I remember growing up, I knew ONE kid with food allergies, and that was at a summer camp I went to. (K-12 I went to 3 different schools; class sizes were 42, 21, and 86; none of those kids had food allergies that I knew of.) And my dad is allergic to melons, but that's the only food allergy in my family.
Now it seems like there are so many food allergies! And life-threatening ones, so kids are banned from bringing peanut butter to school, and homemade treats are banned from the classroom.
Do you have allergies? Do your offspring?
And why do you think allergies are so prevelent now?
I've seen articles suggesting we are "too clean", so the immune system decides to attack food; I can see that, since they also say growing up with pets or on a farm lowers the risk of allergies and asthma. Or maybe it's the amount of chemicals in our food? Or do you think it's something else, if so, what?
I've been thinking about this again because we're starting to introduce LO to solid foods, and everywhere I read about feeding baby, I see over and over again "watch for allergies! watch for allergies!". I've seen people report that allergies don't run in their family, yet their LO is allergic to a whole list of stuff already.
It would be interested to look at the prevalance of allergies in different populations in America: do poor people have more or less allergies? Do people without good access to health insurance have more or less allergies?
I think if a kid eats something, and he reacts to it, then the parents do one of two things: one, they take him to the doctor who confirms a mild allergy, and then the parents avoid that food strictly and so the kid never grows out of the allergy...or two, they just watch the kid carefully the next time he has that food, and if the reaction is not severe, they don't worry about it.
Also some of the allergies I've heard are ridiculous. One kid i worked with had a "behavioral allergy" to corn...it apparently made her hyper. WHAT?
I didn't vote because mine technically isn't an allergy. I have celiac, which I had never even heard of until a few years ago. Unfortunately the odds of me passing it on to my unborn children are fairly high.
PS -hope you and little one are doing well! I enjoy reading your food posts because we have pretty similar eating styles :-)
I do not have food allergies, neither do my husband. Neither do anyone in our families. We are both California natives.
We do not have children.
I was raised in a very poor household -- we had to choose between electricity or food many months.
My husband grew up in an average household -- no worries about food or electricity.
Edit: My suspicions on food allergies definitely fall within the "Too clean" theory. We are not exposing our children to these things. Women are told, while pregnant, "Do not eat X, Y, A, B or C under any circumstances" (A big one is peanuts, for example.)
If our children are not exposed, in reasonable amounts, to these allergens, there is a good chance that the human race will become completely exposed to them -- to immunity or resistance built up to them. Just like if humans are not exposed to bacteria and viruses, our immune systems weaken dramatically and when we DO catch a cold, or the flu, it reaks havok in our bodies and people die.
I would never support giving a person who is highly allergic something that could kill them. I respect allergies -- they are dangerous, even in mild forms. I do not, however, support hiding these allergens from non-allergic children. Our body needs to be occasionally tested and strained in order to keep it healthy.
@Hyperventilate: The reason I mentioned looking at different populatiosn within the country, like poor vs. rich, is that I think people who have more money and more access to health care and doctors are more likely to have children with allergies. I have worked in suburban and urban schools, and it was at the suburban schools where people couldn't even bring peanut butter into school because of allergies. In urban schools (with the exception of one), the only problem was asthma. I think the hypervigilance and overdiagnosis of allergies is what makes the difference.
But that's just anecdotal.
I'm lactose intolerant. I was raised in a typical middle class family but my parents are immigrants which means doctors are a last resort. Also my mom was raised on a farm so we are mostly healthy whole foods growing up and I went veg pretty young.
my sis has a slight reaction to tomatoes, but it's never been confirmed.
I don't think there is any one theory that encompasses all allergies. I find many are quick to use the hygiene hypothesis beyond what it is intended for. It's a theory I do agree with when used correctly; the Th1 vs. Th2 immune response makes sense.
Another theory I don't hear enough about is just based on child mortality. In undeveloped countries, children die in fairly large numbers. Those who are 'sickly' are more likely to die.
Growing up, I did know quite a few kids with food allergies, I think people are just a little hyperaware. I also think some of the so called food allergies aren't food allergies, and some parents make a bigger deal out of them than what they actually are.
@Linz1231 - Thanks, we're both doing great!
@peachacid - I grew up in a rural farming community, so that could be part of why I didn't know any kids with allergies.
@peachacid: Growing up I always had healthcare -- my mom got it through her work. When I was a kid, her employer paid for most of the fees. Our responsibility was co-pay and medications (And transport to get there). I rarely went to the doctor as a child, that happened more in my teens (When I had a life threatening kidney infection) and that's when I discovered that I have an allergy to Penicillin. I did have "good" healthcare as a child, even though we were desperately poor. My husband definitely had the better "healthy" childhood growing up.
I have no allergies, neither does my husband or anyone in my family or his. Actually, I think my husband's brother may be lactose intolerant to some degree, but he does eat dairy products still. I grew up in a middle income family, as did my husband, and we both ate healthy foods and unhealthy foods at times.
The school I currently work at has a no peanut rule that was just started this year. There is one kid in 5th grade who I know has a severe allergy to some nut products (which to me is the most common type of allergy), but I don't know about anyone else. I think there may be a kindergartener with some severe allergies, but I think that's to much more than food.
At the school I worked in last year there was a nut-free table in the cafeteria (it was a full-service cafeteria with lunch, whereas the school I work at now just has hot lunch for order with no official cafeteria), however, I have no idea if the cooked lunch contained nuts. They did have peanut butter packets in the cafeteria, I guess you just couldn't use them at the nut-free table.
My husband and I do not have food allergies, Daughter has none that I am aware of.
My youngest sister is allergic to peas, but the rest of my family has no food allergies.
Grew up in a military family and lived on base, moved quite a bit. We were not rich, but we were not poor either. Had access to good healthcare.
The reality of it is that 33% of people CLAIM to have food allergies, yet only 1.5% of adults have actual true food allergies! (http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/food-allergy-myths http://www.allergenbureau.net/food-allergens/clinical-information-about-food-allergies).
To ansewer your questions, I have food allergies to (I will dies if I eat...) Kiwi and anything related to amoxicillian (bleu cheese, gargonzola....). Since I don't have children I will throw in that my mother is truly allergic to stawberries, cherries and raspberries. My mother also has a sensitivity to latex, where I have a sever allergy (cannot be in the same room as balloons or I will stop breathing :/)
I have no food allergies, nor does my child. My mother recently (in the last five years) has developed an allergy to shellfish and some fish, but had never previously had a reaction. No one else in my immediate or extended family has any kind of food allergy.
I always wonder about the surge in reported allergies over the last few decades or so. As a child, none of my friends had food allergies, nor did their families (we all ate together fairly regularly). We had no allergy restrictions in place in any of the schools I attended. My daughter has attended two schools so far, both with very strict nut and seed restrictions. I recently was telling this to a friend of mine, who lived the first 15 years of her life in Eastern Europe, and she laughed and said "Seriously, kids don't have food allergies in my country!" She was shocked when she moved here and discovered so many people have allergies to a number of common foods/ingredients.
I have no known food allergies. I can't think of any in my immediate family either.
I, too, have been very curious as to why food allergies are suddenly becoming a huge thing when they seemed to be virtually unheard of when I was little.
@Hyperventilate: + 1. We're way too scared of germs and have to sanitise everything! This weakens our immune systems. We have to be exposed to germs to be able to fight them.
I'm studying a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and you would not believe how many children have allergies. It's unbelievable. In most of my placement centres there have been children with epi pens, and severe allergies. I think it is because of our fear of germs. Most people HAVE to have hand sanitizer on them at all times, and we treat children in the exact same manner. I've seen the stuff in most early childhood centres.
I believe that the food limitations during pregnancy cause allergies too. Pregnant friends of mine have told me about what they're told not to eat, and I ask them "What ARE you allowed to eat?" Fetuses have to be exposed to allergens in utero for their immune systems to become strengthened, to be able to recognise the allergen, and to be able to fight them. When my mother was pregnant with me she was able to eat anything, (with certain things in moderation) and I turned out fine! The same applies to other people my age, their mothers ate whatever they wanted and their children have no allergies.
There have been a few studies conducted which confront the issues of allergies and make a link between diet restrictions during pregnancy and food allergies.
I also think that some people don't know the difference between allergies and intolerances. On one of my practicums one little boy wasn't allowed to eat the following because he was apparently "allergic" : apples, oranges, pears, driet fruit, peanuts, cashews, barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, corn thins, marmite (vegemite was fine) store bought fruit cake, fresh pasta, whole egg mayonaise, brocolli, peas, ice cream. It was crazy!!! I've also met children who are apparently "allergic" to milk, but can have cheese. These are intolerances, so I don't take too much notice of them. I will worry about children who have a doctors note, an epi pen, or some medication. Those are allergies.
I have a severe food allergy ( seafood) and I am sure it is genetic. Both my grandmothers are allergic to seafood. my mother ate seafood all through her pregnancy and my father eats only seafood. If someone cooks it , and I inhale it I go into anaphylactic shock ( since I was a toddler which is how people knew I had the allergy). My mother ,as she got older, started to react to seafood like shrimp
I'm allergic (although not deathly, just smells deathly) to gluten and dairy. My child isn't at all.
I think I just have a different system then her, I also get chronic infections and seem to be more susseptible (spelling?) to illnesses than she.
My fiance however never gets sick. My daughter and I will both be coughing and hacking all over the house and every time my fiance is walking around in great health. I'm happy for that though. He's got a strong immune system.
I often get sick and my child doesn't. And I'm 25, she's only 4
I have no allergies what-so-ever. My daughter, God rest her soul, had many allergies, although none to food. I knew allergies ran in the family, so I was very careful how I introduced foods to her. I breastfed only the first 6 months, and introduced organic foods, one at a time. So while she had environmental allergies (mold, dogs, etc.) she never had any food allergies.
I personally believe all these allergies are the result of over-vaccination. I was indeed fortunate to have grown up in a time where I was only vaccinated for polio, smallpox, and tetnus. You could not pay me enough money to get a flu shot either. I only wish I knew what I know now back when she was a baby, I would have never had her vaccinated!
I'm not allergic to any foods, but in 2012 I spent many months in Africa and was working with Medical Doctors native to Tanzania. When I told them I had seasonal allergies, they acted like I had cancer! They said they'd only read about allergies in books and never met someone with them before.
I think the clean hypothesis has a lot to do with it! I've also read that allergies increased by hundreds of percents after WW2.
i dont have any kids but DH and I are both allergic to eggs, dairy, and gluten. I am also allergic to Soy (he is not). Our kids dont stand a chance... :(
I call it an allergy to fish, but it's really more of an intolerance. If I eat fish, and sometimes if I just smell it the roof of my mouth/ back of my throat aches, I get this weird headache I only get with fish and my digestive system gets mess up for days. I do have true, carry an epi pen, allergies to fragrances and beauty products, but I would never use it if I accidentally ate fish. Every now and then I fool myself into believe that my fish thing is getting better and try to eat some seafood again. I always end up regretting it :/ hope springs eternal you know?
My parents don't have food allergies, though my mom is allergic to beauty products and my dad is very sensitive to fragrances (thanks guys, that genetic combo has sent me to the ER a few times now), however my grandmother is also sensitive to fish. She's not as bad as I am, but it does give her problems. Her friend gave her some fish oil vitamins to try and she could not figure out why she felt so awful...uhh nana? it's probably because you're allergic to fish. As soon as she stopped the vitamins she felt better.
I do have a friend who interestingly enough is actually allergic to milk, not just lactose intolerant. He once was given some milk, realized it, spit it out, and his chest broke out in hives. The doctors did some tests and determined which protein in milk he's actually allergic to, he knows the name of it, which as a biochemist I think is pretty cool.
There may be some validity to the "exposure in the womb/throuh breast milk lessens the odds of your body seeing things as a threat" argument.
I think SOME allergy claims are exaggerated, mostly by parents, but it's hard to know who deserves the eye-roll - I mean, I get pretty upset when people tell me I'm a liar because I have a bad allergy to something that sounds totally ridiculous: Sunlight. People straight up don't believe me. I had gym teachers grumble and roll their eyes and say things like "what a creative excuse" [to get out of outdoor activities in gym] when I brought them a doctor's note saying I couldn't participate, and this is a reaction that I had been hospitalized for before.
Weird allergy sufferers will get lots of trust and sympathy from me! Haha.
It's possible we just have better ways to test for allergies these days, so people with minor allergies act similarly to people with allergies you don't even need to test for because you know when their head swells up like a balloon. Maybe people used to privately be aware that when they ate a food, it "didn't agree with them" but didn't make it so public like we do today with even the littlest alleries.
My dad is asphyxiation-death-allergic to kiwi and extreme-discomfort-allergic to basically all melons and tropical fruits. (Whatever substance is the problem I guess is much more abundant in kiwi and exists to some degree in the other stuff.)
I have no allergies to food, which is funny 'cause I do have IBS. Some foods make it better (RICE I love living in Korea) but nothing seems to change things for the worse.
FH claims to have no allergies, but when he eats certain brownish-orange sauces usually in asian foods he gets migraines. (Whenever he is presented with something suspect, he always takes photos, asks about the ingredients, then eats it anyway, "for science," since we don't know what's actually the problem.)
I have one really strange food allergy (butter beans, which used to be my favorite bean but now they make me throw up)
@trueblue14: Please vaccinate your children. Medical professionals say the myths about vaccinations are just that, myths. They do not cause allergies or autism according to reputable sources and peer reviewed studies. Not trying to thread-jack here, there's a whole discussion over this:
To put us back on track - I noticed when we were putting together our dessert bar that there are a lot of gluten intolerant adults these days. What's that about?
I did read a study which found that city children had a much higher rate of allergies than country children. The researchers thought it could be because of the benefit of being outdoors or the negative impact of pollution. They also said being around animals makes it less likely that a child will have allergies.
My Dad, brother, and sister all are celiac but I lucked out and am not.
However I am allergic to bananas- when I was younger they just made my throat tingly but as I got older my throat started to close when I ate them so I stopped. I was not aware that I was allergic when I was younger because as ridiculous as it sounds I thought the tingling was normal.
There are no food allergies in either of our families. Dh grew up the poorest of the poor in the boonies. No healthcare, no nothing. The only food he ate was free school hot lunch (sad face). We grew up eating terrible in the early part of our lives, and then very very well in our teenage years- but always much better than DH. My family was middleclass and then uppermiddle. Completely different situations and resources- when my family ate poorly when we were little it was not from a lack of food or money for groceries, more just a midwest mindset that was not educated about eating, and we always had healthcare.
I cannot however, as of late, digest wheat. It just doesn't happen. I figure there is not much use for that in my diet anyway.
I don't think it has to do with economic status- then again in a way maybe it does. I think some parents that are better off may be more likely to take a child to the doctor for something slight, whereas DH would have been told to suffer or laughed at :( In other words, if he had an allergy, they didn't care- but that kind of treatment isn't necessarily economic-based either, but they did not have the resources (on top of not caring). I mean, they did not take him to the doctor when he had giardia or when he almost died on several occassions.
I have no true food allergies, although I am lactose intolerant and do have a very sensitive stomach (most things that aren't quite bland upset it easily). Both my parents are allergy free but my mom's mom is allgeric and intolerant to everything! I definitely take after her, so I'm hoping the lactose imtolerance will be the only thing I "inherhit".
My sister had a slight allergy to berries when she was younger, but she loved them so much my parents couldn't completely cut her off, just cut back, and now shes fine!
I think many people assume the worst. I have a friend who swore up and down she was allergic to seafood growing up, now shes been for allergy tests and came back saying shes not allergic to seafood in the slightest. She now thinks she may have just made it up because she never liked it and her moms allergic so it was an easy way to get out of eating it! Lol
@AlwaysSunny: I've started reading the book "Wheat Belly" and the doctor talks about how the wheat crop has changed so dramatically over the past 50 years. He likens it to the relationship between chimpanzees and humans; same basic DNA, but enough difference to make it no longer the same animal. His argument suggests that while we were able to process/digest wheat in it's natural form, the wheat that is being grown today, in addition to the way it's processed, make it intolerable to a good chunk of the population.
@inspiredcreations: That's interesting, I'll have to look into it. I'm sorry you're dealing with a gluten intolerance, that must be a huge pain!
I'm allergic to mango. But not like, life threatening-ly or anything. If I eat it I get blisters on my lips and gums. My mom is allergic to honeydew (same issue). Those are the only food allergies in my family.
I'm severally lactose intolerant, but not allergic. My throat won't swell up (like an allergy) but I tend to start sweating, having painful stomach cramps, and you bet I'll be in the bathroom for a long while. I can't even have a little Ranch dressing on my salad! SAD LIFE. This developed when I was a teenager and has gotten worse over the last 10 years. However, I have magic pills that work just fine if I can remember to take them before I eat ice cream.
My mom started having a lot of health problems when she turned 45. She started suffering from migranes 7 days a week, achey joints and feet (she looked like an 80 year old woman hobbling around, and she's usually super active), she was sick all the time, retaining water (couldn't even wear her wedding ring, gained 3 ring sizes) and had many digestive issues as well. She went to a specialist and tested as intolerant to gluten, dairy, eggs, and soy. She has since cut out all of them from her diet, and she has no more migranes, joint pain, etc... It's amazing.
She grew up on a farm, and I grew up half farm/half suburbs so we were both exposed to a lot. I'm not sure where all of these came from, but I'm hoping to escape her intolerances. Mmm pasta...
I'm surprised no one has mentioned this, but I think a lot of food allergies come from feeding babies food before they're fully developed. I'm not a mom, but I have done a ton of food allergy research, and I know personally I'll be delaying solid foods till at least 8 months. Here's an article on delaying solids, but point #1 is what I'm referring to.
"1. Baby's intestines need to mature. The intestines are the body's filtering system, screening out potentially harmful substances and letting in healthy nutrients. In the early months, this filtering system is immature. Between four and seven months a baby's intestinal lining goes through a developmental growth spurt called closure,meaning the intestinal lining becomes more selective about what to let through. To prevent potentially-allergenic foods from entering the bloodstream, the maturing intestines secrete IgA , a protein immunoglobulin that acts like a protective paint, coating the intestines and preventing the passage of harmful allergens. In the early months, infant IgA production is low (although there is lots of IgA in human milk), and it is easier for potentially-allergenic food molecules to enter the baby's system. Once food molecules are in the blood, the immune system may produce antibodies to that food, creating a food allergy . By six to seven months of age the intestines are more mature and able to filter out more of the offending allergens. This is why it's particularly important to delay solids if there is a family history of food allergy, and especially to delay the introduction of foods to which other family members are allergic."
I want to come back and comment when I've got more time, so commenting to find again.
@Linz1231: I have that too!!! Ben diagonosed with celiac disease since January 2004 (when I was 17 years old). Before I was diagnosed with it, I never heard of it either!!
Tree nuts and peanuts here. No food allergies anywhere in either side of my family that we've ever heard of before my generation. However, 2 out of 3 of my half-sister's children have food allergies. Theirs are pretty mild, I'm anaphylactic.
Also, @ Hyperventilate - the reason my parents found out that I had a peanut allergy was because my mom was nursing me (I was around 3 months old) and she ate a handful of peanut M&Ms. Apparently the next time she fed me, I turned tomato red and had hives covering my entire body. The irony is that peanut M&Ms are her favorite snack in the entire world, and she managed not to eat any for nearly a year because of the doctors telling her to avoid potential allergens.
I grew up with dogs & cats, exposed from birth on. Born in NYC, but plenty of exposure to grass, trees, dirt and of course, pollutants. My mom always keeps a clean house, but nothing over the top.
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