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Naturopathic doctor Jacqueline Rho. Courtesy photo.




Food Allergies & Sensitivities: A Panel Discussion

When: Tuesday, April 14, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: City Council Chambers, 37 Green St., Concord
Cost: Free. Register online at concordfoodcoop.coop/classes




Go with your gut
Experts discuss food allergies and sensitivities

04/09/15
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



What may be a delicious afternoon snack for some, like a banana with peanut butter or a bagel with cream cheese, could pose a host of issues for those with food allergies and sensitivities.

Kelly Lang, certified health coach, said many people don’t realize that they have a sensitivity to a certain food and cope with chronic symptoms like migraines, skin irritation and joint pain every day. As one who used to bear the pain and thought it was just par for the course, Lang knows how much making a change can help.  
“A lot of people do just suffer through it and think, ‘I’m one of those people who always get bloated after they eat,’” Lang said in a phone interview. “They don’t have to live with it.” 
To debunk the myths, explain the science and symptoms and offer suggestions from experience, the Concord Food Co-op will host Food Allergies and Sensitivities: A Panel Discussion on Tuesday, April 14, with naturopathic doctor Jacqueline Rho, chef and author Oonagh Williams and Lang. Maria Noel Groves, Concord Food Co-op wellness coordinator, will serve as moderator. 
“We’re very fortunate to have these three local experts for the panel discussion,” Groves said in an email. “Each has her own unique experience and expertise with food allergies and sensitivities, and the combination of presenters will give attendees an engaging and highly informative talk.” 
Lang attributes the rise of food allergies and sensitivities in recent years to awareness and proper diagnosis as well as the current state of food production. 
“We’ll talk about … changes in food production, changes in the way we are growing and processing food and so forth and some conditions that lead to sensitivities,” Lang said. 
Another focus of the panel will be offering resources and suggestions for maintaining a healthy and tasty diet, even with limitations. 
“A lot of people have a sense in their head that having to give up certain food [means] that their diet is going to be horrible and unenjoyable, and that’s absolutely not true,” Lang said. 
She recommends taking advantage of specialized cookbooks and online resources, and even going to Pinterest and searching specific meals that meet needs, like “waffles without gluten, dairy and egg.”
Williams said she  appreciates the openness of the panel format, especially when discussing potentially personal issues. 
“This panel is good because one will say something and [another will say] yes, that happened to me,” Williams said in a phone interview. “When other people hear someone say, ‘Yes’... they stop thinking there’s something wrong with them.”
Each panelist will speak in terms of her own practice and area of expertise, but Williams said that when it comes to identifying and coping with food allergies and sensitivities, all three of the experts take this topic on with a “down-to-earth common sense.”
“This is what the three of us definitely agree [on],” Williams said. “If it feels better, go with your gut.” 
 
As seen in the April 9, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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