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Monday, May 24, 2010

Allergies or Irritants?

Today I went to the allergist to test for food and other allergies. The nurse came in with 66 bottles of potential culprits. Having spent the majority of my childhood with allergies that resulted in large amounts of my body covered with mosquito bites, I opted out of the skin method. Anticipating reactions - possibly 66 of them was too much for me to handle.

So I opted for blood tests and had to choose about 20 food and other allergens to start the process with that I thought might be the cause of my allergic reactions.

I mentioned that I react to many salad dressing and other ingredients and was told these are irritations rather than allergies. I'm now on a quest to understand these irritants in foods. I'll share more as I find out more about this.

Making sense of food labels

If we don't know what we're looking for we won't find it. Most of us don't know the terms used in food labeling. So how will we know what to look for on a label if we don't know what our options are? We didn't learn this in school, and even if we did, the terms have probably changed.

Our children may know more than we do if they are in one of the many new education programs popping up for our children. But what are we to do now? Logical assumptions about terms in labeling only take us so far.

Here is a quick list of new terms you might want to know about to demonstrate our dilemna:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/22/earlyshow/contributors/main6420933.shtml?tag=cbsnewsLeadStoriesAreaMain;cbsnewsLeadStoriesSecondary

For a quick sheet of label claims you can print and take with you when you go to the grocery store:
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09365.html

Now if you are really serious about learning about your food labels see:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuide/default.htm

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About Me

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First trained as a food chemist and nutritionist, my career began enriching a Twinkie, comparing the nutrition of a Twinkie to an apple and studying the role of sugar in the diet. With an M.B.A. and years in food and pharma understanding consumers and manufacturers led back to where I started - food should taste great and serve to keep us healthy. To do so there needs to be consumer awareness. Consumers need to vote for what they want by buying what they really want. They need to practice balance and responsible choices. That's when change will come. Please engage me with your conversation so that I can help you make better food choices that you enjoy and gain a deeper appreciation of food not only from farm to table but farm to health. My vision is to promote solutions to marketing healthful food and food practices.