A LOCAL’S ADVICE ON ALLERGIES

2 Comments

By Louise Collins

 

Last week I invited four friends over for dinner. One was Coeliac, one was dairy intolerant, one was allergic to nuts and one was vegan. Next time, I’ll suggest a restaurant. Regardless, it got me wondering: are allergies on the up or do I have a particularly neurotic group of friends? Although statistics vary on the prevalence of allergies in Australia, my research suggests a loose estimate would be around one in five people are currently suffering or will suffer from allergies in the future.

The most feared allergic condition in children is the anaphylaxis inducing nut intolerance…”

Anecdotal evidence alone would suggest allergic diseases are rampant, particularly in young children. The most common allergic conditions in children are eczema, asthma, hay fever and food allergies. The most feared allergic condition in children is the anaphylaxis inducing nut intolerance. Twenty years ago, taking a peanut butter sandwich to school was disappointing but hardly life threatening. Since 2008, all licensed children’s services and schools in Victoria have been required to have an anaphylaxis management policy in place.

All indicators suggest that there has been a dramatic rise in allergy sufferers over the past thirty years. Whether it’s due to a build-up of environmental toxins in fresh foods or the food additives added to just about everything we buy from the supermarket or any one of a thousand reasons pertaining to current food practices and environmental issues, we are yet to know. I suspect it’s probably a toxic mix of all these things. Although the tide is still out on the specific causes for the increase, for those who suffer from allergies, a little information goes a long way to improving quality of life.

Having an allergy is a thoroughly modern malady and catering for wheezing, sniffling, eczema faced friends has become common practice…”

An allergy occurs when a person’s immune system responds to substances such as dust mites or pollens and certain foods or wine (boo!) as if they were toxic. This immune reaction leads to allergic inflammation. To avoid suffering the symptoms of allergic reaction you need to identify the allergen. According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, keeping a record of symptoms and a diary of symptoms is a good way of pin pointing the culprit. However, allergy sufferers are often allergic to more than one thing which can prove tricky. In these cases a medical investigation by an allergist or clinical immunologist may be required.

Having an allergy is a thoroughly modern malady and catering for wheezing, sniffling, eczema faced friends has become common practice.  Try the recipe provided for a nut free, dairy free, gluten free delicious dinner.

For more information on allergies, check out The Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website here.

BREAK DOWN:

RECIPE:

Sweet Potato Tagine (Vegan, Dairy, Gluten and Nut Free)

Ingredients (serves 4)
Pinch of saffron threads
250ml (1 cup) hot water
Glug of Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
400g can chopped tomatoes
500g sweet potato, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 large zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthways, sliced
2 tsp honey
Fresh coriander leaves, to serve

Method:
Combine the saffron and half the water in a heatproof jug. Set aside for 10 minutes to infuse.
Heat a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add oil. Cook the onion, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, ginger and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic.
Add the saffron mixture, tomato and remaining water. Bring to the boil. Add the sweet potato and chickpeas. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Add the zucchini. Simmer for a few more minutes. Stir in the honey. Season with pepper. Serve with brown rice.

2 Comments

  1. Sanjuana Kvzian

    July 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    maybe my letters are planning to Steve C!

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