Pimento Cheese, Not Your Grandma's Spread

Pimento cheese is one of those foods that has been so corrupted by the food industry that it has become synonymous with other crappy foods like Spam.  I'm not even certain what store bought pimento cheese might contain, nor do I want to find out.  It's a shame because pimento cheese can be a delightful treat, even if it does Read the full post…

Plum Good BBQ Sandwiches

In a few days it will officially be fall but the temperatures are still warm enough for me to continue swimming for a few more days.  The breeze was a little cool but that didn't stop me from swimming several laps this morning and I felt great afterwards!  Have you exercised lately?  With fall's cooler temperatures and fewer insects, you Read the full post…

Shingles Vacine and Treatment

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with shingles so I felt I should discuss this nasty virus once again.  If you ever had chicken pox, you are at risk for getting shingles and believe me, you don't want it.  Shingles is a painful rash with blisters that scab over and may take 4 weeks or more to heal.  The Read the full post…

Vegetarian Tacos are muy delicioso!

There are times when I think I could easily become a vegetarian, especially when I try a new dish that is as good as the vegetarian tacos I had at Local Lime restaurant in Little Rock and the tofu fried rice at Sai Tai here in Jonesboro.  My husband and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary this past weekend by spending Read the full post…

Midyear Health Check

Summer is winding down , the year is more than half way over and our January resolutions are long forgotten.  It's time for a health reality check.  First of all, how is your health lately?  If you have enjoyed good health, are you thankful?  Take some time to appreciate how wonderful it feels to be healthy, for your family to Read the full post…

Vacation Lessons For A Healthier Life

  I'm back from a lovely beach vacation and I wish I was still there with all my heart.  Wouldn't it be nice if our every day life was as nice as a vacation?  If we could relax, eat well, sleep and exercise just enough without having to worry about bills, work, illnesses and school, our lives would be perfect.  But Read the full post…

Food Allergies And Food Intolerances

[ Post by Lisa Tedder ][ Post on April 17, 2012 ][ In For new Mom's, Medical and Health Information ]

It seems I have quite a few friends with food allergies, food intolerances and sensitivities these days.  I just finished an article for Midsouth Latino magazine on the subject and learned quite a bit.  To my great sorrow, I suffer from an allergy to shellfish.  I didn’t develop this allergy until I was an adult and it is getting worse.  It started out with just shrimp but has progressed to scallops and now I’ve been warned not to eat other shellfish as well.  Of course, I love shellfish, not to mention it is worrisome that I could have an anaphylactic reaction someday.  (See my recent article on jonesboro.com on anaphylaxis.)

Let’s sum up the difference between food allergies and food intolerances.  A food allergy is an abnormal response to food triggered by the immune system.  Food intolerance is a digestive system response to the inability to digest certain foods such as dairy.  Food allergies can be life threatening but an intolerance just makes you feel miserable.  Eating even the smallest amount of the troublesome food can set off an allergic reaction but those with food intolerances can often eat certain quantities of the food before having a problem.  It is important to know the difference between the two in order to treat the problem properly.  If you have a food allergy, it is important to avoid the food all together.  You must also avoid the particular food with a food intolerance unless you are willing to put up with the symptoms.

The symptoms for a food allergy start within a few minutes to an hour of eating and include:  itching around the mouth, difficulty swallowing or breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hives, asthma, dizziness or anaphylaxis.  Symptoms for a food intolerance include nausea, stomach pain, gas or bloating, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches.  You can treat the symptoms for a food intolerance with over the counter products but with a food allergy, you may need to take an antihistamine if you accidentally eat the food or use an EpiPen and get immediate medical help if the symptoms are severe.  Always carry an EpiPen if you’ve previously had an anaphylactic response.

Celiac disease is a serious genetic disorder in which people are unable to eat gluten which is found in wheat and other grains.  Gluten causes an autoimmune reaction and the body produces antibodies that harm the small intestine, preventing absorption of nutrients.  Celiac disease can be life threatening if not treated.  The only treatment is to eliminate gluten from the diet.  Symptoms include: diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, chronic fatigue and malnutrition.  Others may experience some of these symptoms but not intestinal damage when they only have a gluten sensitivity or allergy.

Food allergies and food intolerances are on the rise in this country though scientists aren’t exactly sure why.  In developing countries where hygiene may be poor, people die from infectious diseases but health problems such as obesity, asthma and allergies are seldom seen.  So early and more frequent exposure to bacteria may actually protect the body against certain health problems.  Also, people in developing countries eat a mostly vegetarian diet that is locally grown which may further protect them from allergies.  It may be that our high fat, high sugar, low fiber diet may be playing a role in allergies as well as diabetes and heart disease.

Food intolerances present complex issues, among them the question “What can I eat?”.  It isn’t always easy to eliminate a food group from your diet.  For instance, dairy and gluten are found in many products that seem harmless.  Thursday I’ll offer a few suggestions that may help.

Upadated on April 17, 2012

2 Responses to “Food Allergies And Food Intolerances”

  1. Aamy thomsan says:

    Thank you for sharing such informative post. though my own niece is having this dreadful disease and bravely fighting with it by avoiding all her favorite things which she once loved to eat. way to hurting it is to see her like this.
    Still i appreciate your post and the experience you shared with all.

  2. Lisa Tedder says:

    Sorry for your niece, Amy. I am such a foodie and I fight the temptation to eat seafood all the time. I can't imagine having to give up more common foods such as dairy and wheat!

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