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From: Bryanna (
Subject:         Re: Allergies associated with plants
Date: November 3, 2009 at 7:22 am PST

In Reply to: Allergies associated with plants posted by angela on November 3, 2009 at 5:48 am:

Surely she can't be allergic to ALL fruits! there
are different families of fruits. And is she truly
allergic, has she had a medical doctor test her for
allergies? Below I give some information on how to
tell the difference.

I know people who are celiac, who are truly allergic
to soy products, and people who are allergic to
legumes who are vegans. Whether or not a person with
food allergies or a disease stays on a vegan diet or
not depends on your motivation and your ingenuity.

There is no nutrient in meat that cannot be found in
a plant-based diet, whether that be protein, iron,
or whatever. (I assume she is talking about an all-
plant-based vegetarian diet and not one that
includes dairy and eggs. I also assume she is not
talking about a raw vegan diet.)

In any case, even if she can't eat ANY fruit (which
sounds highly unlikely to me) or tree nuts or raw
veggies, there is plenty to eat. Instead of tree
nuts she could eat seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower
and sesame. Most vegans do not depend on nuts and
seeds, since they are very concentrated energy
sources. She can get protein in the many different
legumes we have at our disposal, and in soy
products, whole grains, pasta, seitan, etc.

You don't HAVE to eat fruit, though most of us would
hate to live without it. But vegetables actually
are more concentrated sources of nutrients than most
fruits, so just eat more veggies.

You don't have to eat your vegetables raw, and I
don't advise a totally raw vegan diet. (See my
article about raw foods in the post below yours.) She could eat the vegetables that she can't eat raw
in their cooked form and eat other veggies raw if
she wanted to. But take note that the Chinese
rarely, if ever, eat raw vegetables. (This sounds
odd to me too-- if you are truly allergic to a food,
it's going to be to the food whether it's raw or
cooked.) Cooked vegetables actually have advantages
over the raw version, in some cases, or the same
vegetable can have different antioxidants depending
on whether it is eaten cooked or raw.

About allergies, sensitivities and intolerances:

Some health practitioners tell people they are
"allergic" without proper testing. Also, some do
not differentiate between a food intolerance or
sensitivity and a true allergy. You may already
know this, but here's a definition from the British
Allergy Foundation, and I insert it here just in
case your friend has have not gotten proper advice,
which may unneccessarily complicate her life:

"Although the word "Allergy" is commonly used to
describe any unpleasant reaction to a drug, food,
insect sting or chemical, this can be misleading.
The word should only really be used to describe a
reaction produced when the body meets a normally
harmless substance, which has been "remembered" from
a previous exposure and subsequently produces the
"IgE" antibody.

"Sensitivity" is a reaction to a substance, which is
an exaggeration of a normal side effect produced by
that substance. For example, reliever inhalers used
in asthma, if given at too high a dose in a
particular individual may cause them to "shake".

"Intolerance" happens when unpleasant symptoms occur
after eating a substance, which your body cannot
handle because the digestive system does not produce
sufficient quantities of a particular
enzyme/chemical, which is needed to break down the
food and aid digestion."

Your friend may be able to go on a rotation allergy
diet, where she can eat the foods in question
sometimes. Here is some info and resources about
this type of diet:

Here is a quote from that article:

"Food allergies and intolerance are best treated by
avoidance of the offending food for a prescribed
period of time, followed by a “rotation” diet, in
which problem foods are only eaten every three to
four days, instead of daily. Young children can
often re-introduce foods after three months of
avoidance, whereas adults may require six to twelve
months of avoidance. Most hidden allergies are
cyclic (i.e., they settle down after long-term
avoidance). Fixed allergies (those that cause a
reaction, no matter how long a time the food has
been avoided) are less common.

Symptoms of food allergy or intolerance may not be
triggered immediately after reintroduction of the
foods; therefore, a person can get an erroneous
impression their allergy or intolerance is cured.
With repeated ingestion of the food, however,
symptoms may gradually return. When a problem food
is rotated, symptoms are less likely to return. Some
healthcare practitioners recommend rotating food
groups (such as legumes every other day) in addition
to rotating specific foods. The importance of
rotating foods varies from person to person and may
be related to the severity of the allergies."

My grandson was extremely allergic to corn when he
was about 2. His mother took him off corn for a
while, and then intoduced a rotation diet for grains
in his diet. Sveral years later he was able to eat
corn again (and he is now a healthy 20 year-old).

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