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food allergy experiment

I have had problems with environmental allergies since childhood.  The last couple of years it has become increasingly worse.  The past year has been the worst year, with random breakouts in hives, this spring my face has been breaking out in hives a couple of times a month! It is very rare when I can actually breathe through my nose and I have had 3 sinus infections since January.

My husband has been encouraging me the last couple years to get allergy tested.  I put it off because he has teased me saying he was sure I am allergic to tomatoes and if so he would never let me eat them again.  I know he has wanted this because it would then squash my love for mexican food, especially salsa.  As you have read in my previous post, I have started to consider myself a connoisseur of salsa because I love it so much.  I have my favorite mexican restaurants everywhere I go.

I have been contemplating starting a second blog just to talk about my love of salsa and margaritas.  I would share pictures of the salsa and margaritas from each place I tried and write a review of what I think of it.  I tried to talk my hubby into trying one new place each week, he laughed, rolling his eyes saying he hoped I had someone else to go with.

Years ago I used to make homemade salsa and bring it to work for coworkers.  My coworkers loved it so much they actually asked me to jar it and sell it to them and I did.  I had to stop making it because I hand cut all of the vegetables and my hands were breaking out and burning like they were on fire when I was cutting the tomatoes.  So my husband’s belief of a tomato allergy was not totally unfounded.

I know being a nurse I should know better but who would ever want to admit they are allergic to one of their favorite things.  Especially if their husband is threatening them with cutting them off of this substance!

Due to my allergies being so much worse this year and being miserable, I finally broke down and made an appointment with an allergist.  I saw her for the first time 3 1/2 weeks ago.  Because my allergies have been so bad she didn’t want to take me off of my allergy medicine for 5 days to do the skin testing so she opted to do serum testing.

Today I went to the allergist and got the results of my serum allergy tests.  I found out I am allergic to some molds, every grass, weed, and all trees except mulberry trees, cats and dogs (I have 3 dogs and I am not giving my babies up!)  I am also allergic to carrots, peanuts, corn, potatoes, mango, melons, apples and tomatoes.  ARGH!!!!!

She recommends skin testing to double-check a couple allergies in July, after the bulk of the allergy season is over.  This is because I have had reactions to shellfish and shellfish did not show me reacting on the serum testing.  In six weeks I go back, get skin testing done, see the doctor again and begin allergy shots to work on this issue.  The shots are once a week for six months and than once a month for four years and then I should be immune to the allergies.

What was my response to the new information I obtained at the allergists office?  I called my mom and said,”Hey, I’m allergic to tomatoes! Want to meet me for mexican food for lunch?”  Yes, the stubbornness in me won out.

Prior to going to the allergist, I have done some research about food allergies because I had seen something on TV discussing how food allergies make you overweight.  When you eat something you are allergic to, it causes a histamine release and endorphin release in your body.  You in turn begin to crave what you are allergic to because your body craves the endorphin release, just like an addicts body would crave the drug (substance of their choice) which causes this same effect.  So, you eat the substance, than crave the substance and eat it again and again.  Meanwhile your body is in this constant state of inflammation from being exposed to the substance you are allergic too.  This results in overeating, chronic inflammation, and being overweight.

Experiment

I was contemplating the information I have researched about food allergies, how much it will stink not eating the things I like and the fact I have six weeks before going back to the allergists and starting treatment.  I wondered if I would feel better avoiding these foods and thought it might be fun to do an experiment and see if the information I researched is correct.  Being a nurse I find things interesting and the information I found makes a lot of sense.  I asked two doctors about my findings one said she wasn’t sure it was true and the other said it made a lot of sense and could be true.

So, why not make myself the test subject and try it out.  What do I have to lose ~ other than suffering from not enjoying my favorite foods because oh yes my favorite fruits and vegetables are all on the allergy list!  I may feel better eliminating the foods I am allergic to and since I do carry around a few extra pounds, I may get the added benefit of losing a few while conducting this experiment.

So starting tonight with dinner, until my doctors appointment on July 20, 2011, I am going to avoid all of the things listed on my food allergy list and see what happens.  This will be the longest my husband has gone without mexican food in the 15 years we have been together!  I suppose we could have mexican food, but what is mexican food without salsa??? Not worth having!

Over the next six weeks you may hear me ranting about how tortured I am not having my favorite things and we will see what July 20 brings.  Let the experiment BEGIN!

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the art of blogging

Blogging is weird.  I find myself amazed I am writing here.  So often in life it seems you are talking to someone who isn’t even listening to you, feeling like you are in a one sided conversation.  That is what blogging is like.  Like you are just talking and hoping someone is listening.

I never really did do well at journaling.  I would love to get the new pretty book to write in and would start out with every intention to write my thoughts down so that one day if I wanted to the thoughts could be revisited.  Within a couple days or a week the newness would wear off and I would forget about the journal or would find other things to do.  So, I had numerous, mostly empty journals.

Maybe I hadn’t found the right thing to write about or hadn’t found my voice yet.  While growing up I didn’t have a voice.  I felt I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion, it was chosen for me.  Maybe this is just part of growing up.  Since then I definitely found my voice.  I am sure my husband often wishes he could stuff a sock in my mouth so I won’t share my opinion.  I would not fit into the “Leave it to Beaver” world for sure.  I am not a feminist by any means but I believe in having my own voice and having a shared, mutually respectful relationship.

I have found something I want to share about, this experience of ours and I hope someone out there is listening.  I hope to help someone, inform someone, and share our experience both with our family/friends, and with anyone who may want to learn more or needs encouragement to start down the path we are taking.

I am open and ready for comments, questions, and suggestions.