If you find yourself visiting Lifehouse Spa & Hotel for a Food Intolerance Test, it’s likely that you’ve already experienced one or more of a whole myriad of symptoms. The symptoms can range from headaches to weight gain and can be completely debilitating.
My Food Intolerance Test was spurred on by years (seven, to be exact) of bloating and crippling stomach cramps. In the past I’d tried the rather restrictive FODMAP diet, I’d cut entire food groups out of my diet to no avail. I'd even given up garlic (my favourite ingredient) for five years in a desperate attempt to cure myself.
I met with Sue Davis, Lifehouse’s fabulously knowledgeable Health & Wellness Director, around a month ago, armed with the hope that this test would mark the end of my digestive health issues.
Aside from the test – in which blood is taken by a simple finger pin prick – the experience involves a comprehensive naturopathic assessment. I was asked about every part of my day; from sleep, to eating habits to exercise. Based on the information provided, I was handed a plethora of handouts to support the changes suggested to me. These have acted as an all-encompassing guide for me during my transition period.
After the consultation, the test results were ready. I had a mild intolerance to eggs, legumes, yeast, wheat and peanuts and a rather significant intolerance to dairy.
Dairy, dairy; of course. Up until now, dairy is something I’d never cut out. After all, I’d been eating a bowl of Special K with semi-skimmed milk for breakfast since as long as I could remember and I didn’t always have stomach cramps, so how could it be dairy? Sue explained how different types of dairy effect everybody individually, but encouraged me – with so much knowledge and suggestions – to give up dairy based on how much I’d been suffering.
Everything Sue said resonated with me; she expertly explained the symptoms of a dairy intolerance to me, better than I could explain my own symptoms to anybody else. It didn’t stop there, though; she recommended the best supplements and probiotics, she even offered me dietary advice based on my blood type.
The whole experience was so thorough that I walked away with such a deep understanding of my dietary issues. I’d never had this level of clarity before and I felt so supported in making a huge transition.
I headed home that evening, armed with my new found knowledge and started to take stock of the changes I needed to make. No more Special K with semi-skimmed milk, no more chocolate, no more pancakes and Yorkshire puddings (my two favourite foods!) – I didn’t realise how many of my favourite snacks even had milk in them. It was an eye opening exercise.
The most important thing I learnt was how important it is to take stock before cutting out something like dairy. Sue advised me to go home and spend a bit of time planning my change rather than cutting out dairy as soon as I leave. This turned out to be invaluable advice. Panicking and cutting out something when you’re unprepared will ultimately lead you to eating less or substituting it with the wrong foods.
I didn’t cut out dairy until three days after my consultation and I felt fully prepared, ensuring I didn’t miss out on any key nutrients.
Here are some of the key points to note for before, during and after your food intolerance test:
- Know your blood type; I found it so interesting to find out information about what I should be eating based on my blood type, so I’d recommend going into the consultation with this knowledge.
- Take away the information provided and then use the first month as a great opportunity to try the different options listed. Some foods will be great for you, others won’t. Let your body adjust to new flavours and be patient during the transition.
- Don’t try to change everything at once because it might seem like an overwhelming challenge.
- Use Pinterest for meal ideas and save/write down the different options you enjoy so you can build up a bank of exciting and enjoyable meals and snacks.
Now I’ve settled into the process a little bit more, month 2’s blog post will involve some top tips on how to find your favourite foods as well as some recommendations for great dairy-free options.