Avoiding Food Allergies and Illnesses

By Theresa Albert, Toronto Nutritionist www.myfriendinfood.com

The longer you can put off some foods, the better in order to avoid allergies. The topic of food allergies is controversial mostly because there is no reliable medical test that can give you a definitive answer.  Lactose intolerance can be tested for but that would classify as sensitivity, not an allergy.  It is a lack of tummy enzymes that would cause a lactose intolerance and the response can be anything from tummy pain to diarrhea. The solution is the same, remove the food, and solve the problem.  Food allergies are far more stealth.  I have seen some pretty weird symptoms in children and adults that clear up when removing the food.  Things like skin rashes, clearing of the throat, acid reflux, indigestion and even joint pain can be signs of food allergy.  The often don’t show up for many years and tracking them down can be a big drag.  The best way to manage them is to avoid the common foods as long as possible and prevent allergies from developing in the first place.

List of Foods to avoid  at least until 1 year for allergies:

    1. Cows milk
    2. Wheat
    3. Egg whites
    4. Yeast
    5. Corn

The first five are really tricky, I won’t lie to you.  One slice of pizza contains all of them.  Yeast is a mold that is hard to digest and can set off a host of other gut flora issues.  Feel free to bake with baking powder and baking soda but try to keep the yeast leavened breads to a minimum.  Wheat is such a common ingredient that we often don’t think about it, I mean, it has been a staple for millennia, right?  Except that traditionally it would have been sprouted and ground which makes it far more digestible.  Modern wheat has been hybridized to contain 5X the gluten because we like things light and fluffy rather than dense and chewy.  It also creates more yield for the grower/baker since the gluten is the protein in bread that allows dough to stretch and contain more air.

Don’t let this list overwhelm you, just know it exists, wait as long as you can and introduce slowly.  Keep a watchful eye on skin and digestion and suspect this list if something goes wrong.

From a food borne illness perspective, you could probably write the list yourself but here it goes:

  1. Honey- unpasteurized honey is a healthy, antibacterial sweetener but it can harbor botulism spores that an adult can easily fight but a child under the age of 2 may not be able to.
  2. Processed meats- I am actually not that worried about the nitrates, more concerning is the salt, sugar, fat and potential pathogens. Avoid these choices as long as you can and choose the highest quality, lowest fat and salt available.
  3. Ground meats-Since the meat can come from many animals and the grinding process increases the surface area of the meat, the risk of pathogens is greater.  Be careful that it is stored and cooked really, really well to be sure that they are safe.  You must use a thermometer in each burger and be sure the temperature is 180F.

The hardest part about feeding your child is being informed yourself.  They don’t have the knowledge to set them up on a healthy path but you do.


About the Author:

Theresa Albert Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a nutritionist and food communications consultant. Her Food Network show,Just One Bite! aired for 5 years on both Food Network and BBC Kids. She is currently a trusted on-camera correspondent for CTV Newschannel as well as CBC and regular health expert on the daily lifestyle show, Steven and Chris which airs internationally.

Named one of Canada’s Top 25 Tweeters by Today’s Parent Magazine and one of Savvymom.ca’s 35 Favorite Bloggers, she is called for comment from every major magazine, newspaper and television outlet in Canada. She has a weekly column in the Metro Newspaper and regularly writes features for Today’s Parent, Canadian Family Magazine and blogs at Huffington Post.


Picture of Theresa Albert

Author: Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is an on-camera food and health expert, nutritionist and writer who loves to spread the word on food. She is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. Tweet with her at @theresaalbert & find her daily at www.theresaalbert.com

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