Saturday, February 23, 2008

Two Allergy Books

Allergy Free Naturally: 1,000 Nondrug Solutions for More Than 50 Allergy-Related Problems, Rick Ansorge and Eric Metcalf: Part one of this book is an overview of allergy theory, testing, and the three major medical approaches to allergy--conventional, environmental-medicine, and alternative. Because allergies can be so horribly confusing, it helps to be able to peg your doctor as using one of these three approaches so that you can understand where he's coming from and why he might order completely different tests for you than your friend's doctor does for her. I did not find the rest of the book very helpful, though, since it mainly deals with inhalant and contact allergies, not food allergies.

Coping with Food Intolerances, Dick Thom, D.D.S., N.D.: With its odor of cheap publishing (double-spaced lines, poor editing, etc.) and the occasional reference to something called UNDA numbers (hope I'm not stepping on anybody's toes here), I wasn't sure how helpful this book would be. Turns out it was good enough to add to my allergy resources sidebar. In section one, Dr. Thom explains his framework for evaluating and improving one's health. It is a wholistic approach that takes into account nutrition, genetics, and emotional wellbeing, among other things. I found this to be very encouraging because it accounts for why I get sick after one late night while some people apparently have no need for sleep at all. The author goes on to explain allergy theory, the difference between allergy and intolerance, and the range of tests available for diagnosing allergies. Next he explains a six-week elimination diet and the re-introduction phase. Finally (and, again, very encouraging for me) he recommends a manageable rotation diet. He doesn't advise rotating food families, just individual foods; and he allows you to eat a particular food as many times in a day as you like. This is much more manageable than the extreme rotation diet recommend by other authors, which nearly drove me insane when I tried it last year. Subsequent sections deal with environmental allergies, food recommendations and substitutions, recipes, and even a grocery list.

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