Allergies On The Rise – What Can We Do & How Will It Taste?
I’ve sure learnt first hand how hard it is to find truly coeliac safe gluten free food options that are not just a substitute for something better. I’ve also discovered how incredibly chemical and processed our treats are, and just how many ingredients it seems to take to make a packaged snack. Must it really be like that?
I’d like to shed some light on a topic that continues to inspire me to move forward with Thank Heavens, and that involves us all regardless of awareness. Must we really consume all those extra and added numbers and unpronounceable words all the time, and what is it doing to our bodies?
Have you every wondered why more and more people have allergies?
Being coeliac has taught me to read labels, and quite often they scare me. Blissful unawareness is gone, and food doesn’t taste so nice when my head is (literally) filled with additives. It is uncanny in fact how far from the truth it is to think that “going gluten free” is a black&white healthier option. It is not, unless you go natural. The processed and packaged ready-foods are just as unhealthy as their glutened wicked cousins, and perhaps in some cases worse. After all, the gluten has to be replaced by something else that performs on its behalf, and often that means more fats, sugars and additives.
Food allergies are on the rise. So is coeliac disease, asthma, inflammatory diseases and intolerances. (Read this article from UCLA if you want to know more about this topic) The world is changing, one crumb at a time and we really have no choice but to take part.
The last 3 months I have been pricked and poked and tested for a myriad of allergic responses. My childhood asthma (which used to be minimal at worst) has come back, and I’m still showing symptoms that I used to simply blame on coeliac (read about non-responsive coeliac disease here). For almost 4 months now I have been on a low FODMAP diet, and for the last 3 weeks a strict RPAH elimination diet has been added to the mix, and dairy + soy have been removed. I eat raw green cabbage and white double-peeled potatoes, fish straight from the ocean and fortified rice milk. That’s just about it (or at least that’s what it feels like). No flavours, no colours and certainly no additives. A tricky challenge you might say, but not so hard for a coeliac really. We know how to work magic with limited supplies, am I right? 🙂
When I first went off additives (that I didn’t even know I was eating. -Who knew that lovely fresh prawns are sprayed with chemicals on the trawlers?!) I had a pretty dramatic withdrawal reaction. My fiancée and I are doing the diet together (for different reasons) and we both went through withdrawal. It was like a giant and horrible hangover that lasted for days! One would think we’re drug addicts or alcoholics, but we are far from any such thing. Only comes to show what crazy things we are feeding ourselves without even being aware of it.
-I would like to underline that this is not a weight-loss diet. It is a short-term diet designed to uncover food intolerances, and it should never be carried out without the supervision of a nutritionist or a healthcare professional. I am not doing this on my own!
The point is, where is this coming from? Didn’t I play in the mud enough when I was little? Did vaccines cause this or didn’t my mum breastfeed me for long enough? Perhaps it’s because I grew up in the city without animals around me, or my mum used too many cleaning products?
Theories are abundant. I’ve sworn many a time that I will let my kids eat dirt and have pets. I will introduce gluten into their diets at exactly the right time (some say that’s 4-6 months of age), and I won’t give them crazy colours and additives. Unfortunately we can only control so much. Although it is important to have a healthy awareness I don’t believe we can worry ourselves to good health, for us or our children. We definitely can’t blame our parents for our aches and pains, no more than we can blame ourselves for our children’s diseases.
It’s really all about love. Instead of fearing the giant problem that is the global food industry, act locally, start in your own home and feed yourself and your family with love. We lead busy lives and processed foods make these lives easier. Not everyone has the luxury of time to prepare all meals from scratch every day. I sure don’t, but a bit of planning goes a surprisingly long way. An unexpected side-effect of all these elimination diets I’ve had to undertake has shown me in very direct ways that everything can be done, one can quite easily live without all the junk, and meal preparation really doesn’t have to be a song and a dance. It’s not as bad as all that, you wake up one day and it runs smoothly. Just like it suddenly did with your gluten free lifestyle!
All things in moderation is my mantra, and I believe in a balanced approach. My grandma used to say that “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!” and I think she was onto something very clever.