250+ million are diagnosed with food allergies. A recent study shows that as many as 17.5 million US adults are developing food allergies, we typically find these numbers to run true in other parts of the world as well.
PROBLEM: There is little to no education, resources or tools for food allergic patients post-diagnosis. This disease carries a lot of responsibility which most people are not aware of, especially if managing multiple life-threatening food allergies. If we set our business models to be “food allergy safe” we can cater to all other special dietary needs individuals.
The truth is, the medical community has previously refused to give food allergies much credit. Minimal research has been done, as funding is almost non existent No one is making advances in testing much less accurate diagnosis. It is still more accurate for a person to self diagnosis based on reactions and accurate ingredient logs.
Dermatologists, rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, asthma specialists are not having any discussion about linked symptoms.
How many people have juggled a handful of specialists trying desperately to figure out why they feel so bad and hoping for some relief? Those with time and access to healthcare, money, testing and time, often do. Imagine those that don't.
The Food Allergy Community has been disjointed. Very few countries work together to address the issue of food allergies as a global immune system disease. It's not just a rising issue in childhood but also for adults with food allergies.
For the millions of sufferers that lack those luxuries, discussing ALL of their symptoms with many different specialists, is almost never done. If they have access to healthcare at all they typically can only take time from their jobs when their symptoms are really bad. There is little chance that they will receive the holistic care they require.
We must address food allergies as a human disease. After all, we believe that it is us (humans), who created it.
It is not an age-related disease, children and adults suffer from food allergies.
It is not a socio-economic disease, it affects people of all levels of income.
It is not a racial disease, it doesn't discriminate in whom it affects.
We are also seeing this disease in pets (whom we feed), as much as we see it in humans.
It would be interesting to see if bees and plants have allergies, so we can, in fact, find out if perhaps an Earthly problem. :-)
History of IFAMA
When founder, Lara "Chef" Holland was 22, just after giving birth to her second child and being very ill for the entire pregnancy she was diagnosed with her first set of food allergies, as a last resort to her medical conditions. Since nothing else was working and her health and remaining kidney were failing, one of the doctors on the team recommended a food log and as a result, asked her to remove tree nuts and peanuts (something she was eating almost daily).
Childhood had also been challenging and she was often very sick, leading her to believe that if her food allergy testing and awareness were more available in 1990, then her kidney could've been saved. Growing up in the food industry, agriculture and restaurant life were all around her. It was blasphemous to be a “picky eater.” Food created a culture of rich life experiences.
“I am a humanist and therefore everything that I am involved with I look at as a humanitarian. Hence creating global and international programs.”
Founder & President
When Lara first starting working with this disease outside of herself, all the support and research on food allergies was about children with food allergies. It was mostly only mothers advocating for their children. No one was talking about adults or acknowledging the issue of adult onset food allergies. Most people didn't believe it was actually a disease, just a case of picky eaters or hypochondriacs. There was a lot of separation and disenfranchisement within the food allergy community. With over 170 foods known to cause allergic reactions, people were still fixated on just a few, and arguing who had it worse, which test was accurate, and if it should be considered a disability or not.
"I ate everything. I was surrounded by dirt and natural soils, pesticides, organics, you name it, I was exposed to it. So the theories of 'too clean' and 'lack of exposure' make no sense to me", says Lara Holland.
This is when Lara knew we had to look at this disease on a larger scale. She has been studying the human body since
1990, when she first started having her own issues. As part of her Native American culture and upbringing, she has always been taught to study patterns and trace problems back to their roots in order to find solutions. It was just as important to understand possible interrelations, or the common threads among earth, culture, animals, medicines, and food.
In 2012, she began putting global research together. Learning that the UK was already listing 14 foods as major allergens, only a very limited % of the population had the enzyme to digest milk properly, resulted in milk being the leading food intolerance globally, and Australia was reporting a massive surge in food allergic individuals. The team was starting to form. We met with Lisa Musician and Dr. Stuart Rusnak, both of whom had been working within the food allergy community. Other people inside of US organizations, were not always helpful or supportive, in fact, many were very combative. While this was discouraging at times, Lara continued to push forward to develop what is now known as IFAMA.
IFAMA is an educational program of Urban City Fresh, a non-profit organization founded by Chef Lara Holland (Food Allergy Gal). The board consists of dedicated individuals who have experience with the management of the illness, business, medical, and legal expertise.
Mission: to provide safe, reliable tools and practices for the day to day management of those with life-threatening/life-altering diseases where food plays a significant role in staying well.
SOLUTION: Provide a central, standardized education platform to certify professionals and organizations serving the food allergic & medically dietary challenged community.
IFAMA IS FOR:
Food & Alcohol Manufacturers
After School Programs
A FEW WORDS FROM OUR CERTIFIED ALLERCOACHES
AllerCoach graduates have attended the 14-week certification course hosted by the International Food Allergen Management Academy and have passed with a 90% or higher score. Coaches have been trained in food allergen management, FPIES, celiac, food intolerance, FODMAP, EOE and related diseases caused by food. Every AllerCoach has an independently, owned and operated business.
The AllerCoach training I received has been invaluable and empowering! Thank You!
The learning objectives were clear and tied to every component of the course. The materials were extremely helpful. And, most importantly, you had great skills at engaging trainees virtually.
The weeks on business-building were FULL of new information for me!