food for gut health

This Recipe Developer’s IBS & Healing Journey

In this article, DISCOVER:

  • Helene's reactive and non-reactive foods for gut health
  • The blood test that helped her find answers
  • How she sources her food
  • Helene's best advice to women facing similar challenges

Disclaimer: The materials and content in this article are for general health information only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Your situation may be very different from the featured story. We are hoping that you can use this information for your own research.

1. Please tell us the story of your health issues.

For as long as I can remember, I spent my life struggling with IBS on a daily basis. I also have experienced reoccurring eczema flare ups since I was a child. Until recent years, I did not realize that my allergies, asthma, eczema and possibly digestive issues were all connected. 

Fair-skinned woman doing yoga on a hike

Helene doing yoga on a hike.

2. You did a blood test that was a game-changer for you. What was it and how does it work? Will you recommend it to others?

I did an MRT (Mediator Release Test) blood test, which tests the reaction of your blood with a panel of foods in each food group. The test results indicate which foods are non-reactive (good to eat), moderately reactive (should be avoided as much as possible) and reactive (should be avoided at all costs) with your system. The test is not the solution in and of itself, as there is a lengthy elimination diet process after the results. You must do it through a doctor who can order the blood work for you.

This recipe developer’s IBS & healing journey

Click to Tweet
wellness travel kit

Helene's Wellness Travel Kit. Click the image to check it out.

3. With this test, what are your non-reactive foods?

Some of my non-reactive foods are interestingly foods that give many other people with IBS issues: cauliflower, brussel sprouts, garlic, wheat, asparagus and banana. I think this goes to show that individuals really need to figure out what works for them personally whether its through this test or any other elimination diet process.

4. How about the reactive and moderately-reactive foods?

My only reactive food is soy. At first thought you may think okay, so just avoid asian food/soy sauce and tofu but in reality most of the processed foods you find on shelves today contain soy as an additive. This knowledge has been huge in knowing what to avoid. I have countless moderately reactive foods, however the elimination diet allowed me to see which are truly a problem. I have found the worst of those to be onion, cayenne and other spicy peppers, processed meats and dairy.

5. How and where do you source your foods and ingredients to make sure you avoid your reactive food and processed food?

Avoiding my reactive foods could not be easier when cooking at home. It has forced me to become more creative, which I find fun! I source my foods from farmers markets and grocers that carry local and clean products. I have also finally attempted to grow my own food in a backyard garden as well!

6. If you could give one piece of advice to all the women with chronic illness, what would it be?

There are answers. Work with people who help you find them and never stop trying something new. I once had a doctor tell me "we may never make you happy" about one of my health issues. I immediately switched doctors and found a new solution. There is new research coming out everyday, so keep a positive outlook and don't lose hope!

real food recipe developer Helene

Helene Trager-Kusman is the founder of All The Verdure, a guide to finding wellness and balance that contributes to a healthy lifestyle. She is a DC area native currently living in Louisville, Kentucky and spending as much time as possible exploring wellness and nutrition trends in cities around the world. Helene is a recipe developer who collaborates with brands to bring realistic, healthy choices to the wellness community. All The Verdure has also launched a wellness travel kit that enables health conscious travelers to stick to their routines on the road.

Connect with her:
Facebook| Instagram 

Do you have any questions for Helene? Post them in the comments below.

Do you want to be featured next? If you are a woman who have chronic illness with real food success and healing story to share, email me [Mary] at If you choose not to disclose your identity, that's fine, too.

Save the image below to your IBS, Gut Health, or Chronic Illness Pinterest board.

woman's diet for IBS
Mary Gutierrez

I help women with chronic illness thrive by sharing natural healing success stories, tools, programs and tips that focus on real food.