rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


A recent survey clearly showed that having time to enjoy life no longer takes second place to earning a better living. If you, or someone that you know, suffers from symptoms of food intolerance you will know the impact that symptoms can have on daily life. Even if you know which foods you cannot, or should not eat, just managing your week to try and avoid those culprit foods is quite a task in itself. In the run up to Christmas, time becomes even more precious as we juggle present buying, guests arriving, parties and extra shopping trips! Here are a few tips to help save time and energy during this busy period:-

1) Target your elimination diet? You can try and guess which foods are causing your symptoms, however, symptoms of food intolerance are typically delayed by up to 72 hours after eating the culprit food or foods. In addition, the average number of different foods, that people with food intolerance symptoms react to, is six and it is virtually impossible to determine the exact combination of foods that you may be reacting to, based on guesswork alone. Why waste time guessing, you want to feel your best in the run up to Christmas! To get an assessment you can carry out a YorkTest FoodScan IgG test from and use the Nutritionist consultations provided with the service. The Nutritionist will work with you to replace foods that you need to avoid, and suggest any vitamins or supplements you should take in so that you eat a well balanced and healthy diet. How much time that will save you in guess work and lost time?

2) Plan your meals; 30 minutes now will save hours over the next 4 weeks. Grab yourself 3 sheets of paper and a pen, or your phone / laptop / computer. On the first page List the ingredients that you and your partner or family have got to avoid, or choose not to eat. On page two list the foods and meals that you all already enjoy, or would like to try, that don’t include those ingredients. Refer to your diary or family organiser, recipe books and online resources and plan main meals and snacks for each day or week; for the next 4 weeks. Doesn’t have to be exact and of course you will need to be flexible as plans change. Divide page 3 into two columns. In column 1 list the store cupboard basics for you to buy now. In column 2 list the fresh foods to be purchased for each week. Stick your plan on the kitchen wall, sit back and relax and realise how satisfied it feels not to have to decide what you are all going to eat for the next 4 weeks!

3) Save time and your (very precious) energy by buying and cooking in BULK. If you have enough space, and if your cashflow allows it, then buying in bulk makes sense, if not then plan to buy in bulk as much as you can; not just food but non-food items too. Keep the cupboard and fridge stocked with basics (see tips from Day 2) and keep an eye on the ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates too can help take the hassle out of shopping; it not only saves time but also money and helps cut down on food waste. Most of the time (and energy) that is wasted during meal preparations is due to heating up the oven, washing multiple loads of pots and pans and other dishes, clearing up all the mess (well it is when I cook!). Save yourself time by making food in batches and freezing them. For example, cook a large pot of chilli and then freeze in suitable portion sizes. This way you only have to make a mess once, even though you prepare enough for several lunches or dinners.

4) Embrace technology. The joy (?) of real life shopping, tasting and touching can’t be substituted, but shopping online certainly saves time! New research forecasts that UK consumers will be spending £7.2 billion on food and grocery shopping online by 2014. That’s nearly double the figure for 2009, when 13% of adults shopped online for groceries, and an increase of 63% on 2006. All of the major supermarkets offer this facility and it is ideal for your monthly or bi-monthly bulk order of food and non-food items. With your ‘favourites list’ set up it only takes a few clicks and, in what seems like no time at all, your planned and organised (see Day 2) order arrives. Even better, more recently, all the major players now offer phone applications to manage the whole shopping process right down to selecting delivery slots, and synchronised (via the cloud) with your web shop, so you can start your order on the move and complete it from the desktop; although apparently the new Tesco iPhone app is good enough to do the entire weekly grocery shop from your bed! You can even use your phone to scan in barcodes so that you will never be able to forget that favourite bottle of wine or gluten-free curry that you enjoyed a few weeks back!

5) Remember the consequences of eating foods that you know you react to. It’s all too easy, especially after a few drinks, to throw caution to the wind and scoff
down whatever is put in front of you. You may have felt a lot better recently
on your “Free-From” diet and are prepared to take the risk. STOP and remember
how you feel when your food intolerance symptoms are at their worst. A recent
survey of 441 people with food intolerance showed that 31% of respondents have taken between one day and one week’s absence from work due to their food intolerance symptoms, while 14% admit to having accumulated at least three months of sick days since
the onset of their condition. On average, respondents visited their GPs six times due to their condition with three patients notching up over 250 visits to their GP between them. Don’t go backwards, it’s time to be well, not to be off sick or at the doctors; save your precious time in the long run and stick to a diet that you know suits you.

Remember that 45% of the population suffer from food intolerance, and many thousands have benefitted from pinpointing the foods that are causing symptoms such as gut problems, fatigue, skin problems, headaches, migraines and low mood. Save time guessing; within days you could find out the exact foods that you are reacting
to; within just a few weeks (ready for Christmas) you could be feeling a lot lot better.


Dr Gill Hart

Dr Gill Hart is a PhD Biochemist with over twenty years experience in the development and clinical evaluation of diagnostic tests. Gill joined the YorkTest team as Scientific Director in 2005, and has applied her scientific and regulatory knowledge to all YorkTest services; including putting in measures of self-regulation in the under-regulated diagnostic testing services arena. Gill regularly gives talks and lectures on food intolerance at Universities, Colleges, trade shows and consumer events. She also provides guidance for those choosing diagnostic tests with her ‘What makes a good diagnostic test’ checklist, and has written many articles in scientific journals and consumer magazines.

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