Time and Money Saving Tips – The Real Health and Financial Implications of Food Allergies

What would you say if someone told you your health problems might be caused by the foods you eat…would you believe it?

With food allergies on the rise, some people believe that as their options for food are eliminated, choices in their diets become more and more limited.

When I first discovered I had a wheat allergy, I became panicked and thought that I’d be very limited in what I could eat for the rest of my life. In some ways, this was true – if I wanted to maintain my health, I’d have to stop eating a lot of the foods I had been eating. But the foods I was eating that were causing a lot of my problems were processed, rancid grain products.

For awhile I avoided grains altogether. Everywhere I went, people would ask incredulously, “you mean, you can’t eat any bread?” My parents still persist in the idea that they don’t know anyone else who has a wheat allergy or sensitivity.

For awhile, I believed these people would just never understand my problem because I had a special issue that others didn’t. But as time went on, I started realizing that this was not an isolated case – there were many who had these affectations and sensitivities – and not only were there a lot of them – but many of them didn’t even know it!

We spend billions and billions of dollars on scientific research and the development of pharmaceutical drugs in order to find a cure for allergies – and other health disorders such as cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Diabetes, Lupus, asthma, celiac disease, and many other auto-immune diseases. Indeed, some of the people I’ve met and read about have embarked on a crusade to beat their allergies and other health problems by joining organizations that spend all their time and money trying to discover a “cure” to their problems – they have marathons, bike races and other athletic events, charity auctions, and other huge fund-raising activities to generate money to donate¬† to “scientific research” in order to find a cure for their ailments.

I have puzzled over this: why wouldn’t people focus their time and energy on elimination of the problem – the polluted food that is causing the problem in the first place – instead of persisting in the idea that they could continue to eat these foods if they could only find a magical medicine (and further harm their health) and waste untold amounts of energy, time, and money? It seemed positively mad, this idea, of going to so much trouble and not actually solving their health issue, instead of just removing the food and switching over to a real, nourishing, traditional food that would heal their bodies and end the suffering of chronic health issues.

However, scientific research has also shown that nutritional deficiencies can be the culprit of these diseases. Even the National Institute of Health (a government agency) has published research on the connection between nutritional deficiencies and immunity disorders, infection, and disease. If you are uncertain about the validity of the research, always follow the money trail. When you find out who is funding the research, it should be very revealing about who stands to benefit from the development of the “cure” and why.

The most common food allergens are wheat, soy, corn, nuts, and dairy. These are some of the most processed foods you can buy. These foods represent a significant proportion of what’s on the market and what people eat. Here’s a list of some of those foods – do you eat these regularly?

  • crackers
  • bagels
  • packaged breads
  • tortillas
  • pita bread
  • packaged cereals
  • pasta
  • rice cakes
  • chips – baked or fried
  • pretzels
  • cookies
  • candy
  • fruit rollups
  • salad dressings
  • sauces
  • condiments
  • food bars, cereal bars, granola bars
  • dairy products such as cheese, butter, milk, cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream
  • soy products – cheese, milk, yogurt, fake meat, tofu products, mayonnaise
  • Nut butters – peanut/almond/other nut butters containing artificial ingredients and hydrogenated/trans fat oils, using roasted (processed through heat) nuts
  • Vegetable oils – canola, soy, cottonseed
  • “food” and “energy” drinks
  • fruit and vegetable juices (even “natural” or “organic” types)
  • all types of frozen, ready-made foods

But artificial foods don’t stop there. Most of the meat, oils and other fats, and produce (fruits and vegetables) have been horribly denatured and industrialized – that is, they have been altered from how nature intended them to be (genetically-altered, treated with pesticides and chemicals for longer shelf life, pumped full of artificial feeds like soy, corn, and grain, and administered antibiotics, steroids, and hormones). With all these factors at work, it’s no wonder the incidence of food reactions and allergies isn’t higher. But if we continue to produce and eat food like this, our health predicament will only become more acute.

Food allergies can also cause other sensitivities in the body to occur. When the immune system becomes over-stimulated with substances making it react, the result can be disastrous. For example, if you are consuming pasteurized dairy and your body is dealing with all the problems associated with your body’s reaction to it, you can become highly sensitive to pet dander or pollen in the air – even more so than you would if you weren’t consuming the dairy.

This happened to my husband. For 20 years he was congested every day of his life Р365 days a year. During most of that time, he took  medication prescribed by a doctor РClaritin (back in the day when it was only available through prescription). Near the end of this time period, he noticed that his body was no longer affected by the drug.

One day I suggested he eliminate dairy from his diet. At first he balked and didn’t want to do it, but eventually he began to see the wisdom in this idea and stopped consuming it. About two years later, I came across some interesting information about raw dairy, and so we purchased our first container of raw milk. We have never looked back. My son was diagnosed with a dairy allergy around the same time and we found that he could consume raw cheese, milk, butter, and milk without any problems as well.

My issue with wheat was pretty much the same. For 20 years I had heart palpitations and many other symptoms I could seemingly never be free from nor understand. Whenever I’d go to the doctor, no one could tell me anything other than that I was under too much stress and had anxiety, so a prescription inevitably followed. Thankfully, I had suspicions about taking medication and wanted to get to the real answers.

I spent years looking for the solution, and finally discovered that only through the elimination of processed wheat and other foods would I find a resolution and enjoy good health. Although it is in moderation, now that I eat sprouted, soaked, organic grains I can finally be free of heart issues and all the other problems that plagued over half of my forty years of life.

Just think of all the time, money, and additional health issues that can be saved by not eating processed and industrial foods! It’s really much more simple than most people think, but yet complicated by corporations and big pharma who market products to people who are unwilling to give up their band-aids and to finally release themselves from the prison that is allergies and food sensitivities. We have been lied to and convinced to purchase these products by clever marketing tactics – but these are things our bodies not only don’t need, but are also harmful to our health!

By following a natural diet with organic, whole, traditional foods, you can lose weight, lower your cholesterol, protect yourself against heart disease, and avoid allergenic reactions and health problems. There have been many cases where people were diagnosed with food allergies in which the same people stopped eating the processed counterparts and switched to the real thing – and have overcome problems associated with the food allergy or sensitivity and other health problems they may have had – weight gain, high cholesterol, fatigue, digestive problems, heart disease, dental caries and related disorders, congestion, insomnia, and a number of others.

For more information on food allergies, read this eye-opening article about wheat and gluten, The Big Gluten-Free Lie.

What are your experiences with food allergies and/or sensitivities? Do you have a story to share where you overcame your food intolerances and were able to solve a health issue? How have your food sensitivities been affected since you stopped eating industrial and processed foods?

This post is linked to in Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays. Please check out all the other great real food posts on her site.

9 Comments

  • June 9, 2009 - 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Great article! I was also puzzled for a long time about why our medical system is so focused on symptoms and ignores common sense. Now I know that it’s unfortunately all about money.

    A lot of people mix up food allergies (which are rare but dramatic) with food sensitivities (which are more mild and come about more slowly). Food sensitivities can be very difficult to pin down. Furthermore, most people don’t realize that their unhealthy habits cause the lining of their intestines to break down. This eventually allows incompletely digested food particles to get into the blood stream which can invoke immune activity anywhere in the body. This can lead to serious issues and is why autoimmune diseases have become so common.

    Unfortunately, it’s possible to be sensitive to any type of food no matter how healthy it may seem and unhealthy habits makes this even more possible. My step-daughter resolved years of stomach pain and headaches after discovering a sensitivity to beef and grapes. Not so obvious!

    Saving money on food and medical bills is one thing, but it’s nothing compared to living a much better and less inhibited life. That’s priceless.

    Consuming common foods such as grains and dairy for most of my life resulted in the immune response of my intestines shutting down completely. As a result, I ended up with 61 food sensitivities out of the 150 that I was tested for. Although it may not seem like it, the damage is very real!

  • motherhen68
    June 10, 2009 - 1:07 PM | Permalink

    I was never tested for food allergies (I hate doctors and prefer to suffer LOL), but after my second child was born, I had serious congestion, itchy burning eyes, etc. I figured it was mold in our home (really old home), but when we moved to the country and a newer home, they persisted. After I began low-carbing in 2008, the symptoms disappeared completely. I’ve gone 18 months now with no return of the “allergies”. I don’t know if it was wheat sensitivity or sugar sensitivities, but it’s gone!

    I also do not believe that people want to take control of their health. It’s so much easier to let a doctor give you drugs and you can continue on with your unhealthy lifestyle. I see people w/Type II Diabetes eating sugar and candy every day but they have to inject themselves w/insulin. Why wouldn’t you at least try to control your problems with diet??

  • June 10, 2009 - 3:47 PM | Permalink

    I understand about not liking the doctor, I spent most of my life living in absolute fear of them…I think it’s because I always knew I’d be given some type of medication and deep down inside, I knew it wasn’t really going to help. I agree with you that people don’t want to take control of their health, I believe the whole system we live in is designed to dumb people down to a state where they are submissive and don’t care, and will just accept what authority tells them. That may sound a bit like a conspiracy theory, but it makes sense when you consider what is at stake for these corporations to make money on hapless consumers. It’s in their interest to do so, because if people didn’t buy their products, they’d be out of business. I too am confused by Diabetics who shoot themselves up with drugs but continue to eat poorly. I went on a Diabetes horseback ride a few weekends ago, and the food they were serving was terrible – processed white bread buns, ice cream, “fat-free” dressings and condiments loaded with sugar…they did have a lot of meat, but who knows where it came from. Another Diabetes event I went to last year had fried chicken, endless cookies, power drinks, and white bread products. Doesn’t this send a mixed-message to people who are sick and need real nutrition to kick their health problems? You’d think the Diabetes foundations would be more mindful…but again, it’s all about the $$.

    • motherhen68
      June 12, 2009 - 12:15 PM | Permalink

      I was reading a Diabetes cooking magazine the other day and the recipes were full of carbs and just other junk that will shoot the blood sugar sky high! That same night, I read another article asking the ADA why didn’t they promote low-carb eating for their patients. The response was “Well, we know low-carb is great for maintaining blood sugar levels, but the fact is, it’s just “too hard” (my emphasis) for people to follow”. Umm, let’s see, a healthy long life eating low-carb, or a shortened, drug enhanced, health problem possibly including loss of limb & eye sight life?? Hmm, which should I chose??

  • June 14, 2009 - 9:33 PM | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s quite unbelievable that people are just unwilling to change their lifestyles (the reason being because it’s “too hard”) to improve their health, and would rather shoot up with insulin daily and end up with glaucoma, leg amputation, or some other issue (which, suffice it to say, most people DO know those things are unpleasant and not cheap). I could have taken that road and just cowed down to my doctors, the media, and everyone else and resigned myself to accept my fate of being sick for the rest of my life. But that’s what people CHOOSE. The truth is, it’s not easy, but the other way is infinitely more difficult by way of comparison. The Diabetes magazines all give the wrong advice – and so does the Humphries Diabetes Center here in Boise. When I worked at the health club, I saw their literature all over the establishment and it said things like “eat 6 – 11 servings of whole grains per day” and “eat low-fat dairy products”. Give me a break! Are these real foods, and are they nutritious???? No wonder all those people coming into the club are still on insulin keep gaining weight like there’s no tomorrow.

  • January 14, 2010 - 9:46 AM | Permalink

    I developed an allergy to peanuts a few years ago (the serious kind–swollen lips/face, lost my voice, thankfully could still breathe!), and that was what got me REALLY looking into food issues. I am now working to take total control of my health & well-being. Sadly those of us who do this are such a minority; most people just don’t care enough, for whatever reasons. They will go on feeding the corrupt & unhealthy system, and us rogue real foodies will just have to forge our own food systems. Sadly I don’t think the current system will ever change; even if more people demand better food, the system’ll just find new ways to cut corners & lie & hide the unhealthy things they do. The only way to help ourselves is to put as much control of our food into our own hands as possible. I think I finally understand why some people go live in remote places and tell the world to leave them alone, LOL!!

    Thanks for the great articles, btw! :)

  • January 14, 2010 - 12:00 PM | Permalink

    Sara – you are right. Most people don’t really get to the root causes of their allergies or food intolerances until it affects them personally. And when I say that, I meant it literally. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of parents who know their children have problems with certain foods, so what do they do? They just replace it with some other toxic, processed food that will ultimately cause the same kinds of problems. It’s sad, because children are at the mercy of their parents, but it’s true that in most cases, the parents just simply don’t know. You might be right, that the food system will never completely change, but at least we can do the most positive good we can by blogging and putting information out there. Those companies are so powerful and have money, and unfortunately they can prevail over most of us with no problem at all. We just need to keep our voices active and our dollars with sustainable! Thanks for visiting!

  • June 1, 2010 - 6:29 AM | Permalink

    I see such a difference in my health depending on what I have eaten. If I stick to a low carb food plan with absolutely no sugar (especially no sugar!), no white flour products and no processed foods………….then I feel great. Something as simple as having bad knees that make it impossible for me to go shopping is effected by what I eat. If I stick to low carbs then I am able to walk better and can lay down at night to sleep. If I eat anything with sugar I will suffer. I have read some books on sugar and I see why it is so bad for you. Yet parents everywhere are feeding it to their own children! I cringe now when I see them eating it. If I had only known what I know now when I had my son, I think he would not have had the problems he had. And he is a sugar addict even now at 40. I get tired of people trying to get me to eat pizza or ice cream or something they made that is full of sugar or white flour when they know I don’t eat those things. They just want you to eat it because they eat it. I guess that is human nature to make everyone be like yourself. And many times it is right after they first see me and say, “You look great! Did you lose weight or something?” And I tell them it is because I am eating a low carb food plan.

  • June 1, 2010 - 7:11 AM | Permalink

    Kathleen – your story is one that is common and I share it with you as well. Something I am starting to understand more fully is that as time goes on and I continue to eat well, even if I stick to my diet, if I fall off even a little, I notice my body falling back into symptoms I had before I changed my eating habits – of course, they are not as severe, but I definitely notice them. Various people in the alternative health communities have been telling me that detoxing is the way to relieve those symptoms for good (provided you continue to eat a healthy diet), and now after completing just one session of the liver/gallbladder miracle cleanse, I finally get it…I finally understand. The only way to really clean out your body and enjoy the benefits of real food that you are eating is to do some complex cleansing. I know a lot of people who don’t believe this, but I think maybe, just maybe, it’s something that has to be experienced first. All I know is, I’m still experiencing a few health issues that I can’t get past, and I think detoxing is the answer. I’ve already noticed changes since doing the first cleanse, and I’m going to keep doing them until I no longer pass liver stones. The goal is to continue to cleanse until you have two consecutive cleanses that produce no more stones.

    I truly believe that besides a good diet and lifestyle habits, the key to retaining health is performing cleanse protocols like this. Here is the link to my post about it:

    http://www.agriculturesociety.com/?p=4445

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