Allergy list

My allergies are complicated enough that even I forget, sometimes. Here is the list as of October 2021.

  1. Peanuts, walnuts and all other nuts (except macadamias, almonds, coconut, pine nuts, cashews (!) and chestnuts).
  2. Soya beans, protein or protein isolate (soya sauce is ok, as is teriyaki sauce, as is soy lecithin or soy oil---in all of these last, the proteins are processed or fermented right out. Some home-made or high-end soy sauces cause trouble.). Soya flour and soy protein isolate cause me the most difficulty of all my allergies---they put SPI on many cold cuts of meat nowadays to make it look better when they add water. My nephew Tom cynically suggests that it's really to make it weigh more.
  3. Lentils, chickpeas, peas, snow peas, etc. Ordinary garden peas I can eat if they are raw, but I am quite allergic to lentils and chickpeas. But beans are fine. So, I guess I am allergic to pulses. Update: on the plane recently I was given a "black bean and spinach" wrap that contained edamame. I did not react, although I did not finish it. So maybe I can eat raw soy beans? I'll try under controlled conditions.
  4. Goat's milk and (especially) sheep's milk. So, many lovely cheeses are out.
  5. Couscous.
  6. Raw egg (hardboiled, fried or scrambled, overdone souffles and omelets are all fine---but not chocolate mousse, for example, or some kinds of ice cream)
  7. Raw oatmeal (This one is weird and occasional. Maybe only some kinds of oatmeal?).
  8. Alfalfa sprouts.
  9. Bananas.
  10. Overripe avocado (this one bothers me as I love avocado and guacamole and used to eat it anyway). I think it's the pit I am really allergic to.
  11. Some kinds of beer, especially Heineken (I don't know why). I don't regret the Heineken, but some of the exotic Belgian beers are another story. I am allergic to some wheat beers (weise) as well.
  12. A very few kinds of wheat, and very rarely. This puzzles me (see the note from my friend Ron Henry, below)
  13. Some molds, and therefore many moldy cheeses (including, alas, Stilton). Luckily I can eat brie.
  14. A new one: on the Isle of Skye I tried a 10-year old Talisker whisky. I was allergic to it. I was not expecting that. Don't know what was in it that I would be allergic to. Maybe the kind of grain? I now know that some kinds of bourbon contain peanuts (ooh, *that* was a bad experience).
Non-food allergies.
  1. Dust mites. Hoo boy this is a bad one nowadays.
  2. Cats, especially Abyssinians. And most dogs. And horses.
  3. Many pollens from various trees, and ragweed of course.
  4. A surprising number of scented products. Especially some perfumes.

What happens to me if I eat something I am allergic to:

My lips, tongue and mouth swell up and itch; if I have eaten enough of something I am quite allergic to (say hummus) I will feel nauseous and my throat will be closed and painful---but it is a purely local reaction, not anaphylactic; and my reactions have been decreasing over time. Usually the swelling occurs within 3 minutes of my sampling something, and I have developed the habit of eating only a small taste to start, and waiting. Then I just stop eating it, and am usually fine even without medication. I use an oral antihistamine for the times when I am hit with SPI, lentils or peanuts. Peanuts are the worst: a half a peanut will make me ill for hours. I do carry an EpiPen but have never used it.

So if you have to be allergic to something, this is the kind of allergy to have---fast enough to know when to stop eating, and slow enough not to kill you.

A note from my friend Ron Henry on wheat allergies

In response to a Guardian article on junk food and allergies ------------------- I suspect that the AGE's in junk food and in the blood of kids that eat junk food correlate rather well with the amount of gluten that is ingested, as nearly all junk food has wheat gluten in it. There is a lot of very strong evidence that gluten (especially the 33 MER in most current hexaploid wheat) is responsible for many auto immune diseases and what appear to be allergies. It is a bit like fire, for a fire to happen you need:
  1. fuel
  2. oxygen
  3. heat
For autoimmune diseases and allergies you need:
  1. gluten that increases the secretion of zonulin, opening tight junctions in the gut, lungs, and blood brain barrier (lectins may do something similar but are not as well studied).
  2. A genetic susceptibility (40% of the population) which increases the opening of tight junctions.
  3. Something to annoy the immune system which might be seasonal pollen, wheat components {gluten proteins, wheat germ agglutinins (WGA), lipopolysaccharides, amylase/trypsin inhibitors (ATIs), and fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs)}, or a lectin in the seeds or skin of a nightshade vegetable (tomatoes, potatoes, …) or some nasty bacteria or fungi in the gut, or etc, etc
Basically modern day greed and ignorance ensures that the slow old ways of processing flour by using long fermentation have been replaced by a cost efficient but totally ineffective short fermentation, or even no fermentation, so all that indigestible bioactive gluten and WGA are there in the supposedly healthy foods ready to wreak havoc in some unsuspecting young child being weaned onto wheat products, so that they may develop IBS, auto immune disease like :type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, crones, thyroids problems, Dermatitis herpetiformis, Psoriasis, Vitiligo, Psychiatric (depression), IgA deciency, IgA nephropathy, Primary sclerosing cholangitis, Autoimmune hepatitis, Primary biliary cirrhosis, Joint pain, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, asthma and so on. See: