Food intolerances- when food doesn’t play fair

Finding out what your problem foods are!

Symptoms of food intolerances are not just gut related! It can vary hugely, affecting the whole body eg. headaches, bloating and other gut problems, mouth ulcers, mood and behaviour changes, sleep problems, aches and pains, fatigue, skin problems and more.

  1. Elimination diets.

These do vary but there are 3 key ones.


The stock standard one is by the RPAH and is known as the Elimination Diet, the RPA diet, and the FAILSAFE diet. Popularised by the Sue and Howard Dengate with Sue’s book Fed Up. The book that actually put me on the road of understanding how food affects moods.


  • It will help you work out which food chemicals are causing the problems, whether these are artificial, or natural, so you can get some relief.
  • It’s very systematic with a step by step process.
  • At the end of it, you will be clear on what foods to avoid.
  • Has support of most of themedical community being devised by the allergy unit of a major hospital


  • Time needed! 3 weeks of elimination then you can begin the challenges which is the time when you introduce food groupsin a concentrated manner to force a response.
  • It must be done strictly, or results will be unclear. This can be difficult when there are other people in the mix such as grandparents, other family members, preschools etc.
  • Can’t do this on your own- too easy to make mistakes and drag the diet out for too long and risk of nutrient deficiencies in kids.

Elimination diet/ Allergy Elimination Diet

Similar to the RPAH by cutting out certain foods but it’s focus is just on cutting out the most likely foods to cause a problem, rather than looking at groups. Normally it means cutting out wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, citrus, shellfish, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and artificial food additives.


  • Can be easier to follow than the RPA diet because you have a very clear cut list of foods to avoid. Whereas the RPA diet grades foods by their concentration of chemicals so there is not a recognisable pattern to the foods you avoid.
  • Can be a shorter diet to follow as the challenge phase can be quicker to work through.


  • It’s hard! Especially for parents using it with their child (What DO you give them?).
  • Can lead to an unnecessarily restrictive diet


More likely to be recommended when your main problems are gut based. Commonly symptoms are chronic diarrhoea, or constipation, or both! Along with terrible gut pains and cramps, which are usually relieved by passing a stool.


It works 🙂 Does bring relief of symptoms


  • Like other elimination diets it is meant to be done in the short term i.e. an elimination phase then a challenge phase but many people never complete the challenge phase and reintroduce foods.
  • It’s complicated in the long term! It is not a clear cut- don’t eat this and you’ll be fine. Your reactions will be based on how much of the problem chemical you consume in a day i.e. once you cross a tolerance threshold, you will react. This can tie people up in knots, wondering what they ate that tipped them over the edge, and have them fearful of eating out in case there is something in the meal that tips them over the edge.
  1. Tests

Blood tests.

Blood or blood spot test, through Research Nutrition and through Food Detective will measure your bloods IgG antibodies to see if you have a sensitivity to specific foods.

The number of foods measured vary between 52 or 54 (Food Detective) but more commonly 96 foods are tested.


  • Specific results and quick.


  • Lots of debate about the accuracy of the tests. However I find that they give people a great guide to work off. It may not be 100% accurate but it gives you a place to start.
  • Can be expensive
  • Need to use a reputable lab. Tip: the $49 cheapy ones on Groupon are probably not your good labs!!

Hair Test for 500  foods

Uses a sample of hair to detect which are incompatible foods for the person. This is strictly speaking NOT a food intolerance test because it is not measuring antibodies. Instead it is determining which foods allow your cells to function well and create energy, and which ones don’t i.e. what are the foods that suit you.


  • Quick and highly detailed, you know exactly what foods to avoid
  • It works- high rate of success
  • Same price as most blood tests for food intolerances, with much more detail


  • Because it’s not a food intolerance test, it looks confusing because there aren’t identifiable themes eg bread may not be ok, but wraps are.
  • Needs to be followed for 6 months before reintroduction for foods can begin
  • Family members and preschools need to be onboard

How to choose??? It really depends on your particular mix of symptoms, and how much time and money you have available, and if it’s for yourself or a child.

Get in touch and I’ll help you work it out!