So you have found out that you have a food allergy or food intolerance. Where do you start?
Food allergy is a result of your body’s reaction to certain foods where it responds to certain items and food products as an irritant. It can happen with anyone, anytime throughout his or her life. Food Intolerance is a little different and is not life threatening. It is more of a chemical response but can cause similar symptoms; upset stomach, vomiting, rashes, pain etc. Food allergies are often genetic, whereas, food intolerances don’t and can affect anyone and at anytime. Children do tend to out-grow these reactions but there are chances that they would be stuck with it for their whole life ahead leading to adults. So if you or your children have been recently diagnosed with this life-changing revelation, here are some tips on how you can better manage.
Identifying the problem
If you think that your child has an allergy, you re-ally need to go to an allergy specialist to identify the food groups that are triggering the responses. An IgE blood test measures the blood level of antibodies which are proteins produced by the immune system that attack antigens, such as bacteria, viruses and allergens. There is also a skin prick test that is also very effective. These tests will identify the food groups such as dairy, wheat, soy, etc and environmental allergens such as grass seed, dust etc. There are more options if you think you have a food intolerance. You can do a standard food elimination test, there are many professionals who are advertising food testing and you can also take out a Food Test 500 developed by a naturopath as a bio compatibility test, which identifies which whole foods are no good to each individual tested and is also highly effective, requires no appointment, needles, blood tests etc.
Introduce alternate recipes
Once you identify the foods that are triggering your symptoms you then need to effectively avoid them in order for you system to heal and your symptoms to reduce. Now, it doesn’t end here. You will have to dig deeper to find out all the other processed, packaged food which might contain traces of the allergic food in them. So, start reading labels. For example if you are allergic to wheat or gluten you are best to look for foods that are labeled gluten free as these companies have had to test for traces of gluten. Ingredients such as maltodextrins, thickener etc can be derived from wheat. Try not to use anything that you are not too sure about. Know what you can and can’t eat so that you can prevent any im-pending danger in your life. There are many re-sources available to give you ideas on how to substitute and cook gluten free, dairy free, soy free and more.
Check out the recipe archives of What Can I Eat.
Stick together as a family
If someone has an allergy, it is already hard enough for them. Try not to make it harder by making them feel left out and deprived. The food that they are allergic to, the whole family should stop using that. No food or craving can be worth a person’s life. Be prepared if you are going out to dinner or on holidays, school excursions etc. You are sometimes better to just bring your own food.
In the case of children being diagnosed with allergies and food intolerances, provide caretakers and educators such as nannies, baby sitters, teachers, grandparents and every elderly person your child may get in contact with a full list of inflammatory foods not to give them. In the same way for an adult also, it is important to be very conscious about trying anything new. Read the labels and ingredients very carefully before you try out some new food. Most importantly, keep an allergy kit with you all the time that can be used in case of a reaction.
Join support groups
To help you out and cope with all the strict, stressful decisions you are taking in your life, join support groups. You can talk to other people there who are going through something similar; find emotional support when you are down and helpful tips that can make your life easier.
Being diagnosed with food allergy or food intolerance can certainly change a lot of things in your life but it is certainly not the end of it. There is a lot of support; advice and resources these days that will help you follow your new eating guide-lines successfully. It is much better than the suffering you have had to endure so date.
If you haven’t identified whether you have a food intolerance jump over and grab a copy of our Food Intolerance Questionaire.
Food Allergy and Food Intolerance… what is the difference.
One in five individuals in Australia have at least one allergy, which places Australia with one of the highest prevalence’s of allergy amongst the developed world (1). If the present trend continues it is estimated that there will be a 70% increase in the number of Australians with allergies by 2050, which correlates to 7.7 million people (1).
The high and ever increasing prevalence of food allergy and atopic disease has researchers identifying genetic predisposition as a risk factor, where in children with neither parent having an allergy, the child will have a 20% chance of having one allergy disorder (2). If one parent has an allergy disorder the risk increases to ≈ 40%. If both parents have allergy disorders then the risk increases to 60 – 70%. In addition to genetics some studies reveal the importance of the impact of environmental influences (2).
Researches from the John Hopkins Children Centre believe there is a trend toward more severe and more persistent allergies (3). However it should be noted that the severity of allergy presentation in a family history is not a good predictive guide as to how sensitive a child may be (4). In many cases when the presentation of allergy or food intolerance in the parent is only mild the possibility of allergy or food intolerance being related to a child’s symptoms can be overlooked (4).
The allergen pathway commences before the child is born, with allergens crossing the placenta, programming the immune system down the allergy pathway (4). This impact commences about halfway through the pregnancy, which is the time a mother could start focusing on minimising allergen exposure via modifying the maternal diet and minimising environmental factors (4).
The modification of the maternal diet encompasses a varied diet based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines (4). It discourages bingeing on any food in the second half of the pregnancy and during breastfeeding (4). There should be the total avoidance of egg, seed, peanut and nut (from the household) (4). There are precautions to take with respect to milk and dairy foods, and also fish and other seafood, and a minimisation of one’s intake of soybeans and other legumes (4). With respect to meats, allergies can occur, with pork allergy tending to be more likely to occur when eaten with fat (4).
It is recommended that lean meats are consumed. Wheat, oats, barley and buckwheat can all cause allergy and tend to only cause symptoms in highly allergic infants (4). In relation to vegetables, potato allergy is commonly seen in the highly allergic child, however in general there is no reason to modify vegetable intake during pregnancy (4). This may, however, be necessary during breastfeeding as some infants may react to tomato and spicy foods (5). Of the fruits the avoidance of the citrus family is recommended, with the reactions occurring to fruit often being related to a food intolerance rather than an allergy (5). Kiwifruit is the most allergenic fruit with the possibility of allergy development in the highly sensitive child (4).
The environmental measures include the total avoidance of cigarette smoke, ensuring houses are well ventilated, particularly kitchens where there are gas cook tops, and taking dust mite allergen precautions and pet precautions, particularly with respect to cats, rabbits, guineas pigs and mice (4). There should be total latex avoidance, in particular powdered latex products that cause the allergy to develop (4).
The allergen pathway highlights the possibility of the presentation of allergy related symptoms early in life, with researchers identifying that 2.2% – 5.5% of infants have food hypersensitivity during the first year of life (5). In the presentation of allergy in children we usually find that they are allergic to two or three different foods, with the most common being peanut, egg, milk, other nuts, seafood and sesame. Wheat, soy and rice can also cause allergies (5).
We should also consider the possibility of food intolerances. There is often confusion about the difference between allergy and intolerance and the terms are sometimes used in place of one another. There is a difference between food allergy and intolerance both in the types of foods and the way they affect individuals.
The immunological basis to Food Allergy
In the normal process of digestion food proteins are broken down in to smaller proteins (peptides) by enzymes in the stomach and the small intestine (7). These smaller particles are prevented from entering the tissues of the small intestine by physiological and immunological barriers (7).
However, on occasions, small proteins (peptides) are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, which initiates an immunological response (7). Whether this initiates an allergic (Ig-E mediated) or intolerant response (Non Ig-E mediated) is dependent on the genetics of the individual, the characteristics of the food protein and the microenvironment. It is the interaction of these components, which leads to the development of a Food Allergy or Food Intolerance (7).
The classic allergic response manifest as urticaria (hives), angioedema and anaphylaxis; the more delayed allergic response may manifest as inflammation in the colon or skin or enterocolitis or eczema respectively (7).
Classic IgE – immunological mediated allergic response…. How does it start?
The food protein enters the body via the gut or lung mucosa. Once inside the tissue, these proteins are then engulfed by specialised cells (deneretic cells) (7). This then stimulates B cells to produce Th2 cells (7) this results in a stimulation of cells, which results in the production of antibodies. These antibodies bind to mast cells in the tissue or basophils in the blood and stay in the tissue for months. This process is called sensitization (7). These antibodies are known as specific IgE antibodies. On a subsequent occasion when the body is then exposed to this food protein the protein binds to the antibody. This results in the breakdown of these cells and the subsequent release of histamine, prostaglandins, leukotrienes, platelet activation factors and bradikynin (7). These chemicals result in vascular dilation and hyperpermeability, which attract cells into the tissue, which results in inflammation (7). Skin Prick Tests (SPT) and Radioallergosorbent Test (RAST) are used to diagnose Ig E immune mediated food allergy.
Non – IgE – Immune mediated Food Allergy
The mechanism to non-IgE mediated food intolerant reaction is not always clear. There have been several research studies, which have investigated the Immunological basis of gastrointestinal non-IgE allergies. These have clearly identified the involvement of T- cells (Th1 and? Th2) and cells such as oeosinophils (7). The mechanism encompasses the initial exposure of the protein to the tissue, which results in the sensitization of the T- cell (7). Then, the subsequent exposure results in the release of inflammatory chemicals (cytokines), which lead to chronic inflammation (7). The presentation of non-immune mediated food allergy can present at all ages.
There are diagnostic difficulties associated with the diagnosis of non-IgE mediated food allergies. The diagnostic tools include biopsy and patch testing (7). Patch testing has a role in eosinophillic oesophagitis and atopic dermatitis, although we sometimes use it to help identify foods that may be causing bowel disturbance. When the food is placed in contact with the skin, the specialized cells in the skin pick up the food proteins and present it to the immune system. If the individual has sensitivity to that food, they will react with inflammation at the site of the food over the next 2-3 days. This gives us a window to what is happening in the gastrointestinal tract with foods.
Non allergic food hypersensitivity / food intolerance
A non-allergic food hypersensitivity is usually characterised by a delayed reaction, which can occur hours or even days after eating (7). The sensitivity to certain foods is defined as the inability to properly process and fully digest certain foods, leading to chronic symptoms. A food sensitivity / intolerance does not involve the immune system though rather involves the stimulation of nerve endings in tissues by a chemical component which may be naturally occurring, an additive, or a combination (6). These include amines, salicylates, glutamates, preservatives and colours. Symptoms of food intolerance are extensive and variable. They can be very similar to those of an allergic response. Symptoms of allergic reaction are usually sudden, while intolerance response may sometimes occur straight after ingesting a problem food or have a delayed response. Symptoms may take 12-24 hours to develop. The severity of symptoms can also depend on the quantity of the problem food ingested. They may not occur until a threshold amount is ingested.
Where to from here?
A child that continually screams when being breast fed, has unsettled sleep patterns, wakes moaning with writhing, has loose stools, is colicky, has slow weight gain, reflux, eczema, nappy rash, or displays irritable, impulsive or overactive behaviour, should prompt us to consider the possibility of food allergy/food intolerance.
An experienced dietician, while awaiting an appointment with an allergist, can undertake the initial investigation of a possible food allergy/food intolerance. Once identified then an appropriate management plan can be established. Continual guidance and support are key factors in the management of these conditions, through what can be a challenging time for children and their families.
1. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, November 2007, Economic Impact of Allergies.
2. Professor Mimi Tang, SBS, TV Allergy program, October 2007, Allergic Reaction: Children and their allergies.
3. Dr Velencia Soutter, December 2007, email communication.
4. Royal Prince Alfred Allergy Resources, Food Allergy Prevention.
5. Scott H. Sicherer, MD, Donald Y.M. Leung, MD, PhD, June 2007, Food allergy, anaphylaxis, dermatology and drug allergy, Journal of Clinical Immunology, Advances in Asthma, Allergy and Immunology Series 2007, pp 1462 1469.
6. Dr Robert Loblay, SBS, TV Allergy program, October 2007, Allergic Reaction: Children and their allergies 7. Isabel Skypala and Carina Venter, Food Hypersensitivity, Diagnosing and Managing Food Allergies and Intolerances, Blackwell Publishing 2009.
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Candidiasis or Candida as it is more commonly referred to affects about 1/3 of people in the Australian population.
In my experience the onset of this disturbing fungal infection was instigated by continuous administration of antibiotics as a child for various complaints. It took me over 10 years to effectively treat and rid myself on this infection. It was not one thing that I did but several and I said good riddance forever.
Candida Albicans is naturally occurring yeast and is in fact present in everyone. In most people who are healthy it is kept under control by the immune system, however when the immune system is compromised for long periods of time through illness treated by antibiotics in particular this fungas starts to move throughout the body. Once it gets into the blood stream this is where the fun begins infecting body tissues and organs, which results in a large array of symptoms.
These include but are not limited to:
- Athlete’s Foot
- Jock itch,
- Food allergies/intolerances
- Anxiety & depression
- Headaches and migraine
- Eye irritations
- Confusion and memory fuzz
- Chronic Fatigue
- Irritability and mood swings
- Craving sweets
- Oral and virginal thrush
- Respiratory problems
- Skin problems
- Sleeping problems
My top 6 key recommendations to controlling these ‘Little Critters” is to:
- Change your diet. The easiest way is to find out what foods you are reacting to. A Food intolerance test or Bio compatibility test can sort this out very quickly for you. Alternatively change your diet as soon as possible to a 70% raw diet, get rid of all processed foods and junk foods, all sweets as sugar is a yeast infections favourite food. Foods high in starch should be minimized along with fruits that are very high in sugar content. Reduce dairy and condiments particularly vinegar with the exception of Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Drink lots of pure filtered water. By this I mean at least 1 litre per 25kg of body weight. You need to ditch the sugary drinks, alcohol and tea and coffee needs to be reduced in consumption. Adding 1 tspn of Himalayan Salt to every 10 glasses of water is also very beneficial.
- Moderate Exercise is going to assist your body with the detox and overcoming of the symptoms’ you are experiencing. Don’t overdue it.
- Commence a Purge or Parasite cleanse immediately.
- Restore the nutrient balance by adding in a Super Symbiotic Probiotic to assist with the repopulation of acidophilus and bifidobacteria. This will assist the body to confine the critters back to the lower intestine, which is predominately where they belong.
- Finally Alkalise, Superfood green powder blends are super effective in restoring the body to an Alkaline state rich in Oxygen.
If you would like to connect with us to discuss the product recommendations to assist you in this journey please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary 15 min consultation to establish whether our program will assist you.
We all love to eat out with friends and family. It is a fantastic part of Australian culture. However when we have to follow a gluten free diet it can become a minefield. I have a friend for instance who really only frequents a Paleo café because she has had so many bad experiences. I don’t need to be that extreme but if you think you can eat a little bit of gluten well, can I just quote Dr Tom from Thedr.com, “you can’t be a little bit pregnant.”
See the issue is many café’s and restaurants is that they source their dressings and sauces in bulk from distributors. These products are commonly not labelled accurately eg. Gluten free. This makes it extremely tricky for the patron to know what is gluten free and what is not. Frankly, it’s not really their area of expertise, so be kind to them.
Here are some great tips and questions to ask in your sweetest voice:
- Ask the establishment of course straight up if they have a dedicated gluten free menu or do they cater for gluten free diets? You can at this point by gauging their response see whether they are going to be happy to assist your requirements or whether you may need to find somewhere else.
- Ask them What is in the salad dressings from the dish you are interested in?
They may seem safe, but be wary. Salad dressings, french fries, soy sauce, sushi rice, soups because there may be gluten added to all of these.
- Ask if they have Gluten Free soy sauce or tomato sauce? If they do, make sure to ask them to bring it to you in its original package. If they don’t, I’d suggest sending it back.
- When you are out for a social occasion remember that not all alcoholic drinks are gluten free. Do your research in advance and ensure that you ask for the brands of alcohol you know are safe for you.
- Is your brown rice, corn tortilla, or any grain you think is safe, gluten free? Ask your waiter or the manager if you can see the actual package the product came in to ensure that there are no hidden sources of gluten. Sometimes chefs can use thickeners in anything, which will often be a wheat derivative.
- Are you familiar with what ingredients do and don’t have gluten in them? If your server is not knowledgeable enough to give you a high degree of confidence, don’t be shy. Ask to speak to a manger so you can get the answers you need. You’d be amazed how open and thankful the staff usually is to the opportunity to learn so that they can more helpful to their next patron with a gluten sensitivity.