensitivity on the other hand, is generally a milder reaction and is not a reaction to the protein, but something else in the food. It usually involves the inability to digest some component of the food or a lack of some type of nutrient or substance in the body to process elements of that food. That is where you will hear people say they have a lactose intolerance, which means they don’t produce enough lactase (a digestive enzyme) to break down the lactose, leading to issues. Some people have sensitivities to nightshade plants, some to sulfur rich vegetables, and so on.

Food sensitivities can manifest in different ways, like frequent brain fog, digestive issues, rashes, headaches, joint pains, acne, and various other subtle health issues (though these can also be caused by other things). The frustrating part is trying to decide what exactly it is that you are reacting to. There are various kinds of testing that you can get, skin pricks, blood tests, and more to look for either allergies or sensitivities, but the cost is often prohibitive, and the results can vary depending on which part of the immune system they are examining. One inexpensive way to test what foods your body reacts to that you can do at home is called the Coca Pulse Test.

Coca Pulse Test – A Simple At-Home Test

The Coca Pulse test was developed by Dr. Arthur Coca, MD in the 1950s. His wife was dealing with concerning health issues and she came to notice that her heart seemed to race after eating certain foods. Over time she realized what foods she reacted to and avoided those foods, until she narrowed things down to a “safe foods” list. This was the beginning of the Coca Pulse Test method. Through this experience, Dr. Coca came to recognize that the pulse is one of the ways the body communicates to us when it is dealing with a stressful reaction.

It is important to always do this test when you are in a calm, relaxed state and seated. Otherwise stress and other factors can impact the test results. To find out what your baseline resting pulse is without interference, you can take a full one minute pulse reading in the morning upon waking, while still in bed and relaxed. This will tell you what is normal for you.

To test a specific food, follow these steps:

  1. Sit down and take a few deep breaths and make sure you are in a relaxed state. Then count your pulse for 60 full seconds by counting the pulsing on your wrist, or on the carotid artery in your neck if you have a hard time with the wrist. You only need to apply light pressure and feel gently with your fingertips.
  2. Record your initial pulse reading.
  3. Put a single food item in your mouth (could be a strawberry or a single nut with nothing else added for example) and suck on it and taste it for 30 seconds on your tongue. Do not swallow.
  4. With the food still in your mouth, find your pulse on your wrist again and take another full 60 second pulse reading, counting the beats. Record this new number.
  5. If your pulse goes up by 6 or more beats from the initial reading while you have the food in your mouth, it is indicating that your body is reacting negatively to the food. It is causing a stressful reaction. This would be a food that you would not want to eat at this time.
  6. You can spit out the food, rinse with water and spit out, maybe wait 30 seconds, and test a different food, or call it good. If you test something like bread, just know that there are many different components to it so it is hard to say what exactly you are reacting to.


I personally have used the Coca Pulse test many times and have found it very useful. Once I had a chocolate covered dairy truffle at lunch before returning to a nutrition training, and suddenly I was finding it hard to stay awake. I took my pulse and it was higher than my baseline by 6+, so I assumed one of the items in my lunch, most notably the truffle, was a contributor. The more I have done the Coca Pulse test, the more in tune I got with my body to the point that I can often feel my heart beating faster without needing to take my pulse.           

If you find your stomach is sick after eating eggs, eggs might be a good thing to test. Try testing just the egg yolk, and then the whites, as sometimes people can tolerate the yolks better (a good source of choline, healthy fats, lecithin and DHA), but not the whites (the protein component). If eggs seem to be an issue for you, you can even test out quail eggs vs. duck eggs vs. chicken eggs.

Healing the Gut Is the Focus

Ultimately the rise in food sensitivities stems from a decrease in gut health and an increase in gut inflammation. Our digestive system is meant to be a closed system, for the most part. Meaning in a healthy gut, there should be no opportunity for undigested food particles to leak out into the blood stream. We should efficiently break down our food and extract the nutrients from it, so that we can fully use it. However, what happens in what is often termed a “leaky gut” is the tight junctions begin to widen, eventually allowing small openings in the intestinal lining that allows undigested food particles to leak out into the blood stream, and since the body recognizes it as foreign, it mounts an attack. 

There are various methods people use to restore the gut back to optimum functioning, including probiotics, fermented foods (if histamine intolerance isn’t an issue), meat stock, gelatin, colostrum, and a range of other supplements. It is best to work with a practitioner who can help figure out what your specific body needs in the process. In the mean time,  you can at least use the Coca Pulse Test to figure out what foods to avoid to give your body a break from reacting.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. Leave me a comment down below if you found it helpful! Cheers to a healthy gut!


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2 thoughts on “A Simple At-Home Method for Testing Food Sensitivities”

    • Colostrum is generally fine to take. There are a few rare instances of autoimmune disease characterized by high immunoglobulins, in which case someone would not want to take colostrum, but other than that it is a functional food. There are various supplements that can help repair the gut and seal it, along with a proper diet, but generally it is best for someone to see a practitioner who is trained in that area and can create a custom protocol.


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