I grew up with a dairy allergy, which meant fielding endless questions from friends and teachers about what that meant. I would have to explain that allergies can cause lots of different types of reactions, and that my allergy meant that eating ice cream would give me ear infections.
Ear Infections Due To Food Allergies
The reactions I got when I explained my allergy were always in the realm of surprise, because at that time most people had never heard of dairy allergies or of ear infections being a result of a food allergy. But in the time that’s passed since I was young, ear infections have actually been shown to be a very common allergic reaction to dairy, especially among children.
Because that link wasn’t known when I was little, my mom had to fight to prove to her doctors that my older brother and I were allergic to dairy. The doctors thought it was a crazy idea, since at the time allergies weren’t linked to ear infections. After having tubes put in my ears twice to drain the fluid, and my brother still struggling with chronic ear infections, she vowed to get to the bottom of it herself.
She decided to try an allergy elimination diary, meaning she took dairy out of our diet completely and then took note of our symptoms each day. On the days she added some dairy, she would notice symptoms start to creep in, like crankiness and indigestion.
After a lot of concerted effort and documentation, she eventually got confirmation that we were both allergic to all forms of dairy. The bigger surprise was that she was allergic to dairy as well. Now the real challenge was to ensure that we got calcium and other nutrients that conventional nutrition claimed to be present in milk. This was particularly important for us growing children.
A person’s reaction to an allergen can show up in so many different ways. So if you have an issue or a symptom that chronically recurs in your life, you may want to try an allergy elimination diary to pinpoint the trigger. Even if you don’t have an outright allergy, this technique can be very helpful to understand how your body reacts, and whether you may be sensitive to certain foods or combinations of foods.
Here’s how you do it:
- Make a list of foods you suspect to be triggers.
- Eliminate all of those, plus the most common allergens for two weeks. 3. Add back one of those foods at a time, noting your reactions daily, and leaving 2-3 days between each to see if they cause a reaction.
Allergy Causing Foods
The most common allergens include peanuts, dairy products (milk, cream, ice cream, cheese, butter, etc), corn, soy, wheat, yeast, pork, shellfish, tomatoes, mushrooms, unripe fruit (such as apple peels or imported pineapple), and red wine (usually the sulfites in the wine rather than the wine itself).
Other foods that may show up as allergens for some people are lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, lemon, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, apple, banana, peach, currant, raisin, apricot, strawberry, potato, squash, rye, oats, rice, alfalfa, eggplant, carrot, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, pepper, turnip, walnut, cashew, Brazil nut, honey, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, curry powder, garlic, vinegar and onions.
Reclaiming Your Life
From the time I eliminated dairy from my diet when I was little, I haven’t had an ear infection. I’m now vegan, so I avoid all forms of dairy for multiple reasons, and I feel fantastic. My mom had been living with her allergy for so long that when she eliminated dairy in her thirties, she couldn’t believe how much better she felt. She could finally see what life was supposed to be like, without the constant energy drain and headaches.
If you suspect that you or one of your children has an allergy or sensitivity, I strongly encourage you to trust your instincts and try an allergy elimination diary to root out the cause. Figuring it out can completely change the course and the quality of your life.