Monday, April 19, 2010

Allergies

I usually blog only about my immediate family, with a few references to other family and friends thrown in. I am close to my siblings, but respect their privacy enough not to blog about them.

I have my sister's permission, though, to write about her for at least the next few months. Since she was a little girl, we knew she had food and environmental allergies.  She's allergic to apples, bananas, citrus, strawberries, peaches, mangoes (and a few more fruits.)  She's also allergic to latex, glycerin and a variety of growing and living things.

She is very careful about reading labels to avoid her allergens. You may be surprised how many products contain glycerin! (most toothpastes, for example, as well as a wide variety of packaged foods) You may also be surprised how many things use apple juice as a base, or that contain orange juice (colas contain small amounts of orange juice.)

She has been  having allergic reactions for a while, and wasn't sure what was causing it.  She thought she may have developed a new allergy, and also worried that her symptoms may indicate some sort of chronic illness. Recently she experienced an allergic reaction so severe that it landed her in the hospital for a day.

She quickly found an allergist, who put her through a battery of tests.  We were relieved that she does not have a chronic illness, but 2 new allergies were discovered.  She is allergic to yeast (not gluten, or wheat -- but yeast) and dairy.

She already exists on a restricted diet because of her known allergies. Adding these 2 new allergies has been overwhelming and disconcerting (to say the least.) In her words -- "This sucks!"

Her yeast allergy means she has to avoid grapes (one of the few fruits she could still eat & enjoy), vinegar (which means there are pretty much no condiments or salad dressings available to her. Why? The usual substitute for vinegar is lemon juice.  See: above-mentioned citrus allergy), olives as well as any yeast breads.

You can imagine all the things that removing dairy has also removed from her diet.

When my sister & I hear about something, our first inclination is to research.  As soon as she told me about the diagnosis, I started researching.  I want to help her find ways to cope with the new way she must eat in a way that will make it as simple and non-upsetting as possible.

So, yes, I did ask her permission to write about her.  As we have done research, we haven't found anyone that shares her wide variety of allergies with helpful recipes, tips and ideas. We decided that with all we've learned from the Internet, it's time to give back.  I will be writing about different products, different recipes, and different strategies that she tries.  With her further permission, I'll also share her struggles and her thoughts about it all.

We're hopeful that as she continues to eliminate her known allergens, she will feel better.  She hasn't felt "well" for a while, so helping her feel better is important to me. 

If you have resources to share, we'd love to hear about them.  Please feel free to leave comments, or email me directly.  I hope we all learn a lot on this journey!

2 comments:

  1. Kids with food allergies would be able to help her with menu ideas. What are her symptons when she is reacting to foods?

    Angi - mom who cooks 2 meals daily to account for 3 kid and 1 adult who avoid a combined 12 or 13 foods.

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  2. Wow. Sorry Aunt Bunny is having more trouble and even more restrictions to her already difficult to accommodate diet. I don't really know how to help, but I did ask one of my friends who has more experience with food restrictions to take a look at this post. Best of luck. Ann

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