I just saw another article on this and have to share my thoughts on the topic. In case you don't know, some scientists theorize that children have food allergies (and other autoimmune disorders) because our society is too clean and kids aren't exposed to the same diseases/germs/dirt/etc. that they used to be so their immune systems have started to react more to benign things like food. Now, I don't really have a problem with this theory, except that it doesn't actually apply in our situation. Ainsley had her allergies from the moment she was born -- I can easily prove this by pulling out pictures of her as a tiny infant with eczema covering her face. No amount of me rolling her in the dirt would have prevented her allergies, because they were there from the moment she was born.
The other problem I have with the hypothesis is that it causes some people to suggest that those of us with children suffering from food allergies must have caused this in our children by bathing the kids in Lysol or covered them with antibacterial gel or something. I can assure you that I did nothing of the sort and that my kids are just as dirty as the rest of them.
All that said, I do have a theory, related to the hygiene hypothesis, as to why Ainsley may have food allergies. I have read several studies that suggest that children born by c-section are much more likely than their peers to have food allergies. The theory is that exposure to beneficial bacteria during the birth process prepares a baby's digestive tract for outside life. C-section babies miss out on that and therefore their systems are more likely to overreact to harmless substances. Now, this I can buy. Of course, this theory makes me feel bad for having a c-section with Ainsley (but what was I to do? She was upside down (breech), for goodness sake.) Although I will never know for sure whether the c-section caused Ainsley's allergies, I did buy into this theory enough that I purposefully tried to avoid having a c-section with Leighton. I was successful in that endeavor, and so far so good in terms of Leighton's allergy status.