The Nature of Food Allergies

Food allergies have become a major concern with parents, health practitioners and school administrators. However, the estimates of prevalence of allergies varies widely.

A commonly accepted definition is an “adverse immune response that occurs reproducibly on exposure to a given food and is distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacologic reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions.”

However, most people are not going to make such a fine distinction between food allergy and food intolerance. Non-celiac gluten-sensitivity (NCGS) does not cause an IgE response so with this definition it not classed as a food allergy.

Dairy, in particular, cow’s milk and gluten, wheat and grains are commonly avoided as a result of concerns about food allergies.

Read more ⇒

What is the Problem with Wheat and Gluten?

Gluten-free foods is a huge industry. It is estimated that approximately 2% of the US population, that has not been diagnosed with celiac disease, is consuming a gluten-free diet.

The CSIRO reports that, “ as many as 1 in 10 Australian adults, or approximately 1.8 million people, were currently avoiding or limiting their consumption of wheat-based products. Women were more likely to be avoiding wheat than men. The survey also revealed that over half (53%) of those who were avoiding wheat were also avoiding dairy-based foods.”

There is an increasing awareness of the importance of gut flora and its role in health.

People who embark on glute-free diets frequently have significantly impaired health outcomes due to changes in gut bacteria.

At one clinic in Rome, only 30% of people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) were sensitive to gluten.

At another climic, in Maryland USA, only 6% of those suffering from IBS were affected by gluten.

It is apparent that digestive problems are much more complicated than they first appear.

Read more ⇒

How Cooking Changed Us

Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham

Richard Wrangham is a Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University. He is also the curator of Primate Behavioral Biology at the Peabody Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in Uganda.

Wrangham began his career at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania as a member of Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee research team.

The standard view of evolution is that by eating meat, humans were able to evolve the larger brains that distinguish us from other primates. Wranghams’s view is that cooking food is a fundamental activity that transformed humans and our society. He is not the first to propose this view but has developed the concept.

Cooking increased the value of our food. It changed our bodies, our brains, our use of time and our social relationships.

Read more ⇒

Kale – a super green

Dark green leafy cabbage family vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts and kale are a rich source of nutrients. It is frequently recommended that people taking anti-coagulants (“blood-thinning agents”) such as warfarin, refrain from eating leafy greens as it inhibits the anti- coagulant action. Instead of removing the food items that can help you recover your health, it is important that you eat a consistent amount of leafy greens so that the medication can be monitored. So, speak to your doctor.

Kale has an extensive array of vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and copper.

Kale is also rich in proteins and moderately rich in a linolenic acid (ALA – an essential omega 3 fatty acid).

Read more ⇒

US Department of Agriculture

The US Department of Agriculture has an extensive database of the nutrient constituents of over 8,000 foods. The amount of protein, carbohydrates, fibre and fat in food can be accessed as well as the individual fatty acids, amino acids, minerals and vitamins.

There are also many other resources including research data and information regarding the food intake of US citizens.

Read more ⇒