Category Archives: intolerance

IBS Awareness

April is IBS Awareness Month. This calendar event is aimed at heightening awareness of the causes and symptoms of IBS, and the treatment options available. It also encourages sufferers to talk about their condition and take positive steps to manage their symptoms.

Painful tummy
IBS can cause symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation and / or diarrhoea

The exact cause is unknown, but attacks can be triggered by stress and dietary factors. Typical symptoms of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal pain, a sense of urgency (having to rush to the toilet), bloating and gas, and diarrhoea or constipation.

Might you have IBS?

Learn your ABC for IBS! The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that anyone experiencing the following symptoms for 6 months or longer should be assessed for IBS:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Change in bowel habit

Common myths and misconceptions

There are many misconceptions about IBS, perhaps because many people find IBS difficult or embarrassing to talk about. A clear understanding of IBS can help sufferers to manage the condition more effectively.

1. MYTH: IBS is “all in the head”

FACT: For many years, doctors believed IBS was a psychological condition, only existing in the patient’s head. This misconception is damaging for patients who require practical help to manage IBS. Fortunately physicians now have a better understanding of the condition and can offer practical approaches to relieve symptoms.

2. MYTH: IBS is not a serious condition

FACT: IBS is not life-threatening, and it is not an inflammatory disease like Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. However, IBS can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and ability to function on a day-to-day basis. These are serious concerns and should be treated as such by your GP.

3. MYTH: IBS is related to lactose intolerance

FACT: IBS and lactose intolerance are not linked, although their symptoms are very similar. Some people suffer with both IBS and lactose intolerance. If your symptoms are relieved by cutting out lactose, or by taking lactase supplements, then it is possible you have lactose intolerance rather than IBS.

4. MYTH: Increasing your fibre intake will help IBS

FACT: Although fibre is an important part of a healthy diet, certain types of fibre can actually trigger IBS symptoms. In IBS, the rough edges of insoluble fibre can irritate the digestive tract, causing abdominal pain and cramps. Swapping foods high in insoluble fibre, such as bran flakes, for foods high in soothing soluble fibre, such as oats, can help to manage painful symptoms.

5. MYTH: IBS cannot be diagnosed

FACT: There is an established protocol that GPs can use to diagnose IBS. By assessing symptoms and ruling out other digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease, your doctor can accurately diagnose IBS.

6. MYTH: There are no good treatment options for IBS

FACT: There are several prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements that can relieve symptoms for sufferers. Different approaches can work for different people, and it is sometimes necessary to experiment to find what works best for you. Some over the counter medications can actually make symptoms worse if they are used excessively. Dietary and lifestyle changes can make a world of difference. For example, the FODMAP diet has proved helpful to many. Probiotics (especially strains such as Bifidobacterium Infantis), peppermint oil, and soluble fibre supplements such as psyllium husk all represent effective natural approaches to troublesome symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with IBS then a nutritional therapist can advise you on dietary management and helpful supplements. If you suspect you may have IBS then you should initially speak to your GP. After all, one of the most important messages of IBS Awareness Month is that nobody should have to suffer in silence.

Written by Nadia Mason, BSc MBANT NTCC CNHC


National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults: Diagnosis and Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Primary Care. Feb 2008.


Tribest blenders, juicers, sprouters and superb summer smoothies…

If you’ve not had the chance to see them already, this blog is all about our fantastic new range of juicers, blenders and kitchen appliances from Tribest and some delicious and nutritious healthy smoothie recipes that you can try making at home.

See our new range of Tribest kitchen appliances - making healthy living easy

Our fantastic new range of kitchen appliances from Tribest includes juicers, blenders, sprouters, soy milk makers, yoghurt makers and food dehydrators, in fact everything you could possibly need to fit your kitchen out with the perfect tools to make healthy nutritious food.

Tribest Juicers are extremely high quality and perfect for fruits, vegetables and the hardest root foods you could imagine.  Available in a range of sizes and styles Tribest juicers can start you on your way to better health with minimal time and effort.

Grow your own fresh, nutritious and tender sprouts to add to your diet in the comfort of your own kitchen with the Freshlife sprouter or if you are intolerant to lactose, make your own delicious, pure soy milk at home with the SoyaBella, saving you time and money and giving you the chance to add tasty ingredients to your soy milk such as strawberries or bananas.

Nutritionists swear by the benefits of healthy low fat and highly nutritious dried foods such as apples or bananas, now you can dry your own at home with the Tribest Sedona food dehydrator.  Raw fruit and nuts get boring,  so make your own healthy dried fruits and vegetables for delicious healthy snacks.  Tribest blenders are perfect for healthy smoothie making.  Try some of our recipes below for a super nutritious breakfast smoothie or as a snack throughout the day packed full of nutritious goodness.

Breakfast Smoothie

A simple recipe that provides you with a quick, delicious and healthy way to start your day.  Add or substitute with your favourite fruit or juice.

Super Green Smoothie
Try a healthy breakfast smoothie to give your body the kick start it needs (1)

Supergreen Smoothie

  • 600ml mineral water (still)
  • ½ chopped cucumber (skin & pips included)
  • ¼ peeled avocado
  • 1 chopped celery stick
  • Juice of ½ lemon or lime
  • ¼ teaspoon unrefined salt
  • Small double handful (60-80mg) of mixed green leaves from the following (they can be combined): spinach, watercress, rocket, savoy cabbage, chard, lettuce, chicory, kale, bok choy, sprigs of mint, parsley, coriander, basil etc
  • Sun Chlorella® ‘A’ tablets: initially starting off with 5 tablets for the first three days, moving up to 10 for the next 3 days and then 15 tablets herein after.

Plus (optionally)

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1-2 slices (5-10mg) of fresh ginger
  • 1 small chopped spring onion
  • ½ apple or ½ pear or 100g of mango or papaya, to sweeten slightly
Don’t forget to share your favourite smoothie recipes by adding a comment below…


(1)  Image courtesy of gameanna.

Written by Mike Pye

bodykind do some detective work on food intolerance

Do you have a health issue getting you down that Doctor’s just can’t seem to help with?  Do you not feel quite as well as you should?  According to Allergy UK as many as 45% of people in the UK suffer from a food intolerance (1), many of which lead to varying symptoms that while not life threatening, can make all aspects of life uncomfortable, painful or just down right miserable. Symptoms of food intolerance are varied and can have a serious effect on the quality of your day to day life.  From abdominal pains to eczema, fatigue and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, food intolerance can lead many to unhappiness.  But it is a common area that can be difficult to get help for from many in the medical profession.(2)

Do you have a food intolerance?
According to Allergy UK as many as 45% of people in the UK suffer from a food intolerance

There is a stark difference between food allergy, and food intolerance. Food allergy sparks a rapid response in the body’s immune system to a particular food.  The immune system mistakes a food for an ‘invader’ which often results in a rapid allergic reaction, commonly associated with nut and seafood allergies.(3) Food intolerance on the other hand can lead to many less serious reactions but uncomfortable symptoms that manifest themselves through skin conditions, digestive problems, aches and pains and much more.(4)

There are numerous foods that can spark intolerances including dairy, meat, fruit, fish, gluten, wheat and even vegetables.  But how can you find out just what it is that’s upsetting you.  You could try eliminating certain foods from your diet to see if this has a positive effect on your symptoms but this can be a long drawn out process (and must be done under the supervision of a qualified Nutritionist). There are a number of products on the market today however that offer home tests for a variety of different food intolerances and the Food Detective is one of the most popular.

Food Detective
Food Detective is the world's first self test for food intolerance

Simple, safe, reliable and fast the Food Detective is the world’s first self test for food intolerance.  No more waiting days for results, the Food Detective tests your reaction to 59 common foods through a finger prick blood sample and gives you results in about 40 minutes. The test identifies foods causing IgG antibody production which may be involved in various conditions such as IBS, eczema, and arthritis. The test gives you the ability to easily identify the type of foods that may be affecting your health and eliminate them from your diet giving you the peace of mind to eat the right things and improving your lifestyle.

It is important to note however that changes to diet should only be made after consultation with a qualified nutritionist.  Symptoms of intolerances and allergy can be eased with nutritional and dietary help.  “Some general advice would be to boost the immune system via a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits which provide vitamins and bioflavonoids.  In addition to this omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish e.g. salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines (at least two portions per week) are really helpful to the immune system and also to reduce inflammation in the body.”(5)


Written by Mike Pye





5.  Ani Kowal, Food Allergy and Intolerance Week, bodykind Blog, January 27th 2010.


Probiotics for Digestive Health and Candida

Probiotics are a valuable part of a healthy diet (1)

Probiotics are a valuable part of a healthy diet, and may play an important role in sustaining overall intestinal health.  Many people suffer from the effects of intestinal imbalances which makes a focus on probiotics essential.  Prevention of imbalance before it occurs is clearly a better alternative to treating the often unpleasant symptoms.  Using probiotics is a safe, cost-effective, “natural” approach that may help act as a barrier against microbial infection.

The importance of digestive health

Digestive health is an important yet often ignored factor for our overall health.  If you haven’t been feeling yourself lately it is possible that this may be related to your digestive health.  Many health professionals and nutritionists believe that to be truly healthy we need a healthy digestive system and yet it is not an aspect many usually concentrate on.  If there is a problem with your digestive system, your body might not be able to absorb enough nutrients from your food, which can cause you to suffer from a number of different problems.

Friendly flora perform a number of constructive functions in the intestinal tract.  One main function is to help prevent occasional good/bad flora imbalance.  The “good” flora do this by crowding out the “bad” in the intestinal tract.


Each and every one of us carries Candida albicans in the digestive tract.  Candida, a single celled organism, produces more than a hundred different toxins which can be absorbed through the intestinal wall and in turn cause your body issues.  Provided these tiny yeast like organisms are kept under control by beneficial microbes and the immune system, they should do us no harm.  However, if there is an imbalance in the intestine, this could lead to Candida cells growing at a rate that is out of control leading to a number of problems.  This occurs when intestinal balance is disorientated by an impaired immune system, the use of antibiotics and stress or high carbohydrate diets, birth controls, diabetes and pregnancy. (2)

When Candida starts to proliferate, they become capable of penetrating the intestinal wall and leaking out into the body through the bloodstream, this can lead to  a negative effect on our health and overall wellbeing.  Some of the symptoms associated with Candida are:

•    Anger outbursts
•    Irritability
•    Headaches
•    Constant tiredness and exhaustion
•    Anxiety
•    Mood swings
•    Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
•    Intense cravings for sugars, sweets, and breads
•    Itchy skin
•    Frequent stomach pains and digestion problems
•    Skin problems (skin infections, eczema, psoriasis, acne)
•    Foggy brain / Trouble concentrating (3)

Treating Candida with probiotics

ThreeLac may alleviate the yeast overgrowth symptoms faster than other treatment methods.

You can adjust the amount of yeast in your body through diet however it is not as easy as many people may think.  You would have to significantly reduce and even completely cut out sugar and high-carbohydrate foods.  Although most people can do this, they can’t sustain it for long and depriving themselves of these foods can often result in binge eating behaviour which is counter productive.  The more sugar you intake the more fuel you give yeast to grow in your body.

Although probiotics are naturally available in yoghurt, one of the most effective natural options for reducing yeast is a probiotic supplement such as ThreeLac as they are teeming with good live bacteria.  Because probiotics may help reduce the symptoms of yeast overgrowth it is an easier method than adhering to a very strict diet regimen.  Many women who suffer from thrush, “especially those who have undergone repeat antibiotic treatment, find probiotics to be really helpful in preventing recurrence and treating these conditions.” (4)

ThreeLac provides selected beneficial microflora for the purpose of replenishing needed friendly flora to promote intestinal health, a powerful probiotic formulation of three potent microflora in a lemon-powder base.

•    Bacillus coagulans: A probiotic organism that may help control occasional digestion and stomach problems.
•    Bacillus subtilis: A probiotic organism that may help crowd out “bad” flora in the intestines.
•    Enterococcus faecalis: The Enterococci constitute a major genus within the lactic acid bacteria group, and exists naturally in the human digestive tract. This effective probiotic bacteria is the result of formulation under strict laboratory conditions.

One of the benefits to using ThreeLac is that it may alleviate the yeast overgrowth symptoms faster than other treatment methods.  Also for those people who are lactose intolerant, yoghurt is not always an option so a probiotic such as ThreeLac could be an effective alternative.  A healthy digestive system directly relates to a healthy immune system and our overall wellbeing.

1. Image courtesy of Ambro.



4.  Ani Richardson, “ Natural remedies for the treatment and prevention of vaginal thrush infection“, bodykind blog, 05/082009.

Written by Mike Pye


Is gluten intolerance on the increase?

According to Professor Markku Mäki, head of a research project in the Academy of Finland’s Research Programme on Nutrition, Food and Health (ELVIRA), the occurrence of gluten intolerance in the Finnish population has doubled in the past 20 years (1).  Although this study took place in Finland it is relevant to look at since many individuals in the UK are becoming increasingly concerned by food intolerance issues.  In the early 1980’s, about 1% of adults in Finland had gluten intolerance, but the figure has since gone up to 2% by the 2000’s.  In a press release (1) the professor stated “We’ve already seen a similar trend emerge earlier on where allergies and certain autoimmune disorders are concerned. Screening has shown that gluten intolerance occurs in 1.5 per cent of Finnish children and 2.7 per cent of the elderly. The higher figure for older people is explained by the fact that the condition becomes more frequent with age

In January I wrote about Food Allergy and Intolerance week and mentioned the charity Allergy UKAllergy UK is a national medical charity established to represent the views and needs of people with allergy, food intolerance and chemical sensitivity” 

Allergy UK say that “ Every patient with allergy or ‘intolerance’ should be able to get an adequate and appropriate allergy assessment through the NHS, with the right advice about avoidance of their triggers and management of their symptoms. Unfortunately NHS primary care allergy services are patchy and many people do not get the help they need.  Allergy UK continues to campaign for better provision of NHS allergy services but has also developed partnerships with others to provide paid-for allergy screening services for allergy sufferers who need them. Allergy UK ensures that the training for staff in these services is adequate and sensible, carries out audits and clinical governance and provides follow-up information and support for every person who uses these services”.  The charity also has a helpline 01322 619898 which can be called for information on your closest relevant NHS clinic or accredited screening services.  The website is full of information and certainly worth a visit


Although the information from Finland has not been duplicated in the UK it may well be relevant since it seems that increasing numbers of people are reporting experiencing symptoms of food intolerance.  According to Professor Mäki, gluten intolerance may often be symptom-free, and people may be unaware that they have the condition if their symptoms are mild or atypical. Three out of four people with gluten intolerance have not been diagnosed, which also means that they are as yet going without treatment (1).

Unfortunately diagnosis and screening methods are still not readily employed in the UK and there seems to be little consensus about which methods are best.  Professor Mäki’s research team has concluded that the criteria for diagnosing gluten intolerance must be rewritten. The current criteria for diagnosis tends to focus on damage to the intestines, established in a tissue sample from the small intestine. However, early stages of gluten intolerance are not identifiable from tissue samples.  People may suffer from gluten intolerance, yet have no intestinal symptoms. They may, however, have symptoms unrelated to the intestinal tract. Serious problems with nutrient absorption have become rare; instead, sufferers generally have anaemia due to iron deficiency or folic acid deficiency as their main symptom. If researchers manage to develop sensitive, accurate antibody tests, it will become possible to identify people with early stages of gluten intolerance, who are in need of further treatment. At present, there is no single test to reliably identify early stages of gluten intolerance (1).

A Food Intolerance fact sheet is available from Allergy UK and also mention a new food intolerance home testing kit, Food Detective™ which has been launched by Cambridge Nutritional Sciences Ltd.  If you think you may be suffering with a food allergy it would be worth using the website and calling the helpline for more information.  If you do purchase and use the home testing kit I would urge you to discuss the results with your GP, or call the Allergy UK helpline mentioned above.  It is never a good idea to simply cut out whole food groups as this can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other problems.


(1)Press release.  Academy of Finland Communications.

Written by Ani Kowal


Food Allergy and Intolerance Week

This week is national Food allergy and Intolerance week – for more information about this campaign week please visit the Allergy UK website.  “Allergy UK is a national medical charity established to represent the views and needs of people with allergy, food intolerance and chemical sensitivity

Allergy UK say: “Too often allergy or intolerance sufferers become labeled as being fussy eaters or just thought to be following the latest fad, this could not be further from the truth. Stolen Lives 7 – Food Allergy and Intolerance Report (available at the Allergy UK website), by Allergy UK highlights how difficult it is to live with a food allergy and intolerance. The most simple of choices such as what to make for dinner or what to put in their child’s packed lunch becomes a nightmare”.

It can be really challenging to decipher whether abdominal/gut or other irritating symptoms are due to stress, illness or a food intolerance or allergy.  Often medical doctors disregard the idea of intolerances but as mentioned above the symptoms can be very distressing, and certainly very real, to the sufferer.  Allergy UK say: “Finding out what you are intolerant to is the another priority for many. The lack of understanding regarding food intolerance within the medical profession leads many to search for a reliable test to identify the cause of their problems. A staggering 88% of respondents reported that they had suffered for years before they found help in managing their food intolerance with little or no help from their GP. Thankfully a new food intolerance testing kit, which detects foods specific IgG antibodies, Food Detective™ has been launched by Cambridge Nutritional Sciences Ltd. Food Detective™ is reliable and simple to use at home”.  The Food Detective kit is widely available and can be purchased here.

If you decide to use the Food Detective test kit I would urge you to see a registered Nutritionist or Nutritional practitioner, or indeed a sympathetic GP, to go over the results with you.  It is never a good idea to simply cut out whole food groups as this can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other problems

There are two websites I would recommend where you can search for registered practitioners in your area:
1)      The UK voluntary resister of nutritionists
2)      The British association for applied nutrition and nutritional therapy

For more information about what food allergies and intolerances are and what causes them visit the allergy UK website

The most common symptoms of an allergy or intolerance are:
*Runny nose
*Itchy eyes and ears
*Severe wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath
*Sinus problems
*Sore palate
*Nettle-like rash.

Symptoms of intolerances and allergy can be eased with nutritional and dietary help.  For more information on this I would suggest you read the two posts that I wrote about asthma (Part 1. Part 2.) and also my posts regarding hay fever.  Some general advice would be to boost the immune system via a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits which provide vitamins and bioflavonoids.  In addition to this omega 3 fatty acids from oily fish e.g. salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines (at least two portions per week) are really helpful to the immune system and also to reduce inflammation in the body.  Probiotics have also been found to be useful for allergy prevention, symptom easing and for boosting immune health.  I have discussed these points further in the posts mentioned above.  Taking an omega 3 fatty acid supplement may be incredibly useful to ease allergic symptoms.  Many people in the UK do not get enough of these essential fats in their diet.  A supplement providing about 250-350mg EPA and 250-350mg DHA daily could be considered.  For vegetarians and vegans a flaxseed oil supplement containing around 500-1000mg alpha linoleic acid daily is an option, vegetarian EPA and DHA supplements made from algae are becoming more available to buy and provide a good choice. 


Written by Ani Kowal