Stay on Track

Alternative Medicine - - Health News & Tips -

As de­clared by the FDA, the top eight food al­ler­gens in the United States are wheat/gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shell­fish. Some peo­ple are se­ri­ously al­ler­gic to th­ese in­gre­di­ents—even the most mi­cro­scopic trace could in­stantly pro­pel them into ana­phy­lac­tic shock, a re­ac­tion char­ac­ter­ized by itchy red hives, nar­rowed air­ways and trou­ble breath­ing, throat swelling, nau­sea and vom­it­ing, and a weak pulse. If not treated quickly, ana­phy­lac­tic shock can even lead to death. Oth­ers have a more mild in­tol­er­ance to th­ese in­gre­di­ents—in other words, eat­ing an omelet won't kill some­one with an egg in­tol­er­ance, but it might give them an up­set stom­ach or a rash.

“About 8 per­cent of chil­dren in Amer­ica have food al­ler­gies,” says Joel Warady, the chief sales and mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer for En­joy Life Foods. “But the num­bers of peo­ple that have food in­tol­er­ances are sig­nif­i­cantly greater—and grow­ing.”

Com­pa­nies are be­gin­ning to cap­i­tal­ize on con­sumers' right to know what's in their food and make choices ac­cord­ingly. For more than a decade, En­joy Life has been mak­ing com­pletely free-from foods—that is, prod­ucts free from the top eight food al­ler­gens in the US—and they are also ver­i­fied non-GMO. So, why strive to be so clean? “What we found was that most peo­ple who have a gluten in­tol­er­ance or have celiac dis­ease also have ad­di­tional food al­ler­gies,” Warady ex­plains. How­ever, those other al­ler­gies vary greatly, and be­ing free from the top eight food al­ler­gens al­lows the com­pany to meet the needs of about 90 per­cent of peo­ple in Amer­ica who have food al­ler­gies and/ or in­tol­er­ances—as well as those who choose to avoid cer­tain in­gre­di­ents.

“As time has pro­gressed, peo­ple feel that tak­ing cer­tain things out of their daily diet just helps them feel bet­ter,” says Warady. “One of the things that we're see­ing as a trend is soy.”

But cer­tain al­ler­gens—such as tree nuts and fish—of­fer nu­mer­ous health ben­e­fits to those who aren't al­ler­gic or in­tol­er­ant. If you en­joy a hand­ful of al­monds as an af­ter­noon snack or reg­u­larly take a fish oil sup­ple­ment with­out ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any ad­verse symp­toms, don't think you need to give up those body-boost­ing foods.

“I think where you get con­tro­ver­sial is some­thing like dairy,” Warady says. “There are a lot of nu­tri­tion­ists and di­eti­cians who would say you have to have dairy as part of your weekly diet. I'm not so sure about that.”

Hu­mans are the only mam­mals that con­tinue to drink the milk of an­other mam­mal as adults—a fact that has in­flu­enced some peo­ple to skip it al­to­gether. To still get the nu­tri­ents that dairy of­fers—like pro­tein, cal­cium, and vi­ta­min D—some have swapped cow's milk for nut milk and switched to us­ing ve­gan cheese in the ef­fort to bet­ter their bod­ies.

Warady and his wife have cut out gluten and dairy to fur­ther their ef­forts to eat cleaner, and a com­par­i­son of their gro­cery bills from one year to the next in­di­cated a 20 per­cent in­crease in spend­ing. “But, we're both health­ier— based on our med­i­cal re­ports—and we feel bet­ter,” he says. “Is it worth the 20 per­cent pre­mium? The an­swer is ab­so­lutely.”

Whether or not they have food al­ler­gies, in­tol­er­ances, or eth­i­cal qualms about cer­tain in­gre­di­ents, more peo­ple to­day want to know what's in their food; they're do­ing the re­search, read­ing prod­uct la­bels, and ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent recipes and di­ets.

“I think to­day, more than any other time in the last 100 years, peo­ple are very, very con­scious of what they're putting in their sys­tems,” says Warady. “It used to be that if some­thing was sugar-free, or some­thing was fat-free, peo­ple would say, ‘Oh, OK, I'll lose weight.' That's how they were mak­ing choices.

“But to­day, peo­ple are look­ing at ‘How can I en­joy prod­ucts, how can I con­sume prod­ucts that aren't go­ing to be harm­ful, and that aren't putting bad stuff in my sys­tem?' So that def­i­ni­tion of bad stuff, it re­ally is in the eye of the consumer. But for those peo­ple who are trend­ing, who are go­ing dairy-free and soy-free—that trend con­tin­ues to grow. We ab­so­lutely think that's go­ing to con­tinue.” If you don't have a dairy or gluten in­tol­er­ance, like Warady and his wife, it might be dif­fi­cult to avoid temp­ta­tion when the op­por­tu­nity to eat a greasy, cheesy slice of pizza arises. But, as Warady says, “If you're mo­ti­vated, you can def­i­nitely do it.” Here are his tips to stay on track.

Look for sub­sti­tu­tions. There are so many op­tions, par­tic­u­larly for gluten-free eat­ing— from pizza to pan­cakes to noo­dles. You can also try ve­gan cheese, nut milk, and even egg sub­sti­tutes. Just be sure to read prod­uct la­bels to en­sure they don’t con­tain any ar­ti­fi­cial fillers.

Get cre­ative. Mod­ify recipes and try new tastes and tex­tures. For ex­am­ple, Warady and his wife make cau­li­flower-crust pizza topped with mixed veg­gies. “It sounds like it would never taste any­thing like pizza,” he says, “and it tastes un­be­liev­able.”

Read cook­books and blogs. Whether you’re plan­ning fam­ily din­ners ev­ery night or ha­bit­u­ally en­joy breakfast-for-one, there are thou­sands of re­sources to help you have fun with food.

Travel with food. It’s much more dif­fi­cult to find suitable food on the go, but bring­ing it with you can al­le­vi­ate the stress, temp­ta­tion, and hunger pangs. Last sum­mer, Warady and his wife trav­eled to Poland and Lithua­nia with an en­tire suit­case full of food. “We had things like turkey jerky,” he says, “so that if we were hun­gry and we couldn’t find a restau­rant, we had food with us.”

Or­der mind­fully. Take the time and ef­fort to look at menu op­tions when din­ing out, and spec­ify your needs when or­der­ing. There are many quick and easy sub­sti­tu­tions the chef can make to ac­com­mo­date your meal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.