Interview for The Kildare Nationalist.”Coffey On The Go”.

IN Denmark there is such a thing as a ‘fat tax’. Since 1 September, foods like butter, oil and pizza which contain more than 2.3 per cent saturated fat are subject to a surcharge which works out at €2.15 per kilogram of saturdated fat.

Now our Department of Health is considering a ‘sugar tax’ on sugar sweetened drinks. The objective is the same: to tackle obesity.

The manufacturers of the goods that would be subjected to this ‘sugar tax’ claim that jobs are put at risk when these types of taxes are introduced but they don’t seem to have as much concern for the well-being of their customers. Whether you blame the individual for consuming, or the company for producing, the fact is society has a problem and if nothing is done to curb obesity levels then illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer will continue to rise.

Only it’s not as simple as ridding the world of soft drinks and take-aways. So much of the food we eat is bad for us simply because our bodies may not be able to digest it properly.

Think of it this way – how often do you feel bloated and tired after eating a meal? You might be eating some meat and two veg for dinner but that doesn’t mean you’re eating well.

Kinesiology is an alternative therapy which uses muscle testing to determine how the body reacts to the outside world or to test anything on the inside of the body. Kamilla Harra, a kinesiologist, is passionate about improving people’s well-being through better diet.

“If you bloat, if you feel tired after eating, if generally you have very low energy or very bad sleep patterns and if you wake up tired I would really consider doing food sensitivity testing,” she says and it was for those reasons that I decided to take the test. It didn’t make sense that after a proper night’s sleep, I still felt wrecked in the morning.

I had a gut feeling that I was sensitive to milk and her testing confirmed what I thought, only it wasn’t just cow’s dairy that my body didn’t agree with: potatoes, tea, strawberries, bananas and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG – which is found in take-aways and crisps) were all on my list of extreme sensitivities. In other words, most of what I eat during the week my body isn’t able to handle.

During the food sensitiviy testing process, a vial of a particular food is placed on the body and the arm is used to test the body’s reaction. The kinesiologist tries to push your arm down to the ground and depending on the body’s reaction, you won’t be able to resist the force if you have a sensitivity.

“We would record and notice the difference in the muscle tension,” Harra explains. “Every cell and every molecule has an electro-magnetic field around it and that’s how your hand is different from your eye because the vibrational pattern will be different. When that field (food) comes into your electro-magnetic field, your body reads it and your brain notices what it is and how it affects your body.”

That’s why sometimes when you finish a meal, you have to make a mad dash to the bathroom.

The brain says ‘toxin alert’ and wants to get it out of the body as quickly as possible,” says Harra.

If there’s one thing we should do when we’re shopping, it’s to start reading the labels on foods and learn what’s really going into our bodies. Be wary of processed foods that stay in date a long time.

“Really harsh chemicals are added to keep food fresh,” says Harra and while the amount of toxin added to an individual product is too small to harm us, when you add it up over time you get a constant attack on the elimination organs.

“Another reason for sensitivities being so common is not only because of processed foods, too much sugar and genetic reasons but also due to overexposure to medication (antibiotics, pain killers, contraceptives). Not only adults are affected, but babies are born with these issues because the mother had been overexposed to antibiotics during her lifetime, which reduces healthy probiotics in the gut and contributes to sensitivities and aggravation of the digestive system and lower immunity. This is possibly the number one reason, although processing and aritifical additives are more or less on the same level. The good news is that this is reversible in children and adults and helps get rid of many existing health problems and prevents other degenerative conditions later in life.”
The afternoon slump happens when you consume foods that give you energy very quickly but which the body finds really hard to break down. While chocolate bars and soft drinks might taste great, you pay a heavy price for them 30 minutes later.

“We feel good for a short time but the body needs to expend a lot of energy to break that food down,” says Harra. “When you normalise blood sugar levels in children, you find that their attention levels go up, they’re much calmer and they’re able to keep information that they’re learning.”

So far my new regime includes gluten-free porridge oats and rice milk for breakfast, green salads for lunch and wholegrain, organic pastas for dinner. I’ve never wanted chocolate so much in my life but the afternoon slump is something I’d rather do without in future.

Coffey B. (2011, 25 October). “Coffey On The Go”. The Kildare Nationalist.