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Why So Many Allergies?

The number of allergies is on the rise, but why so many allergies especially in children?

Allergies and auto-immune disorders occur when our immune system mistakenly identifies an otherwise harmless substance as a threat. It then attacks these inappropriate targets. In the case of an allergy this may be a food, dust, mould, pollen etc or in the case of an autoimmune disease the body is attacked.

 So Why So Many Allergies?

The medical profession does not really have any definitive answers as to why the number of allergies is on the rise. There are however several theories.

> The Hygiene Hypothesis speculates that we are not exposed to enough pathogens, parasites and other microbes giving our immune systems too little to do. This hypothesis has been around for several decades.

> Digestive Health and Leaky Gut – around 80% of our immune system is in our gut, if the gut is not healthy, then we will not be healthy.

> Lifestyle factors such as warmer, drier homes and a more sedentary lifestyle.

The Hygiene Hypothesis

Population studies have found that there is a much lower incidence of allergies, asthma and anaphylaxis in developing countries. It is also known that children who grow up on a farm, around animals and spending a lot of time outside have fewer allergies.

The theory is that these children are exposed to parasites and other microbes, which is much more in line with the way that we evolved.

During evolution our bodies adapted to the constant presence of these parasites and other microbes. Now that they have been removed from our environment we have a very active immune system that is effectively itching for a fight.

In other words, our living conditions and food are so clean they don’t offer our immune systems enough to do, so our systems overreact to harmless allergens instead.

Nick Furnham at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and his team have also found similarities between the proteins in parasitic worms and those in pollens. He suggests that our parasite defences will naturally attack the pollen leading to seasonal allergies.

So what can we do?

We are simply too paranoid about GERMS

If your house is generally clean it is acceptable for your child to play on the floor. Allowing your child to play outside and to be exposed to dirt is beneficial for the immune system. (Avoid areas that may be contaminated with animal waste)

Also, exposure to animals including pets will have benefits for their immune system and your child’s mental well-being.

Digestive Health and Leaky Gut

It is estimated that 80% of our immune system is found in the gut.

When damage is caused to our gut lining by food allergies and intolerances, reactions to antibiotics or pesticides, or illnesses such as gastro-enteritis it allows bacteria, metabolic wastes and undigested proteins to enter our blood stream.

These foreign substances in the blood stimulate the immune system into attacking and trigger inflammation, allergies and auto-immune diseases.

Allergies are also more prevalent in C-section children. Baby’s digestive tracts are sterile.  During a natural birth they will be exposed to the flora found in their mother’s gut. Studies are suggesting that these babies should deliberately be exposed to a swab from their mother in order to populate their gut with the necessary ‘good’ bacteria and other microbes.

So how do we fix this?

“Healing and sealing” your gut has been shown to help alleviate allergy symptoms. The key lies in altering your diet to eliminate any offending foods and introducing healthier choices that will support a proper balance of bacteria in your gut.

It is becoming more generally understood that pesticides in food, processed foods, “junk food”, GMO products and synthetic ingredients in foods can decimate the beneficial bacteria in your gut, thereby having a negative effect on your immune system.

A registered nutritionist can give you individualized advice on which foods to eat.

Antibiotics should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Following any course of antibiotics it is essential to take a good quality, preferably soil based, probiotic to repopulate the gut with ‘friendly’ bacteria.

Lifestyle factors

Human beings are designed to be active for a greater portion of their day. In our modern world we too often spend many hours sitting down. Our lack of fitness impacts many systems in the body.

We also evolved to be outside in all weathers and temperatures. We live indoors in clean, warm and dry conditions. We are not exposed to challenging conditions and temperature changes that strengthen our bodies.

One study in the UK found that people who took a swim in cold water (sea, river or a lake) daily or several times a week, actually had stronger immune systems, were sick less often and had fewer allergies.

What can we do?

The answer is easy – move more and get out into the fresh air….  If only it were that simple!

Take your child outdoors throughout the year, they will come to no harm in the cold or heat as long as they are properly dressed and protected.

Make sure that they get plenty of exercise and active time – you will benefit too if you play with them.

As an adult, try to make time to be outdoors most days, and plan a time to exercise 5 days a week if you can, even if it is a 30min walk. Find an activity that you enjoy, whether playing ball with your child, building a snow man, going to the gym, a team sport or a regular walking group.

By putting your exercise time into your schedule you will find it easier to achieve. The benefits will be worth the effort!

Seasonal Allergies and Anxiety

Is there a link between Seasonal Allergies and Anxiety?

So, as an allergist, I see a lot of clients for seasonal allergies. Spring and fall are especially busy. The seasonal allergies will be the main reason for their visit so they are often surprised to discover between seasonal allergies and anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

Commonly, whilst taking the health history during the initial assessment, they will mention that they have mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Their anxiety and depression frequently getting worse in the spring or at the end of the summer, just when most people are feeling at their best.

This is a factor that the medical profession is beginning to understand. This peer reviewed article states: the majority of published studies indicate some type of indistinct relationship between allergies and anxiety and mood syndromes.

Linking Seasonal Allergies and Anxiety

In a 2002 study, a team of scientists led by Paul S. Marshall, PhD, a clinical neurophysiologist, found that people with seasonal allergies experienced more sadness, apathy, lethargy, and fatigue in late summer, when ragweed season peaks.

His report states that seasonal allergies are known to cause specialized cells in the nose to release cytokines, a kind of inflammatory protein.

Animal and human studies alike suggest that these cytokines can affect brain function, triggering sadness, malaise, poor concentration, and increased sleepiness.

In 2005 Teodor T. Postolache, MD, led a study that found peaks in tree pollen levels correlated with increased levels of suicide in women.

Other studies have shown that adults with seasonal allergies were twice as likely to have been diagnosed with major depression in the previous 12 months, and that children who had suffered from these allergies at age 5 or 6 were twice as likely to experience major depression over the ensuing 17 years.

Addressing Allergies

In the case of food allergies the easy answer is to avoid those foods, however, this is not so easy for moulds, pollens, dust and other environmental allergens!

Conventional medicine can offer immunotherapy (allergy shots or sublingual drops) to reduce allergy symptoms. This a time-consuming process, involving frequent visits to the doctor’s office over 5 or more years and can become expensive.

There are other, alternative therapies.

Allergy Treatments

I personally recommend the use of NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique). This is an effective, natural, non-invasive treatment that works with your body to permanently ‘turn off’ the reaction. It teaches the body that it can be non-reactive in the presence of the allergens, and can be used to treat allergies to foods and environmental factors.

Since 2004, I have used a Natural Allergy Treatment method based on NAET to treat seasonal and environmental allergies and have had great results in people of all ages from infants to seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s.

This process does not take many sessions and costs significantly less than regular use of over the counter allergy meds.

Acupuncture

Another option is Acupuncture which works to rebalance the body and relieve symptoms. A good Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncturist will be able to significantly reduce inflammation and reactions in your body. This has the added benefit of being able to address the anxiety and depression as well.

To find out more about NAET and Natural Allergy Therapy or acupuncture book now for a complementary discovery session with me.

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Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes For the Holidays

Looking for gluten and dairy free recipes for the holidays?

It seems that many of our friends and family are now choosing to be gluten and / or dairy free. 

This can be tricky during the holidays so I have put together some alternative ingredients and some gluten and dairy free recipes. Most of these are Paleo, so actually grain, dairy, bean and sugar free (and still Delicious!)

Of course, should you wish to cheat with the gluten it is possible to take specific enzymes, available from most health food stores, to reduce the reactions you may have.

Gluten and Dairy Alternatives

There are now many alternatives for the standard ingredients used in recipes. It is often possible to simply switch them over. It is good to try different products to work out what you like.

Many of these products are available in grocery stores such as Loblaws and Independent where they may be found in the natural / organic section, and in health food stores.

Alternative Milk Products:

Soy is now considered by many to not be a great food – it contains phyto-estrogen which has been linked to various health concerns including adversely affecting your thyroid.

An article on Web MD

An article by Dr Axe

So what do you choose instead?

Milk: a wide variety of cartons – coconut, almond, hemp, rice, pea etc. 

Butter and oil: coconut (great for frying and baking), olive, avocado, flax, hemp, sesame etc

Cheese: Deiya cheese is tapioca based, cashew or rice based cheeses

Cream in cooking: Coconut milk or cream (organic tins are best), or cauliflower puree

Yoghurt: coconut yoghurt

Ice cream: coconut and rice ice cream

Wheat, gluten and corn

Many gluten free options contain corn instead. Most corn is now GMO, in addition to which many of us do not digest corn well. You may feel better using other alternatives.

Flours: Oat, buckwheat, arrowroot, sorghum, potato, arrowroot, rice, coconut, almond etc

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes For The Holidays

I hope you enjoy the following recipe ideas. There is a link to the original source for each one. The linked websites do provide many equally delicious recipes!

Stuffing – Savoury sage and sweet apple

Cornbread (grain free) for the stuffing

Turkey gravy

Easy gravy

Christmas Pudding – Raw quick

Christmas Pudding – Steamed

Pumpkin Pie – a nice option for Boxing Day or New year!

SAVOURY SAGE & SWEET APPLE Stuffing

3 ½ cups onion, diced

2 ½ cups celery, diced

1 cup apple, cored and diced

1/4 cup dates, chopped into small pieces (raisins or dried cranberries would also be good)

2 cups almond flour

2 teaspoons sage

2 teaspoons thyme

1/4 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, ghee or coconut oil

3 eggs, whisked

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease a medium-sized baking dish (If you’re using a cast iron skillet or pan that can go from stovetop to oven, skip this step

Add 2 tablespoons butter/ghee/coconut oil to a saucepan and warm over low/med heat.

Add onion, celery, apple and herbs and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, add almond flour and dates and mix. (Note: If you have a cast iron or pan that can go from stovetop to oven, you can just mix everything in the pan.)

Add the lightly beaten eggs to the bowl and mix well.

Add mixture to baking dish if using, or simply place the pan in the oven. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes for 1 hour

 

CORNBREAD – grain free

2 cups almond flour

3 tablespoons coconut flour

3 teaspoons baking powder or baking soda (make sure it’s grain-free )

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons coconut sugar (or 1 teaspoon honey)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee or coconut oil melted and cooled slightly

1 cup plain, whole coconut yogurt

2 medium jalapeños, minced (optional)

Shredded cheese (optional), Deiya cheese will work

1/2 yellow onion, minced

Preheat oven to 425°F and adjust rack to middle position of oven. Butter an 8 x 8-inch baking dish.

Whisk almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, sea salt, baking soda and coconut sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter or coconut oil, and coconut yoghurt. Pour this mixture, jalapeños if using and onions into flour mixture and gently fold all ingredients together. Pour half of the cornbread batter into the baking dish and spread out evenly.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top if using, and then pour the remaining batter on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

 

TURKEY GRAVY

1 set of turkey parts (neck, heart, liver, giblets)

1 tbsp butter or coconut oil (for browning)

1/2 onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

2-5 cups chicken or turkey broth – allow about 1/2 cup per person

turkey pan drippings and trimmings from carving

1/2 cup whole cream or coconut cream

salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp potato or arrowroot starch

Melt the butter / coconut oil in a pot on medium heat.

Add the turkey parts and brown them for a few minutes. Next, add the chopped onion and simmer until the onions soften, about five more minutes. Add the broth and bay leaf, and bring it to a gentle boil; reduce the heat to low and let it simmer while the turkey cooks (at least two hours).

Once turkey is cooked and resting add any pan drippings to the broth. Use a fat separater to remove as much fat as possible. Return the broth to the pot, add chopped up turkey parts (optional). Bring the broth back to a gentle simmer as you carve the turkey.

Carve the turkey, chop up any leftover turkey trimmings and add to the broth, as well as the cream. Allow it to simmer for about five minutes, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To thicken, mix the potato / arrowroot starch with a little water, and stir about half of it into the gravy.  Simmer stirring continuously for a few minutes. If it isn’t thick enough, add more of the starch and let it simmer again.

When done – serve immediately.

 

EASY GRAVY

2 tablespoons turkey fat from pan drippings, ghee or coconut oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 cups chopped cauliflower

pan drippings

1-2 cups chicken or turkey stock

several sprigs fresh thyme or other herbs

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat fat over medium heat in sauce pan. Add onions and cook until onions start to brown. Stir in cauliflower and thyme sprigs.

Measure pan drippings and add enough stock to equal 2 cups of liquid. Add pan drippings/stock mixture to pan with vegetables. Simmer until cauliflower is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Remove herb stems.

Place in a blender on high until smooth and creamy.

Return gravy to pan to reheat. Add more stock to thin to desired consistency, if needed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy

 

RAW QUICK CHRISTMAS PUDDING

These are made into individual puddings. Ideal for family times. This recipe makes 8.

60g dried figs

2 tbsp orange zest

50g flaxseed meal

2 tbsp dried sour cherries

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

100g dried apricots

250g fresh dates, pitted

170ml almond meal / flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp allspice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ cup orange juice

1 tbsp coconut oil

FROSTING

100g raw organic cacao butter, chopped (available from health food stores)

100ml coconut cream

40g maple syrup, good quality

1. Line 8 x 5cm (2-inch) diameter moulds, 50ml capacity small cups or any other oven proof suitable containers with plastic wrap.

2. Combine all the ingredients, except for the orange juice and the coconut oil, in a food processor and blend until the mixture forms into a crumb-like consistency. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add the orange juice and coconut oil. Knead the mixture until it comes together into a large ball.

3. Divide the pudding mix into 8 portions and pack into the moulds firmly. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm. Remove from the moulds, peel off the plastic wrap and place on a tray.

4. Make frosting – melt the cacao butter in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Remove from the heat, thoroughly mix in the coconut cream and maple syrup. Cool at room temperature to thicken the frosting, stirring occasionally.

5. Spoon the frosting over the puddings and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes or until the frosting is firm.

6. Decorate the puddings with some fresh raspberries and serve.

 

STEAMED CHRISTMAS PUDDING

150g sultanas

80g dried sour cherries or dried unsweetened cranberries, plus extra for garnish

100g currants

30g raw almonds, roughly chopped

200g kombucha or freshly squeezed orange juice

zest of 1 orange

40g almond meal / flour

20g coconut flour

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

55g coconut oil

40g apple, peeled & cored

2 eggs

1/4 tsp fine salt

1/4 tsp bicarb soda

Simmer dried fruit and almonds with kombucha or orange juice for 6 mins and set aside to cool.

Place orange zest, almond meal, coconut flour, spices, salt, soda, apple, eggs and coconut oil into a blender and mix. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add soaked fruit and nuts into bowl and mix.

Scoop mixture into cupcake cups or small ramekins and place into a steamer, with lid on. Cups / ramekins should be about 3/4 full.

Steam for 25 mins.

Allow puddings to cool, covered, and store in fridge until needed.

Drizzle with Coconut Vanilla Custard, with a dried cranberry or sour cherry on top for decoration.

 

PUMPKIN PIE

Paleo pie crust:

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 Tbsp coconut flour sifted

2/3 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup palm oil shortening cold, or grassfed butter, or a combination of both

1 Tbsp Maple Sugar or coconut sugar*

1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

1 egg

Filling:

15 oz can pumpkin puree

2/3 cup full fat coconut milk blended

6 Tbsp pure maple syrup or more if you’d like it sweeter

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch salt

2 large eggs room temp

1 egg yolk room temp

(pumpkin pie spice: 1/4 cup ground cinnamon 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg 4 teaspoons ground ginger 1 tablespoon ground allspice)

Make the Crust:

Preheat oven to 375F. 

In a food processor pulse all crust ingredients EXCEPT egg to create thick crumbs, then pulse/process in the egg until a dough forms.

Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, chill in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes prior use.

To get your dough into a 9in pie dish:

Either roll out dough into a circle between two sheets of parchment. Place pie dish upside-down over the dough, then using the bottom parchment paper, flip the dough into the dish. Press into the bottom and sides of the pie dish to fit. The dough will break easily, however it also repairs incredibly easily, just patch and pres into place as needed.

Or simply press evenly into pie dish using your hands.  Be patient and refrigerate dough as needed to make it easier to work with**

Once in the pie dish, gently pierce the dough with a fork all over so it doesn’t puff up while baking.

Bake pie crust at 375F for 12-15 mins until bottom is set, remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Make the Filling:

Whisk all ingredients together except eggs, then whisk in eggs and egg yolk 1 at a time, don’t over mix.

Pour filling into the baked crust, spreading it all around to seal edges. Cover top with aluminum foil and bake at 375F for 40-45 minutes or until centre is nearly set (still a bit jiggly) and crust is deep golden brown.

Allow to cool completely at room temperature to avoid excessive cracking of the filling.

Serve, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 

Serve topped with whipped coconut cream if desired. 

Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*Coconut sugar will cause the crust to darken more than maple sugar

**Unlike a traditional gluten-containing crust, you can’t “overwork” the dough, so take your time as needed pressing it into the pie dish.

 

Happy Holidays!

Allergies-and-Sleep-The-Allergy-Co

Allergies and Sleep

Allergies and sleep.

Allergies and sensitivities have an impact on many aspects of our health and are often overlooked when seeking to determine the causes for our health concerns.

Over the last 12 years I have had many clients who come in complaining that nothing they do seems to really resolve their sleep issues. Frequently they have been forced to resort to sleeping pills from their doctor in order to finally get the sleep they need.

Food Allergies and Sleep

In many of these cases I have found that food allergies and sensitivities are a large part of the problem.
They can cause
• increased anxiety and restlessness
• an inability to fall asleep
• difficulty staying asleep

When eating certain foods clients may find that they experience a faster than usual pulse rate, thirst, excessive urination, sweats and even shivering. They may experience dreams and nightmares or complain that their brain “just won’t shut off”.
Common foods linked to these problems include cow’s milk products, artificial additives and colours in foods, MSG and the night shade vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.
There is some truth in the old wives’ tale that eating cheese before bed causes nightmares!

Of course, if your food allergies are causing you to experience digestive issues such as cramping, gas, reflux or indigestion then this too will affect your sleep.
They can also lead to inflammation and pain in the body making sleeping uncomfortable.
In my practice I often find cow’s milk, wheat and corn to be triggers for digestive issues, inflammation and body pain.

If you suspect that food allergies may be a cause of your sleep issues, try removing the common triggers of wheat, milk products, artificial additives and night shade vegetables for a week and see if that helps.

Environmental Allergies and Sleep

Food allergies, along with environmental allergens such as pollens, dust and dust mites, moulds, pets and feathers can trigger sneezing, runny nose, stuffiness, itchy eyes, sore throats and cough, leading to poor sleep. In this case it is hard to avoid the triggers, but you can reduce them by avoiding feather pillows, using protective covers on your mattress and pillows, and removing carpets from the bedroom.

You could also seek treatment from a Natural allergist or NAET practitioner who can effectively eliminate the allergies.

Electro-magnetic Frequencies (EMF) and Sleep

Another area to consider is the large presence of Electro-magnetic radiation in our modern world.
We are literally bombarded, sources including TVs and cell phones, wifi routers, bedside clocks, smart meters, household wiring and electrical outlets in the wall. Just as an example, at my work place I can pick up 32 different wifi networks from surrounding businesses and condos.

These electro-magnetic frequencies can have a stimulant effect on your body and mind. You may want to remove all electronic devices from your bedroom and make sure that your bed is positioned such that you are sleeping at least 5 feet away from them; whether they are in your bedroom, the other side of a wall or in the room above or below.
If this is not possible then make sure they are switched off and unplugged from their power source.
For at least 2 hours prior to bed try to avoid using electronic devices, especially phones, computers and games, and preferably TVs too. This gives your body and brain time to calm down and prepare for sleep.

So, to summarize, allergies and sensitivities can play a big part in your insomnia. I have only touched the surface here so come and see me to find out more about how these are affecting you.

Stop guessing and get the answers you need!

A cure for seasonal allergies The Allergy Co

A Cure for Seasonal Allergies?

Many of us suffer from allergies, whether seasonal allergies or all year round. Allergies can be of a physical nature or associated with underlying emotional issues.

The medical profession will provide testing to identify your allergies but is of little use when offering solutions. They are limited to meds to control symptoms and allergy shots (immunotherapy), both of which can bring relief but do not tackle the underlying issues.

Using the meds is a little like taking your car to the garage because a warning light shows up on the dash and the mechanic simply turning off the light without fixing the underlying problem.

And the shots are painful, time consuming and usually need to repeated over many years.

The only other option is to avoid the allergens, easier said than done if you react to environmental allergens such as dust or moulds or have seasonal allergies!

So, how can you treat seasonal allergies?

There are a number of natural allergy treatments available, some more effective than others. NAET is one of them.

This system was developed by Dr Devi Nambudripad when she was seeking a solution to her own severe and numerous allergies. It basically teaches your body to be non-reactive in the presence of the allergens. It can be used to treat foods, environmental allergens, electro-magnetic frequencies and even reactions to weather patterns, and is usually permanent.

My personal experience with this modality began in 2003. I had suffered with various allergies for many years, and was ready to try anything. Despite the mixed reviews of this method I decided to give it a go. I was impressed to find that having been treated and pronounced clear of the allergens I no longer reacted to any of them.

And.. I still don’t react, 12 years later! This is also my experience with clients – once they are cleared for an allergen it does not become a problem again.

How does it work?

This Natural Allergy Treatment is painless, non-invasive and effective. It uses acupressure (usually finger pressure), working with the principles of acupuncture and works with your body to switch off the reaction. The body learns that it can be in balance, harmony, and non-reactive when exposed to the allergens. This treatment has even been proven effective for severe and anaphylactic allergies.

Treating seasonal allergies

The first step is Natural Allergy Testing to identify which of the environmental allergens you are reacting to, this includes things such as ragweed, flower and tree pollens, grasses, dust, mould, pets, household chemicals and perfumes and more. The allergens are then treated until they test as cleared.

The traditional NAET protocol has a strict order for treating allergens and will only consider one at a time, however, for seasonal allergies I have found it most effective to be guided by what your body wants. This involves treating as many of the environmental allergens as the body requests in one group. This group of allergens then takes 2 – 3 sessions to clear.

How much does it cost?

The allergy treatments take 15-30 minutes each, and the total cost to treat seasonal allergies is typically less than $400. Once cleared you will no longer need to be paying out for meds.

One of my clients writes:

“I was always short of breath, increased difficulty just going up the stairs. I was tested for allergies and it ended up I was allergic to multiple things …. I was treated and now I started playing hockey and running again. I barely use my puffers, and I am rarely sick even though I work in hospital setting” 

Book a complementary discovery session with me to find out more about this truly life changing treatment.

Milk Allergy in Children 5 Signs The Allergy Co

Milk Allergy in Children – 5 signs and symptoms

Does your child have a milk allergy?

We hear a lot on TV and in social media about making sure to “get enough milk”, and how good a glass of milk is with every meal..

The truth is, whether we are adults or children, we do not need milk products in our diet to be healthy. We can get all the necessary nutrition from other foods. In addition to which milk allergy is very common and consuming milk products can bring a wide range of health issues.

Allergy or sensitivity?

Allergies typically cause a fairly immediate reaction such as runny nose, sneezing, hives, vomiting, diarrhoea and possibly anaphylaxis. Sensitivities on the other hand produce a delayed reaction that can take several days to show up. I might also refer to this as an intolerance. This is more difficult to spot due to the delay in the reaction.

At the end of the day, it does not make much difference whether it is an allergy or sensitivity, either way your child will be better off avoiding the offending food. Both can lead to discomfort, affect nutritional levels, and impact your child’s development.

One of the most common food allergies and sensitivities I see is a milk allergy. Your child may react to the sugar (lactose) and / or the protein (casein) in the milk, and some of the signs are not obviously linked to what they are eating.

The symptoms may start at a very young age due to your child being exposed to milk products through your breast milk. As a child graduates to solid food they are often given milk to drink, yoghurt and cheese. As a child gets older the symptoms may decrease. This can usually be attributed to the fact that the child is no longer drinking cups or bottles of milk, and a larger part of their diet is non-milk.

Here are 5 groups of symptoms that would lead me to suspect milk allergy.

1.Digestive upset

This is maybe the most obvious group of symptoms.

Colic, spitting up

Nausea, vomiting

Diarrhoea; may be greenish, smellly

Gas and bloating

Abdominal pain, tummy aches

2.Hyperactivity and sleep problems

I see many children in my practice who do not sleep well leading to irritability, temper tantrums and exhausted parents.

It is not unusual that removing milk products from their diet brings almost complete relief, in some cases going from just a few hours of sleep a night to a straight 10 hours within a few days of removing the milk.

3.Skin Conditions

When the body breaks out in a rash, hives, eczema, or the skin is either dry or just itchy it is trying to tell you something. One of the most common causes for this irritation is milk.

4.Respiratory issues

Even if your child does not have an allergy or sensitivity to milk it is generally mucous forming.

It is not unusual that asthma, cough, frequent colds, congestion, sinusitis and ear infections are linked to a milk allergy. I have a number of clients who were prepared to take their child to have their adenoids or tonsils removed who found that by removing milk products from the diet the symptoms improved and surgery was no longer necessary.

5.Failure to thrive

This is a little more difficult to spot. You may find that your child has black rings under their eyes, looks tired, lacks energy, is frequently unwell, tends not to gain weight or has excess weight for no obvious reason. They may have issues concentrating or mild to moderate learning difficulties.

If your child is drinking a lot of milk they may also have low iron levels as the calcium in the milk interferes with the uptake of iron from food. I had a recent 11yr old male client who was lethargic, unmotivated, had back and knee aches and a tendency to be quite plump. I tested him as being low in iron, and a blood test from his family doctor showed that he was borderline anaemic. He had been drinking a big glass of milk at every meal and at bedtime. This also meant that he was not eating a proper amount of food due to being full up with the milk.

Elimination diet to test for a milk allergy

Remove the milk for at least 3-4weeks. Monitor your child’s symptoms.

Try reintroducing one type of milk product over a week or so and see what happens.

You can then determine the level of tolerance, and which products are better or worse.

Switching to lactose free products may help, however, frequently the issue is the milk protein which will still be present so it best to remove ALL milk products.

This means milk (including chocolate milk), cheeses, yoghurt, cream, icecream, and milk in products such as chocolate, desserts, cakes and baked goods, flavoured crackers and chips.. and more – read the labels on things you buy.

It is important to remember that the reaction may not appear immediately, so you need to think about what your child ate 2, 3 or even 4 or more days ago. A food and symptom diary can be helpful for this.

Conclusion

At times medical interventions such as surgeries and medications are necessary. However, if you suspect a milk allergy or sensitivity you may want to remove milk products from your child’s diet first to see if that is the underlying cause for the issues.

To find out more, or determine whether your child does have a milk allergy, seek the advice of your Family Doctor, Naturopathic Doctor or Natural Allergist.

I also offer Allergy testing, for children from newborn and up, for milk and other foods to which they may be reacting.