My Food Allergies or I’m Still a Fat Kid

On Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at about 6PM, life as I knew it changed. That was dramatic even for me. It seems that my prayers, open letters, and pleas to the Universe paid off because yesterday I finally figured out what I am allergic to. It took 47 painless pokes on my back, three hours, and one informative video and the results are conclusive. The list includes:

Eggs
Corn
Soy
Milk
Yeast
Potatoes

Surprise! Wheat is not on this list! I know a lot of you are probably sitting there shaking your heads and wondering how it is that one person could be allergic to so many things. (My mom was also tested and when she told my grandmother, all she said was “eggs?”) Yes, eggs.

According to my amazing doctor, Dr. Guo, my food allergies were passed down from either my maternal grandmother or grandfather. My grandmother, whose refused to be tested for her penicillin allergy, was the one who started this whole thing. If not for her refusal and my mom’s ability to be vocal about her allergies, this news probably would have never come. I am so grateful for my grandmother’s stubbornness and for Dr. Guo’s insistence that my mother and I get tested.

The list is shocking, to say the very least. I went to Whole Foods immediately after the diagnosis and I threw up my hands in disgust in the frozen food aisle. There isn’t much I can eat at Whole Foods, which is sadder than I care to admit. I stood there, in front of the bakery where they have vegan brownies that are made with freakin’ tofu, and thought about things like what am I going to eat? and Oh, my stars. What if Lenny Kravitz wakes up one morning and finally realizes that I’m the woman for him and he calls and asks me to dinner? Ya know. Practical stuff.

Then I realized this diagnosis, much like the gluten intolerance misdiagnosis, is going to change the way I think and feel about food. I am beyond the point of frustrated. I am no longer hopeless and I am no longer sad about it. I can eat cookies. I love cookies. All joking aside, this news is exactly what I needed. I now know what it is that has been hurting me. I now know exactly what foods I need to avoid to not feel miserable. I feel like this is a brand new chapter in my life. I am excited for it. Change is good.

Confession time, kids. Most of what I have posted here in the past has given me some sort of intestinal distress. I didn’t want to post that because, well, it’s not very appetizing, but it’s the truth. With the medications I am on and with this newly acquired knowledge, I plan to do better and feel better in the process.

I’ve decided to use this blog as a kind of food allergy journey. I am going back to see Dr. Guo in twelve weeks. She wants me to slowly start eliminating the foods in the twelve weeks. I am going to start with soy and corn. I am still planning to cook. I am still going to take pictures of everything, but until I get the hang of it, my blender, juicer, and I are going to be VERY close friends.

Thank you all for your continued support of Cooktivism and for joining me on this culinary journey.

Yours In All Things Fat Kid Related,
Nina

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Karla says:

    Nina,

    It seems daunting at first, but having come through the other side of dealing with allergies, I can tell you that I feel, and breathe so much better (mine caused asthma – now gone!) that I seldom miss those things. My biggest loss for which I don’t think there are good alternatives -are all the different cheeses.

    Try So-Delicious’s Coconut milk icecreams, yogurt, kefir…. they are wonderful.

    Most Quorn products do not have soy or corn (but check the label).

    Hang in there! You will be amazed at how much better you feel.

    1. cooktivism says:

      Thanks, Karla. I appreciate this feedback. I’m going to hang in there. 🙂 Day one is almost over.

  2. noemi says:

    did your dr say you would feel a change-for all allergens? (according to the level of reaction). I took this test last year, and it was just too much for me to be able to eliminate so I didn’t try this. my list includes 27-so you can imagine.

  3. Karla says:

    In my case, I was the one (by pure accident) who figured out the milk allergy, but my doctor tested me and verified it. To say it changed my life would be minimizing the impact. I had been treated for asthma for almost 5 years and was able to get off of steroid inhalers, quit coughing, and my digestive tract settled down. I didn’t lose weight – but looked like I did because I didn’t have abdominal distension or puffiness in my face.

    My daughter, who has 5 mild food allergies (milk, peanuts, chocolate, beef and pork) in addition to a couple of seasonal pollen allergies. She doesn’t “flare-up” all the time. Her doctor gave this advice: You have a “bucket” and as long as your allergic foods don’t overfill the “bucket” you may be able to eat them occasionally. HOWEVER, when the bucket overfills you will start having reactions. In her case the food allergies are not much of a problem until the seasonal ones kick in, then she has to watch them more carefully. She is now a vegetarian so beef and pork aren’t a concern for her anymore.

    The other thing the doctor told us was that in general, if you are allergic to milk, it is quite likely you are allergic to beef as well. This turned out to be the case for both my daughter and I. Just something to consider if that is part of your allergy list.

    If you have 27 food allergies on your list, pick the worst 5 and work on eliminating them from your diet. I do think you will see improvement and it might be easier to gradually work down the list. It was SO worth the effort to me – I don’t crave any of my allergy foods because I feel so much better. The one exception is cheese which I miss terribly and there are not good substitutes.

    1. cooktivism says:

      Fascinating that there is a relationship between being allergic to milk and beef. The come from the same source. Makes sense. What are the symptoms of being allergic to beef and pork?

  4. Karla says:

    I imagine an allergic reaction can vary depending on the extent to which you are allergic, and maybe personally.

    In my case, anytime I consumed dairy products I would start coughing 20-30 minutes later, feel a tightness in my chest, etc. At the time I was drinking milk, eating yogurt, cheese, ice cream, etc. and this went on all day, but I didn’t link it to an allergy. The doctor automatically classified it as asthma, and it was an asthmatic reaction but due to an allergy. After I quit consuming dairy products for several months I became lactose intolerant as well – which though not an allergy, is a miserable intestinal reaction to undigested lactose sugars.

    In my daughter’s case, she was quite young and it apparently involved some swelling in her nasal passages and ears – creating a miserable cycle of ear infections primarily.

    We both also had eczema from what we were told was allergy to the milk products.

    1. cooktivism says:

      Karla, thank you for sharing all of this information. I really appreciate it. I now have more things to add to the list of what I need to ask my allergist. 🙂 -Nina

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