Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nut Allergies

Life is good.

Went to the specialist in Calgary, after an 18 month wait, and was cleared of suspicion of nut allergies. I had been suffering from hives for several months, and correlation with consumption of almonds/marzipan was sufficiently compelling for my doctor to order me to stop eating all nuts and to carry an epipen with me at all times. The hives vanished the second I stopped eating nuts; the one episode of hives I had after that, when I went back through every thing I had eaten that day, I found a "may contain traces of almonds" label, so that freaked me out a little -- if mere traces of almonds could now trigger the reaction, strongly suggested that problem was escalating. So I went 18 months without eating any tree nuts. Which I discovered are in everything everywhere. Indeed, "almonds are the new peanuts", peanut allergies being sufficiently widespread and scary that a lot of places (schools, cruise ships, many restaurants) have simply banded them, often replacing them in recipes with almonds.

Besides having to avoid a lot of my favorite dishes, I was constantly annoyed by packaged foods with the "may contain traces of" warning labels, since the legal department insists on putting that warning on everything, whether or not there is actually any chance of contamination. A colleague passed me a research article on a study into what the variations in the wording of these warnings meant (did "processed on the same equipment that processes peanuts and tree nuts" imply more or less danger than "may contain traces of", etc.) and the researchers concluded that all the warnings were meaningless legalese. Basically, if you have allergies, you shouldn't eat processed foods.

But tests proved I'm good to go. I'm not allergic to anything I was tested for. The hives were just random outbreaks caused by underlying thyroid issue, which I already knew about and which is not serious.

So life is good!

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