Archive for September, 2012

Post #2 The difference between an allergy and a food sensitivity

Blog #2    The difference between a food sensitivity and an allergy.

Well it is official…I am a blogger.   I have to say that this still absolutely blows my mind and puts a huge smile on my face all at the same time.   Today I am going to blog about the difference between a food sensitivity and an allergy.  I have my Naturopath / good friend Dr Alison Vanderkerkhove co blogging with me today.

First of all I need to thank a few people for making this blog happen.  My life coach Lee Chamberland has encouraged me and always believed in me…even when I did not believe in myself.   In 1997 I met Lee through the Therapeutic Recreation program and I always remember feeling inspired and capable of doing anything I put my mind to every time I was in her space.  Our paths crossed once again in a very difficult time in my life and I know it was not by chance.  Lee is a beautiful person inside and out and I feel so grateful to have her by my side on this journey we call life.   Secondly, Jacqueline Death who is a good friend of mine that brought Shannon’s Tool Box to life.   She has her own company and loves design and graciously offered to help create my blog.  She spent endless hours creating, designing and tweaking.  I am forever grateful.   Finally my wonderful husband that is always there to support me in everything I do.   He is the rock that got me through all the tough days and gave me the strength to be where I am today.  To all my wonderful family and friends…there are no words for my gratitude!  I hope you enjoy my blog…it feels like a good way to give back all I have received.

The topic of sensitivity versus allergy is something very significant in our household.   Before Nolan was even diagnosed with Autism we took him to two different allergists with conflicting results.   I knew Nolan could not tolerate dairy and yet the allergist (leading pediatrician allergist) told me not to worry.   I took Nolan to see my naturopath (Dr Alison) as I was unhappy with what the allergist had told me.

Dr Alison Vandekerkhove (New Leaf Naturopathic Clinic) can better explain…

 “There are basically 2 types of food allergies. The first type is called an IgE reaction. Trust me you will know of you have this allergy. Immediately after eating the allergic food you will have an anaphylactic reaction. These symptoms include, tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue and the throat, difficulty breathing, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness. If not treated this type of allergy can lead to death. Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to avoid a reaction. One of the most common food IgE allergies is peanuts. The other type of food allergy is called the IgG reaction or more commonly,“food sensitivity”. This is a delayed reaction in the body that can have a variety of symptoms.   As improbable as it sounds, some people get a stomach ache, headache, or other uncomfortable symptoms from eating “healthy” foods such as wheat, milk, or even apples. For some individuals, eating a specific food causes the immune system to stand up and fight; yet the immune system loses. Consequently, they become ill. The illness you have is the immune system’s response to a certain food. Many people suffer from food allergies and don’t realize it. Rarely can we figure out on our own that something we ate yesterday might be causing today’s aches and pains. Many people needlessly endure years of illness with numerous symptoms (arthritis, asthma, migraines, cluster headaches, bowel problems, eczema, fatigue, heartburn, hyperactivity, and many others) without even knowing that delayed food sensitivities are causing these conditions.

This is why it is nice to work with children. I will use Autism as a great example. When children can go on their diets while the brain and body are still developing, change is easier to occur. This is why early detection of both the diagnosis of the condition and the food sensitivity is so crucial.  A simple blood test can let you know what your food sensitivity is. The sooner you can avoid the foods, the better it is for the body as you can work towards prevention, instead of treatment of a disease.”

I had Nolan’s blood tested and the results were very alarming.   Turns out that Nolan was sensitive to so many foods and some of his numbers were through the roof.   Now I was confused.  How could the allergist say that Nolan was fine and the naturopath blood work say different?   So I went for a third opinion.   I went to see another leading pediatrician allergist.  He told me that Nolan was not allergic to dairy and that the blood work form the Naturopath was inaccurate.   Okay…now I was even more confused.   I wanted to cry I just wanted to help my son.  It was so obvious that he was sensitive to foods as his face was often bright red and he was scratching.  The allergist said that he was not allergic to cheese (dairy) and he could eat it no problem.   He also continued to tell me that if I did not give my son dairy that I would be malnurishing my son.  So I went home, gave him cheese…watched him break out and said…enough is enough!   So as my husband and I struggled through trying to remove all the foods out of his diet (dairy, gluten, eggs, garlic, bananas, almonds, peanuts and so many more) we still did not understand what was the big deal about a sensitivity.   I got a good grip on Dairy and then just did the 80 / 20 rule the rest of the foods…until I finally started to understand how significant a food sensitivity was.   As I started understanding more and more I was shocked, and saddened that I took the word “sensitivity” so lightly.  It turns out that many children with Autism have food sensitivities that affect their ability to focus, make eye contact and decrease their attention span.  What I also learned is that when someone eats food that he/she is sensitive to, it affects their immune system.   A dysbiosis (more bad bacteria that good) is caused in the gut and affects the absorption of essential nutrients.   So we put Nolan on a probiotic right away and cut out ALL foods he was sensitive to.   Wow!  Not only can this be stressful…it is darn expensive.   So we decided to do the Organic Acid Test which will look for a lack of B vitamins, Magnesium, and indicates the dysbiosis in the gut.   Getting the results back was again very upsetting as it showed that Nolan had a massive build up of bad bacteria and he was absorbing only 10-15% of his nutrients.   Now that made me feel like a great mom!!!   How was I to know??   Thank God I have this ability to ALWAYS ask questions.   Now Nolan is completely gluten, egg, dairy, garlic, peanut and almond free.  How does a sensitivity scale work?  Anyone going in for blood work at the naturopath and getting a rating of 100 or over is considered “sensitive to that food.”   Meaning they should remove that food from their diet completely.   Nolan’s dairy is over 2000, garlic 1700, eggs 1900 and so on.   Needless to say…we do our very best to avoid these foods.   So now you ask…is this just for kids with Autism?  No!   Food sensitivities affect many, many people (as Dr Alison mentioned above).   Especially now with all the genetically modified food we consume.  This is another conversation!

I hope you have found this helpful and I will look forward to my next post in October.

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Food matters

Forks over Knives

Great Link with more information:  KIRKMAN ROADMAP:  What supplements help what?

You can see on the road map that there is a link between increased heavy metals in the body and behavioral problems as well….just a great resource!

Lee Chamberland

Jacqueline Death

September 18, 2012 at 5:10 am 2 comments

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