There has been a lot of attention on allergies and food sensitivities lately. And they are real! How do I know? Because I suffer from them.
When I turned 21, I started getting hives and rashes just about everyday and needless to say, I felt like crap. I finally went to the doctor and was tested for allergies. WOW, was I shocked to find out what I was allergic to.
Drum role please!!
Cow dairy, chocolate, peanuts, mushrooms and baker's yeast. Well, there goes delicious desserts, warm bread, yummy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, vanilla and chocolate swirled frozen yogurt, and my mom's lasagna. :-(
At least I am not alone!
It seems like a lot of people I care about have some sort of allergy to something. My best friend has a bunch of food allergies too, but just recently she was put on a restricted diet because her baby is reacting to something in her breast-milk. So far, soy and tomatoes are the culprit.
What's interesting is that studies show that about 1/3 of infants born to mothers with allergies will develop allergies as well. The mother can transfer an allergic immune response passively before the baby's birth. The good news is that, studies show that breast-feeding reduces the risk of allergy development.
Unfortunately, food allergies and food sensitivities have increased several hundredfold in the past 10 years. Allergies or food sensitivities are one of the most common causes of various health issues, behavioral problems, and recurrent illnesses in children. It can affect adults in the same way! Trust me, I know from experience.
The top 7 foods that are responsible for about 90% of food allergies are:
What is gluten?
Gluten is the protein in certain grains like wheat, rye and barley. Gluten has been in the media lately and getting lots of attention. I am not sure if you have notice but there are a lot of new gluten-free products that have been introduced at your local market. Lots of people are getting off the gluten bandwagon and having tremendous results regarding their health, weight and behavior. Should you get off gluten?? It depends, not everyone is bothered by gluten. In my family we primarily stay away from gluten and have been introduced to a whole new world of grains and our menu has expanded. My husband actually thinks I am a good cook now!
Here is the name of the cookbook I have been cooking from, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook: Over 300 Delicious Whole Foods Recipes, Including Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, and Egg-Free Dishes.
If you experience any of the following, then removing gluten may benefit you:
- digestive complaints (bloating, nausea, loose stools)
- multiple food allergies
- hair loss
- bleeding gums
- recurrent miscarriages
- weight loss / weight gain
- stunted growth in children
- muscle cramping
- peripheral neuropathy
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- restless leg syndrome
Sources of gluten
These grains are in breads, cookies, cereals, baked goods, flours, instant mixes and it can be hidden in natural and artificial coloring, vegetable sauces, french fries, candies, spices, gravies, and dressings. It can be in medications, vitamins and even play dough. If you are concerned about whether a product contains gluten, call the manufacture and ask.
Alternative gluten-free foods
- rice (brown, white, black, sweet, and wild)
- lentils (sometimes gluten grains get mixed in-so check)
- gluten-free oats
Alternative milk-free foods
(But keep in mind that these are not considered nutritionally equivalent to milk.)
Here is a list of alternative foods without casein:
- Rice milk (unsweetened is best)
- Almond milk (unsweetened is best)
- Coconut milk (unsweetened is best)
- Soy milk ( Try to minimize or avoid this as an alternative because soy is a common allergen. Plus most soy in the US is genetically modified (GMO) If you decide to use soy buy organic!)
- Dairy free yogurt, cheese, ice creams, etc.
- Eggs and Mayonnaise ( Even though they are thought of as "dairy products" they do not come from milk.)
- Non-dairy sources of calcium: dark leafy greens, calcium fortified orange juice cereals, organic tofu, black-eyed peas, broccoli, and figs.
Did you know that...
Studies have shown that children suffering from behavioral challenges such as ADD, hyperactivity, autism, and tantrums have improved dramatically when put on a 100% gluten-free and casein-free diet. Some children need to be on soy-free, gluten-free and casein-free diets called the (GF/CF/SF) diet. Here is a website on how to do the GF/CF/SF diet.
If you find this information useful please feel free to share it with your friends and loved ones.