How to control food allergies

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Are you allergic to dairy products, wheat, eggs, soy or gluten? Although a large percentage of the population believe or suspect they have food allergies, a relatively small percent actually do. A true allergy is caused by a severe physical reaction to a food or substance called an 'allergen.' Such a reaction can be health or even life threatening. It could include severe diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, stomach cramps, rash, extreme depression or shortness of breath.

If you have a milder reaction, such as low energy, lightheadedness, confused thoughts, fatigue, sleepiness, stomach upset or indigestion, it may be due to what is termed a 'food intolerance.' However, -you may have only a mild reaction with a true allergy that may become more severe or lessen as time goes on.

ILLUSTRATION:

A food intolerance can often be lessened or cured' when the underlying causes are corrected. Sometimes healing foods, homeopathic remedies, cleansing techniques, chiropractic, massage or other methods may be required to heal food intolerances.

For those with true allergies or with food intolerances, the answer to relieving symptoms and enjoying reasonable good health often lies in following a diet devoid of the 'allergens' or foods that tend to aggravate a particular individual's health. Often those with any health problems (including cancer, arthritis or heart disease), can benefit greatly from a diet that eliminates or rotates most of the foods that commonly agitate allergies.

To rotate a diet, you simply exclude certain foods one or more days a week. An offending food may be consumed one time per week or eaten only every other day. It is better to have a slightly aggravating food two times a day, every other day, than to have it once a day, every day. Having a break from certain foods even for 24 hours can be of benefit to the health.

Rotation gives the body at least a part-time rest from foods that affect the body in five different ways slightly toxic, like the nightshade family foods (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers). Hard to digest like soy beans and soy products, red meats and popcorn. A food that is overly processed like white flour and sugar, over-used like coffee, salt, fried foods, sweets and strong spices or ones that contain aggravating additives like chemicals, preservatives and artificial colorings and flavourings.

The above mentioned 'foods' tend to agitate most people these days, at least occasionally, and the exclusion or moderate use of these products does tend to benefit the health of most individuals!

Since allergy testing can be inaccurate and expensive, usually from $50 to $500, depending on the method and the variety of foods and substances tested for, it should be avoided by those with only mild reactions to foods. It is sometimes easiest to determine your own allergies by rotation or by isolating (eating alone) a single food, then a couple foods together and noting your reaction. Do you feel better when you partially or completely eliminate certain foods,

Even this home method is not completely accurate. Some people assume they are allergic to certain foods that are helpful to their bodies. You might for instance eat a lemon and feel slightly nauseated or eat cayenne red pepper and get a hot flush or eat green herbs and feel hyperactive. Reactions to these foods sometimes occur because they are 'healing foods' and tend to purge the body of stored poisons and chemicals. In this case the bad reactions are beneficial because you sometimes have to feel worse when removing toxins from your body before feeling better. Other healing foods that may cause a healthful reaction include sea kelp, aloe vera, garlic, ginseng, wheat grass, and barley green. Bee Pollen and related bee products have been researched by doctors in Europe and found to be effective in alleviating allergies in some patients.

Those with food intolerances should avoid taking herb teas, except mint, that have not be recommended for you. IMPORTANT Avoid any food or healing food which instigates a strong, negative health reaction and consult a qualified health specialist as soon as possible.

Another helpful factor in lessening the effects of food allergens and helping to alleviate food intolerances is to use proper food combining according to Dr. John Matsen, N.D. and author of EATING ALIVE.

The two main rules of food combining says Dr. Matsen include 1.) Eating raw fruits alone or at least 1/2 to 1 hour before other foods are eaten. 2.) Do not eat proteins and carbohydrates at the same meal. For example, rice and beans may be eaten together, but not with meats, eggs, or dairy products. Protein foods should be eaten with vegetables.

Both allergies and food intolerances are aided by the proper preparation these foods.

Remember these rules:
Choose organic, natural, fresh, whole foods whenever possible. Avoid canned, frozen, heavily processed or additive containing foods.
Wash all fresh food thoroughly before eating or preparing. (We recommend soaking fresh produce in one gallon of water with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp. salt to remove some toxins and parasites. Soak a couple minutes and rinse.)
Eat both raw and cooked foods. Eat raw foods first in a meal.
Avoid the agitating foods mentioned above and instead experiment and use a variety of nutritious whole foods. Examples are alternate flours and flour products including breads, noodles and crackers using oats, rye, barley, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, teff, spelt, kamut and chick peas.
Eat a diet that includes 50% vegetables. There are many exciting and varied ways to prepare vegetables. Vegetables are superb maintenance and healing foods. Explore various varieties and en joy.
Make sure whole groins and beans are properly cooked. They are an important part of the diet and provide a goldmine or nutrients. Avoid overcooked, undercooked, burned or rotten foods as they can be a major factor in creating indigestion.
By leaving foods uncovered or exposed to air unnecessarily will cause spoilage and disease. Store foods at proper temperatures.
Chew foods completely and eat in a relaxed, calm atmosphere for optimum digestion and assimilation of foods.
In time, your allergies or food intolerances may become a blessing in disguise. You will find that they have led you to a more exciting, healthful diet and lifestyle!

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By Jeanne Marie Martin

Jeanne Marie Martin has been lecturing and teaching natural food for over 20 years. She specializes in allergy and candida diets. Jeanne Marie is the author of four books including THE ALL NATURAL ALLERGY COOKBOOK.

MINI-GLOSSARY OF SPECIAL FOODS
AMARANTH (seed, flour or puffed). Made from the grain-like seed of a plant native to Mexico. The ancient Aztecs used this as a power food. It is not a grain but can be used like one in grain-free breads and desserts. It has a robust, pleasant, nut-like flavour and is a complete protein, high in calcium and nutrients.

ARROWROOT (powder or flour). From the dried root of a tropical plant. Use as a thickening agent instead of cornstarch. Unlike cornstarch, arrowroot is wholesome and easily tolerated and will not contribute to constipation, diarrhea or vitamin loss in the body.

CAROB (powder, flour or pods). A chocolate substitute. Use the dark roasted carob powder in equal amounts instead of the unsweetened cocoa powder. Unlike chocolate, carob is lower in fat, caffeine-free and does not hinder the absorption of calcium. Carob is delicious if used correctly.

MILLET (grain or flour). A tasty, nutritious, whole grain cereal or main dish that is very alkaline and great for sensitive stomaches when cooked very tender with extra water. Delicious! Freeze the flour for freshness. Essentially gluten-free.

NUTRIONAL YEAST Choose the yellow, edible types for recipes. This is not baking yeast. Sprinkle it on popcorn for a cheesy flavour and lots of B vitamins.

QUINOA (grain or flour). Is pronounced "keen-wah." This "mother grain of the Incas" is grown in South and North America. It is not a true grain and is essentially gluten-free and very high in protein. Wash and rub the grain carefully before cooking for only 25 minutes in 3-4 times the water.

SPELT and KAMUT Both are high gluten grains, forms of wheat that are much higher in amino acids, digestive enzymes and protein and nutrients than ordinary wheat. Many people allergic to wheat can tolerate one or both of these. Use kamut flour equally in exchange for wheat. Use about 1 1/8 to 1 1/4. cups spelt flour in place of 1 cup wheat flour.

TEFF (seed or flour). An Ethiopian seed whose name means "lost," a consequence of dropping this small seed. Although sometimes called a grain, this seed is grain and gluten free. Use the flour freely in all kinds of recipes. 1/2 cup of whole teff can also be used like 1 cup of sesame seeds in cooked or baked recipes.

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