August 18, 2012

A Pregnant Interview with an Allergy Specialist

Early in pregnancy I remember reading an article in a pregnancy book or magazine about allergies and passing them onto baby. The interesting idea was that by frequently consuming the foods that many kids are intolerant to these days (nuts, soy, dairy, gluten) in the first trimester and avoiding these same foods in the third trimester would prevent baby from developing a food allergy. I don't remember what their reasoning was, but I can imagine it having to do with the rapid development in the first tri with all of the vital organs n' such and that maybe baby, upon eating these foods through ye ol' placenta, would build up a good system for them. With regards to avoiding those foods in the third trimester, well, who knows why.

 So I brought this up with an allergy specialist who recently visited the pediatric clinic I work at. He asked me where I heard this information, and seemed to be looking for a specific name - since me saying "oh, I don't know, just read it somewhere" brought him to say, "where exactly?" He then stated that it was completely a false statement, and that allergies are specifically genetic. Fascinating! It's good to know that my daily dose of walnuts and almonds, as well as an every-few-days source of tempeh or sprouted tofu - are not going to cause our wee-baby to come into this world with soy and/or nut intolerance. At least, me eating these foods won't be the cause if they do have those specific allergies. Another interesting thought came from my husband. He is from Mexico and has lived in the states for about 5 years now. Something that confused him about our country is the increasing amount of food allergies - especially those to soy, gluten and peanuts. He asks me often why, in Mexico, they have never even heard of peanut allergies.
Why, in the U.S.A. are we suddenly so obsessed with all things gluten free (are we really that addicted to corn, rice and tapioca flour?) And I honestly never had an answer for him, because I didn't know. The allergy specialist (Dr. William Berger from Southern California) also mentioned that a reason for peanut allergy mania in the U.S. could have to do with the way we process our peanuts. We roast our peanuts, where as the majority of the world (he didn't actually say the world, but I'm assuming) boils their peanuts. Fancy fact, no? It's so strange that roasting a peanut could bring out properties that cause our kiddos' bodies to react, as opposed to boiling the nut, but this was just his theory.
 The gluten intolerance hype? It's just that, he says, it's a trend. Yes, many people are diagnosed by their doctor with celiac disease - when gluten, upon reaching the intestine, attacks and causes a large handful of icky, uncomfortable gut pains and issues. But he wouldn't say it's "on the rise" necessarily. More like it's getting popular because it sounds cool and people think they can lose weight on it when really they are simply consuming even more processed garbage than ever. Honestly, go to a grocery store and take a peek at their gluten free section. Cookies, crackers, breads, cereals - all come with an incredibly long list of nonsense ingredients. The first is usually corn, followed by rice, some other grains and starches, potato even, then all the other junk they add to make it taste just like a Costco muffin. Next we'll be wondering why all our other sicknesses are increasing - because of those nasty ingredients lists!

Phew. I hope you've been enjoying that sprouted-tofu covered pizza, those almond-quinoa waffles, the black rice-lentil-pinto bean patties, and that cashew ricotta tortilla pizza, baby Carrillo!

 I'm almost 36 weeks pregnant, am feeling it more and more with every meal, every day, every night, every 15 minute prenatal weight lifting session in my living room, every 30 minute walk in the sun as I soak up the midwife-prescribed vitamin D, every 40-ish minutes of prenatal vinyasa yoga. I'm stretching, the weight of baby tugs on me ever so subtly. Baby twists and turns when I place books on my belly to read, kicks and pushes at the inside of my uterus while I work, and loves being active while I eat. Baby showers are joyous and a blessing, the baby closet is filling up with the hangers from the store still attached to blankets and bibs. The nursery is coming together with a crib, rocker and dresser with changing table. And Edu and I are so excited for the day we are blessed to be holding out little one in our arms. Praise God from whom all beautiful gifts flow.

1 comment:

  1. Nicole! (Yes, I still read your blog!!!! :) ) Thanks for the gluten rant! lol I have to say I agree. The only tidbit I might add is that the one problem this country DOES have with gluten is that many products with wheat are so highly processed, that the food that contains gluten ISN'T good for you. However, that's not the gluten in and of itself, it's the processing of the food :)

    Even some fancy shmancy brands that make whole wheat bread (unless it's organic?) probably isn't the best thing in the world. Wheat, just like any other plant/grain is, I imagine, sprayed with pesticides. Also, I've heard from a few people that many growers have altered the DNA of wheat over the years, to give a more "fluffy" product. In turn, this is apparently not good for us. Whether this is true or not, I have no idea. Blah-de blah. I would have to research it more to know if that's true. (This is kind of the point where you can only do what you can do, and forget about the rest. lol).

    And that's not to mention PORTIONS. I think maybe so many people gain weight (or have a hard time losing weight) eating gluten because they're just consuming too many CARBS in general (in combination without exercising). Anyways, I'm rambling now.

    My other main point in commenting is adding to your idea that many people think gluten free will help them lose weight. Someone told me recently that his mom went gluten free and lost 20 lbs. I said: Of course she did! Most processed food has gluten. Thus, she stopped eating all processed food! Further more, she decreased her intake of carbohydrates exponentially! (she didn't eat the wonky processed GF alternatives) And by not eating gluten, I'm sure she didn't have as many options during the day, or while going out to eat, and etc....She definitely was consuming way less calories!'s not the GLUTEN that makes you lose weight, it's all the other factors that play in when you cut it out!!! But of course, people don't really think about that stuff :)

    Okay, my thoughts end there for the day :) Love your random posts about this kind of stuff!!