Did you know that it’s Allergy Awareness Week between April 23 to April 29 this year when Allergy UK works hard to continue to raise awareness around allergies.
An allergy is a response of the body’s immune system to a normal harmless substance. The most common are pollen, food and household dust mite. The body sees them as a threat and rushes to protect itself from them.
The most common symptoms – which will often occur within seconds or minutes – are sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath, runny nose, rash or hives, itchy eyes, lips or throat, swelling of various parts of the body and sickness and diarrhoa.
Evidence shows allergies are increasing worldwide with 30 to 35 per cent of the population suffering at some time in their lives. Initially it was identified that asthma and hay fever were seeing the largest increases. Now, however, it’s food allergies and particularly in children.
Nutritional therapist Helen Adams sees this in her Wiltshire and Somerset clinics every week and sees families struggling to first identify the problem and second to manage eating around it.
She has now published her first book to help those with allergies, food intolerance and sensitivities to make healthy food choices.
“I Don’t Know What To Eat? – the definitive guide to food allergies, intolerance and sensitivities” has just been published in paperback and e-book.
Helen said: “I wrote the book because I just couldn’t find something suitable to help my clients who are struggling to come to terms with food intolerance or, more seriously, allergy.
“We all need to be more allergy aware and understand this is something which is increasing and there’s no sign of it slowing down. There are just so many myths around foods, allergies and intolerances and I wanted to shed some light on various things which I’ve come across during my time as a nutritional therapist.
“When you have to consider everything you eat and drink, every moment of every day – it’s utterly exhausting.”
Helen’s book has tools to help readers monitor their food intake – as with food intolerance it can take up to three days for a reaction to occur.
Helen said: “How many of us can remember what we ate three days ago instantly? We have to really think about it. The tracker helps you start to make links between symptoms such as headaches, bloating or constipation with particular foods. It also helps if you are re-introducing foods so you can start to see connections between foods and symptoms.”
The book starts with Helen’s personal story around her career in nutrition – and what ultimately led to her re-training to become a nutritional therapist.
Aged ten her son Tom had chronic fatique syndrome and nothing seemed to help. He was off sugar, gluten, yeast and dairy and there was no ‘free-from’ aisle at that time. After many years of GP visits and consultant appointments, Helen eventually met a nutritionist who suggested eating red peppers might be helpful for Tom and they quickly became his superfood.
Today Tom is studying at university, he has control of his diet, eating anything except gluten and he still eats red peppers!
Helen’s book can be ordered from her website. Anyone interested in talking to Helen about possible food intolerance or sensitivity can book a 30-minute free discovery consultation– www.oakmeadclinic.co.uk or email the practice manager, wilf@ oakmeadclinic.co.uk