The Allergy Menu Article


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The Allergy Menu is a website dedicated to food allergies and food intolerances. If you have gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, nut allergy, intolerance to msg, nitrates, amines, salicylates, or fructose, then this site is for you. Our advanced search function enables users to sort recipes to avoid multiple allergens and find a wonderful selection of recipes that they CAN eat and enjoy. Bring variety back to the menu with!

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The Allergy Menu Article

  1. 1. Allergies and Food Intolerances are on the Rise!This is something that all health professionals agree upon, although there is no real consensusas to why. Allopathic (modern medical) doctors often speak about the hygiene theory inrelation to possible causes. They suspect that the modern obsession with killing germs hasmeant that our bodies immune systems have not had to fight enough legitimately harmfulsubstances - and therefore have started to mount attacks from within.Holistic Doctors and Integrative medicine practitioners theorise that our immune systemshave become overburdened with an onslaught of wide ranging pollutants, including pesticidesand artificial additives, prescribed medications, chemical based cleaning products andpersonal care products. They say that even though we have plenty of food, our generalnutrition is poor, due to our food being grown in mineral depleted soils, stored for longperiods and because we rely too heavily on nutritionally deficient convenience foods.Holistic proponents believe that our bodies are not sufficiently supplied with the basicrequirements to enable strong immune functioning and that the toxic damage is manifested indifferent ways in different individuals. Any condition may be caused by an interaction ofmany factors, such as genetics, environment, damage due to medications etc. Thesemanifestations may include food allergies and intolerances.Whatever the cause, food related health issues cause anxiety, frustration and grief for theafflicted and their nearest and dearest!Though this sounds melodramatic, it cannot be understated how difficult it can be, to adjustto a potentially life threatening condition, or a sensitivity that seriously impacts upon yourquality of life. It can be very overwhelming when you realise that avoiding harmful ingredients is not aseasy as reading a food label. The risks associated with making mistakes causes great anxietyto newly diagnosed sufferers and to those ‘old hands,’ who may be forced by circumstancesto trust someone else to prepare their food.It is also difficult to come to terms with the fact that socialising will never be quite the same.Many people with allergies and intolerances become increasingly socially isolated over time.Potential hosts may find it frightening or burdensome inviting people to social events, whoare at risk of food reactions. For those with these conditions, it can be hard to relax and trustthat their food has not been accidentally contaminated, or to avoid feeling like a nuisance totheir host.Often sufferers get around the problem by taking their own food to social events, but this cansometimes cause socially awkward moments, especially if kitchen facilities are required atall. Other guests may want to know why someone is consuming different food and so theconversation focuses on the food problem, instead of lighter topics. This in itself can lead tofurther self-consciousness. It is often easier for those with allergies or intolerances to justpolitely refuse invitations and privately deal with the grief of feeling like a social leper.Traps for new players include:
  2. 2. • Not knowing about food labelling laws which allow manufacturers to avoid declaring certain ingredients if the quantity is below a certain percentage. • Not realizing that certain substitute ingredients may contain substances that are also harmful, though for different reasons. E.g. Gluten free flours often contain sulphites (preservatives) and many food sensitive people react badly to sulphites. • Not knowing that manufacturing processes can undermine the purity of a food item that you might assume was okay. E.g. many cooking oils (especially cheap generically labelled ones) are a mixture of different oils and may contain nut oils or other oils or to which people may be allergic or sensitive. • Not realizing that it is not longer possible to use certain condiments, due to the thickeners, artificial additives or the oils contained, or because they are too high in natural food chemicals, to which some people are very sensitive. Commercial Stocks and cubes, gravy and custard mixes, mustards, soy sauces, tomato sauces, pastes etc are usually best avoided. • Not knowing that common ingredients are labelled with uncommon names. E.g. Eggs are included when you see the following: Albumin, Globulin, Livetin, Lysozyme, Ovalbumin, Ovomucin, Ovovitellin, Simplesse, etc. • Not realising that certain food preparation practices may cause food contamination. (known as cross contamination) E.g. using a toaster that has toasted gluten based bread to toast gluten free bread. For some people even a crumb of glutinous bread is enough to provoke a significant reaction.So, if you have just been diagnosed with a food allergy or intolerance, go easy on yourself! Itis natural to feel upset, overwhelmed and anxious. As time goes on you will become a masterat managing your condition, but in the meantime seek as much moral support andunderstanding as you can find.The internet provides a wealth of information and support. Join groups and forums to findothers who know what you are going through. Just be wary of accepting medical advicewithout first consulting your healthcare professional, as there is a lot of misinformation outthere as well.So often, what is missing from health care protocols though, is the recognition of theemotional impact of dealing with these problems. Sufferers are often labelled as beinganxious, obsessive, etc, but these states of being usually arise, when physical, emotional andadequate medical support and understanding are lacking.Experiencing compassion and emotional validation can greatly help the newly diagnosed, toadjust quickly to their diagnosis and management program. It is therefore important to seek,emotional support if you are the sufferer and to give it, if you care for someone in thispredicament.Featured Author: Pauline O’SullivanPauline recently Co-Founded www.TheAllergyMenu.Com with her friend MichelleKazukaitus. The Allergy Menu is a free membership, recipe website for foodies with allergiesor intolerances. Pauline had a career in Social Work prior to starting a family and herdaughter’s food intolerances inform her awareness of the issues faced by those with allergiesand intolerances. Pauline and Michelle aim to provide practical support to those with foodrelated health concerns using their site based software.
  3. 3. Anyone diagnosed with such medical conditions (or suspected as having such), shouldbe under the regular care of a doctor or specialist. It is vitally important for people with foodallergies to identify all of their specific allergens (under medical supervision) and avoid thefoods they are allergic to.Due to the inadequacy of food labeling laws, people with food allergies also need to establishthe degrees to which they are sensitive. For example, many people are so sensitive to certainfoods that they may have an anaphylactic reaction to the slightest trace of the food allergen.Manufacturers are under no legal obligation to provide a warning on a label, if there is theslightest chance that a product has come into contact with an allergen. Many do withmessages such as ‘may contain’ or ‘contains’ warnings. Therefore, you must establish withyour doctor your allergy risks and receive an allergy management plan.Many children outgrow allergies and it is important for them to be re-tested appropriately byan allergy specialist or medically qualified practitioner. Restricted diets can lead to nutritionaldeficiencies if not properly managed, which in turn can lead to further health problems,including increased sensitivity to other foods and substances.Gluten intolerance is never outgrown and individuals with celiac/coeliac disease (an autoimmune disease involving intolerance to gluten) must avoid wheat, rye, barley, oats and theirderivatives for life. Many people with undiagnosed Celiac/coeliac disease have takenthemselves off gluten and then found it very difficult to get a formal diagnosis. People whoself-diagnose and treat themselves by removing gluten from their diet, will often have normalblood test readings and may even have a normal biopsy (depending on how long they havefollowed a gluten free diet). Without a diagnosis these people cannot access specifichealthcare services for this disease.Celiac/coeliac disease has also been linked to other serious health conditions (including,osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, intestinal cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroidproblems, fibromyalgia and diabetes). It is therefore very important to get a diagnosis as earlyas possible, to reduce the risk of developing other related conditions.The symptoms of food intolerance, could be the symptoms of other serious medicalconditions, so it is extremely important that individuals, access medical advice about their
  4. 4. symptoms before self-diagnosing and treating them, as a food intolerance. Food intolerancecannot be diagnosed by a blood test, as it is not an immune response but an inability to digestparticular foods (often related to a missing enzyme or a chemical sensitivity). There are skintests that can help to determine a possible sensitivity, but these are not definitive. Falsepositive test results may result in unnecessarily restrictive diets which in turn increases therisk of nutritional deficiencies.It is generally accepted, that the best way to identify food intolerance, is through a medicallysupervised elimination diet. Before undertaking such a process it may be beneficial, to firstdetermine your general health status, especially examining whether or not you already have avitamin or mineral deficiency. Elimination processes, if not carefully managed, can lead toincreased reactivity which is why some experts recommend in certain cases, thatindividuals build up their nutritional status before embarking on an elimination diet. For someindividuals symptoms may also resolve themselves when nutritional deficiencies areaddressed.For these reasons, among others, accessing proper medical supervision before using this sitefor dietary management is essential. Please read the Terms of Use before using this site. Youruse of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.