It seems that everybody has some sort of allergy or intolerance to food these days. Whether it be lactose, gluten, egg, dairy or nuts the food industry has responded with an explosion of gluten/dairy/nut/egg-free products to satisfy every person’s need.
The paleo diet craze was born out of a need to create a low-allergen diet but it has recently come under fire for several reasons including its reliance on meat products. Unfortunately for all you meat lovers out there, it has become clear that the current meat industry is unsustainable and bad for the environment.
I, however, would like to propose a solution.
My solution is for everybody to eat more dirt.
Ok. I know this sounds bizarre. I also know that the last time you deliberately ate dirt was probably when you were a toddler running naked and free.
However, some clever epidemiologists have determined that the places in the world where people are infected with hookworm, a common bug that lives in the soil, are the same places where people have less allergies and vice versa.
People in developed countries don’t tend to get infected by hookworm because of good hygiene practices but it seems that too much hygiene is not a good thing. In relation to allergies this concept is called the ‘hygiene hypothesis’. One of my university lecturers even went so far as to eat hookworm and voila, asthma symptoms gone! Note, do not do this at home.
At the end of the day, I don’t really want you to eat dirt, (or hookworm), and if you really like paleo food go for it! but the important thing is to think about the environment you live in and how your diet affects the environment.
If you have any questions about allergies and how to manage them please talk to your local GP.