How I Figured Out My Food Intolerances

How I Figured Out My Food Intolerances

How I Figured Out My Food Intolerances

(When My Gut Reacted To Everything)

How can you figure out what you’re reacting to when it feels like you’re reacting to everything?

Well let me share with you how I figured it out.

Ten years ago it felt like I reacted to everything and anything.

I’d eat an egg and I’d end up in foetal position on my bed, feeling like someone was twisting my intestines. I’d squirm to the toilet, digging my nails into my thighs to try and reduce the churning, agonising pain I felt in my gut.

So I cut out egg.

Then the same thing happened when I ate dairy. Then onion. Then garlic, pears, apples, asparagus, grapes, berries, bananas, pasta, bread, cauliflower, cabbage, beans…

So one by one, I removed them from my diet too.

Because it was either remove the food, or live in fear that I may react and be in horrendous pain.

But then I started worrying about what was in the food at restaurants or that friends cooked. Then I’d worry about where the nearest toilet is – just in case I did eat something I’d react to and I needed a toilet ASAP.

After 6 years, my gut was in control of my life. What I did, what I ate, where I went.

Until I figured out why I was reacting to everything under the sun, and 6 months later I no longer reacted to anything.

No more urgency to find the nearest toilet, no more 6 month pregnant bloated belly at the end of the day, no more twisting of my intestines and lying in a foetal position.

And the best part? No more worrying about what food I ate when I went to a restaurant or when friends cooked for me.

Want to know how I figured out what my gut was reacting to? Then this episode is for you.

Grab your cosy pants and your furry friend and hit play below or download the episode at your fav podcast platform.

A few weeks ago I got hit with a weird case of gastro. No vomiting, just a poopie party.

This is the first time I’ve had gastro since 2012, so it was bringing up some strong memories and flashbacks to the days when my gut would be bloated and I’d react to all these random foods.

> It made me remember what it felt like to be so bloated it felt like I was six months pregnant, to have that tight uncomfortableness stretch from the base of my ribs down to the bottom of my gut. Where I just wanted to grab a pin and pop my gut like a balloon to let some of the air and pressure out because it felt so heavy and uncomfortable.

> Where you have this horrible, queasy, churning feeling in your gut and you know that if you pass a stool it’ll go away. But you sit on the toilet and it just won’t happen. So that pain in your gut becomes agonising and you go on your tippy toes to bend over into the best foetal position you can, stabbing your nails into your thighs to divert the feeling of pain away from your gut because it feels like someone’s stripping and twisting your insides.

> Where you’re too scared to eat anything for fear that it will make your gut react. You avoid garlic, onions, beans, chickpeas, lentils, asparagus, banana, bread – absolutely anything and everything that could be slightly reactive. That could make your stomach churn, that could make that queasiness come back. You prefer to fast all day because you’re too scared to have food make you react.

> Where you wish you could eat food and try new foods worry free, knowing you’d never react. Never feel bloated, never feel in pain and never have to rush to the toilet.

That was my life 10 years ago.

My gut controlled my life. Anything I did or anything I ate was 100% controlled by my gut. And it sucked, big time.

At the time I never thought it would end, but I can happily say that the only food I ever react to now is dairy. And even that I can now eat chocolate or dairy in recipes without reacting. It’s more the pure cup of milk that would send me skedaddling to the toilet. But that’s because I’ve avoided dairy for over a decade because I don’t enjoy the taste so I never bothered to get my tolerance level completely back.

How did I figure out what I was actually reacting to?

Because there were times when I hadn’t eaten dairy but I was still toilet bound and curled over in pain.

Truthfully, figuring out I was lactose or dairy intolerant happened when I was 16 after I ate a lot of icecream and had the same reaction 3 times in a row.

I can still recall sitting by my pool with a friend, munching on Cadbury’s caramello icecream and feeling those first pangs of pain. Then I had this realisation that flooded me that I can’t tolerate dairy.

But it didn’t stop me.

It turned into a game of Russian roulette: how much dairy could I eat before I’d react? I began to identify a rhythm of 2 meals with dairy was fine but the 3rd meal would send me over the edge. Milk, cream, yoghurt and icecream were the worst, cheese and chocolate I could tolerate a tiny bit of.

It was in the following 2 years where my dairy intake was at a minimum but my gut started to react again that I felt like I was back to square one.

  • At first I ate fried eggs and react, so I then only ate boiled eggs.
  • Then sausages made me react so they were out.
  • Then boiled eggs made me react so eggs went completely.
  • Then garlic triggered my gut followed by beans so both of those were removed.
  • Then grapes, pears, asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage.
  • Until pasta and bread made my gut feel like a lead weight and I’d get those shots of pain.

The list of foods I’d react to kept growing, and I eventually become too scared to eat anything without triggering the pain.

I tried…

  • Avoiding all reactive foods
  • The candida diet
  • The zero-sugar diet
  • Living off random probiotics that had the highest billions and range of bacteria
  • Herbal teas
  • Digestive enzymes

I was at a point of either doing the elimination diet or doing a food intolerance test (which I’m so glad I didn’t do) when I heard the term ‘leaky gut’ and gut bacteria or ‘dysbiosis’ for the first time.

And the concept just clicked.

The real cause of ‘food intolerances’

This idea that if the gut is ‘leaky’ then larger molecules found on food – that never should be able to get past your gut – suddenly had direct access right through your gut and into your body.

It made sense.

Our gut is incredible in what it does, but it’s not invincible to being damaged.

When the gut becomes damaged or leaky, then it puts the good gut bacteria at a disadvantage. Suddenly their home in the gut is volatile and broken and isn’t a nice place for them to thrive.


How I got rid of my gut symptoms

I’d put up with my gut symptoms and random food reactions for over half a decade and had just accepted that this was my life now. So, I didn’t have much to lose by trying this gut healing approach my lecturers were talking about.

And holy freaking cow, I’ve never experienced relief like this.

Within 2 months…

I didn’t change my diet at all and after 8 weeks of healing my gut and another 2 months of manually altering my gut bacteria to favour the good guys, I suddenly ate food reaction free. I suddenly had a day where I went to bed not bloated and I’d look down and my stomach would be flat and not 6 months pregnant.

Within 6 months…

After 6 months of gut healing and altering my gut bacteria, I got to a point where the only food I reacted to was dairy. And even then it’s only if I drink a glass of milk or a glass of cream.

  • I can pop cream or icecream with my apple pie and not react.
  • I can eat a certain amount of cheese, including brie and camembert and not react.
  • I can eat chocolate cake and not react.
  • I can even eat a slither of cheesecake or icecream cake and maybe not feel 100%, but I only feel a little off in my gut, not back to having stabbing pains and reactive diarrhoea.

I now know that if someone cooks with cream or cheese, I may feel a little off kilter, but the worst that will happen is maybe some gas and a slightly softer stool. No pain, no 6 month pregnant bloated bellies, no diarrhoea, no twisting intestines.

For me, I have 1 true food intolerance and that’s dairy.

From there, my gut was just damaged and I had an overgrowth of the bad gut bacteria that were making me react to everything and anything under the sun.


Healing my gut was so incredibly simple.

For my particular symptoms, a yeast based probiotic called Saccharomyces boulardi was perfect for me and worked like a charm. Then I was on a rotation of prebiotics including PHGG, lactulose, inulin and GOS to bring my good gut bacteria back to life.

Plus a smidge of gut soothing and adrenal herbs chucked in too to keep my symptoms minimal and prevent further gut damage.

And that was it.

X No bacterial based probiotic.

X No cutting out food.

X No weird and wonderful random remedies.

One yeast based probiotic and prebiotic fibres.

Since then it’s like my eyes have been opened wide. For absolutely any gut client that I see, I never start by yanking food out of their diet unless something is starkingly obvious – like dairy was for me.

Because more times than not, it’s simply a matter of you having a leaky gut or increased intestinal permeability, which has caused an imbalance to your gut bacteria, and created a whole bunch of false food intolerances.


Step #1

We always focus on healing the gut first, rebalancing the gut bacteria by feeding your own good gut bacteria, not adding in new ones…

Step #2

And then, and only then, if symptoms persist will be look into a gut infection…

Step #3

And then lastly, an actual food intolerance.


Because truth be told, some food intolerances only require you to remove the food for 3 months. This gives your immune system a chance to forget that it doesn’t like that food. You can then reintroduce it and you’ll no longer react to it.


Your guts healed and not reacting anymore, now what?

The final stage is an incredibly important one: it’s figuring out why your gut was damaged in the first place.

  • Was it certain bad gut bacteria?
  • Was it an infection?
  • Was it your stress hormone?
  • Was it gilberts syndrome?
  • Or some other cause that was damaging your gut and making you react?

Once you figure out what’s damaging your gut and fix it up, you’ll never go back to reacting to foods again.

Your gut is a miraculous and powerful thing. Although it can easily be damaged and throw a tantrum, it’s also super receptive to being healed and working like a well oiled machine. You can have a gut that no longer reacts to the food you eat, no longer bloats and no longer sends you into a squirming ball of pain and agony.

Before you go cutting out anymore food from your diet, I highly recommend healing your gut and gut bacteria first. Because chances are removing the food maybe dampen your symptoms a little, but it won’t fix what’s truly going on.


Want help to heal your gut and eat foods worry-free? Book in for a free discovery call and I’ll let you know if I can help you get the life and gut you want. 

Is your probiotic actually helping you?

Is your probiotic actually helping you?


Probiotics 101:

Probiotics have become extremely mainstream in the past few years. It’s expected that you can simply pop a probiotic pill every day and feel right as rain!

But do you know exactly what you are taking, and what the specific bacteria in those probiotic pills are doing to your body?

No? Well you aren’t alone.

In all my years working in a pharmacy, health store and clinical practice, I stopped being amazed by how many people were on a probiotic “just ‘cause”. Customers’ would stare wide-eyed and shocked at what taking that probiotic supplement was doing to their body. Because for those 6 months of taking a probiotic to help with diarrhoea, the bacteria in that probiotic were known to speed up transit time and help with constipation. *face palm*

Now I have a question for you

Hands up how many people have bought a probiotic off the shelf purely because of its claims to be “multi strain” and with super duper high “40, 50, even 60+ billion CFU (colony forming units)” on the label?

I bet you’re sitting there thinking: that’s me! Well don’t worry, that was me too.

But I’m sorry to say, there is a very high chance you just bought yourself really expensive poo.


So how the heck do you know if you need a probiotic and that you’re choosing one that’s right for you and for your body?


Well, let’s clear the air of some common misconceptions and highlight the truth behind probiotics and your friendly gut bacteria.


1. Probiotics don’t change your microbiome.

Holy moly, this is a big one! When you take a probiotic, the bacteria in the probiotic only stays in your gut on average 2-14 days. The bacteria generally won’t colonise your gut and stay there for life. What they do is exert a beneficial effect as they are floating through. They can produce chemicals, fight off against pathogenic microorganisms, interact with your immune cells, etc, which can all improve your health while taking the probiotic. But generally the symptom relief wears off a few days post taking the probiotic as those particular bacteria are then found in your poo and are no longer in your intestines.


2. Any old probiotic won’t help, you need a specific strain.

The bacteria or yeast found in probiotics don’t all do the same thing. Nor are they all beneficial to your health. Every bacterial strain is as unique as you are. The therapeutic action of a bacteria all comes down to its strain. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus is a common bacteria found in probiotic supplements, but the different strains help you with different symptoms.

Lactobacillus acidophilus W37: helps with bacterial vaginosis.

Lactobacillus acidophilus DWM 24735: helps with constipation, IBS symptoms, ulcerative colitis achieving and maintaining remission, and viral gastroenteritis.

Lactobacillus acidophilus CL1285: supports diarrhoea prevention with antibiotic use and atopic eczema treatment.

Lactobacillus acidophilus La-1: helps with depression, migraines and liver cirrhosis.


Imagine if you suffered from diarrhoea and you grabbed one off the shelf that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus 24735. This guy helps with constipation, so you are unknowingly making your diarrhoea worse. Grabbing a ‘multi-strain’ probiotic won’t be effective if the strains in the probiotic aren’t right for you. I often opt for single or a probiotic with 3 bacterial strains because I can make sure every single bacterial strain is essential for my client and their health.

3. The CFU only matters for individual species, not overall.

Ignore when a probiotic states 40, 50 or 60 billion bacteria. In this case bigger does not mean better! The important number or CFU to pay attention to is per bacteria. You need enough of the little guy to be therapeutically effective. Take for example Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938. You only need 200 million CFU to be therapeutically beneficial for constipation. Whereas Lactobacillus helveticus Rosell-52 needs 1 billion CFU to be clinically effective for anxiety. The number of bacteria really depend on what they’re being used for.


So here’s the big question:

do you need to take a probiotic?

For the general population, my answer is no.

I only advise taking a probiotic for a specific health condition or symptom if it’s warranted, and generally not for long term use (eg. Constipation, diarrhoea, eczema, anxiety, depression, thrush, bacterial vaginosis, etc). I don’t advise taking one for everyday well-being because there are more effective strategies.


What do I recommend?

Your gut bacteria are uber important. They influence soooo much, so making sure you have the right bacteria and a great diversity are one of my biggest concerns with every client. To achieve this, I recommend prebiotics which are the food for the bacteria. Your bacteria need to eat in order to survive and proliferate.

I stand by the principle and evidence, why not feed the beneficial bacterial strains already in your gut rather than add in a probiotic that only floats through temporarily? Your beneficial bacteria need food to proliferate and carry out their tasks in your gut, so feeding them with select prebiotics is the most effective method.

I highly recommend speaking to a qualified health practitioner who will be able to really guide what probiotic and prebiotic is needed and will be beneficial for YOUR unique health. Choosing any old probiotic supplement for the sake of it, isn’t doing much for your health, well except increasing the price tag on your poop.

Bloating: Are Your Eating Habits To Blame

Bloating: Are Your Eating Habits To Blame


Do you eat on the run? Do you chuck your food down? Are you multitasking while you gobble your food down? Answer YES to any of those? Then your bloating may very well be because of your eating habits.
We need to be in a parasympathetic state when we eat. Rest and digest.
This means you’re calm, blood flow is being directed to your gut and your digestive enzymes are being produced and secreted at an excellent rate, ready to digest all the food thrown its way. This needs to happen so that you can properly digest all of your food and absorb all the liberated nutrients – your body relies on them to function, otherwise your body is scrounging up what it can and does the best with the minimal tools it has at its disposal. It’s excellent at making do short term to keep you functioning like an apparent well-oiled machine. Long term though all those short cuts are not doing you any favours and that’s when chronic disease creep in. Unfortunately these days, we eat on the run or eat while attempting to multi-task. Although this is time saving, you aren’t getting the most out of your food.
This is because you’re in the opposite mode – sympathetic state: fight, flight or freeze.
  During a sympathetic response, blood is shunted from your gut and sent to your heart and muscles so they’re ready to run, your breathing and heart rate increases, and digestive enzyme production is shut down – because hey, eating isn’t a priority right now, running away from that scary monster is. These factors are brilliant when it comes to running away from a tiger. Just not when you want to eat. The problem is, your body gets a one-stop stress response. Meaning it produces the same stress response no matter if the stimuli is you running late for work or if a lion is chasing you. Stress is stress – cortisol gets produced and it has the same physiological action on the body every time it gets spewed out by your adrenals – it doesn’t care if food is just sluggishly sitting in your bowels being left to ferment and fester.
When you are chucking down your food, or watching TV and not paying attention to eating, you are bypassing that first vital step: turning off the sympathetic switch and turning on your parasympathetic mode.

No parasympathetic mode: no digestive enzyme production.

  Without the necessary digestive enzymes to break down your food, your still intact food happily carries on throughout your digestive tract, passing your stomach undigested and your small intestines undigested and reaches your happy little gut microbes sitting in your large intestine. With a properly functioning gut, only resistant starches found in fibrous food should reach your large bowels and feed your happy little microbes. So when these other food particles that should have been broken down way back in the small intestine reach your gut microbes, your gut microbes go crazy and thank you for their feast by munching away on all this foreign food and produce a by-product such as hydrogen gas.
The problem with hydrogen gas?
For starters it is a large molecule so it takes up a lot of room in your bowels. It’s healthy to produce some (when your gut microbes eat their normal fibrous foods) but if they keep producing more and more, your bowel has to expand and ta-da! You now have bloating. Hydrogen also has a propensity to speed up your transit time, so this means you may need to be rushing to the toilet to empty your bowels 3+ times per day. More prone to sluggish stools? Well you may have an excess of methane-producing bacteria. They gobble up four hydrogen molecules to make a much smaller methane molecule. This may seem great when they’re gobbling up all those extra hydrogen molecules from your poorly digested food, and help to create more room in your gut and effectively reduce your bloating….but methane does have a propensity to reduce your stool transit time, ultimately clogging you up.
And clogged bowels can also then lead to bloating.
  Your gut bugs are pretty fussy eaters and primarily only want fibrous food, so when all this non-fibrous food reaches your large intestines, the wrong type of bacteria end up having the feast and proliferating instead. This then potentially leads to a dysbiotic gut, which is a story for another day. Long term, this can start to produce ongoing gut issues and the poor absorption of all your nutrients ends up impacting energy and neurotransmitter production (happiness, calmness and motivation) leading to depression, anxiety and low drive, and essential nutrients for glowing skin and hair aren’t there, let alone every other enzymatic reaction in your body. Now this isn’t all doom and gloom, there are super simple ways to promote that parasympathetic state, switch on digestion and get those foods fully digested so you can reap all the nutritional benefit and feel amazing long term!  
So if you are guilty of eating on the run, shoveling your food down or basically multitasking while food is going in your gob – then try these 4 easy hacks to getting those digestive juices flowing!


This is as simple as sitting down with your food and being mindfully aware of every spoonful going into your mouth. The taste, the texture and chew thoughtfully. You will be amazed at how much more you can taste and as a bonus all your digestive enzymes start flowing!



That’s right, take a big waft of those delicious aromas. Have you ever found you can smell something delicious and suddenly your mouth is watering in saliva? That’s because the receptors in your nose pick up the scent from food and kick start your digestive enzymes, ready for the feast it’s about to consume.



This may make you scrunch up your nose, but bitter receptors on your tongue are like the golden key to getting those digestive enzymes flowing. This is why some people feel less indigestion with apple cider vinegar before meals. You can simply munch on dark leafy green prior to a big meal which activates the same pathways. Or grab some of that super tasty bitter herbals from your naturopath if you’re feeling lazy or need to kickstart your own digestive enzymes again – but don’t say I didn’t warn you! At the very least those around you will get a kick out of watching your face scrunch up in disgust.



That’s right, I’m giving you full permission to bellow out a tune. Singing has been found to stimulate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the main nerve responsible for receiving the stimuli that its time to eat and sending out a signal to your digestive tract to start pumping out all of your digestive enzymes. But you need to be reaching different pitches: so go smooth with a low baritone before hitting that high note.

  If you are someone who often gets to the end of their meal and then struggles to remember what they ate or how they even got there, than start to include some of the above tips into your daily eating routine. The long term benefit of digesting all of your food and reaping off the nutritional benefits out of them won’t just help with your bloating and indigestion, but with the optimal function of your body too. Still being haunted by your gut? The gut can be a mysterious and wondrous thing, with many avenues for dysfunction to occur – it does hold 2kg of microbes after all which are all doing very specific and important tasks to keep your body tip-top! A Naturopath may be what you need to provide you with an individualised gut plan to rid you of your bloating, control your bowels, and get you feeling pretty fabulous!

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