29th April 2007
This week I've been reading some fascinating
information about food intolerance.
Not that I am intolerant of food, of course. I tolerate it
greatly about four times a day with snacks in between,
and I dream about it at night.
But I know quite a few friends who are simply unable to
eat certain types of food. For instance, my friend Emily
gets a sore throat every time she eats a nut.
For some reason, though, she still can't resist. So she
spends most of the year speaking like Darth Vader.
However, there are some simple ways, to spot if you
have a food allergy.
I've been reading a great book called Food Allergy and
Intolerance by Edward Grocott. And he explains that you
need to ask yourself 12 simple questions.
The publisher has kindly let me reprint it here in full for
DO YOU HAVE ALLERGY OR INTOLERANCE?
By Edward Grocott
If you have encountered health problems with food, you
need to deal with it. This may sound obvious but often
people try to get by without understanding their problem
and its effects. This is wrong.
If you suffer repeated health side-effects from perfectly
edible food you have a serious medical problem and one
that requires action. Your life could depend on it. The
first step to controlling and living with your problem is to
know exactly what it is you are dealing with.
Health problems linked to food are split into two groups;
food intolerance and food allergies.
Simply put, food intolerance is pretty much what it
sounds like. A sufferer is intolerant of a certain food, and
has problems digesting it for a number of reasons. This
could result in simple but very inconvenient side-effects
such as severe diarrhoea or bloating. But it could also
lead to far more serious health problems or mass
complications. Either way, it is imperative for your help
you understand what is happening to your body.
Quite different from food intolerance, food allergies are
an immune response to certain foods - an immune
response that can, in extreme circumstances, be faithful
to a process called anaphylactic shock.
Alerted people suffer from an abnormal, oversensitive
immune system that can react with lethal consequences
if exposed to certain foods.
This book may help you to understand if you have an
allergy and ways to cope with it. However, it cannot be
stressed highly enough that if you have health problems
linked to food, you should contact your doctor -
especially if you suspect you may be allergic.
The first question you must ask is do you (or someone
you know) suffer food intolerance or a food allergy?
A QUESTIONNAIRE TO SEE IF YOU ARE FOOD
INTOLERANT OR SUFFER FROM AN ALLERGY.
This is not a hard and fast rule, but the following
questionnaire can help you confirm if you have an
intolerance or allergy. Always backup diagnosis with a
visit to the doctor.
Answer YES or NO to the following questions.
1. Have you, for as long as you can remember, suffered
minor health problems -- headaches, skin rashes,
constant colds, viruses, pains, boating, problem sleeping
or stomach upsets?
2. Have you always suffered problems, however mild,
with your skin?
3. Have you tried to lose weight and never
succeeded and if you have lost weight have you
put it on again?
4. Do you get recurring problems like joint and
muscle pains, restless legs, fatigue headaches,
tics, rashes, depression, anxiety, and tinnitus?
5. Do you suffer recurrent bouts of unexpected and
6. Do you still feel tired after a full night's sleep?
7. Do you never feel quite yourself?
8. Does your life seem to alternate between
alertness and lethargy?
9. How changes to your diet affected your health?
10. Do you frequently have stomach problems --
wind, indigestion, constipation and/or diarrhoea?
11. Have you had bouts of anxiety, nervousness or
depression for no apparent reason?
12. Have seemingly minor but persistent health
problems gone undiagnosed?
The more questions you have answered YES to, the
greater the chance that you are suffering as a result
of food intolerance or allergy.
If, on the other hand, you have answered NO to
them all then it is unlikely that food is your problem.
ALLERGY OR INTOLERANCE?
It is important to understand which you are dealing
with as both have different implications and
In the majority of cases the test to establish which
you have is very simple. Firstly, food intolerance, in
the main, revolves around two core, and highly
common complaints - problems with milk and
problems with wheat.
For example, if you have ever drunk a glass of milk
and suffered diarrhoea or bloating very shortly
afterwards you are displaying the classic symptoms
of lactose, or milk, intolerance.
Or if you have ever eaten pasta and suffered similar
symptoms, you are likewise displaying the textbook
example of gluten intolerance or coeliac disease as
the intolerance is otherwise known.
If, however, you have health problems after eating
anything from apples to coconuts to fish and nuts, It
could be that you have a food allergy.
In eating one of the above foods leads to either a
shortness of breath, choking, vomiting or hives you
should consult a doctor as soon as possible
because it is almost certain you have a serious and,
in extreme cases, potentially lethal allergy.
That might sound overly dramatic, but it cannot be
stressed enough: if you have seen any of your
symptoms described above, you need to understand
and control the condition.
At this stage, though, you should congratulate
yourself; you have passed the first hurdle to
overcoming your food health problem. By answering
a simple question "do you suffer symptoms with milk
and wheat or quite different symptoms with different
foods?" you have, in the majority of cases,
established whether you have food intolerance or an
Thanks for that Edward.
If you'd like to read the book for yourself, it's hugely
informative, very inexpensive, and really simple to
Click on this link below now for details.
Yours, as ever,
The Good Life Letter