I can't eat wheat because metal rods told me so

Added on 09 Sep, 2005 . There are .

Last month The Guardian did an article on Paula Radcliffe, remarking on what a high maintenance woman she was, and suggesting that she was crossing the line between normal and nutty and on the slippery slope to 'celebrity-itis'.

Her pre-race routine goes something like this, bowl of porridge (low GI), sports drink (energy boosting), put on running kit (special technical clothing), stick a nasal strip on her nose (to increase airflow), stick adhesive straps on her back (to support muscles around spine), pull on flesh coloured compression socks (to reduce calf muscle vibration), slip into running shoes (specially designed of course), put a titanium necklace on (to fight off stress fatigue and improve blood flow) and finally top it off with specially designed sunglasses.

Afterwards, have an ice bath (heals muscle fibres), have a massage (to remove lactic acid), rub on emu oil (for its alleged potent healing properties), drink a glass of wheatgrass juice (for the nutrients), stuff a handful of vitamin supplements down the throat, and eat ostrich meat (for it's high iron, low fat content).

Now her singlemindedness is something that obviously has made her very rich, and very good at what she does, running. But after the Athens Olympics to my mind she overstepped the line. She consulted a naturopath who held metal rods over items of food, to determine which she should exclude from her diet. The naturopath and her rods told Paula that she should cut out wheat, gluten, dairy, tomatoes, coffee and grapes. Boy are those metal rods clever.

Okay so hold it right there, she has been told to cut out wheat, but can evidently chug back a glass of wheatgrass okay. Now for a bit about wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is the young wheat plant. At this stage the green leafy plant has the look, taste, and nutrient profile of other leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, chard, etc.). And an important fact, wheatgrass contains no gluten, where many wheat allergies are usually a reaction to the gluten found in the wheat berry. So if you don't have a genuine allergy to wheat then you've got no problem, and evidently a proportion of people with a real wheat allergy aren't affected by wheatgrass either, but I for one am not going to try it.

So the Radcliff regime now includes wheat-free pasta the night before a race. I'm sorry but I really don't think that passing a metal rod over a food is going to tell me what I should and shouldn't eat. In fact anyone that thinks that it is anything more than a carnival trick wants their head testing, not their food allergies.

Food allergy or intolerance testing should be carried out by a doctor or hospital allergy specialist. It's usually done using a skin prick test and/or elimination diet, and is the only reliable way to determine what, if any, food allergies or intolerances a person has. Not electrical currents when you hold a glass tube of a food, not hair analysis, and not metal rods waved about in the air.