Feeling like fighting backFebruary 11, 2011
I’m 41 weeks pregnant tomorrow. A natural birth means I will not be induced nor will I have a C-section just because I’m a bit past my due date. This makes me weird in the pregnancy world, where most women by now would be facing medical intervention in the form of surgery or drugs. But babies have been born at 42 weeks, 43 weeks, whatever, for a gabillion years. No need to rush. Yet still…I admit…I might punch someone. I think this is the appropriate way to feel at 41 weeks pregnant. Ha!
In the meantime, I thought I’d direct my punching to 3 newsworthy items from this past week. They all fit in well with Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday, which I haven’t participated in for awhile. But today…yeah, I’ll Fight Back!
Earlier this week, I wrote a post about food allergies. My main questions: What is causing the rate of food allergies to rise so drastically? And what can we do to reverse the trend?
Mostly I’m talking about the big 8 allergies occurring in children: milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the discussion. A few interesting things came up, such as the difference between an allergy and an intolerance. Such as whether or not food itself is different now, like GMO soybeans or pesticide-covered peanuts.
I think it’s safe to say that there are no solid answers when it comes to food allergies. I say this because NPR hosted a segment this week, including guests:
- Dr. Matthew Fenton, Immunology and Transplantation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
- Dr. Hemant Sharma, Food Allergy Program at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
- Julia Bradsher, Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Network
And all I got from it was more of the same blah blah blah. Ok, that’s not fair. They did have good information but most of it is around how to handle food allergies and how schools are working with new guidelines to do just that. Fine. But a few times the issue came up, as it should: Why are food allergies on the rise? In other words, WTF.
Dr. Fenton mentioned the hygiene hypothesis, dismissing it as “naive.” Yet he goes on to say that “there are some very strong points to that [theory] that are likely to underlie the connection between the cleaner environment, the trend in increased allergic diseases and our immune system looking for something to do.”
So, uh, sorry Dr. Fenton, what part of the hygiene hypothesis is naive? Maybe he meant “simplistic.” But I personally don’t think we should be so dismissive of it.
The only other answer to why the rise in food allergies? Dr. Fenton muses, “Now, why this is occurring is really still scientifically a mystery. There’s certainly factors in the environment, factors in our lifestyle, factors in our diet that are involved.”
So basically I’m happy this issue is getting some attention but annoyed at the lack of interest in solving the real problem. Yes, we need to help people suffering with food allergies. But there is a much larger problem. Allergies inexplicably on the rise today…what’s tomorrow?
If I could rewrite Dr. Fenton’s statement, I would make it say:
Now, why this is occurring is really not a mystery. There are factors in the environment like pollution, factors in our lifestyle like not getting off our butts enough, and factors in our diet like generations of too much sugar and refined, processed garbage and too little real food.
But that’s why I’m not a doctor. Because if I were, I’d have to wait for another 30 years of scientific testing to say anything. And even then, those studies would probably be flawed and funded by Big Pharma. So instead, I invite you join me in taking your own educated guess at what is wrong with the health of the general public and what could be causing allergies to some of the most nutritious foods on earth.
Next item. An ad I saw on TV that made me laugh and cry at the same time. This woman thinks she should be allowed to buy all the soda she wants for her family at the cheapest price possible:
It’s an interesting tactic to make this issue about government funding or government involvement. I always thought a tax on soda would be about health issues. We tax cigarettes, right? Unnecessary and terrible for you? It seems this group is concerned that buying groceries is already too expensive for low/middle income families. I say, take that $4 you spend on Coca-Cola and buy two heads of kale! Or four pounds of millet! Because guess what, lady? Your choices in the supermarket cost the rest of us money when you and your family are getting treated for diabetes and heart disease. So yeah, I think you should pay a little more up front. Ugh.
Finally, some news that actually relieves much of my grumpiness. This is fighting back in a really, really awesome way. This month, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition offered a huge tuition scholarship for new students – I had only 2 to give out and more than 20 people who had told me they were interested in the school.
Well, I’m psyched to announce that my two scholarships went to very excited new students who jumped on the opportunity. Congratulations, Charlotte (US) and Kris (Australia)! Just two more people who are going to help change this world of ours. Welcome to the fight!