Food Without Fear-reviewing a book about food allergy

If you or someone in your family has problems eating certain foods, or think you may, then this book, along with your personal physician, can help you sort out what, why, and how to deal with it.

FOOD WITHOUT FEAR

Identify, Prevent, and Treat Food Allergies, Intolerances, and Sensitivities

by Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH with Kristin Loberg

What do you know about food allergy?

Can you answer correctly these true/false questions about food allergy ?

  1. Food allergies and intolerances develop only in childhood.
  2. Food allergies are rare, occurring in only 1% of people in the US.
  3. Women should avoid eating peanuts in pregnancy.
  4. Food allergies are more common in cities than in rural areas.
  5. Reactions to food may change over one’s lifetime.

The answers are at the end of this post, but the answers to these and many other questions about food allergies are in Dr. Gupta’s comprehensive book about the “food reaction spectrum.”

If you or someone in your family has problems eating certain foods, or think you may, then this book, along with your personal physician, can help you sort out what, why, and how to deal with it.

Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a board certified pediatrician, developed a special interest in allergic disease because of her many patients with food allergy as well as her own child. She directs the Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research in Chicago where she and her team study and treat patients with food allergies and intolerances.

Even if you don’t have problems related to food, you may in the future as they can develop at any time in life. We all need food to live but sometimes food becomes our enemy, making us sick rather than well.

Understanding the “food reaction spectrum”

Dr. Gupta explains the “food reaction spectrum”. We may tend to call any adverse reaction to food ( or any other substance) an allergy but most are not.

An allergy activates the immune system, such as antibodies, which then trigger the symptoms. An intolerance (sometimes incorrectly called a sensitivity) does not involve the immune system. These are the only two recognized terms to describe adverse food reactions. Some foods can cause both allergy and intolerance.

Adverse food reactions may occur immediately or very soon after ingestion. These include

  • hives
  • swelling
  • itching
  • diarrhea

Other reactions can be delayed for hours or even days-

  • headache
  • rash
  • brain fog
  • bloating/gas

The Top 9 Food Allergens

Peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, shellfish, finfish, soy, wheat, sesame

Common offenders for food intolerances

Dairy, gluten, caffeine, salicylates, amines, sulfites, fructose, alcohol, monosodium glutamate-MSG, food dyes

Other conditions can be caused or aggravated by certain foods such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

What you will learn in Food Without Fear

Dr. Gupta divided the book into two parts.

Part 1 helps you determine “Where are you on the Food Reaction Spectrum?”

Part 2 ,Finding Food Freedom, explores understanding food manufacturing and processing by reading labels .

She touches on the role of our genome and the microbiome (bacteria that live in our gut) and the role of inflammation in autoimmune disease.

Each chapter ends with a one page summary of Fearless Facts.,

If you check this book out from a library, you may want to buy it for future reference as it has an exhaustive list of resources. I learned more about food allergy from this book and believe you will also.

LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT

Appendix A-The Parent’s Playbook

How to manage your child’s food allergies at school from infancy through college, including a plan for a food allergy emergency

Appendix B contains an extensive list of resource including

  • Medical organizations
  • Government websites
  • Hospitals and medical centers
  • Advocacy and support groups, foundations
  • Apps

Appendix C is a Sample Food Log; use this to record food intake and reactions

Dr. Gupta also wrote The Food Allergy Experience .

“A source of reliable information and sound advice to help parents, caregivers, friends, relatives, health care providers, and teachers better understand how food allergies impact all aspects of a child’s life. Beyond statistics, The Food Allergy Experience provides tools for generating greater awareness that includes inspiring quotes, useful tips, and light-hearted comics, which put a positive and more realistic face on food allergies.

The Food Allergy Experience also provides a comprehensive resource section with information about relevant organizations, a handy checklist, and a sample letter to inform people about a child’s specific food allergy. As daunting as food allergies might seem, researchers are making breakthroughs every day as they search for cures.” source-Amazon

The answers to the questions are
  1. False
  2. False
  3. False
  4. True
  5. True

Did you answer correctly, or did you learn something new?

In this video, Dr. Gupta discusses using epinephrine in case of an allergy emergency.

exploring the HEART of food allergy

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Dr. Aletha
the Bean sculpture in Chicago
I took this photo of THE BEAN in downtown Chicago.

Affectionately called “The Bean,” Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate has become synonymous with the Chicago experience.

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