Food allergies and emotions


I have been very busy with research for upcoming topics and interviews to be shared on here soon. As many of you know, life gets busy. If you have commented on posts, I will be replying soon. In the interim, I would like to share with you a post I recently wrote on my other blog, about life with food allergies. The fear and worries as well as ways to overcome them. I have had food allergies my entire life and am only now sharing how it truly feels to the public. It is something that has been hard to open up about as I’ve often thought it was only me. After several comments and DM’s it is clear that this is a topic I need to explore more.

Please have a read and let me know what you think. Here’s the link to my article on http://www.livingwithallergies.ca

I am curious. What do you do to overcome your worries, stress or fear with other allergies? If you get hives from different fabrics, dyes or soaps, shampoos and lotions, do you feel that you have some fear or worry around trying new products? Please let me know in the comments below.

Have a wonderful day!

Erika

Causes of eczema and dermatitis and how to eliminate them


Toxic Cleaning ProductsFirst of all eczema is used as a general term for many types of skin inflammation and itching skin (also called dermatitis) and allergic-type skin rashes. There are many things that can irritate your skin. There are two basic types of causes for eczema and dermatitis in your home; allergens and irritants. Some reactions happen on the surface of your skin and some reactions happen internally but show up as irritation on your skin.

Contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis are two different forms of eczema. Contact dermatitis is an external reaction that occurs when your skin comes in contact with something your are allergic to or a chemical that is irritating to your skin. This type of eczema is the easiest to figure out and correct.

Atopic dermatitis is the result of an internal reaction by your immune system to an irritant or allergen. When your immune system interacts with the trigger, and typically another component in your body such as irregular hormones, food allergies or stress-related toxins, the result is an eczema outbreak on your skin that is painful, swollen, and itchy. This rash can occur anywhere on your skin, not just at the spot where you contacted the allergen or irritant. Atopic dermatitis is the hardest type of eczema to eliminate, because it is hard to know what to look for, when two elements are involved.

The irritant may also be a common household chemical. Some of the more common chemical irritants are laundry detergent, fabric softeners, cleaning solvents, latex products, and nail varnish. However, you may eliminate all these things and still find you are breaking out. If that is the case, check many of the items you use on a regular basis, such as the synthetic fibers in your bedding, clothes, furnitures, rugs and your beauty products, to make sure they are not irritating your eczema. Also look for mold, mildew and pet dander in your environment which can serve as a trigger for allergies. Many people have a reaction to lime juice, hand sanitizers, antiperspirants, hair removal products, antibiotic ointments and even metal zippers and snaps (it’s the nickel).

Some allergens in your foods can contribute to your atopic dermatitis. Foods like peanuts, strawberries, food coloring, cow milk, eggs, soy, tree nuts, wheat and other food additives are known to cause internal and external eczema.

Here are a few tips for avoiding skin irritation:

1. Read labels. Know exactly which chemicals are in the product you’re using. Try to avoid products that contain ingredients you’ve had a reaction to in the past. Follow directions on the label so you know you’re using the cleaning product safely.

2. Go alternative. “Green” cleaners won’t necessarily prevent dermatitis, but they are generally gentler on the skin, not to mention on the environment. Look for cleaning products labeled “fragrance and dye-free” or “all natural,” or try an old-fashion cleaner like baking soda. Nellies makes a very good All Natural Washing Soda

Bottom line: Be your own detective. You are the best one to narrow down and eliminate irritants in your surrounds. Why spend the money on allergy patch testing when you can do a more accurate elimination trial on your own using products you already have. Visit my Skin Allergy Products Store  to see products and books I recommend.

If you have any comments or suggests please comment below.

Allergic to Food Additives


Why am I writing abut food additives on an allergy blog?

Food additive aren’t absolutely necessary in most foods. Most have no added nutrients for our bodies to use. I feel they are dangerous and unnecessary in foods and can cause health problems as well as allergic reactions. The FDA currently maintains a list of ingredients called “Everything Added to Food in the United States” (EAFUS), which features more than 3,000 items and counting. Thankfully, most EAFUS ingredients are benign, but a few of them do have potentially harmful effects.  It’s a mystery to me and most everyone else, why so many are legal.

Caramel Coloring

When made from only from sugar, it’s relatively safe. If it is produced with ammonia it gives off 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, chemicals that have been linked to cancer in mice.  Unfortunately, companies aren’t required to disclose whether their coloring is made with ammonia or sugar.

 Olestra

Used in foods as a fat replacement. Warning labels are no longer required  to notify customers about the risk of “loose stools.”Olestra also appears to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb some crucial nutrients like beta-carotene and lycopene.

Potassium Bromate

Potassium bromate causes thyroid and kidney tumors in rats, and it’s banned from food use in many countries, but not the U.S.

Saccharin (Sweet’N Low)

Studies have linked saccharin to bladder tumors in rats, and in 1977, the FDA required warning labels on all saccharin-containing foods. In 2000, the FDA changed its stance and allowed saccharin to be sold without warning labels. But that doesn’t mean it’s entirely safe. A 2008 Purdue study found that replacing sugar with saccharin in rats’ diets actually made them gain more weight.

(BHA) (BHT)

The Department of Health and Human Services says BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” yet the FDA allows it to be used anyway. BHT is considered less dangerous, but in animal research, it too has resulted in cancer.

Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

Partially hydrogenated fats are the principle sources of trans fat in the American diet, and a Harvard study estimated that trans fat causes 70,000 heart attacks every year. This fat became very popular during the cholesterol scare in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Food manufacturers at that time scrabbled to label products “Cholesterol Free” even if that meant adding trans fats that are worse than eating the cholesterol that was naturally contained in foods. This is a food additive to avoid.

Sulfites

Humans have used sulfites to keep food fresh for thousands of years, but some people—especially asthma sufferers—experience breathing difficulties when exposed. Sulfites have been used for centuries, mainly as food additives, but can also occur naturally in foods such as fermented beverages and wines.

Azodicarbonamide

This chemical is used most frequently in the production of industrial foam plastic, and although the FDA has approved its use for food in the States. The United Kingdom has labeled it a potential cause of asthma.

Carrageenan

Seaweed is actually good for you, but carrageenan is a mere seaweed byproduct. Through animal studies, it has been linked to cancer, colon trouble, and ulcers. It isn’t certain that carrageenan harms humans, but avoiding it is clearly the safer option.

Aspartame (Equal)

Over the past 30 years, the FDA has received thousands of consumer complaints due mostly to neurological symptoms such as headaches dizziness, memory loss, and, in rare cases, epileptic seizures. Many studies have shown the sweetener to be completely harmless, while other have linked the additive to cancer. Why take a chance when other sweeteners like Stevia are safer.

 Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

After forty years of scrutiny, research has yet to reach a definitive verdict on MSG. Studies have shown that injecting the amino acid into mice causes brain-cell damage, but the FDA believes these results are not typical for humans. Still, the administration fields complaints every year for nausea, headaches, chest pains, and weakness. It could be that the results are limited to people with acute MSG sensitivity (read: allergy), so the FDA continues to allow manufacturers to use it. If you are allergic to MSG it is a very serious problem.

Nitrates and nitrites

Nitrates and nitrites have a tendency to fuse with amino acids to become carcinogenic nitrosamines. Ironically, the processed meats into which nitrates are commonly added are rich with amino acids, making nitrosamine formation very likely. In addition to concerns about cancer, increased nitrate and nitrite intake has been linked to deaths in Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s patients. Despite the risks, the valuable use of nitrates and nitrites as inhibitors of botulism warrant their acceptance as food additives in the eyes of the FDA.

Blue #2

A study published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest showed that the ingestion of Blue #2 led to increases in tumor development in the brain and mammary glands in lab rats. The FDA dismissed these findings, citing a variety of nebulous weaknesses in the study’s methods. The bottom line: whether or not artificial dyes are harmful, the foods they appear in are the most heavily processed, nutritionally bankrupt foods in the supermarket.

 Paraben

It’s been documented that parabens act as mild estrogens, and according to the Environmental Working Group, they can disrupt the natural balance of hormones in your body. In a Japanese study, male rats fed propyl paraben daily for four weeks suffered lower sperm and testosterone production, and other studies have found parabens present in breast cancer tissues.

Check your food labels carefully, some of the above food additives may be causing you problems and should be limited in your diet.

How to Do an Elimination Diet.


Image: zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have found a shorter, faster and lass painful way to accomplish almost the same results. For two to four weeks stop eating the most common foods that cause irritation and allergy. The usually suspects are: soy, dairy, wheat, other gluten grains, eggs, citrus, shell fish and nuts. You can also eliminate any other foods that seem to cause you digestive upset .

Be sure to check the labels on the foods you eat very carefully. Gluten can be added to foods without any mention on the label. Look for: wheat, durum, semolina, faro, kamut, spelt, rye, barley, added vitamins, baking powder, caramel color, dextrin, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, malt, MSG, flavorings and colorings, spices, starches and vinegar. With gluten, it’s best not to trust any prepared foods except those especially marked as gluten-free.

If symptoms don’t improve during the elimination period, you may not have a dietary trigger for you allergy or the food items you eliminated may not be the culprits. If you find relief, try adding back one eliminated food every few days. If you suffer a reaction take that food back out of your diet and try another food.

This process will take about two months. By the end you will have a good idea what foods you are better off eliminating from your diet..

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