As you know, I’ve been suffering for about 2 years now with stomach trouble. It’s gotten to the point now where I almost can’t eat anything and my stomach is constantly bloated and sore. A lot of the days I have to wear maternity jeans because my own jeans just wont do up, and that’s quite upsetting, especially since I have to model for photos for my work, which has gotten harder and harder to do. During the winter it wasn’t so bad as a lot of layers can cover things up, but now that it’s warmer, I have to wait for days where my stomach is flat and do my outfit shoots then. It’s becoming a pain.
I’ve been to the doctors numerous times, they don’t know what’s wrong with me other than diagnosing me with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and a possible gluten intolerance as I’m not actually Celiac. I have noticed that certain things I eat will cause a reaction which is why I cut out gluten for many months, but then other times my stomach would just swell up and cause me pain and discomfort for absolutely no reason. It spent 4 weeks in a row looking 6 months pregnant and I also had cystitis for that amount of time too, which was horrendous. There was no infection and I’ve had scans etc at the urology department and they could only tell me everything looks normal, sore, but normal, and maybe it’s related to my stomach.
I wont lie, sometimes I’ve been in tears over the discomfort and awfulness of this situation. I know to some of you it might not be that big of a deal being bloated all the time and I should be lucky it’s nothing serious, but when you model clothes and your appearance is your work, and people actually think you’re pregnant, it’s very distressing to me mentally and I’ve had a really hard time with everything. Last month I decided enough was enough and I had to find out what was wrong with me and decided to go down the food intolerance route as I didn’t have anything else to turn to. I spoke with YorkTest Laboratories about doing a test to find out if certain foods I don’t know about are causing me issues and would go from there.
YorkTest Laboratories have over 35 years of excellence in laboratory diagnostic testing, and are a leading provider of food and drink specific IgG antibody testing programmes. This was just what I needed as I was sure there was something I was eating that was causing me problems and I wasn’t aware of it, or thought it was fine. They are passionate about providing their customers with personalised information and support that can be used to help optimise their health and well being, so I thought I was definitely in good hands. The comprehensive test programmes analyse a person’s IgG reaction to over 150 foods and drinks, providing clear results and nutritional support to help customers replace their problem foods* and optimise their diet. So I went ahead with it and did the finger prick blood sample and shipped it off.
I got my results incredibly fast, which was unexpected actually. It was within 2 days that I got the initial result saying I had a positive reaction from the first step test, so I then did a follow up test for the IBS diet programme to find out what foods I was actually intolerant to and how to manage my diet going forward. Again, I got my results almost immediately as the sample was tested within 2 days. YorkTest emailed me my results so I had them right away, then posted me the paper results and my programme.
So, what did I find out I was intolerant to? Yeast, Cows Milk, Egg White and Wheat. They were listed in order of the biggest reaction and I was told that my reaction to Yeast was incredibly high, to the point of being at the highest. This shocked me a lot as I didn’t know consuming Yeast in my foods was even a problem, neither did I know about the Egg White, so that stunned me. I was eating eggs almost daily, so finally I was actually getting somewhere! I had an inkling I was intolerant to gluten, but it was Wheat instead and that came back as borderline because I hadn’t consumed much Wheat at all in the previous 6 weeks since I had cut it out of my diet, so it would technically be a high reaction. Cows Milk wasn’t too much of a shock to me as I’ve had issues with dairy since I was about 13, so that one I knew.
After finding out all of this info and getting overwhelmed with what I could and couldn’t eat, I had a consultation with one of the nutritionists at YorkTest to help me go through my food and diet. It’s been incredibly stressful and very upsetting as I’ve had to do a complete change around of my diet, which was already limited prior to starting this programme, but I am living in hope that it will help me. You don’t realise just how many foods contain yeast or eggs as an additive. I already knew how many wheat and dairy were in, but adding the others to the mix makes it extremely hard. My mum and I have had to go in search of yeast free gravy, egg replacers, dairy free chocolate if I want something sweet, milk alternatives etc and it’s been very trying, but I’m getting there.
Basically I can safely eat potatoes and rice without any issues, so those are my carbohydrates. My proteins come from fish and chicken, and my vegetables and fruit are also limited because of the IBS issue. I didn’t know this at first and was still consuming things like mango, cabbage etc and that was causing me so much pain and bloating, and I couldn’t figure out why, so sticking to the FODMAP diet as well as cutting out my intolerance’s is the path that I am currently on. It’s been an incredibly depressing and upsetting past week for me in all honesty as I didn’t know your body goes into withdrawal from the foods it was intolerant to, and the mood swings have been horrendous (my mum and Adam can vouch for that). I’m a very strong person and it’s reduced me to tears at points, as you don’t realise how much food impacts your life. I’ve not yet figured out how I’m going to manage going out to eat as I’m terrified, but in time I hope I will.
YorkTest told me that I need to stick to the elimination diet for at least 3 months until my body has repaired and healed itself. It’s important that I don’t eat any foods I am intolerant to at all in the 3 months because as soon as I do, my body makes the antibodies again. The 3 months should be enough time for it to heal itself entirely without making new antibodies to those foods as it’s not been exposed and then when the 3 months are up, I can try to reintroduce those foods very slowly and see what happens. I’m hoping that in time I will be able to eat them occasionally without any issues, but time will tell.
I am incredibly grateful to YorkTest for figuring things out a bit more and actually giving me some answers. I have noticed that my stomach has been a lot flatter, but due to the tremendous stress I’ve put myself under, my gastritis has been quite painful. I’m hoping that goes away once I am doing better with the elimination diet too, and my body heals itself, but given my extreme reaction to Yeast and the other medical issues that I suffer (like having M.E.), I’m currently doing a test for Leaky Gut Syndrome with another company to see if that’s what has happened to me, so I will update you with those findings very soon when I get the results.
For now though, I have cut out Wheat, Eggs, Milk, and Yeast from my diet, as well as corn as I’m actually allergic to that (YorkTest doesn’t show allergies, just intolerance’s), so we will see how it goes. I do apologise for the long post here if it took you ages to read, but I think it’s important to share things like this in case anyone else is going through the same thing as me, I definitely recommend getting food intolerance tested just to be sure you’re not consuming trigger foods like I was! I just hope I can get my life back on track and I’m truly grateful to be able to collaborate with YorkTest on this and hopefully get somewhere with my issues that the normal doctors couldn’t. Lorna xx.
*YorkTest define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction. Their information is intended to provide nutritional advice for dietary optimisation. YorkTest do not claim to treat or cure symptoms and recommend that you discuss any medical concerns you have with a GP before undertaking a YorkTest programme.