Fin Bigg, 20: Breathing

"I felt like I could actually breathe again properly. I was surprised, to be fair, how much of a difference that made."

  • 20-year-old athlete, Fin Bigg, had been experiencing a regularly blocked nose, which was having an impact on his breathing during races
  • He followed YorkTest’s Premium Food&DrinkScan programme, the results of which revealed that he was reacting to four ingredients, including wheat and eggs
  • Just a week after eliminating his trigger foods from his diet, Fin felt that he could “actually breathe properly again”
  • In his first 800m race since starting his elimination diet, he set a new personal best time of 1:48.97

As an accomplished 800 metre sprinter himself and son of gold medallist athlete, Sally Gunnell, Fin Bigg knew it was important to train hard and eat well if he was to succeed at running.

He had consistently set records and caught the eye at his athletics club, Brighton Pheonix, but for a long while he had been held back a little by a frequently blocked nose.

“I’ve always been complaining to my Mum of having a blocked nose and she always told me it was a family trait and caused by the way my nose was built,” Fin explained.

After Sally became a Brand Ambassador for the food intolerance testing* business, YorkTest, Fin jumped at the chance to take a closer look at his diet alongside the rest of his family, including his brother Luca and Sally herself.

The first task was to each collect a small blood sample by using the finger-prick lancet in their Premium Food&DrinkScan test kits, before posting these back to YorkTest’s laboratory for analysis.

Here, the samples were tested for IgG antibody reactions to 208 foods and drinks, ranging from commonplace foods and drinks like wheat and cow’s milk to superfoods such as kale and quinoa.

A few days later, Fin received a comprehensive results pack from YorkTest, which outlined his own personal food intolerances* in a simple colour-coded table. The testing had revealed that Fin was reacting to four ingredients – cow’s milk, wheat, egg yolk and egg white. He also had a borderline reaction to elderflower.

The next stage of the process was to speak to one of YorkTest’s registered Nutritional Therapists, Ali Orr, who guided Fin on how to safely cut out his trigger foods and replace these with nutritious alternatives.

“I enjoyed the challenge of trying to stick to the diet,” commented Fin. “And I managed to find some tasty alternatives.”

Fin’s efforts were soon rewarded. After just one week of cutting out his trigger foods, he noticed that his blocked nose had cleared up.

I felt like I could actually breathe again properly. I was surprised, to be fair, how much of a difference that made,” explained Fin, who was not underestimating the impact the change would also have on his running performance.

“Any marginal gains that you can get from your training or your diet is so big these days for athletes when there’s such fine margins. So knowing that my body is able to take in these foods better and I’m not consuming anything that’s not helping me, is making such a big difference for me.

“It feels daunting at first cutting out all of these foods but actually I’ve quite enjoyed it and for any other athlete who would like to give it a go, I would recommend it definitely.
“I’ve got my first race coming up since I started my diet and I’m excited to see how that goes because surely breathing is going to help me quite a lot.”

Later that evening, Fin achieved his best ever 800 metre time, crossing the line in an impressive 1:48.97.

Fin followed a Premium Food&DrinkScan programme.

YorkTest Nutritional Therapist, Ali Orr, helped him to optimise his diet safely and effectively.

Further support:

YorkTest advise that you consult with your GP first if you are experiencing any troubling symptoms.
*YorkTest define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction.
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