Follow the Crumbs ...

Don’t Believe the Hype: Allergies . . . Schmallergies!

 

Eggs . . . and egg whites . . . are my friend

A week and a half ago, I posted about finally accepting the fact that I have been diagnosed with food allergies (said allergies being to milk, wheat and egg whites). I had been privy to this information since mid-April but, like the ostrich that I sometimes try to emulate, I stuck my head in the sand and willed myself to ignore it. And rightfully so.

Even though I consumed these ingredients on a regular basis (and sometimes in mass quantities), I wasn’t suffering from symptoms associated with any of the three allergies, such as:

  • Milk*
    • Hives, Vomiting, Wheezing, Abdominal cramps, Diarrhea, Runny nose, Watery eyes, Itchy skin rash (often in the vicinity of the mouth)
  • Wheat*
    • Itchy, watery eyes, Nasal congestion, Diarrhea, Anaphylaxis, Breathing difficulties, Hives/rashes, Irritation, itching or swelling of the throat or mouth
  • Egg Whites*
    • Skin inflammation or hives, Anaphylaxis, Allergic nasal inflammation, Cramps, nausea and vomiting

*(List of symptoms culled from the Mayo Clinic web site)

Lovely wheat . . . oh how I’ve missed you
I originally skidded headfirst into this knowledge of the alleged allergies by an Ear, Nose & Throat doctor who ran blood tests in an effort to isolate the root problems of my vertigo and migraines. When I received the phone call telling me of my cluster of allergies, I was a bit stymied.

I was not the least bit surprised by the test results which indicated that I was allergic to Timothy grass, June grass and ragweed. I’ve suffered through these maladies for years. However, milk, wheat and egg whites threw me for a loop. Why wasn’t I suffering from any symptoms?

My life went into a mini-tailspin. I would have to adapt the way I eat, the way I cook, the choices I make when dining out.

Dining out. 

That sent shivers down my spine. As a food writer, and a self-professed foodie to boot, this just wasn’t right. How could the universe flip on me like this? Would I be forced to slip the chef a cheat sheet every time I stepped inside a restaurant that reads something like this?:

“Dear Chef: Please forgive my intrusion into your busy kitchen. I know you are a master of your craft and I hate to burden you, however, I have a favor to ask. I will be dining at Table No. [insert table number] tonight. I have food allergies that prevent me from consuming anything containing milk, wheat and eggs. Please refrain from preparing my food with any of following ingredients:

Lysozyme

Mayonnaise
Meringue
Ovalbumin
Butter
Casein
Cheese
Curds
Custard
Ghee
Half-and-half
Sour cream
Tagatose
Whey
Yogurt
Bread crumbs
Bulgur
Cereal extract
Couscous
Cracker meal
Durum
Einkorn
Emmer
Farina
Flour
Kamut
Matzoh
Pasta
Semolina
Spelt
Just to name a few. Thank you for honoring my wishes, kind Chef. Signed, The Lady With The Irritating Food Allergies.”

I think not.

I began to seriously rethink my career choice. No longer would I be able to attend press dinners for fear of eating something that would cause me to go into anaphylactic shock, break out into hives or suffer through severe abdominal cramps.

This would be no way to live my life. I was trying to adapt . . . really, I was. But eating scrambled tofu in place of scrambled eggs could only carry me so far. I decided to seek out the assistance of an Allergist. Yes, a specialist in his field. After all, how much could an EN&T doctor know about true allergies?

You ever have those days when you get a bit of good news and you can’t stop smiling? You feel like the Cheshire Cat and the grin plastered all across your face just very well may be a permanent fixture? Yeah, me too. That’s how I felt today.

When the allergist informed me that the IGG test that was used to determine my alleged food allergies was simply wrong, and that if I am not exhibiting a single symptom that these food allergies just do NOT exist, I could have kissed him! And I probably would have, too, if his wife weren’t my attending neurologist.

 

Milk. Ahhh! And now I’ve discovered Soy Milk.

 

I felt as if a sack full of bowling balls had just been lifted from my bony yet capable shoulders. While I’m sure the EN&T doctor is relatively capable in her field of specialty (although the woman did cause my ear canal to bleed while cleaning it with her metal probing thingamajig, which can’t possibly be good for the ear), she is not an allergist. It is not her particular field of expertise.

She had me worked up into such a frenzy that I was questioning damn near everything that went into my mouth. I wasn’t prepared to trudge down the gluten-free aisle for the rest of my life and spend more time reading labels than it would take to actually consume the food. I mean, I would if I had to, but I wouldn’t be too happy about it.

I shouldn’t have to work that hard for food!

Alas, as the lyrics to that famous song go:

Sun in the sky / You know how I feel / Reeds driftin’ on by / You know how I feel / It’s a new dawn / It’s a new day / It’s a new life / For me / And I’m feeling good.

I most certainly am.

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