Allergic to Life


Creative Commons License photo credit: Dennis Wong

In my post last week, I posed questions challenging the gluten-free craze as fad dieting. Many commenters took issue with the idea that gluten-free was simply a “diet” and suggested other factors might underly the rise of gluten intolerances. Reader Hannah responded:

“The gluten content of our food supply has increased over the years, most likely due to GMO’s and unnatural farming practices. Increasing the consumption of any type of food increases the likelihood of some type of allergic reaction such as those found in intolerences or sensativites. “

This started a chain reaction of thoughts for me. It’s not just gluten. I look around and food allergies are everywhere and to all types of things: soy, peanuts, dairy, citrus, wheat, and eggs. And the rise in allergies is not just limited to food!  People are allergic to the very air they breathe, the trees outside their windows and the flowers in their yards. Hardly anyone goes into the sun anymore without covering up or lathering on the, often times, toxic sunscreen, afraid of burning and harming their skin. People are sensitive to their soaps, detergents and body products. I even found a woman who was allergic to rain….RAIN!

Are we becoming allergic to life?

This is a serious question to look at and the answers don’t come easily. These issues are hotly debated and the reasons behind them vary. Here’s just a few:

1. Increased GMOs

2. Increased Consumption

3. The Obesity Epidemic

4. Reduced Immunolgy

5. Detection Bias

6. Genetic Vulnerability

7. Increased Pasteurization and Ultra-Pasteurization

8. Digestive Issues

9. Global Warming and Environmental Issues

10. C-Sections and Decline in Breast Feeding

Holy cow, that’s 10 reasons! And I’m sure many of you readers can add to this list (please do!)

How would one even begin to mull through this information to find the answers? So much has changed in our food culture over the last 50 years. We have food ingredients and diseases our grandparents never heard of (let alone imagined!) It is in our nature to be balanced and in harmony — in other words, to feel good, be disease-free. But our systems can’t keep up.

Our kids come back from the peditrician’s office diagnosed with a laundry list of “disorders,” and we’ve been taught to assume the problem is with their little bodies rather than considering it may lie outside, in their environment. Well, ring the alarm! Send out the S.O.S!

Our bodies are crying out for help, but often we’re too distracted with other things to listen! And by we I mean all of us: parents, doctors, food manufacturers, policy makers… What’s the hold up? Convenience, legislation, lack of education, all of the above?

 Our systems are revolting and we are slowing killing ourselves.

A colleague of mine recently suggested that  allergies are more of a collective, maybe even environmental, problem than an individual one. It seemed plausible to me. Do you agree?

Posted by:

- who has written 7 posts on Yoga Modern.

Maura Manzo is the Contributing Health Editor at Yoga Modern. As a yoga teacher and health coach, Maura is committed to helping people become the best version of themselves possible. All of her classes and programs are creative and empowering and fuse in her sense of humor. She is also a lululemon athletica Ambassador. In 2010, she raised $20,000 for HIV/AIDS programs in South Africa in collaboration with Off the Mat, Into the World® and has trained extensively with Seane Corn and OTM. She is committed to creating community and believes in the power of collabortion. Maura is co-founder of The Art of Letting Go: A Maya Tulum Yoga Vacation and also currently writes recipes for Philadelphia Magazine's Be Well Philly blog. To learn more about Maura and her upcoming workshops, visit her website.

2 Responses

  • Hannah says:

    Thanks for using my quote!

    As for the question as to "are we allergic to life," I think that so many things have changed in our environment and in what we put into our bodies, both food as well as pharmaceuticals and supplements, that it is hard to really know what is causing what, but I agree in how alarming it is.

    Children are kept in a glass bubble of antibiotics and vaccinations from birth and yet over the years as this has become the norm people have only become sicker.

    Look at the advent of gyms and having a workout facility on every corner. The obesity rate has only increased and people are more and more out of shape. Why? The reverse should be true! Instead you see people stuck at both end of a continuum…grossly in shape (yes one can be grossly in shape!) or grossly overweight or obese. Is moving your body in and "artificial" way a replacement for moving through life?

    I could ramble on and write a novel on all this, but I am interested in what everybody else has to say!

    • Maura says:

      Hannah — thanks for the comment. I LOVE this topic. And I love your questions about moving in artificial ways…something to think about! Have a fabulous weekend!