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The Rise of Food Allergies
October 08, 2010
Marilyn and I hope you're benefiting from adding healthier foods to your diet.

As you know, our motto is..."living longer and living younger."

So, with that in mind, today we thought we'd discuss...

The Rise of Food Allergies

With food allergies on a sky-rocketing rise (0.5% of the US population was affected in 1980, versus 4% in 2005), it's no wonder that both consumers and manufacturers have become increasingly worried and must be more vigilant and careful than ever.

But have you ever wondered why and how allergies develop?

Can we outgrow them?

Why are food allergies on the rise when we seem to put so much more emphasis on safety and cleanliness than ever?

If you're a victim of a particularly serious allergy or a parent whose child is, you probably know the ins and outs all too well.

A friend developed an allergy to peppers about 2 years ago, she'd never had food allergies before and no one in her immediate family does either.

So for anyone like her, these questions really started to "itch" for answers.

An antibody called IgE (immunoglobulin E) is responsible for the allergic symptoms that arise when a food is ingested.

When a food is digested for the first time, tiny proteins cause a cell to produce IgE against that specific food, which then attaches to mast cells and the next time you eat that food, the proteins and IgE interact and cause the release of certain chemicals which produce the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

That reaction depends on the mast cells of which body part are involved and if it's cells are in the throat and nose, a person might have difficulty breathing, for example.

However, not everyone has a predisposition to develop IgE against food.

And then this predisposed person must be exposed to a specific food before forming IgE.

All of this is well and true of children (the most common victims of food allergies), since they are eating many foods for the first time.

But why is it that you can develop an allergy later in life, to a food you've eaten for years?

The answers here are scarce, but one theory suggests that a temporary weakness of the immune system (for example, during an illness, which might be as common as a cold) can cause a problem.

However, allergies that develop later in life are far less common, mostly because the conditions in which they can develop are as well.

For their part, many children outgrow allergies (adults usually do not lose their allergies), though some seem to be lifelong (peanuts, seafood).

Allergies which are commonly less severe, such as those to milk, egg, soy and wheat, are usually outgrown, as the immune system strengthens and matures as a child grows older.

While a lot of the news is good, there is still cause for concern.

Though most people have mild allergic reactions (like abdominal cramps or itchy skin), some are unfortunately victim to allergies that are so severe they can lead to death (the most common is peanut allergy).

These people are so sensitive to certain foods that so little as the smell of an egg or the dust from a peanut shell can cause a severe reaction.

And then there are the unfortunate few who have multiple food allergies, wherein they must be placed on strict diets and can only eat a select few foods.

But why are food allergies on the rise, in a world almost overly-obsessed with cleanliness and safety?

The answers might surprise you, or at the least, they're pretty darn ironic.

Food allergies are on the rise in first and second world countries, but not in the poverty-stricken third-world nations, where they are fairly uncommon to begin with.


It seems we've become so concerned with cleanliness that we fail to provide the body with exposure to potential allergies, and therefore prevent it from forming necessary antibodies!

More and more studies are suggesting that the germs on all those little hands in the daycare (especially during the season of colds) are actually a good thing for children.

And of course, the ever-stressed importance of breast-feeding (at least for the first 4 to 6 months) is not something to be taken lightly (though in unfortunate cases, some children actually have undesirable reactions to their mother's milk).

The bottom line: don't be afraid to expose your child to common germs (it might be a good thing), but obviously take extreme caution once you know your child is affected by a food allergy, because it is certainly not something to be taken lightly once it is present.

And of course, before taking any of this advice, contact your doctor!

While we've done our research and used worthy sources, many of this is still labeled as theory rather than fact and is always individual to each person.

So, if you're wondering what to have for dinner this evening;

Savory Beef Stew

Makes 4 servings

(Free of: wheat, gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nuts, fish)


2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 zucchini, peeled and chopped

700g lean stewing beef

1 tsp. organic butter

1 brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1 Tbs. corn maize flour, sifted

1/2 c. (125mL) water and extra as required

pinch of fresh ground pepper and sea salt (optional)


1. Preheat oven at 400F.

2. Remove any fat from the beef and cut into bite sized pieces.

3. Melt the margarine in a pan and lightly brown the onion, add the meat just to cook through.

Then add the cornflour and tomato paste and stir well to combine. Add the water and stir again.

4. Transfer all ingredients into covered casserole dish and place in oven.

Simmer on the stove for approximately 1 1/2 hours and let the wonderful flavors blend together and come alive.

Sadly, that's all the time we have for today.

We hope you enjoy this recipe and found some value in this edition!

Until next time, we want you to,

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