Ever since I was younger, I found myself suffering from serious bloating. Tragically for me, it always seemed to get worse when I travel and resulted in me developing a seriously rotund belly after almost every meal. Not ideal when you’re chilling in a bikini all day or trying to enjoy exploring new places.
I’d always suspected that I had IBS, or maybe even celiac disease because I felt like symptoms got worse when I ate anything with bread so a couple of years ago I went to the doctor to get checked out. My celiac results came back negative however, so gluten obviously wasn’t a problem for me but this didn’t explain why i’d get so bloated and was ridiculously irregular at going to the toilet (if you know what I mean.)
I tried everything. Cutting out bread. Cutting out dairy. Cutting out spicy food; you name it, I sacrificed eating it in the sake of a flat tummy and comfortable bowels. Unfortunately no single food group seemed to be responsible for my IBS and major bloating, so I felt extremely frustrated and uncomfortable after most meals.
I then heard from a friend that she’d taken a food intolerance test that pin-pointed the exact foods that were causing IBS symptoms for her. It turned out she was intolerant to stuff like egg yolk and egg white! Who’d have thought you could be intolerant to those? I then went back to my GP to ask if I could have this test, but unfortunately the NHS don’t offer it, which I suppose is fair enough. Through your doctor you can find out about celiac disease and other bowel problems but they don’t have the capacity to test for each individual food or allergen.
I therefore decided to go for it and try The York Test, the same as my friend had done a few weeks previously. When you order the York Test, you do an initial test that gives you a Yes or No answer as to whether you even have any intolerances or not.
It’s pretty cheap at £29.99 and you’re sent a test kit with full instructions and an easy-to-follow guide on how to send your samples back in. You have to prick your finger with this tiny clip – it doesn’t hurt and just felt like scratching your finger with an earring. You then rub your pricked finger on a tab so that it soaks up some blood for you to send off.
I got my results back within 3 days to let me know that I did have an intolerance.
I then opted to have the full test, which shows you what your food intolerances actually are. A couple of days later and I received my full intolerance sheet to show me exactly what I was getting symptoms from, with VERY surprising results.
I had ‘red’ antibody reactions (the most severe reactions of all intolerances) to Yeast, Lamb and Rooibos tea.
Firstly, I am very surprised at Lamb and Rooibos – who knew you could be intolerant to a tea or even a type of meat? It had never even crossed my mind that I might be intolerant to something like lamb, so that was a bit of a shock. Luckily I don’t really eat either of those food types much so it didn’t bother me as much.
The yeast however, was like finding a piece of a puzzle that’s been missing for years. After speaking to my nutritionist on the phone from The York Test (you’re given 2x 30 minute consultation calls to discuss your results) I realised why and how having a yeast intolerance had aggravated so many of the symptoms I’ve had for years.
We naturally have yeast in our gut, but for those like me with a yeast intolerance; when you eat yeast or have something sweet that the yeast feeds off, you develop a build up of yeast in your gut that gives you symptoms such as bloating, weight gain and feeling pretty crap. It was like a light bulb moment for me! Now it made sense why I struggled with dairy – because the lactose enzymes are a type of sugar and exacerbate the yeast intolerance.
So for the next month, I’ve been keeping a food diary and also took some before and after photos to track my progress. I was assigned the IBS plan by The York Test, which recommended that I avoided foods high in FODMAPs as well as the ones i’m intolerant to. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Monosaccharides and Polyols – otherwise known as short-chain carbohydrates.
The foods I needed to avoid therefore included:
Garlic and Onions
The list of FODMAPs are quite extensive, so to be honest I found avoiding them all completely a bit unrealistic. However, by not having anything with yeast in, I was significantly less bloated and even managed to lose weight.
Here’s my before and after pics:
I have now not only lost 6lbs, I do not suffer from bloating and am finally regular for the first time in my life. On my holiday to Marbella recently, I could confidently wear a bikini and feel good about myself which was even more amazing for me.
If you suffer from IBS symptoms or think you might have food intolerances then I highly recommend trying The York Test. I don’t normally write about stuff like this on my blog, but felt compelled to share this experience with you.
If you want more info on The York Test, check out their website here.