The results of a hair allergy test mean a lot of sacrifices for Gill South, including giving up her favourite indulgence, choccy, for three months.
Drum roll please: the results of my hair allergy test all the way from the Polden Clinic in England are back. I am to avoid certain foods for the next three months and then slowly re-introduce them.
The bad news is delivered to me by Nutritionwise's ever-amiable Linda Outhwaite. Number one, cocoa is out - we're talking chocolate. I look at the friendly tile on her desk, "Chocolate is the answer!" it mocks me.
Bananas are also a no-no - and this really hits me where it hurts. I have one fruit bowl devoted to entirely to bananas. It's my quick snack on the way to cricket practice.
Another big one is dairy products - cow's milk, goat's milk, sheep's milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter.
I'm to avoid these for three months, then reintroduce them one day in four if no side effects are apparent, starting with yoghurt.
I'm not going to deprive myself of everything on the list all the time - I will have several decent cups of milky gumboot tea a day or my life really is not worth living. And no, I'm not going to try any of that rice milk stuff.
I have come to the appointment armed with some internet research which says these hair tests are a waste of time. I know the Auckland Allergy Clinic is against the tests. I put this to Linda and she says other naturopaths like the respected Julie Reid use it, and it's been successfully done for decades.
The doubters say coloured hair confuses the test. Outhwaite says some tests are confused by treated hair, but this one isn't.
And to be fair, the test is certainly accurate on some allergies which I already know about. Dust for instance. Also washing powders, detergents, flowing soap which I know give me dermatitis - I am a woman wedded to my rubber gloves.
Perfumes are another. I have noticed I get a splitting headache after wearing perfume, but I usually assumed it was from the bubbly I was drinking.
She also tells me to give up potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines and red peppers. Potatoes, no problem, I can have kumara. But going off tomatoes is going to be hard with the family cooking - can I make spaghetti bolognese without tomatoes? Apparently I can use beetroot, tamarillos or red wine. Not sure what the boys will think about that.
Linda and I agree that going off chocolate just before Christmas would be just plain cruel and she suggests I kick this all off after Christmas. But I do plan to go easy on the bananas immediately - fortunately peaches and nectarines should be in season soon.
How would I feel if I strictly keep to this regime for three months? She says I would have more energy, and my hayfever and dermatitis would go away.
Also Linda reminds me to be grateful for the things I'm still allowed - gluten for one. Bread is one of my favourite things. Alcohol is okay too. But chocolate?!?
I firmly believe that to be truly healthy you have to be happy with what you are doing in your work. As I near the end of one working year and look ahead to the next, I consult with high-powered leadership coach Sally Anderson about my true passions.