Stress and Food Allergies


Over the past few weeks, two good friends informed me that they have become sensitive to gluten (a protein molecule found in flour). Sadly, they are among a growing population  (some stats suggest 15% of Americans) who find themselves no longer able to eat wheat products; from the obvious (pastas) to the not so obvious (e.g., meatballs, usually mixed with breadcrumbs, soups, even cous cous). While some people have mild reactions, other contract Celiac disease (a serious affliction) that affects the immune system and digestive tract. For decades the top four foods that produced allergic reactions were milk, eggs, shellfish and nuts. This list has grown dramatically since the advent of GMO foods. Today, many people have food allergies. The symptoms of food allergies includes respiratory problems, hives, skin rashes, watery eyes, headaches, aching joints, lethargy, depression and a host of various other maladies (more symptoms of gluten allergies can be found in the first link below.) Equally important:  It is believed that STRESS can trigger or exacerbate these symptoms dramatically. Experts suggest that more people have a fear of food allergies than actually have a biochemical response to various food substances. Perhaps not! Given all the processing (manipulation) of foods these days, not to mention all the chemicals to treat the foods, and the fact that no one is studying these aspects, we may never know the true story. Suffice to say that foreign substances in the body can cause an immune system reaction and stress will certainly compound this.
Stress Tip for the Day
Does your diet include a large percentage of wheat products, perhaps more so than rice or Quinoa? Take some time to read up on gluten intolerance.  Regardless if you are gluten sensitive or not, consider doing a gluten fast for several (7) days just to clean you body out (some even recommend a 21 day cleanse). Take note of how you feel after the fifth or sixth day…This might prove to be a good indication of your level of tolerance. The good news is that there are lots of nutritious options for simple changes in your diet. Many restaurants now offer gluten-free entrees too. Consider adding more variety to your diet (e.g., brown rice and quinoa). And remember, stress will certainly magnify any issue with your immune system so do your best to incorporate some form of relaxation every day.
Links, Books and/or Movies Worth Noting:
Here are some links on today’s topic. There is even a clinical journal called the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.
http://glutenfreenetwork.com/faqs/symptoms-treatments/gluten-intolerance-symptoms-how-do-you-know-if-gluten-is-making-you-sick/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten_sensitivity
http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/features/gluten-intolerance-against-grain
http://savageminds.org/2010/02/09/food-allergies-and-modern-life/
Quote for the Day:
“Let food be your medicine, and let medicine be your food.” — Hippocrates
Photo For the Day
Typically I use my own photos, but I found this (very graphic) photo on the Internet  months ago and saved it for this blog entry. Kinda says it all, really.
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

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