Care for your whole body by improving your digestive health

Michelle Ryan first qualified as a Nutritionist with the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) in 2011, and recently returned to study, achieving a diploma in Coaching Mental Health and Wellbeing. Michelle explains the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance and how both can have a serious effect on the gateway to our bodies – our digestive tract. 

A self-described ‘health nerd, foodie and wellness advocate’, Michelle is mum to two boys whose health issues changed her direction in life. “My eldest son was born with a milk intolerance so family health became front and centre,” she says. “I’m now passionate about making a difference in the lives of the people around me and see ‘real’ food and nutrition as the key to good health and wellbeing.”

Prior to studying nutrition Michelle found she was reacting to many foods with all sorts of  symptoms: bloating, constipation, fatigue. “It was very on and off, depending on what I ate and combined with stress factors in my life,” she recalls. “My immunity was definitely affected, I was getting lots of chest infections and feeling low, with no energy or motivation most days.

“I had an intolerance to dairy, gluten and MSG (which makes my skin itch), but until I studied nutrition I didn’t fully understand that while an intolerance is different to an allergy, it still seriously affects gut health and nutrient absorption.”

The main difference between an allergy and an intolerance are:

• Allergies develop in infancy whilst an intolerance can come on at any age

• Only 2 per cent of adults and 6-8 percent of children have a food allergy whilst 45 per cent of the population suffer food intolerances

• An allergy causes a reaction immediately or within 24 hours whilst an intolerance reaction can take up to 72 hours.

• Symptoms of an allergy reaction include wheezing, itching, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, breathing, swelling, rapid pulse, fainting, loss of consciousness. Symptoms of an intolerance reaction include migraines, arthritis, anxiety, depression, rhinitis, psoriasis, tiredness, digestive symptoms such as bloating, pain, weight gain and feeling low in mood.

To help her clients, Michelle works with York Test Laboratories, who have 40 years of experience in diagnostic testing and are a leading provider of IgG antibody testing. “The test uses a finger prick method to take a blood sample that is sent off to the York Laboratory who analyse your reactivity to over 200 food and drink ingredients. The tests have a 98 per cent reproducibility rate, making it very accurate and reliable.” 

Once her client receives their results Michelle sits down in a consultation process to provide a food plan that contains foods that suit the individual’s body, with a focus on addressing the underlying causes of imbalance, alleviating symptoms, repairing the gut and getting back on track to achieving overall optimum health.  

Taking on any food elimination diet can be challenging says Michelle, and worse when it’s unclear, with no guidance on what to eat and where to buy it. “I support my clients with an easy-to-follow plan and workaround foods to achieve long-term success.

A recent client wrote to say ‘I am very happy as it’s manageable for me going forward – rather than 100 per cent compliance all the time. I am feeling so much better than I was before I made these changes, particularly with my skin, and overall feelings of stomach discomfort and I have lost weight also. Without taking the initial step of meeting you, I simply wouldn’t have changed anything.’

Michelle promises that everybody can achieve better gut health: “Make the right food choices for your body, the results can be life changing.”.

Call Michelle on 087 6704930 to enquire about a taking a test, and if it’s the right option for you. You can also email your query via email

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WCP Staff

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