“I can’t eat that…I’m allergic to Gluten!”  This now common phrase was almost unheard of 20 years ago and seemed to be only reserved for those with celiac disease.  When I ask “have you been tested” I’d estimate that over 90% of people answer with a resounding “No”, having self diagnosed from information on the internet!

I’m sure I don’t have to warn you about the perils of self diagnosis, however more and more often I’m confronted by people claiming to have several food allergies who have not been tested, or who have been tested by lets say “unscientific” methods.  Firstly, I have to say, actual food allergies whilst on the increase are NOT as common as we’d like to believe.  Whilst quite fashionable these days and certainly a great talking topic at the local coffee mornings (no milk please…lactose allergy), I think it’s a great time to introduce people to the very real difference between food allergies and food intolerance.

Allergies vs Intolerance.  What’s the difference? 

An allergy typically is a hypersensitivity of the immune system to ordinarily harmless substances in the environment.  This could in the worse case scenario lead to anaphylaxis and death.  Severe food allergies eg nuts whilst on the increase are rare.  My own son has a severe nut allergy that makes him immediately ill when exposed.  Food intolerances on the other hand are when you have a particular sensitivity to a food or ingredient, which causes unpleasant physical reaction/s to take place.  Often these are slow to emerge and develop over time. As such they may even go totally unnoticed, often attributed to aging or overwork.  Food intolerances are VERY real and very debilitating for many people.

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What are the symptoms of food intolerance?

Some of the most typical symptoms of food intolerance include bloating, excess gas, constipation, diarrhea, changing bowel habits, migraines, cough, runny nose, irritable bowel, skin hives, sensitivity to sunlight and just general feelings of tiredness, being run down & lethargic.

However some of the less well known side effects include weight gain, night sweats, muscle and joint pain and an inability to recover from either exercise or illness as quickly as expected – even when eating a seemingly fantastic diet.

Vanessa’s Story

My wife Vanessa is a living Goddess!  She’s beautiful, has great posture a very lean and athletic figure, works out 5 days per week.  She has been exercising for pretty much her whole life and at 46 years old looks around 15 years younger than she is.  Vanessa is also a Master fitness trainer (post grad qualified), nutritionist, an awesome CHEK Practitioner.  Every week she helps and inspires so many people to become THE very best version of themselves.  Bold claims…not if you met her.

Vanessa had been suffering from night sweats on and off for some time, then late last year she was getting bloated almost every day.  Her 6 pack stomach was rounded, her back was aching and she was getting muscle cramps & soreness on an unprecedented level even after seemingly light workouts.

This was happening despite following a 90% organic diet, consuming around 12 portions of fruit & veg per day, eating according to her identified metabolic type and drinking around 3 litres of clean water on a daily basis.

The GP declared her extremely fit and healthy and had no answer nor suggestions to her issues, we both scratched our heads looking for answers.  Then one day, whilst researching and holding a nutritional text book, I dropped it on the floor. As if by fate, I picked up the book on the page of food intolerances.  Kicking myself for overlooking this I immediately purchased a test kit from a scientifically established laboratory and performed the test on Vanessa. 

The results were off the scale!  We found out that Vanessa was intolerant to 23 common foods, 17 of which we consumed weekly.  By substituting these foods for alternatives, within 9 days the night sweats had gone, the bloating disappeared, the flat stomach back once more and 2.5kg’s of weight was lost.

Body Inflammation

The most worrying concern about food intolerances is that they raise your overall body inflammatory markers.  Over recent years inflammation has been well researched and shown to be a leading contributory cause to many 21st century conditions such as alzheimer’s, diabetes type 2, strokes, heart disease and even cancer.  By eating foods which constantly raise you body’s inflammatory response is simply not a healthy idea.

Even a seemingly healthy diet full of organic fresh fruit & veg combined with lean proteins is not that healthy if you are intolerant to some of those foods.

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So what can we do about it?

Currently, the NHS claim that there are no tests available for food intolerances and they recommend a food elimination diet to attempt to determine food intolerances.


Could you really imagine eliminating foods, keeping a constant diary of how you are feeling and trying to determine which foods it is that is making you feel ill?  Furthermore, is it the food itself that is making you ill or is it an emulsifier’s within the food?  Could it be the chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides that are sprayed on your food, or even on your foods food (on animal foods).  One thing is for sure, food elimination is a very difficult and often unrewarding journey.

At M.A.S.K. Personal Training in Guildford, we are now able to do the testing, send samples to the laboratory, obtain results and give very detailed client feedback and recommendations.  The lab that we used has tested elite athletes such as Paula Radcliffe (female world marathon record holder), Sally Gunnell (1992 Olympic 400m hurdles Gold medalist) as well as an array of A-list celebrities. 

When you consider our convenience food society and our heavy reliance upon ingredients which add flavour, thickness and longevity to our food, it’s easy to see how overtime we can become intolerant to such ingredients that did not form part of our diet only a short time ago.

We are so impressed with this technology and it’s ability to transform peoples health and well being that we now recommend it to all of our clients.

Should you wish to learn more or to be tested yourself, simply drop us a line – it would be our pleasure to be able to help.

In the meantime…stay awesome!

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” Helping people to achieve THEIR own unique potential through corrective exercise, nutrition & wellness”

– M.A.S.K. Personal Training Mission Statement.

Click HERE to BOOK your COMPLIMENTARY Consultation. 🙂

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