It is common to talk about ‘western diseases’ without thinking of the total number of diseases having their origin in atopy. There are symptoms of atopic illness for every age group. Early symptoms arrive in infancy and may be expressed as mild or severe colic, constant agitation, expressionless staring, projectile vomiting, or patches of eczema – usually inside the elbows and behind the knees.
The next stage may include glue ear, tonsillitis, bronchial congestion, tummy ache and difficulty in sleeping at night. A doctor’s first instinct will be to prescribe antibiotics, without first checking which organisms, if any, are causing the inflammation. Later the bronchial congestion may be said to be a symptom of asthma. Glue ear may have subsided, but tummy ache may rise in prominence, prompting testing for coeliac disease, another symptom of atopy. At some point, maybe after a viral disease, the first signs of autism suddenly appear, often linked to addictive eating of a food family such as bovine or cereal based foods. The autistic child may prove difficult to manage and parents find it hard to break this addictive eating cycle. I have known cases where parents were asked, by doctors, to withdraw dairy-based foods from their autistic child’s diet, but they thought nothing of allowing their child to eat beef sandwiches addictively, every day. There was no chance of any recovery while this state of affairs continued.
If your child is not affected by autism there is always the possibility of severe depression linked to the eating of foods that are allergenic to the particular child. By now the child will have received a fair range of pharmaceutical products, but none of these will have stopped the underlying disease processes. Stop the inhaler and asthma may rise to prominence; stop the cortisone cream and the eczema returns, stop the psychotropic pharmaceuticals and the depression appears again, with a vengeance. All these chemical treatments are simply suppressing symptoms – they delay effective treatment by dietary control – and they all have certain side effects. Inhalers tend to make asthma attacks more dangerous, cortisone destroys the ability of tissues to self-repair, psychotropic drugs are commonly addictive, or create a new imbalance in mental health.
The best way to get out of this confusion is, perhaps, to follow a carefully designed exclusion diet and to make sure that known key allergens are not eaten for some time, especially foods of bovine origin, and wheat, peanuts, soya and any food or fruit that is believed to be suspect for the particular dieter. The result of such a diet will often be that the dieter feels extraordinarily unwell for a few days – a kind of ‘cold turkey’ effect as the addictive foods are removed from the diet. This is a positive sign and indicates that perseverance will bring the reward of better health in due course. Those successfully emerging from the other end of this dietary experience will have a new realisation that many of their ‘favourite’ foods have proven to be the cause of their ill-health They will often feel that a huge burden has been lifted and happiness and clear thinking are once again theirs to enjoy. Breathing is free of burden, sinus congestion has disappeared, the body seems lighter and smaller quantities of food are consumed and provide contentment.
If the opportunity to fix things by diet passes, many of life’s pleasures are gradually removed and pain takes their place. Pain on rising in the morning, pain of constipation, pain of movement of the limbs, pain in the hands and feet, pain on sitting still, pain on standing up. This is now taken as an indication of ageing and many of your fellow citizens expect to be in such a situation, relief being supplied by alcohol or prescribed pharmaceuticals. All of this is a shocking lesson for what happens when we leave things to experts. We are all of the species Homo sapiens and we can all do our bit to demonstrate our stream of wisdom by choosing what we eat, choosing our lifestyle and level of activity, and choosing a healthier old age. Many of the foods we currently consume are known to be inimical to good health. Our preference to watch the television, rather than be more active after work, prepares us to be ever more static of an evening, and we go to bed with our minds still racing and our bodies weakened by inactivity, unable to get a good night’s sleep. Our evening meal – from a packet – doing what it does to cause our health to falter. Waking late and muddle-headed and opting for the easiest of breakfasts of ready-baked cereals and cows milk, with a cup of ‘instant’ or machine coffee.
Many aspects described in the last paragraph are symptomatic of atopic illness. It is as if we are all accepting of our place on the conveyor belt towards ill-health. We all have been brainwashed by our dairy industry and medics into accepting that dairy foods do nothing but good to us: provide the calcium we need, and the protein, and, to make us all feel even better, the ‘nasty’ fat has been reduced or removed entirely. And we have fat reduced (water increased) buttery emulsions to lubricate the swallowing of, very slightly chewed toast. Along with all the milk production come cheeses, casein, lactose, whey solids, gelatine, dripping, spreads, yoghurts, meat and sweetbreads. Now, if we were bottled-fed as neonates, all these items may prove inimical to our health throughout our lives, because that infant immune system was naturally driven to interpret dairy-based formula milk as an infecting agent and began the lifelong process of antibody production against our most commonly eaten food source.
The only safe food for new-born infants is their mothers’ milk. When this fails, the next best option is to be breastfed by a successfully lactating relative or close friend of the mother. The worst option is to be bottle-fed on formula milk derived from dairy sources or plant matter – no matter what health assurances are written on the container! This is where wisdom and the commercial imperative collide.