Sally Gunnell

Sally Gunnell OBE, 52: Energy levels

"I'm not waking up as much during the night, not as bunged up in my nose and I've got so much more energy. I feel great!"

  •  Before taking the test, Sally did not consider herself to have any significant symptoms that could be caused by a food intolerance, apart from a “little bloating” and the “odd headache”
  • Alongside her two sons, Luca and Fin, she followed a Premium Food&DrinkScan programme, the results of which revealed that she was reacting to cow’s milk and eggs
  • After three weeks of cutting out her trigger foods, Sally “felt so much better”, noting that her quality of sleep had improved and she had more energy

Aside from a “little bloating” and “the odd headache”, Olympic legend Sally Gunnell OBE considered herself symptom-free. After following a YorkTest programme however, Sally learnt that elements of her diet may have been having a significant impact on her daily life.

An initial FirstStep test from YorkTest revealed that Sally had a food intolerance so she progressed onto a full Premium Food&DrinkScan programme at the same time as her two sons, Luca and Fin.

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The first stage of the process for Sally and her family was to each collect a small blood sample by using the finger-prick lancet in their test kits, before posting these back to YorkTest’s laboratory.

“Taking the test was really simple,” explained Sally. “We ordered it online. It came through the post within days, which was brilliant. It was very self-explanatory. You opened up the box and it had all the instructions inside on what you needed to do.”

Producing a few drops of blood was no big deal for the athletics champion but her sons took a little more convincing.

“I was fine but I must admit one of my boys was a bit squeamish and danced around the kitchen for quite a while,” Sally laughed. “But after we’d actually done it, he said “Is that it?”

Sally, Luca and Fin’s samples were tested in the YorkTest laboratory for IgG antibody reactions to 208 foods and drinks. Ingredients tested ranged from commonplace foods and drinks like wheat and eggs to superfoods such as kale and quinoa. Each member of the family then received a results pack, which contained details of their reactions, arranged into a simple colour-coded table.

“When the results come back, I think you are a little apprehensive,” said Sally. “But then you read them and you’re like, WOW!”

The results revealed that Sally had intolerances* to both cow’s milk and eggs.

“I was shocked,” she commented. “Because I’ve drunk cow’s milk all my life and eaten eggs all my life. Then you start looking at all the packs and thinking, how am I going to do this (eliminate the ingredients)?”

“In the end, I thought let’s try this and see what happens.”

As part of Sally’s Premium Food&DrinkScan programme, she was entitled to two 30-minute consultations with a registered nutritional therapist. After taking a couple of days to digest her results, she booked her first consultation to get some guidance on how to find healthy alternatives for her diet.

“The YorkTest nutritionist,” href=”https://www.yorktest.com/about-us/meet-our-nutritional-therapists-alison-orr/”>Ali, was absolutely brilliant. She supported us in that conversation and just made it (the new diet) feel achievable.”

“I found it really reassuring because it was quite scary to think that you need to read every single packet of food. She told us to take it step by step.”

Sally did just that, following Ali’s advice and finding alternatives to cow’s milk, whilst doing her weekly online shop. She quickly found that the change in her diet appeared to be having a positive effect on her sleeping routine.

“It’s all about making the changes slowly, not necessarily all at once. I found, because I was feeling better, I wanted to do more.”

Sally took her programme to the next level and eliminated both cow’s milk and eggs completely from her diet. After two weeks, she was amazed at the array of benefits she felt.

“I felt so much better, I’m not needing to sleep as long, which is really good. I’m not waking up as much during the night, not as bunged up in my nose and I’ve got so much more energy. I feel great.”

Improvements were also felt by Sally’s sons, who also cut out their own food intolerances*, supported by YorkTest’s team.

“For Luca, my middle son, there’s been a massive transformation,” commented Sally. Luca said he had been unable to stay awake much later than 7pm in the evening but the change in his diet had left him feeling much more “energised”.

Meanwhile, Sally’s 20-year old son, Fin, saw benefits to his running performance after following his own elimination diet and was even able to shave some milliseconds off his personal best 800 metre run time.

“It’s amazed me to learn that 45% of people actually suffer from a food intolerance of some sort,” added Sally, who became a Brand Ambassador for YorkTest in the summer of 2018.

“With that sort of figure you just think that there are people out there everywhere who aren’t delivering how they need to and not feeling how they want to every single day. If we can try and help some of those percentage of people just to feel good about themselves, that’d be great.”

“I’ve found that lots of people want to make those changes but they don’t know how. They don’t know where to start.

“I would just say to anybody that if they’re thinking of doing this, you’ve probably put up with so many years of things like bloating, headaches and pain. Do this test. It’s so simple, it’s easy to do and it can change your whole life.”

Sally followed a Premium Food&DrinkScan programme.

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

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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