My Nutritional Consultation With York Test, Where I Learn Jacob’s Creek Wine Is Yeast Free!

...and other really handy hacks to get my elimination diet on.


So, as you know, I’ve been diagnosed with some food intolerances. Part two of my journey involved some gourmet guidance with York Test Nutritional Therapist, Sandra. In lieu of our conversation, I had tonnes of questions prepared, all of which she graciously answered in the allotted 30 minute phone consultation.

We started with my test results and took a look at my main food offender – the cashew. “Be careful with health foods especially; pay close attention to the labels,” she advised. Because it’s my primary intolerance, Sandra recommended that I completely avoid the nut (well, there goes my social life – it’s a line from Clueless, you filthy animals) for three months. Duly noted.

Next, and a hella more confusing, were the yellow flag indications around cow’s milk, yeast and tuna. “You could probably get away with these items once or twice a week,” she explained, as I mentally filled my weekends with cheese loaded pizzas, toasted cheese sandwiches, cheese, crackers and tuna (does that even work?)…

But my foodie fantasy was interrupted by Sandra’s suggestion of spacing the treats across more than one sitting. As in, a bit of cheese with a salad, a piece of bread with breakfast… “I see,” I blubbed. Damn!

Yeast inspection

Things took a decidedly more positive turn when I learned that, although yeast is found in most alcoholic beverages, there are a couple of purveyors of happiness still available to me. “Gin and vodka would be the better option as they’re distilled, and Budweiser is okay as it’s distilled also. I’ve been in contact with Jacob’s Creek and they say all of their wines are filtered, meaning they’re yeast-free.” Yippee!

Other yeast-y things I’m to look out for include fruit like grapes and plums which have yeast on their skin, as do dried fruits, peanuts and pistachios. “I feel it’s also a good idea to cut down on sugary foods because sometimes we can get a yeast overgrowth in our bodies,” Sandra explains. Plus, here’s the clincher: “cutting down on sugar will definitely help improve your overall health return,” she adds.

“Mono-sodium glutamate [E621], a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid, is another yeast containing ingredient to keep an eye out for.” MSG’s the taste stimulous for umami – the fifth basic taste – it puts the ‘meat’ in meals. Found in Chinese food, Knorr Aromat (any super fans like us?), crisps and the batters used in takeaways, it is, as you can imagine, mouth-wateringly delish. I’m going to try to give it up…

Plate up

With individual food items out of the way, we went through my usual breakfasts, lunches and dinners. In a bid to keep my sugar levels sustained instead of spiked, we decided that a fruit, veg and seed smoothie would be more beneficial than my usual buckwheat flakes crossed with some snap, crackle and pop. I have to say, I’m already noticing a difference in my skin. I’ll also enjoy eggs and spinach and maybe smoked salmon at the weekends when I have more time in the mornings.

You may notice that my breakfast was predominantly ‘free from’ to begin with, and this is because I always feel way more energetic when I lay off the tummy grumbling gluten and wheat (and Sandra agrees with the elimination, for the time being). This was extremely manageable until yeast and cow’s milk were pitched out too – it’s pretty damn hard to find a gluten-free, wheat-free, yeast-free, dairy-free bread that actually resembles a carb. After much searching I found a buckwheat version by Biona, which doesn’t even look like the staff of life, but, it’ll do – for now.

I’m going to have to roll up my sleeves and get in the kitchen. “Deliciously Ella has some lovely recipes on her website”, offers Sandra helpfully (we’re definitely on the reg familiar with those). “She uses a lot of dried fruits like dates though, so be careful there. Also the Intolerant Gourmet is another great online resource.” In terms of food shopping Sandra has a very handy tip for gluten-free shopping straight to your door. “It’s an Irish company, Ecodirect.”

Make it work

Back to my lunch, and the soup, the salad and even the sneaky burger and chips of a Friday (without the bun, natch) are fine. “As a Nutritional Therapist I can’t say chips are okay, but every now and then you can indulge! Another thing to be wary of is salad dressings, you can have olive oil and lemon juice, no problem. Hellman’s traditional mayonnaise doesn’t have milk in it but the reduced fat one does, so be mindful of that when you take it off the shelf.” Woo hoo! Even more brownie points for you Sandra!

Dinners don’t pose much of an issue – I try keep sauces to a minimum anyway, and load up on meat and veg with a bit of sweet potato, rice or gluten-free pasta. “Dinner leftovers are perfect lunch options too,” Sandra reminds me. A big problemo will be the events I attend in the course of my work, where trays made of actual cheese and yeast fly by every five minutes. “Fill up before you head out!,” she warns.

We’re about to say our goodbyes when Sandra tells me to be mindful of my calcium intake, as the elimination diet is free-from dairy. “Eat more dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds, quinoa, chickpeas, meat and fish.”

In true type A fashion, I ask if I’m at risk of cross contamination from other foods, or if I should avoid bites from the same edible bloodline, but she soon puts me straight. “Don’t worry and don’t make things too complicated on yourself. I find if you stick to your list you’ll get good results. You might feel grotty for the first few days so make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day, and not just in one go.”

Let the elimination games begin…

My shopping list:

  • Yeast-free stock cubes.
  • Yeast-free tamari soy sauce.
  • Dark chocolate (check that it doesn’t contain milk or whey protein – cocoa butter doesn’t contain dairy).
  • Nobo ice-cream.
  • Alt milks like rice, coconut, almond or oat (stay away from cow, sheep, goat and even lactose-free dairy products).

Pic credit: @groehrs