Update on Food Intolerances

How my food intolerances have affected hair loss – or not.

I had a food and drink intolerance test in September, which identified that I was intolerant to yeast, cow’s milk and egg white, with a borderline intolerance to gluten, wheat, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds ( and a few other foods).

The diet I followed for the next couple of months was extremely strict and I found there was not much to eat that I could buy from supermarkets. I suppose anyone with time (not many people I imagine) would make their own food – and I know of people who do this. But September onwards was massively busy for me, and so I simply ate a very restricted (and quite boring) diet.

I was supposed to follow the diet for 3 months and then reintroduce the foods I was intolerant to back in gradually to see if there was any reaction. I followed the diet for about 2 and a half months in the end (fell off the wagon at Christmas, inevitably!) Seeing as I was really only trying to establish whether or not my hair stopped receding, then I’m not sure I noticed any changes, as the rate of recession is only very slow.

So, no major conclusions from cutting out foods I’m intolerant to, as far as hair is concerned anyway.

I still try to avoid cow’s milk as much as possible, but I occasionally have it, and when I do, I notice I clear my throat a lot. I had 3 cups of tea with cow’s milk in yesterday at work, and I’m clearing throat every few seconds today. I’m thinking that if a small amount makes that much difference to me that I can detect, there’s a possibility that it’s having other effects on me that I can’t detect.

I think that avoiding cow’s milk means I don’t get enough calcium n my diet, so I take calcium supplements. My nails are not half as good as they have been (they are all split), so maybe I’ve not been taking calcium consistently. I’ve noticed for years now though that my nails are always rubbish in February through to about April, and I’m fairly sure this has to do with central heating. Might be wrong on this one, but there’s definitely a seasonal pattern. I also had this flu-type virus that went round and I’ve not felt great ever since.

I also try to avoid bread still, but I’m not too strict about that either. Instead of taking sandwiches to work for lunch, I now usually take mackerel in tomato sauce (from a tin) with watercress and rocket and either cherry tomatoes or avocado. I’ll have a normal meat, veg and potatoes dinner at tea time, for example, and won’t have pizza with my daughter, but will have an alternative. When we have pasta, I do normal pasta for my daughter and gluten/wheat free pasta for me.

In other words….. I’ve cut down on the foods I’m intolerant to, but as I’m not sure they are affecting my hair – and I have no other major symptoms – I’m not excluding them.

Hope that was useful, anyway, to someone.

Rachel x


My Feelings About My Hair Loss

How I am coming to terms with my hair loss.

Well this is a weird one. In the two years leading up to this point, life has been extremely difficult and stressful. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say, most of this stress is now subsiding and things are getting back on an even keel. In comparison with what I’ve been through over the last two years, my hair loss seems minor. The problems I have faced have put it into perspective, and I am able to think “It is only hair”. I’m also aware, however, that my hair loss hasn’t been dramatic enough up to this point to really affect my day-to-day life, so whether my philosophical attitude continues, remains to be seen!

I am lucky also in that I have a very supportive family and friends. My three children have been amazing! Also, when I told a client of mine that I had suspected alopecia, she photocopied some notes from a nutrition book about hair loss and sent them to me through the post. How kind. (I’ll share some insights from the book with you in another blog post, as the information was very useful.)

Book about nutrition and hair loss

I was told to friend someone on Facebook who lives locally (and is a friend of a friend), who had experienced hair loss. I asked her how she had dealt with it and she sent me a lot of information and photos of her hair – or lack of it once she’d decided to shave the remaining hair off. She was a true inspiration as she told me not to obsess about it, but to live my life in spite of it.

For this reason, I try not to think about my hair loss most of the time and I get quite absorbed in my job, so that certainly helps. The times I think about it most is when I’m getting ready in the mornings and last thing at night, when I have to “deal” with it. I have to put the steroid lotion on it, which means I have to look at how little hair I have in the mirror, and I have to make my hair look decent for work, which has already involved scarves of varying sizes and fabrics that I’m experimenting with. (My boss and his wife have been extremely supportive.)

Scarves for frontal fibrosing alopecia

Writing this blog post is also helping me, as I’m hoping someone in a similar situation will find it useful.

See you soon 🙂

Rachel x