When peanuts became such an allergy issue, an entire market opened up... peanut-free everything. Now most schools and even school boards are placing nut restrictions on student lunches and snacks to protect those students who are severely allergic.
A new study now shows that milk and eggs are more worrisome food allergies for caregivers than are nuts (1). "...because eggs and milk are everywhere, and used to prepare so many dishes, caregivers with children allergic to those two ingredients feel more worried and anxious."
When my first son was little he was sensitive to dairy and eggs... not allergic in the true sense of the word, but his behaviour changed quite a bit when he ate them to the point where he'd be not so much fun to be around. So we kept them out of his diet for quite a while and worked on fixing the problem from the ground up (more on that below).
My son grew out of those sensitivities. Not every child is so fortunate.
I have worked with many parents whose children have more severe allergy than my son had, and I understand the fear that they have about exposure to these foods.
But where is this all heading, and is there anything we can do to stop it in its tracks?
Food allergies in children are getting out of control. If you take milk, eggs, nuts, gluten, corn, and soy - the top allergens - out of every child's school lunch, what are we left with? And mark my words, I bet rice will be next.
I am by no means saying that we should not protect highly allergic children from exposure to allergens. What I'm saying is that we have to looks for ways to stop this allergy train from speeding off the rails.
A food allergy is a symptom of 2 underlying issues - a digestive system that is not working properly and an immune system that is overreactive.
You can learn more about the underlying contributors to food allergy in my book, Raising Resilience. In my book you'll learn why cutting foods out is a temporary solution - life saving and totally necessary in some cases - but it's a bandaid when you consider the entire picture.
From day one (actually from preconception, but most of us already have kids, so let's start from there) we should be thinking of two things when it comes to our kids' health - supporting their digestive system and supporting their immune functions.
Some of the ways we can do that is by...
I don't want to come across as being flippant about allergies. Whether the symptoms are respiratory, behavioural, gastrointestinal or whatever, allergies are a serious concern.
But what's even more concerning to me is what the allergy epidemic is telling us about the immune and digestive function of our kids.
They are failing. And without them we have.... nothing.
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Jess is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ and Family Health Expert, specializing in brain health & resilience for kids. She is the author of Raising Resilience: Take the stress out of feeding your family & love your life, a mother and an advocate for children’s health. Her book and online resources have helped families all over the world improve the lives of their children with learning differences, anxiety, ADHD, autism and mood disorders by fitting the food and feeding piece into their health puzzles. She is the 2019 recipient of the CSNNAA award for Clinical Excellence for her work helping families get healthier, and she continues to work at bringing an understanding of the power of good nutrition to the mainstream conversation about children’s mental health, learning, and overall resilience through her blog, courses and as a contributor to print and online magazines. You can reach Jess at www.jesssherman.com
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