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Monday, April 8, 2013

All in my head?


(Shutterstock image)

We were in a group discussing healthy eating the other day, when the teacher mentioned how important it is to eat seafood. It has Omega 3 fatty acids which are good for your brain. Since I'm allergic to seafood, I take flaxseed oil capsules instead so I can get that good fat for my brain. I said it was fine with me if I was allergic to seafood since I hate it anyway!

One class member pointed to her head and said, "are you really allergic to seafood or is it all in your head?" After a few moments of shock, I blurted out, "I am allergic to seafood. I carry an Epi pen with me at all times. If I eat seafood, it can kill me!"

Sheesh people. Get a clue! Someone else in the class knew I was upset and placed their hand on my shoulder as if to say, "take a deep breath-she doesn't know any better or she wouldn't say something like that."

If you suspect a food allergy, visit an allergy and asthma specialist. They can run a blood test or a scratch test on your skin to determine if you have a food allergy. Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America has more information on their website.

You can also develop a food allergy ANYTIME in your life. You can eat the same food for decades and still develop an allergy to it.  

I'm the 1-2% of adults who has a true food allergy. Lucky me. Some people can "outgrow" certain allergies. My son outgrew his allergy to milk. However, seafood and tree nuts allergies are life long allergies. My son still has to watch VERY carefully for tree nuts.

When we eat out or go to a family gathering, we remind everyone of our seafood and tree nut allergy. People still slip up, we have to carefully check all the food we eat. Many desserts have tree nuts, and they usually pile an assortment on a tray. My son can't eat any desserts on that tray due to the risk of cross contamination.

You can find seafood in some strange places. Once I was at a conference, and they served a BBQ dinner. I thought, phew! I'm safe. Or so I thought. I picked up the ladle for the baked beans and spotted a curly object-shrimp! Who puts shrimp in baked beans?

If you have food allergies, be careful and always have an epi pen with you. You never know if you might need it. And be prepare for the people who think "you can just pick the nuts off the dessert" or "just pick the shrimp out of your beans." They'll never know what it feels like to have an allergic reaction.  Lucky them.

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