Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Allergies and the Art of Gastronomic Maintenance

Unbelievable! It's been about three weeks, but the irony still makes me laugh.

Allergies. These are the things that make you sneeze when Fluffy or Butch or Floppy come into the room. The invisible floaties that make your eyes water and nose run when Spring begins to spring. The mistaken anaphylactic reaction that sends Scully to the floor – interrupting The Kiss not seen 'round the world in the first X-Files movie.

Allergies. I've had them my whole life. Cats, pollen, dust, cheap perfume…they've been as much a part of me as the brown hair and perfect pitch. All right. The brown hair.

As recently as two years ago, Happily Ever After and I had become convinced that I've developed an allergy to avocados. A food allergy. I've heard of them. Poor little children that can't get peanuts at the ballpark because they're allergic. My nephew is allergic to mangos. I pretended to be allergic to spinach simply because I don't like it. But I've never had a food allergy in my life. Then we arrive at that one fateful Cinco de Mayo: I made a vat of guacamole and proceeded to drown my corn chips in the green yummy goodness. Then the rash started. The tingling swelling I felt around my mouth was only slightly less scary than the tightening in my throat that was beginning to occur. EEK!! OK. Not to be paranoid – and because I dig me some guacamole – we decided to try again another day – another batch of guac made with different avocados. This time with the Benadryl insta-tabs at the ready. And once again, the rash & swelling begins. When I awoke from my Benadryl nap, we decided that avocados were something to avoid. I mourned. But it was ok. There were moments that I was sad, sure. Something you ate your whole life is now verboten. It sucks. A pal makes guacamole, you have to content yourself with just salsa. You're at lunch with your gal pals, request no avo, but somewhere along the line the request gets lost, everyone's lunch comes, and yours has to go back. Making you late. You content yourself with chips & salsa, but you feel bad for dragging the lunch on when everyone (including you) has work to return to. We're all grownups, but still…ya know?

But just to be sure, I made an appointment with the allergist. And for laughs, let's just test everything. (Thanks, Blue Cross!) I knew I was allergic to everything out- and in-doors in the Western New York area, but CA? The land of the allergy-free? Surely I'd be spared.

First the news we already knew. Cats are cats – West or East coast. Apparently their allergic magic works on both sides of the Mississippi. Pollen? Dust? Tree spores? Yep. Still allergic. (Thanks, Zyrtec!)

Now the good news (yay!) NOT allergic to avocados! Not at all! Not a whit!! Tested twice just to be sure!! Oh Happy Day!!!!!!!!!

Now the not-so-good news. Apparently I'm allergic to the corn chips I was woofing the avocados down with. HUH???????? Corn? Oh, no, boys and girls…not just corn. Baker's yeast, wheat, potatoes, rice and soy. All Nature's starchy goodness. All of it. Why, Dee, that doesn't really sound TOO bad…Aren't you indulging in a bit of self pity?

Let's quickly take a look, shall we?

Baker's yeast – anything that rises…cookies, cake, bread, brownies, everything along those lines. Everything.

Wheat – cookies, cake, bread, brownies, pie crust, pasta, four tortillas. PASTA!!! What kind of Italian girl is allergic to pasta!??!?!??!

Corn – those guac'ed out corn chips…corn on the cob, corn bread, corn tortillas, popcorn.

Soy - Every. Processed. Food. In. America. EVERY. Besides soy sauce, tofu & edamame, the dreaded "partially hydrogenated soybean oil" which happily makes an appearance in things like salad dressing, mayonnaise, jarred pasta sauce, many processed cheeses and lots & lots of other things. LOTS.

So my friends console me…"That's ok – you can't have pasta, but you can have gnocchi"…no. potatoes."You're allergic to gluten…easy! There are lots of gluten free products on the market now." Yep! They're all made with rice as a substitute. "At least you're not allergic to avocados!" Tru Dat.

When my results came back I asked the doctor how I could possibly be allergic to foods that I had no idea I was allergic to? I've never ever had a reaction to these foods. He very ominously replied, "Not that you're aware of. We don't know what these foods are doing to your insides."


The game plan is to put me on an allergy diet – take me off everything I'm allergic to for one month then slowly reintroduce speisen
verboten back into my diet one at a time to see how my insides are reacting. Dear Lord. Again I ask: how can a gal that can honestly say that she hasn't had a meal in her life that hasn't included one or more of the above foods, abstain for a month?

Apparently I have to look at bread & pasta like pre-marital sex…

Hail Mary, full of Grace…


danielletbd said...

And that... is why I don't go to doctors.

Kate, Dating in LA said...

You are officially allergic to everything. ;)

Oh... and that damn bee still pisses me off.