Bad wakame

When I was a kid, allergies weren’t a big issue. I had a friend who seemed to have a doctor’s appointment every other day for allergy shots. But we never had to quarantine the kid who was allergic to nuts, or forbid the rest of the class from bringing PBJs for lunch.  We all brought allergy-inducing foods to school, and no one died. Snack time at school seems so unnecessarily complicated now.

When it comes to allergies, I’ve been fairly lucky.   While I do get the annual stuffiness that comes with Spring, I can fearlessly eat peanuts and will never be concerned that a doctor might accidentally give me penicillin.

My lack of sensitivity to allergens surprises me, since my parents certainly aren’t allergy-free.  As a youngster my mother, like my childhood friend, was riddled with weekly allergy shots for everything under the sun.  My father seems to have developed an allergy to mango, which has twice sent him to the emergency room.

Besides the usual pollens, though, the only thing to which I have ever really been allergic is raw celery.  How I have wished I could dunk a stalk of celery into a jar of peanut butter, munching and crunching to my heart’s content.  

Unfortunately, if I were to do that, my lips would swell up like a pair of Wack-O Wax lips.  It actually looks pretty cool, giving me a plump, full Angelina Jolie kisser.  If not for the unbearable itching, I would probably do it more often.

Life is pretty easy here on Allergy Free Street. For the most part I can eat whatever I want without fear that my food will kill me.

Or not.

It seems that in addition to raw celery, I am also allergic to something I ate for lunch today.

I didn’t notice anything until I got in the shower, about twenty minutes after I ate.  For some reason, while I rinsed the conditioner out of my hair, I happened to look down.  Just above my left hip, about the size of my hand, was a patch of tiny red bumps.  Panicking, I looked over at my right hip to find the same red bumps, and they were beginning to rise ever so slightly.

I’ve only ever had hives once or twice before in my life, both times a reaction to amoxicillin, but previous experience told me that they aren’t nearly as bad as the bout of poison ivy I had a couple summers ago, so I would live.  I kept an eye on them for the next hour, and stopped worrying when they didn’t rise any more than they had in the shower.  I’m quite sure that the slight itching I experienced was completely psychosomatic, since I was itching where there were no hives.

My meal wasn’t anything extraordinarily exotic, being just a bowl of miso soup and a cup of green tea.  It was certainly nothing I hadn’t eaten before. The miso soup I make at home is usually restricted to broth, tofu and scallions.  I have never added wakame since I am usually grossed out not by the taste, but by the slimy, squishy texture of the seaweed.  I usually leave it in the bottom of the bowl when I eat out and receive strange looks from the wait staff when the table is cleared.

However, for some unknown reason, perhaps in a bid to eat healthier and get some extra folate and Vitamin A, I decided to bite the bullet and try it in my soup this week.  I think my tongue was trying to warn me on previous occasions, because my theory is that the wakame was the cause of my hives.

In the future I plan to listen to my instincts and not put any food in my mouth that chews like wet rubber.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Peter K.
    Jan 31, 2009 @ 14:05:12

    Few of my allergies are food related, mostly airborne stuff. Except for raw shrimp. I suspect I could probably eat raw shrimp with impunity, but interestingly if I get the juice from them in my eyes they glaze over and my vision becomes blurred. Funny the things you find out while helping prepare dinner.

    Recently it was pointed that I probably have a mild allergy to walnuts. Apparently it’s *not* normal to experience a mild sensation of needles jabbing your tongue when you eat raw walnuts. All these years I assumed that like me everyone else just found the taste too irresistible to let a little pain get in the way.


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