In the first two segments of Food Allergies 101, I talked about symptoms that are results of food allergies and two specific immune reactions to food in the body. If you need a refresher on either of those subjects you can skim over those posts from last week. In this final segment of Food Allergies 101 I will be discussing the treatment plan for food allergies.
Since we talked about 2 different reactions, the anaphylactic reaction and the hypersensitivity reaction, it would seem that there would be two different treatment plans. In actually there is only one: avoid the foods that cause the body to create an immune response. Here is my caveat, in the anaphylactic reaction, avoidance of the foods are required to preserve the life of the patient in some instances. In the hypersensitivity delayed reaction, avoidance is necessary to eliminate symptoms and preserve wellness.
One of the keys to the treatment is to understand that when dealing with allergies, the food irritating the allergy must be avoided. There is an immune reaction whenever the food enters the body. Many patients don’t realize it takes only particles of a food to create the reaction in the body so it’s not as simple as reducing the amount consumed from two cups to one cup per day. It must be stopped completely to stop the immune reaction.
While avoiding the foods that create imbalance and disease in the body may seem simple, there are a host of reasons why it can be a complicated process. Here are a few of the most troubling for my patients.
• Hidden food substances – In today’s highly processed world, ingredients are found and hidden in so many different foods that it can be difficult to identify the source of the food allergy unless you are very conscious about reading the labels and ingredients in your food.
• Having to give up foods you enjoy or foods you have grown up with – This is by far the greatest challenge with food allergies (hypersensitivity delayed reaction), the emotional attachment that people have with the foods they eat. It is scary to ask someone to create a new food lifestyle that doesn’t include foods they are used to eating.