Day 2: Day of the headache

I woke up early for work as usual to a throbbing headache. A headache that even Panadol could not save me from. Today was going to be a tough day! My guess is that my body is in shock with the change in diet. This is a common part of the process when eliminating foods, very similar to overcoming an addiction. This will not be my first time….. Energy drinks (Red Bull) were a big part of my diet at one point, before I knew the health effects of these products. So just as I did when I eliminated these from my diet, I will need to persist and overcome the temptation!

Bulk bins

Day 3: Opening my Mind

Now that my diet is so restricted and my go to foods are now a no go, I need to explore some new options and see what’s out there. This lead me to Bin In! Great way to source nuts, grains and most importantly gluten and dairy free foods! While reading every label the shop assistant approached me thankfully, she was extremely helpful and passionate about allergy free foods. She took me around the store and showed me all the possibilities and what was most popular. Opening my eye to new options such as dairy free yogurt (Coconut) which has now grown on me and a great addition to my overnight oats. However the cost was not so flash $7.50 for a small punnet!

Gluten-free shopping

Day 1

After confronting my new reality of a limited diet, the first day of the rest of my life began with a visit to the supermarket. This involved the arduous task of reading each and every label in store. As I selected the few items that were suited to my food sensitivities (that also remained healthy), I noticed the price of the items I’d chosen… WOW!! This is going to be an expensive endeavour!

After finding enough items to cater to my food intolerances, I went home to sample my new diet. I wish I could say everything was yum but sadly this was not the case. Everything I sampled seemed to be dry, tasteless, sour, and overall very boring! The sad truth set in that this will not be easy! However where there is a will there is a way!

Eliminating one food source is somewhat easy but due to the wide variety of intolerances this will not be the case and extreme caution will need to be taken with everything. It seemed everything I thought of as a replacement had something I was intolerant to. For example alternative to bread would be gluten free bread right? Hold up it has yeast………. Dammit! I will even need to change my probiotic supplement I take each day.

It’s funny I get the same response whenever I inform one of my friends or family of the results and the journey I am undertaking, I get the same reply. “Do you regret getting tested” (ignorance is bliss), as my diet will now be so restricted. Although maintaining this diet currently seems impossible, I thrive off a challenge! plus I am excited to see the health benefits and to feel healthy.

My journey to a healthier gut

Below is a personal account of how an IgG Food Sensitivity Blood Test changed my life.

After my long awaited results arrived, my life was changed! As I learnt that I had a high intolerance to wheat, milk, cheese, yogurt and whey. If that was not bad enough, the tests also highlighted a moderate intolerance to yeast, peanuts, sesame and candida albicans. After learning this my head went spinning as I realised all the foods I could no longer eat!

Why did I test myself?? Like many others I knew there was something not right. I always had an upset stomach, always in a state of inflammation and always mentally and physically exhausted. As a fitness professional this bugged me as I could not put my finger on the cause. After researching my symptoms, I had an idea that I may have a certain food intolerance or something similar, however it wasn’t until I went to FitEx (a science based fitness conference) in 2014 that I was able to confirm that this was the cause of my symptoms. It was like a light bulb as everything fell into place.

Let’s touch on the science first. It is only in recent years that science has uncovered the importance of gut health and this has resulted in an influx in research that is changing the way we view the human body. Chronic food sensitivities often cause a great deal of damage to the gut, particularly the gut lining. Damage to the gut lining increases the gut permeability, this causes large protein molecules to escape into the bloodstream. Since these proteins don’t belong outside of the gut, the body mounts an immune response and attacks them. Not only will this result in reduced reactivity, but also increase the risk of suffering from gastrointestinal cancer, inflammatory disease, obesity, arthritis, allergies, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and irritable bowel syndrome.

Knowing this where do I start?? I could do a process of elimination of foods, or get a conclusive test. For me the process of elimination did not work because in my case as I couldn’t put it down to one food source. No wonder after getting my results and it identified numerous sensitivities. So I got tested and this is my story.

First here is a brief background on myself. Currently I am a Personal Trainer at City Fitness Hamilton NZ, I have been in the industry for over 4 years now with a Bachelor in Sport and Exercise Science. As expected, I am extremely active and passionate about fitness, this recently lead me to chase two of my passions surfing and snowboarding around the globe for a year.

Through tertiary study and my experience working as a personal trainer, I have learnt the importance of a well-balanced diet and the effects that it can have on performance. My new challenge would be not only be restricting the food that I am intolerant to but to replace with healthy well-balanced options, ensuring I still get all the essential nutrients such as calcium and protein, that will not be so abundant in my diet with the exclusion of dairy.

First step, goal setting.
As a fitness professional I understand the importance of goals and accountability (Hence the blog). So here it is, 3 months living by my new diet eliminating all the foods I am highly intolerant to; wheat, milk, cheese, yogurt and whey. For my low to moderate intolerances I will minimise these as much as possible (Max 3x per week). This 3 month period will give my gut the much need break and a chance to recover and repair from all the chronic stress placed on it over the years. After this 3month period, I will reassess my diet and attempt to reintroduce foods one by one as a test to see if I can tolerate them again.

As a fitness professional I know I am not alone. In recent years food intolerances and allergies have become very common. This is mostly due to advancement’s in science increasing our knowledge and understanding. As I’m not alone in this journey I thought I would do something I never thought I would do and write a blog and share my experience with everyone as I know so many of you can relate. (Be nice I am new to this blogging game).