You say you don’t, but do you?
It should serve us well if we put personal responsibility back into our health. Take a moment to feel and think about what’s going on in your body. If it isn’t right, something is wrong! The surest culprit is what you feed yourself. Let’s talk food allergies. It is estimated that 90 percent of Americans have allergies to one or more foods. Oddly, when I speak of food allergies or a food sensitivity no one ever has them! Allergies and sensitivities to food pose a real health threat and should always be considered because they involve your immune system.
Modern scientific study found that sometimes substances create antibody type responses. These measurable reactions defined the modern post 1925 medical definition, immunological theory. How doctors treated their patients changed as scientific testing became more exacting. Prior to 1925 allergies were viewed as ‘altered reactions occurring with time’ and causality was the mode of detection. “A doctor’s practice was to find the ’cause’, as nothing can exist or happen without a cause. This newer definition of what defines a food allergy is not as useful since only a small percentage of negative food, and environmental, reactions can be detected by an IgA response,” says Dr. Elson M. Haas, Staying Healthy with Nutrition. “Is is possible to have a negative/normal allergy blood test (or skin prick test) and still have an allergy,” states WebMd.
Other than a skin or blood reaction, what kinds of symptoms can food reactions (allergy/sensitivity) present? Symptoms should not be avoided or hidden as an acute problem not addressed turns into a chronic health issue. Realize that symptoms once grouped and labeled, by the medical establishment, become named diseases that doctors then prescribe set groups of medication for. The named diseases get treated without addressing the cause. Food allergy/sensitivity symptoms can affect any part of your body. Systems of the human body are the nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, lymphatic system and endocrine system. We only have so many organs. There aren’t many parts in our ‘engine’ to malfunction. We do have genetic predispositions of system and/or organ weaknesses. This is where family health history is good to remember.
Dr. Elson M. Haas created a nice list of some allergy symptoms: “Fatigue, Headaches, Learning disabilities, Hyperactivity, Emotional outbursts, Mood swings, Irritability, Depression, Muscle aches, Muscle weakness, Anxiety, Disorientation, Poor thinking, ‘Brain Fog’, Stomachache, Diarrhea, Constipation, Nausea, Vomiting, Dark circles under eyes, Recurrent vaginitis, Runny nose, Postnasal drip, Sinus congestion, Canker sores, Earaches, Tinnitus, Ear congestion, Recurrent ear infections, Cough, Sore throat, Hoarseness, Chest congestion, Itching, Hives, Eczema, Nonspecific rash, Palpitations, Tachycardia, Edema, Heartburn, Loss of sex drive, Weight gain, Obesity, Weight swings, Binge eating, Overeating, Frequent hunger, Joint pain, Swelling of hands or feet, Juvenile & Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alcoholism, Drug addiction, Cigarette smoking, Asthma, Hay fever, Regional ileitis (Crones), Ulcerative colitis, Seizures, Bloating and Vaginal itching.” Believe it or not, bed wetting and vaginal yeast infections should also be held suspect to food allergy scrutiny!
Let’s take a look at these symptoms. Most, if not all on Dr. Haas’s list, are inflammatory responses in one way or another. These examples are also directly related to food and environmental allergies and sensitivity. Inflammation is the newest buzz word in the health vocabulary. ‘Experts’ blame an imbalanced immune system. Immune systems don’t become imbalanced but instead over worked to the point of failure. Food allergies and sensitivities weaken the immune system. Taking medication to mask the symptoms still weakens the immune system further. The last thing anyone wants is to have an acute problem turn into a chronic problem turn into a immunological problem. The pharmaceutical companies now have a treasure chest of drugs available as immune suppressing for various ‘conditions’. Ask yourself if the child with an unrecognized dairy allergy, that exhibits the symptom of asthma and is only medicated their entire life, turns into the person diagnosed with COPD? My pediatrician had told me that my daughter’s constant bronchitis was a developing asthma condition not caused by anything but systematic to her. After 5 years of constant antibiotics and more chest x-rays than I want to remember her asthma symptoms disappeared when I stopped feeding her diary products. For her, asthma symptoms equaled a dairy consumption reaction.
Don’t let the supposed marketing of health benefits of a particular ‘food’ sway you into thinking that you shouldn’t have a negative reaction from it. Have you seen posters promoting dairy products at your child’s school? Dairy products are a top allergen and linked to diabetes, bronchitis, asthma, skin issues, sinus & ear infections, digestive issues strep and more. How many of you have been told by your physicians that you must adopt a dairy-free lifestyle if you want to be healthy and reduce the risk of chronic health problems in the future? Not many, I’m sure. I will bet there are lots of antibiotics, prescription meds, surgeries and ‘treatments’ being prescribed for sinus infections, ear infections, bronchitis, tympanostomy tube (ear tubes) surgeries and asthma medication and ‘treatments’. Let’s not forget all those visits to the drug store for various OTC ‘remedies’.
My young family dealt with illness for years. Always sick, always on antibiotics. My children suffered with ear infections, bronchitis, asthma, sinus infections, acne, bacterial infections, strep, migraines and fevers were part of our everyday life. The pediatrician never mentioned allergies or food avoidance in the 5 years I was her customer. My husband was visiting doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with him. Sure there was a diagnosis of hay fever but never food allergies. Time and time again he was given prescription meds for sinus problems but otherwise was told there was nothing wrong with him. He was offered the option of anti-depressants as the doctors felt he had a stressful job. That was the same diagnosis he received after 1 week of testing at a major Minneapolis hospital. As for me, I had developed an acne problem after the birth of my first child. Again, never mention of allergies from doctors but antibiotics and birth control options were readily available to control acne. (In hind sight, I believe my illnesses as a child and subsequent removal of my tonsils was due to dairy.) Maddening that for all the visits to the doctor we weren’t getting better, just getting medicine.
It wasn’t until I independently decided to learn about the health and diet connection that my family’s health took a dramatically positive turn. What I found was that the food we eat and the substances we come into contact with have a powerful impact on our entire being. Yes, “Common foods are (were) found to be the most frequent precipitating factors in (these) illnesses” according to Dr Ralph W. Moses in his introduction to An Alternative Approach to Allergies, by Dr. Randolph. This insight gave my family and me the control over our health!
I hear you saying to yourselves: “I don’t have food allergies. I have mold allergies. That’s why I get sinus infections.” “My child has short euthanasia tubes. That’s why she gets ear infections.” Or, “my son doesn’t have food allergies, he just has asthma.” Remember every reaction has a cause and food should always be considered as suspect. Food should always be held suspect because it’s what always has direct access to your body. It’s your fuel. Cars don’t even run properly if the wrong fuel is used. For example, I can be sensitive to mold. Mold bothers my sinuses. Sure many damp days, musty houses and mulch lying season make give me sinus pressure but ‘moldy’ food is a bother too. I avoid foods like mushrooms, anything with brewers yeast like vinegars, wine, beer, alcohol and baker’s yeast products like breads. My husband’s immune system was so shot in the height of his illness that he could not even eat leftovers. (Mold starts forming soon after cooking.) My husband experienced brain fog as a food reaction. My children also have mold allergies. I saw one of my child go berserk when he was tested for brewer’s yeast and another turn into the happy drunk from a baker’s yeast test. Sensitivity to artificial ingredients caused aggression in one of my children. Coughing from scented detergent, excitability from bananas and talkativeness from chocolate. Believe me when I say, allergies and sensitivities are a powerful contradiction to good health! How we individually react to foods must be heeded.
I’ll leave you with this project………..How do you feel? List any complaints. What do you eat? List the foods you eat by ingredients. Be specific and list all ingredients in prepared foods. It is important to see what you are eating. We tend to have problems with the foods that are consumed most frequently. We even crave food that is problematic. You are making a food diary. With this information you will be able to see what ingredients you really eat and what foods are more likely to be causing undesirable symptoms. As Dr. Doris Rapp, Is This Your Child? says, “you have to start thinking about what you eat, touch and smell.” Have fun!
Be Health……..Be Natural……..Be Tempted
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An alternative Approach to Allergies, Theron G. Randolph, M.D. And Ralph W. Moss, M.D., Harper and Row Publish, 1989.
Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Elson M. Haas, M.D., Celestial Arts, 1992.
Is This Your Child, Doris Rapp, M.D., William Marrow and Company, 1991.