In my last article I talked about the allergies and sensitivities so many of us have, and how we are beginning to see more and more people suffering with reactions to various foods.
Allergy is an overused word. I found a definition of allergy which says:
“Properly defined, allergy is the condition which results from the introduction into the body of certain substances, usually proteins, which cause a disease complex called allergy”
What most people are suffering with is hypersensitivity.
It used to be that if anyone had an allergy it would be to pollen and they – poor souls – would sneeze and weep and scratch their way through the summer suffering with Hay Fever.
You would almost never hear of people with food allergies and intolerances. People were happy to eat pretty well everything that was put in front of them – with the exception of school dinners. And even though they might prefer one food to another – no-one talked about becoming ill from what they ate.
Of course some of this was because allergy went largely undiagnosed – so people suffered without knowing the cause of their suffering.
But lack of diagnosis does not account for the huge increase of people who respond badly to various foods. My belief is that over the years our immune systems have become severely compromised.
This is partly because our immune systems are being challenged on a daily basis by the chemicals we use to spray our crops. These chemicals are invaluable in ensuring that pests do not destroy the crops – but were never intended to be taken internally.
We are also choosing to eat foods which are harmful to us in such great quantities that they undermine our whole metabolic process.
During the Second World War, processed foods, sugars and fats were rationed, and people were forced to rely on basic but nutritious foods. Health improved in the UK quite dramatically.
Nowadays our food contains:
- Other E numbers and additives – which are used as preservatives for longer shelf life.
- Hormones – used to promote growth in the animal
- Water injected into the meat to produce greater weight
Our food does not contain the vitamins, minerals and trace elements needed for our maintenance
- because the soil is barren and over farmed
- because the food has been processed and the nutrients lost (though sometimes the Vits/ Mins are added back in)
- the nutrients have been killed by overcooking
It is astonishing that in this country of plenty, so many of us should be suffering from nutrient deficiency.
Nutrient deficiency upsets the whole metabolic process, and then it becomes more difficult to convert the complex substances into simple ones for the use of the body, which uses them to build complex tissues. Foods are not broken down properly in the gut and when the body tries to use them, they cannot be absorbed properly and often have a harmful effect.
The body builds up a resistance to these improperly digested foods and so begins intolerance and then allergy.
A huge industry has built up around allergies.
We are now able to buy foods free from
The list goes on.
And while this is important and necessary to the people who suffer with allergies it is worrying that there are enough people who suffer from food intolerance to have created this industry.
Food reactions can affect us in so many ways.
We are familiar with the blocked nose, the constantly runny nose, the streaming eyes, blocked sinuses, permanent catarrh and headaches.
Allergies can also affect the skin, producing spots, rashes and raised wheals
The skin can become hard and dry, the heels cracked.
Allergies can affect breathing and provoke asthma attacks.
People are unable to sleep properly and often their energy is affected. They will become sleepy if they eat something which disagrees. Alternatively, you can see children responding to the colourings and additives in food by becoming wild and hyperactive.
The digestive system will usually react with;
Nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation.
Bloating, wind and heartburn.
Weight gain – or the inability to thrive and to put on weight.
The most under acknowledged reactions caused by allergies are in the mental and emotional spheres.
The inability to concentrate or think coherently
The change in personality – often making people rude and aggressive.
I remember listening to a talk by a lady who had been in charge of an institute for young offenders. She realised that a lot of these kids were having an extreme reaction to the junk food they were eating. She started to change the food served in this institution. At first – these teenagers were furious that they were no longer allowed the food that they usually ate. But as they gradually calmed down they realised how different they felt. Eventually – they were entrusted to go on
supervised shopping trips to buy additive free food. They took an active interest in their shopping expeditions and in their own mental and physical health.
Usually, the numbers of offenders who re-offend after release and get locked up again is very high. But with these children the number was extremely low.
It made me wonder how many of society’s ills could be attributed to reaction to what we eat.