- that 45% of the British population have some form of food intolerance, which may or may not make itself obvious at some stage in their lives;
- that symptoms often only appear after some sort of gastric trauma: food poisoning or antibiotics…
- that there is no reliable test for food intolerances: only for allergies;
- that food intolerances often go away just as mysteriously as they arrived.
So over the last year Mrs. Shopkeeper seems to have developed a few intolerances. Not to you, obviously: you are valued customers. It wouldn’t do to be intolerant of customers. Nor to any particular habit or practice: in fact she really is very-all-round-tolerant, as it goes. No: her intolerances are to certain foods. This has come out of nowhere, and has left her cross, mystified and…embarrassed. She is, frankly, embarrassed that as a healthy-eating food-writer she has managed to acquire such a silly condition – like it’s her fault or something. It is trying if you go somewhere, especially a friend’s house, and you have to ask for alternative catering arrangements. And she is mystified because she is not alone: swathes of our customer base (and, one presumes, the population at large, as we would like to think that our customers are normal, and representative) are similarly affected. What is causing this epidemic rise in food intolerance? And she is cross for the same reasons as she is mystified. This situation is a result of something. Conspiracy theorists we most certainly are not (well, Mr. Shopkeeper is, maybe, some of the time) but really: what have they been feeding us?…what’s really in our food?….why is this happening? Mrs. S. is, it has to be said, extraordinarily lucky: she has four or five friends who all went through this ahead of her, and so she was able to avoid their tortuous route to diagnosis, and also to consult with them. We are also lucky as we run a food emporium, and it is in London: it has never been easier to source Free From foods. Many restaurants now have a Free From menu. And we live in a mostly rice eating family – this too has been a blessing. This is what we know about food intolerance so far, in a nutshell (assuming you are not allergic to nuts, that is):