Self Reported Food Allergies

FARE reported on a FDA study showing that there’s a growing rate of Self-Reported Food Allergies among adults over the years 2001, 2006, and 2010…

Here are my thoughts, as a patient.

Allergy testing is expensive and not comprehensive. Just this year, I paid about $700 for a 90 food item scratch test, which gives me a bunch of things I know I *might* be allergic to (after all, SPT’s are have as much as 50% rate of false positives), but there’s hundreds of other common food items that aren’t tested, so I still end up needing to do extensive elimination diet testing. Meanwhile, some items I tested negative for still give me OAS-type symptoms, which, in my experience, significantly weaken my immune system to the point where I become prone to frequent colds and infections. So after going through a lot of money in testing, I still need to self-test and self-diagnose well beyond my allergists findings. The doctor-led testing only gives me a starting point, which I’ll say was worth it.

While there is a large problem in people are self-diagnosing themselves with allergies they don’t have (gluten/wheat seems to be a popular one), each person NEEDS to be responsible for their own knowledge of the condition and responses of their body – especially in the food they eat.

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Food as poison

There’s a concept that seems to be popular among the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol movement of “Food as Medicine”, that food can be used to help your body heal.

I’m dealing with my allergies using the concept of “Food as Poison”, that much of what I used to think was edible will actually kill me.  This helps me.

Happy Fat Tuesday.  You can take that Paczki and shove down your own throat, thank you very much.

The Unexpected

I had expected that the skin prick test would leave me with dozens of positive hits that would guarantee I couldn’t eat anything ever.  Instead, I got a reasonable list, but somehow it makes it a lot harder to think about what I can eat.

And the losers are:

  • Celery
  • Tomato
  • Pea
  • Peanut
  • Walnut (English and black)
  • Shrimp/Lobster/Crab
  • Almond
  • Barley
  • Saccharomyces Cervisiae (Brewer’s Yeast?)
  • Catfish
  • Codfish
  • Lima Bean
  • Mushroom
  • Navy Bean
  • Garlic
  • Sesame

Of course, I’m still lactose intolerant.  And I still have dozens and dozens of OAS symptoms from being allergic to every tree and weed pollen that I’ve ever been tested for.

I was afraid that I’d be allergic to rice and soy, but the list is still diverse enough to make restaurants difficult.  Sesame, peanut, and garlic allergies will make my favorite Thai and Chinese dishes unsafe.  Sesame and garlic make Lebanese risky at best.  Tomato and garlic make Italian difficult.  Catfish and cod make lenten fish fries out of the question.

This will take some work.

 

Skin Prick Testing…

So, it happens tomorrow.  I lie down and let a nurse assistant poke 90+ different holes in my back and we get to see how many bumps appear.

Right now, I’m guessing a lot.  70 at least, though 80+ wouldn’t surprise me either.  So far, my own food testing has show at least a slight itch on nearly every common OAS cross-allergan food I’ve tried.

Tomorrow we’ll discover what my IgE has in store.

Time to start over

38 years old.  First asthma attack at age 2. A lifetime history of evolving allergies.

 

When I was 21, I found allergies had reappeared.  Anaphylaxis to crustaceans…  I used to love shrimp with lobster sauce (sob). Oranges and melons are just a step behind. They won’t choke me, but I’m guaranteed a sinus infection within days. Apples and many fruits are tolerable as long as I  don’t eat too many.

Last allergy test was about 10 years ago.  Tested positive for 34 out of 35 on the scratch test.  Took allergy shots and Xolair (aka liquid gold) until recent changes to medical insurance made deductibles skyrocket and allergy cpverage change from 100% coverage to 80% coverage…  Which meant that I would have needed $17000 per year in out of pocket copayments. No thanks.

Three years ago,  I found that I’m lactose intolerant.  One week I could eat pizza. Took some antibiotics for a sinus infection.  Next week, I couldn’t eat a pat of butter.  My wife told me back then that one more allergy will mean that I’m on my own for meals.

Last year, I starrrd having migranes and numerous musculoskeletal pains.  Slightly elevated RF factor indicates possible autoimmune disease, but the rheumatologist didn’t find enough evidence to point to any definite diagnosis.  Pains might be just a result of a car accident 18 years ago.  PCP and Rheumatologist can only advise me to go jump in a lake (actually, they said swimming pool).

But, seeing all the studies that are finding links between autoimmune syndromes, allergies, intestinal issues (history of that since who knows when), depression (history of that since age 9)… Maybe it’s time to do something.

One thing I can control (at least to some degree) is what I eat.  Stop eating things I’m allergic to and start finding out what else is killing me. And go jump in that lake.

I thought about doing an extreme elimination diet, but it seems so difficult to hey rid of everything at once.  I thought about doing a Paleo AIP diet, but even on that super strict diet, they suggest a lot of foods I know I’m allergic to.

So I’m getting  new scratch test, scheduled for next Tuesday.  This time will be 90 food tests…  Anyone want to guess how many positives I’ll get?

As far as I can tell, I’m only allergic to everything that used to be a plant, or has ever eaten anything that was a plant.  Ok, it can’t be that bad,  can it?

Allergic to life.  That’s me.

I’m a foodie. I have to think there has to be something delicious I can eat.  There has to be hope.

Time to start over.