CHIEF Reporter Adele Forrest visits a new south Denbighshire clinic and discovers she has an intolerance to caffeine and dairy products...
THE new year brings with it a whole raft of new diet books, gym membership offers and exercise videos so you can create a 'new you'.
Well actually I am okay with 'me', I have always tried to exercise regularly and keep away from junk food but I do still worry about what I put into my body and what’s going on inside me.
So when I heard about a new clinic in Llangollen's Whole Food Co-op that offered an alternative approach to a healthier new you rather than watching ex-Eastender's actors jumping around in lycra I was intrigued.
Zoe O'Neill is a qualified Nutritional Therapist who specialises in using natural techniques to bring the body back into balance, helping to heal illnesses like bloating, hayfever and sinusitis.
Following her Wrexham clinic Zoe has now set up a second clinic in the Llangollen shop on Oak Street and offers food intolerance and allergy testing which she said saved her life nearly 10 years ago.
"When I was younger I developed Psoriasis when I was nine, I had IBS when I was 17, really bad acne, my hair was falling out in clumps, I had a constant cold and swollen glands," said Zoe.
The 36 year-old said she went through life and her education feeling tired, her weight plummeted and her skin was so bad she felt she couldn't leave the house.
"I was not getting the answers from anywhere. But one GP refered me to a food intolerance test through a Government scheme that isn't run anymore."
This was a huge turning point for Zoe, not only for her health but also for her career as she began studying nutrition.
"Discovering nutrition saved my life, I cant imagine how ill I would be now if I hadn't."
Through the tests Zoe discovered she had an intolerance to dairy, by changing her diet she said all her health worries dissapeared.
Looking at Zoe today it's hard to believe she once had it so tough, her skin is glowing, her hair is thick and curly and she has energy in abundance.
"My confidence in this is based on my own personal experience which means I can empathise with my clients."
I have never been allergic to anything or thought I was so I was unsure what the test could do for me, but first of all Zoe took down my usual diet and threw in some naturopathic therapy which is all about learning how you feel in yourself.
When I started listing the odd complaint I had, trouble falling to sleep, regular swollen glands etc I began to think there was more to this 'you are what you eat theory' and maybe my diet wasn't as good as I thought.
My two worries that Zoe picked up on were my love for bread with most meals and too much tea and coffee.
The rest of my diet was ok, Zoe said the amount of water I drank was good but it was being cancelled out by the caffeine.
"For one cup of tea you need five cups of water to balance the acidity," said Zoe.
Also drinking tea straight after my meals washed away all the nutrients I could have absorbed and she said drinking warm water was much better than cold.
This all seemed quite simple stuff that can so easily be changed to make my body work abit better.
"The body is so intelligent you see it as nagging but if you take time to listen to what it's saying you could stop it, but it won't mean giving up the things you like."
The food and allergy intolerance test is carried out with a quick and painfree procedure that can be used on infants to adults.
The machine tests the human bodies energetic resistance to a food substance that is placed in the machine as a homoeopathically prepared sample, using an acupuncture point in the palm of the hand the machine can identify whether that food is a "stress" or acting as a poison to the individual.
It is then recommended removing this 'stress' food from the diet leads to improved health.
My test showed I had an intolerance to tea and coffee, a few fruit and veg but mainly to dairy products , so Zoe drew up recommendations like drinking herbal tea and trying oat bread instead of having wholemeal bread all the time and some supplements that would be suited to help cleanse my liver (I blame that on the university days).
Coming off caffeine felt like a scene from Trainspotting for a few days, but after I got over the headaches I actually liked drinking warm water and the nettle tea is surprisingly nice, but there's always next year to try and give up alcohol!
For more information contact Zoe on 07788 101885 or visit www.sustainablehealthsolutions.co.uk
See full story in the Leader