Ancient Plant Alternatives Alleviate Allergies

No grain, no pain


| January/February 2000



Ann Foster, an avid camper and hiker from Arkansas, dreamed for years of moving to the Colorado mountains. But when her dream finally came true, Foster found herself sidelined with joint pain so severe that it was sometimes a challenge to walk across the room, let alone hike the Rockies.

Although Foster had taken arthritis medicine for years, her Boulder physician recommended food-allergy tests, which revealed that Foster was allergic to wheat, rice, eggs, milk, and other common foods.

After Foster changed her diet, her joint pain disappeared, and she was able to not only resume her active lifestyle, but also quit taking her $100 per month arthritis medicine. "People probably won't believe it, but I was cured within two weeks," says Foster. "It was miraculous."

Foster had been eating a diet heavy in rice and bread products. After the allergy diagnosis, she switched to meals composed primarily of fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts, plus wheat and rice alternatives such as quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), rye, and kamut. These often-ancient replacements for staple grains are gaining in popularity as creative chefs develop new ways to prepare them. They also help preserve ancient plant varieties and diversify America's mono-cropped farms.