Gluten free or dairy free may just seem like menu options to some, But in fact, food allergies have become a major epidemic. They aren’t restricted by socioeconomics, age, or gender and are increasingly becoming globally pervasive.
Dr. Kari Nadeau is one of the nation’s foremost experts in adult and pediatric allergy and asthma. She is the Director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University and is an endowed professor under the Naddisy Family Foundation.
She also co-authored the book “The End of Food Allergy: The First Program To Prevent and Reverse a 21st Century Epidemic.”
In this conversation we talk about the difference between food allergies & intolerances, the trends in longitudinal data of food allergies, and educating our immune systems.
Changing public view on how disruptive food allergies can be:
I think the world is changing. I think after having people see what people went through with COVID. I think, my food allergy patients had been living that kind of life for a long time - not going out on airplanes, not going out to restaurants, being fearful of anything that you touch that could be contaminated with a food that could hurt you in the same analogy, not perfectly analogous, but that's what happened three years ago. Well, actually two years ago with COVID, right? That we were so worried. And so people could hopefully live the life of someone with food allergies a little bit more easily.
Educating our immune systems with eating more diverse foods
It's probably better for a non food allergic child and adult to eat those diverse foods in your diet, all those beautiful proteins…let's not see them as foreign. And how do we do that? Well, we have to educate. Our immune system needs education. So does your brain, it needs to be educated. So that diversity of diet early and often with complementary feeding, with breastfeeding, it all works.
Modern living & eating
We can't all live on farms. We have urban living. We have modern living now that has helped a lot of people, but we do need to find a balance of the environment and making sure that we help our health. Because our health is an active state. It's not just a passive state.