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A blog about all things allergen-free and delicious

Entries in cure (3)


Scientists May Have Discovered How to Turn Off Peanut Allergies

Great News! Researchers have found a way to turn off the immune system's reaction to peanuts - in mice. Even better news is that this research could also help unravel autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, since their reactions, according to scientists, are similar to those of food allergies. Researchers now need to make that leap from mice to humans, but it is a start.

A person develops food allergies after their body becomes sensitive to a particular protein from food - whatever food their body deems dangerous.  This group of researchers has found a way to wrap a tiny protein (in this case peanut protein) with a white blood cell.  Then inject it into a peanut allergic mouse.  This "tricks" the immune system into interpreting that the peanut is safe. 

“The key concept here is that we are supposed to be able to eat foods,” Bryce said. “Allergies to peanuts and other foods occur when the immune system goes wrong. We’ve been trying to understand how the immune system tells the difference between what it should and should not respond to.”
 ~ Paul J. Bryce, an assistant professor of medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, whose study was published in the Journal of Immunology.


As long as we are talking about tricks - I'm still missing any researcher comments on why food allergies have skyrocketed in the first place.  Wouldn't it be helpful to study this, as well?  To find the root cause of something with such a clear mass onset?  I'm very excited about this research, but also hope that the "why" will be discovered soon.  Tell me your thoughts. 



Stephen Colbert, from Cows to Cosmetics, You've Led Me Down a Sticky Path



As I research the new gluten-free labeling initiative, and answer some interesting questions about it, I am reminded of other sticky issues bubbling for attention in the background.  When I watched this video from Stephen Colbert's Oct., 6 2010 show which was posted on this morning, I decided to give these bubbles a little attention.  The foodista post was simply intended to show that the raw milk controversy has gone mainstream.  That's it.  But this is an interesting subject to me, since certain groups are proclaiming that raw milk will help cure dairy allergies.  As a person who suffers from the same, I am intrigued, but not about to run out and guzzle a giant glass of moo cow.  Or even a tiny one.  Thus, mine will be the cautious path and I'll do some heavy investigation before even commenting on it.  (However, if you are one of those folks who have had your dairy allergies actually cured from raw milk, I soooo want to hear from you.  Moo.)

The video clip itself, however, innocently drew me into other sticky issues.  This clip is really more about civil liberties than it is about the benefits or risks of drinking raw milk.  Which is interesting, but in today's times, civil liberties usually ends up in an "us" versus "them" discussion, which is ...  well you tell me.

Pasteurization without representation.  _Ron Paul

Individuals are stupid.  _David Acheson, former Assistant Commissioner for the FDA on Food Safety

But my attention stuck on something else that Stephen mentioned in the clip:  New York's stand on the health risks of dangerous chemicals in common household products.  To be fair, in his own words:

“… New York State will start enforcing a 40-year-old law that requires manufacturers of household cleansers to reveal the chemical ingredients in their products and any health risks they pose.  Way to spoil the surprise Bloomberg!”

But wait, the sticky issues don't stop there.  Have you read your cosmetics labels lately?  Pick up a copy of "No More Dirty Looks" to see why this is important.  Or simply read this quick article by the authors of that fine book.  In short, certain terms like "fragrance" are covered by trade secret laws, which means that, as long as there is an ingredient list outside of the word "fragrance", any company can put any chemical into any "fragrance", be it listed on a perfume, household product, or cosmetic.  To give you a different perspective, Europe has banned over 1,000 chemicals that are listed for use in cosmetics, while the U.S. has only banned nine.  Why would companies put carcinogenic or harmful, sometimes deadly chemicals into our household cleaners, let alone our skin care products?    Laziness?  Naughtiness?  Hatefulness?  Ignorance?  Mis-guided Creativity?  Greed?  Your guess is as good as mine. 
Regardless of the answer, it's worth becoming a little more educated about the products we are using.  Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs what we put on it quickly (think:  hormone creams, "The Patch", etc.). Research, like this study done by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, reveals that chemicals in anti-biotic soaps are damaging the immune and hormonal systems in both children and adults.  What's more, they "increase the risk of hay fever and other allergies."  Weren't anti-biotic soaps supposed to be good things?  After all, I remember seeing the commercials and rushing out to buy them. 
In the end, we are what we eat, slather on, and breathe.   It stinks that some manufacturers don't just "do the right thing" or think about the outcome of their ingredient choices on their own customers.  But many don't.  The good news is, we can make choices that influence the market and support those good guys who have a more wholistic, knowledgeable and caring vision.  Need some inspiration?  Just start reading labels.  And spread the word about the good things you find.





"Forks Over Knives" Cures What Ails You.


Ultimate Fighter Mac Danzig gets protein from plantRip Esselstyn's firehouse lowered their cholesterolRuth Heidrich was supposed to die young (she didn't)







That Burger in My Fridge

I had a package of wonderful ground beef perfectly thawed and ready to throw on the grill tonight.  I thought about that meat throughout the

documentary film, "Forks Over Knives".  The beef is from Crane Dance Farms, a local spot with a great reputation and a farm that I'm just getting to know.

San'Dera Nation curedBut a nice, juicy burger wasn't the only thing on my mind when I walked into the theatre.

I also wondered ...

1.  Will the film address other potential underlying causes to disease as well as how our dietary choices effect our health?  (I'm talking, pesticides, chemical food additives, modern toxicity, anti-biotics, food allergies, factory farming, the "G-word"... you know, that stuff.)

2. Will I become so horribly militant after I see this film that I will lose all of my friends?

3.  Will this film tell me NEVER to eat a burger or a beloved steak again?




Knowledge Heals

Anthony Yen can "raise his flag" after multiple heart surgeries, and eating a plant-based dietAs the film began, my questions and expectations became less important than the gentle, intelligent research of Dr. Colin Campbell, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University and Dr. Caldwin Esselstyn, a top surgeon and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the Cleveland Clinic.  In different areas of the country and the world, these two men asked the same question, "Why do these diseases exist in the first place?"  They found that in the answer to THIS question lies the cure.  Diet.

When you see Forks Over Knives, you might walk away, not militant, but inspired.  You might also have a huge craving for  vegetables (I did).  You will definitely have more respect for your own body.  You will have a better understanding of your body's ability to heal itself and why the wonderful world of vegetables can help us all heal. 

On the fip side, doubts about the pills in your cabinet and that surgery you are about to have will creep in, too.  Credible evidence by credible physicians and researchers will give you that doubt, not cheesy, manipulative scare tactics.  

The evidence was most strongly presented in a group of people that the film followed (some of whom are pictured above).  I won't spoil it for you - the results are dramatic and worth seeing on the big screen yourself.  You will also hear pieces of information that are quite fascinating.  For instance, one of the first indicators of heart disease is erectile dysfunction.  Who knew?  Eat plants, and as Anthony Yen puts it, "your flag will raise" without a problem, even into your 70's.  Fireman Rip Esselstyn, author of "The Engine 2 Diet" said it best as he climbed up the fire pole using only his arms, with the chant, "Real. Men. Eat. Plants." 

What Our Mothers (or the USDA) Didn't Tell Us

My lunch after seeing the movie.The film also offers a glimpse into the power of marketing.  We all grew up with the USDA food pyramid and TV ads telling us that a dairy is the "only" source of calcium, that meat is the "only" source of protein; and now, that high fructose corn syrup is the same as sugar (and that it is actually good for you).   The film debunks these theories with some interesting science and quick insight into politics.  The truth is, that hIghly saturated foods with mostly fats and sugar cause food addictions.  They also change our palates and destroy our bodies' healing abilities.

My diet is pretty darn healthy and includes mostly plants.  I feel much better when I eat my greens and lots of them.  But Forks Over Knives challenged my own assumptions and habits, as well.  Did I have that burger?  Oh yes.  And it was really good.  But I'm going to rethink the frequency with which I consume red meat, and meat in general, and explore more deeply other protein sources.

Look out vegetable aisle.  I'm comin' to get you.

About the Film

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Watch a clip from Forks Over Knives: