Pollen, grass, pet dander, peanuts, milk products, grains, you name it and people are allergic to it, none more so than in America apparently. Whether it’s children throwing tantrums on cows milk, their handwriting, behavior going berserk on chocolate, even eggs or the deadly nut allergies it seems everyone in the Western genome is allergic to something. When it’s not pets, nature, dish soaps, laundry detergents, cleaning products, it’s food additives. Gluten and Casein reactions popping up, especially in kids, celiac disease, leaving parents trying to find something their children can eat without all the unwanted side effects. Going even further, the old myth sugar makes children hyper, causes unruly behavior and is generally bad for them; ah how influential the power of suggestion, as parents can be convinced their child’s behavior is worse, more out of control simply by being told their child consumed sugar. Nevertheless, kids do seem to be having increased reactions not only to sugar, causing symptoms bordering on psychosis, but to almost anything in normal everyday foods, and while this means a boon for organic, no additive, food companies, provides evidence to naturalist fanatics about the harm of these substances, the amount of pollutants in our environment, no one is asking perhaps the most important question. Why is America allergic to everything and other parts of the world not; why are things in food triggering reactions in Americans and not others across the globe?
Such allergies reached headlines again as parents in one school district pulled their kids out of school complaining that the twice a day hand washing and mouth rinsing was taking too much time out of their education, supposedly 30 minutes daily, which adds up to hours a week and compounds over the school year. Still other parents pulled their children out of school in support of the young, lower grade school girl whose allergy to peanuts is life threatening. While the school argues ther’s a misconception on the part of parents, experts on the Today show saying parents have missed a golden opportunity to teach their child compassion, here is a community up in arms about the resources and exceptions it takes to teach one child, for them to be part of the school environment. Pesticides are one more thing said to lead to ADHA while we clamor at parents to feed their kids more vegetables; at least when doctors announced a link between food dyes, specifically blue 1&2, red 40, yellow 5&6 and orange B; they admitted there was a genetic component and the dyes were only acting as triggers. Still, the UK has taken steps to place warning labels on all foods containing these colorings and doctors here want food manufacturers to remove the suspicious additives all together; simultaneously not only do parents who see a change in their kids swear by it, they want the government to get involved letting other parents know this could be effecting their kids too.
Susanne Somers controversial for her anti- aging, health, beauty, surviving and thriving during and past menopause books, tips and talk show advice, once again talking about secrets she has discovered about the human body; this time noting that some of the pounds you can’t seem to take off may be caused by an adverse reaction to foods you’re eating your body just doesn’t want. In a recent interview, promoting her new book, she touted a website with a questionnaire to find out if any foods are aggravating you this way, causing bloating, belching, heartburn, seeing her husband in the symptoms in regards to eating eggs also shocked to see herself when it came to the same food, asking why would you feed your body something it doesn’t want? Mentioning her granddaughter who is “allergic to everything,” she also offered insight into why so many are showing signs of wheat allergies, that we have whittled down the types of gluten to such a select few is it any wonder?
Jenny McCarthy, oddly more famous for her anti vaccine campaign than her acting career, has made multiple appearances on Oprah talking about her autistic son Evan who displayed signs of the disorder after receiving typical toddler vaccines, whom she also claimed was virtually cured of the neurological, developmental delay after switching to an all natural diet and continually taking supplements. Having organized parents like herself, written books and participated in many autism awareness events promoting a natural approach to curing this devastating ailment, she has stated she wants to protect the kids that are weak, kids that cannot handle the current rigorous vaccine schedule. She went on to defend the since discredited doctor linking autism and vaccines who had not only a clear conflict of interest, but shoddy methodology, gaining the 12 children studied from parents who believed the MMR vaccine harmed their child, 5 of said children had previously abnormal medical histories, symptoms, only one was actually diagnosed with regressive autism, 3 had no autism diagnosis at all, and there was money to be made in diagnostic kits for autism and something the doctor called autistic enterocolitis. McCarthy’s rational for the defense, he listened to parents, going on to say the controversy was allegations of but one journalist.
Setting in motion questions of do these stories, these health revelations hold water? For example American’s, Western world dwellers and peanut allergies, you don’t see this in the developing world, places in Africa, where a French pediatric nutritionists’ creation, Plumpy’nut, an enriched peanut butter based food, combats starvation. Similarly such nations receive tons of foreign aid yearly including quantities of foodstuffs from the U.S., yet suffer none of the ill effects, somewhat belying Ms Somers’ theory on wheat gluten. Despite national news claims people can lower BPA levels by eating whole, fresh foods and packaging foods in glass or stainless steal, elevated concerns about amounts of the chemical in plastics used to package, store food, until recently found in baby bottles, is centered around packaging of foods not the fact they are processed or frozen rather than fresh. That being said, reporters found a simple, non-scientific, amateur guide for determining if plastics contain BPA; demonstrating that if you can crush, say a standard water, soda bottle gotten from a vending machine, from the crates, packs of bottled water bought at any grocery store, using your hand and it make a crackling, rustling sound odds are there is no presence of the dangerous chemical. However if there is any truth to that it begs the question, if there is little BPA in processed foods, how does eating differently lower said levels, information either not available or not made clear.
Addressing possible links between food dyes and ADD/ ADHD, the key here is the fact specific dyes found in many foods are causing a genetic trigger, a genetic reaction like never before. And instead of trying to answer the question of why, trying to find out how to prevent these genetic, biological, physiological reactions, parents want the government to alert people this could be happening with your child too, even doctors just want it removed from all foods, the UK is attaching warning labels, no one investigating the root cause, treatments outside of abstaining from these elements, leading to a very restrictive lifestyle. It follows related research supporting the idea of food addiction, imaging scans detailing brain function of “normal” people vs. the food addicted, showing that in the so called food addicted, specific parts of the brain don’t light up, don’t convey feelings of fullness, satisfaction, only a need for more, more, more of the craved food. Solutions for getting a handle on afflicted people’s weight focus on applying principles of traditional addiction and recovery, controlling of urges, impulses to the area of weight loss; again not going to the root cause, not investigating ways to retrain the brain to be equal to those deemed normal, not plagued by weight problems, not experiencing extreme cravings. Experimental brain surgery on obese patients having tried everything else has also been shown to discontinue said cravings, leading to the conclusion that what is needed is refinement of surgery, limitation of risk, perhaps a less invasive, dangerous way to fix the physical problem, not a modified 12 step program for over eaters.
While connecting weight gain to an adverse reaction your body is having to particular foods eaten that it can no longer process, process correctly may well be the forest we aren’t seeing for the trees in the obesity epidemic and gives another, frankly more plausible, explanation than excessive meals out and lack of exercise, too much time spent in front of TV, video games and computers, we have a bigger problem. Assuming Ms. Somers theory on how some food allergies manifest themselves is correct, at least in select individuals, the only remedy is elimination, eliminating foods that cause this reaction from ones diet. At first glance something not seen as the larger problem it can become when doing so could very well entail not eating entire food groups, watching for malnutrition, walking down store isles trying to find things that won’t make you pack on the pounds, forcing you to buy organic, free range food, grass fed only meat products. No treatment, no cure, no questions asked as to why, and lets face it, as much as we talk about food as a way to supply the body what it needs, we eat foods primarily because they taste good. Human beings were born with taste buds and possess them for a reason; food is likewise meant to be a pleasurable experience, not drudgery.
More alarming is that 30 years ago we didn’t see a fraction of things like this; kids of the ’80’s ate sugar, processed foods, foods containing dyes and didn’t get in huge trouble at school, didn’t get labeled overly hyper before there was a disorder for it, didn’t have the struggle with concentration, focus, attention kids diagnosed ADD/ADHD do today, despite the amount of TV watched, amount of “screen time” spent in toddler years. Extreme sugar reactions to candy, soda, sugared cereal, now causing severe behavioral disruptions, were almost non existent, as recently as the mid ’90’s and the microwave generation. Obviously medical advancements have been achieved, knowledge gained, yet there are plenty of children who consume quantities of both items, right now, not having any reaction, so what is happening with this growing minority feared to become a majority? And why aren’t we asking these questions; why aren’t we recruiting effected children for genetic mapping, for better study of what is happening and enhanced treatments?
By now many Americans are aware of the debunking of the controversial doctor to find a link between vaccines and autism, who has since lost his UK medical license; what they may not be aware of is the increased instances of whooping cough, measles just to name a few childhood illnesses resurging through the population thanks to parents refusing to vaccinate their kids for fear of autism. Or the other popular culprit among parents for the disorder mercury preservatives in vaccines, causing mercury poisoning, masquerading as, mimicking autism. Yet autism rates continue to rise in spite of mercury no longer being used in newer vaccine storage. Further the vaccines added to the dosing schedule Ms. McCarthy says is giving children so many more shots, medicines, chemicals, includes chicken pox, known to kill up to thousands yearly and be potentially deadly, to say nothing of very painful, if contracted as an adult. Hepatitis A and B; all 3 very communicable and common in daycare settings hints the shot requirements for most childcare programs, along with booster shots for grade schoolers and adolescents respectively to prevent the possibility of contracting specific formerly eradicated illnesses because a vaccine wore off. Adults are now being advised to receive updates of vaccines to avoid the same contraction possibility particularly parents and care givers of infants, in order to avoid exposing their children to whooping cough before they can be vaccinated. Medical experts responding to McCarthy’s vehement campaign against vaccines have pointed out that her son’s symptoms are more indicative of Landau-Kleffner syndrome routinely, misdiagnosed as autism, a disorder that better explains his seizers, what his mother described as gut ache, noticed in her son and by other parents she communicated with online.
Returning to the deadly allergic child and the community uproar, of course these parents need to take a half a cup of common sense and stop holding signs, stop pulling there kids from school, realize it doesn’t take 30 minutes to execute the hand washing and mouth rinsing regiment, realize it’s not impacting their child’s education and that there is a teachable moment here regarding compassion. At the same time it points to the critical need for alternatives; is this child a candidate for controlled environment therapies introducing them to their allergy slowly until symptoms dissipate; combating allergies so severe, is there another treatment that could at least remove the life threatening part of the equation so this child can lead a normal, less fear filled life, avoiding current battles altogether? Same concept applies all foods, food dyes, food products, because removing pesticides and chemicals is one thing, but at the rate this is going, with no research into reversing allergies, correcting genetic anomalies, how long is it before people can’t eat anything and have to be on feeding tubes of prescription, liquid nutrients to survive? Rare cases of this already occur; it shouldn’t have to become everyone’s future reality, and certainly not because we just want to Band-Aid, quick fix things by restriction, elimination and avoidance.