April 14, 2011

What Will Be This Year's Hot New Food Allergy?


I get so much mail at Dr. Chak’s Celebrity Medical Clinic that it’s hard to keep up with it all sometimes. A lot of it is the standard fan-mail type stuff, but that comes with the territory of being Doctor to the Stars.

And right up front, to answer the question asked most often: briefs.

Most of the other mail is usually from fans who want to stay on the cutting edge of health and fitness trends. No one wants to be behind the times, or to be caught sleeping when the next big thing hits.

It wasn’t too long ago that my patients and I were leading the way on gluten allergies, and it certainly is the hottest allergy out there. But it’s to the point now that if you have a gluten allergy, you’re just part of the pack instead of leading it.

Those aren’t the type of clients -- or fans -- that I have. They’re not interested in whatever everybody else has. A gluten allergy might seem like the bee’s knees, but the truth is they’ve gone the way of nut allergies. When little kids start to have the same allergies as you, it’s just not cool any more.

My clients demand to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to food allergies and all the new, exciting ways to get attention at dinner parties, restaurants or family functions that go along with them.

I’m thinking maybe a combo gluten/corn allergy could be trendy this year. Corn is in practically everything, and if you’ve already committed to being allergic to gluten, this duo could make the limits to your options practically limitless!

I’m also thinking that taking your existing allergies to the next level could be huge. Sure, everyone in your neighborhood is sporting a gluten allergy, but what if you’re so allergic that you can’t even touch it, or be in the same room with it. Sounds crazy, but it worked for peanuts.

If you’re willing to ditch the gluten allergy entirely, there are a lot of directions we could go. Some of my clients are trying out being allergic to certain colored foods. You’d be surprised how many foods you are allergic to if you pick a color like red, or green. This is a tough one to pull off, however, so I’d recommend it only to those experienced in food allergies.

Some out there are predicting that being allergic to a specific animal -- chicken, beef, pork, etc, -- could be an emerging trend this year. My stance on it is that there are so many vegetarian and vegan options out there these days that it’s way too easy to avoid these foods for me to recommend this as an allergy.

My prediction for the next allergy craze is based on the growing popularity of local food. Everybody is concerned about where their food is coming from these days, so why not add an allergy aspect to it?

You could be allergic to any food that comes from west of the Mississippi, or north of Colorado. And it’s easy to differentiate yourself from the so-called “localvores” by being allergic to food grown in the region you live in.

Just by being allergic to food grown in California alone you could change your diet dramatically. And just wait until you start asking restaurant staff if any of their food is grown below the 30th parallel. The look on their faces is priceless.

The most important thing to remember about food allergies -- and what I tell all of my clients -- is that it’s important to be creative about it.

Your food allergies should be an expression of yourself, not a way for you to fit in with the crowd. Go out there and find an allergy that’s right for you.