Food Related Allergies – Part One

Food Related Allergies – Wheat

Food Related AllergiesMany people suffer from food related allergies. One of the most common allergies is to gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Symptoms of a gluten allergy include runny nose, gas, diarrhea, and bloating. In children, it can also cause ear infections. The best way to test if you have a gluten or other food allergy is to totally avoid the suspected food for five days. On the fifth day, eat a serving or two of those foods, and if you get a reaction you will know which foods to avoid.

Food Related Allergies – Dairy

Dairy is one thing that all humans are allergic to at some level. Contrary to the ads for dairy digestive aids, lactose intolerance isn’t something that happens to just a few of us. It’s estimated that at least 75% of human beings are lactose intolerant. If that isn’t a loud and clear, neon-signed message that we should be avoiding dairy, I don’t know what is.

Think about it. A long time ago, someone decided that we were going to consume the milk of another animal. Then, they built a whole industry around it and convinced us that the milk made for the young of that species (i.e., calves) was one of the best sources for the nutrients that we humans – a totally different species – needed to build strong bodies. Human beings don’t even have the enzyme necessary to digest cow’s milk. What a surprise since…hey, we’re not cows! Not to mention that the hormone and antibiotic level in processed milk can also lead to allergic reactions. Sort of bizarre, isn’t it? So, the moral of the story is to avoid dairy products. And again, I understand that it’s probably not going to happen overnight. At least be thinking about phasing it out, one item at a time. And ok, you may never cut it out completely, but the less you have, the better off you’ll be. In my book, Eating Right…For The Health Of It, you will find several replacements for cow’s milk such as almond, rice, coconut, and cashew milk. I think they taste better than cow’s milk and certainly do not cause the negative reactions of cow’s milk.

Food Related Allergies – Alcohol

Alcohol is another hyper-allergenic item. If you’re like many people, your sinuses will get nice and stopped up after a few drinks, especially beer and wine. Mild to severe sinus problems are common side effects of drinking alcohol. Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners can cause over 92 reactions including headaches, nausea, muscle spasms, blindness, depression, fatigue, memory loss, and anxiety, to name a few. Do you drink a lot of diet sodas? Do you also get pretty regular headaches? Since aspartame is a vaso-constrictor (meaning it tightens the blood vessels), headaches are a pretty predictable reaction. Steer clear of this poison.

Food Related Allergies – MSG

Let’s not forget MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), the staple seasoning in Chinese food, among other things. Some of the most common reactions from MSG are headaches, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and depression. The tough part about avoiding MSG is that it’s often found in many foods, but not listed in the ingredients, or even worse, referred to as “natural flavor.” Your own tolerance to MSG can vary widely from the next guy. While it might take a pile of it for you to feel the effect, the smallest amount could trigger a reaction for someone else as much as 48 hours later. Just look how many ways the industry hides this stuff! Hidden MSG is not limited to foods. MSG-sensitive people have reported reactions to soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics that contain MSG. The most common hiding places are the ingredients “Hydrolyzed Protein” and “Amino Acids” – although not all amino acids contain MSG. Drinks, candy and chewing gum are also potential sources of MSG. Also, Aspartic Acid (found in aspartame) has been reported to cause MSG-type reactions in MSG- sensitive people. Aspartame is also found in some medications, so it is a good idea to check with your pharmacist. Binders and fillers for medication, nutrients, and supplements (including some food formulas and some fluids administered intravenously in hospitals) may contain MSG.

Food Related Allergies – Fruits

Even good food can often cause adverse reactions in certain people. Strawberries, pineapples, tomatoes, grapefruits and oranges are common culprits in causing hives, skin rashes, and more often, pimples on the tongue and “cold sores” on the lips.

Non Food Related Allergies

As a side note, sometimes suspected non food related allergies or sensitivities turn out to be merely reactions to fabric softeners, deodorant soaps, or detergents touching the skin. If you have a reaction to a certain food or product (such as a rash), simply avoid it.