Allergies, Real and Imagined

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Your Thursday fact of the day: Nearly a third of Americans think they have a food allergy, while, in reality, only about 4 percent of us do. So that's great news if you, like me, think being generally less allergic to things is a positive. But with all these misdiagnoses flying around, now feels about as good a time as any to admit that I have an allergy—or at least an intolerance—to the many people who claim these faux allergies as their own.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that allergies and intolerances do exist, and I'll drink an almond mylk smoothie over a real milk one as quick as the next girl, but I just can’t get behind how trendy it’s become to give up food groups (dairy! wheat! sugar!) under the guise of an allergy, when it's really just a new kind of fad diet. Girls who self-diagnose, and subsequently narrow their diets, miss out on essential nutrients. In attempt to be healthier, you may end up doing things that are detrimental to your health.

So, in light of the paleo diet, a gradual mylk takeover, raw restaurants, and other progressive food movements, I have my own diet theory to throw into the ring: Everything in moderation—including moderation. I am standing up for every girl’s right to have her cake, bake it with real sugar, dairy, and whatever else she pleases, and eat it too.

I invite you to join me on this, because let’s face it, what we all really want is to be healthy and happy. Thoughts? Have you ever eliminated a food group without a medical reason? Don't be shy—this is a safe space.

—Hayley Daen

Photo via ITG.