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Oct 3, 2011 09:40 PM

What food allergies or intolerances do you have?

Because I realize that the words "intolerance" and "allergy" are often used interchangeably when it comes to food (though technically they are different, I am told), my question applies to either situation. In other words what food(s) definitely cause your body to react in a way that can be considered negative or undesirable?

My major problem food is anything in the allium family (garlic, onion, shallots, leeks, chives); even a small amount will trigger an adverse stomach reaction for hours -- so I avoid all those like the plague. Onions/shallots etc were always an issue even as a child but it got worse with age; garlic was fine until age 35 at which point it suddenly became pure poison! (just one too many orders of Caesar salad, maybe)

Wine or any other alcoholic drink will bring on a killer sinus headache in minutes (obviously that was discovered in adulthood, LOL!). No idea what the culprit is so I just completely avoid.

Kiwi, cantaloupe, honeydew, and raw banana (although cooked bananas, as in pies, breads and muffins are fine; go figure) all cause a moderate reaction (itching) so I avoid those as well. Kiwi is definitely the worst of that bunch, reactionwise; good thing it's not a favorite but it appears in a lot of mixed fruit salads in restaurant settings.

What foods are Bad Guys for you?

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  1. I can no longer eat my beloved fried green bell peppers without experiencing Bad Side Effects...this is intolerance...discomfort-causing, not life-threatening.

    1. Because of a chronic digestive issue, the details of which are better left to horror movies, I need to severely limit my fat intake. It's definitely not an allergy, and I'm not even entirely sure I would call it an intolerance either, but it sure does make it hard to eat. After all,fat is flavor.

      On the other hand, having this limitation has made me a much more creative and thoughtful cook. It's so easy for me, but SO disastrous to rely on butter and cream to make a dish good.

      3 Replies
      1. re: FrauMetzger

        You've probably already explored this, but any chance that your digestive issue is related to a pancreatic insufficiency? You pancreas produces more enzymes than just insulin. I have a pancreatic insufficiency and take a prescription enzyme supplement. (it's most commonly prescribed for people with CF, but you don't have to have CF to have this particular insufficiency) The enzyme that I take is specifically to help break down fats - I take it with each meal and snacks over 1/2 cup in volume, and it has made a HUGE difference for me.

        Like I said, you've probably already explored this with your docs, but in case you haven't, I wanted to mention. Before the enzyme, fats made me miserable, and now I'm allowed - actually encouraged to eat more fats by the doc, since I have delayed gastric emptying and the enzyme helps to move the fats along.

        1. re: jw615

          Thanks so much for letting me know about that. My doctor never discussed that with me, though possibly it was addressed in one of the many rounds of blood tests I've had. I will definitely bring that up with him next time I'm in, which seems to be just about constantly this time of year!

          1. re: FrauMetzger

            Interesting to me too. If I overindulge in fatty foods my tummy will express its displeasure pretty darn quick. Never bothered me when I was younger but apparantly once I hit the half-century mark my stomach's tolerance went to hell in a handbasket for some things, LOL.

            There's defiintely a threshhold though - for instance I can eat a double scoop of regular ice cream and be fine, but I learned 10 years ago that salmon is now a no-no for sure. Cheeses are also fine (though I only eat feta and parmesan). Olive oil, canola oil, no problem. Butter, no problem. Yogurt, no problem. Baked goods with regular milk, cream, etc etc in them, no problem.

            I gave up red meat 5 years ago and now my stomach absolutely would never tolerate it again (I tried at the 1-year mark and trust me, never again .... I once had food poisoning that was easier to get through, LOL). I can and do eat skinless plain chicken occasionally and although the tummy isn't entirely thrilled, it's bearable once in a while.

            My hunch is that while dairy fat is tolerable, other types of animal fat are less so for me. So I treat the tummy with respect, knowing that if I binge on something there will be a price to pay afterward. ;-)

      2. I'm most definitely lactose intolerant; much to my chagrin.

        a half scoop of ice cream is the most I can handle, once in a great while. no frozen yogurt. I can eat cheese, regular yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta, but a glass of milk would do me in.

        I haven't tried lactaid

        1 Reply
        1. re: laliz

          <I haven't tried lactaid>

          Why not? It's such an easy way to deal with lactose intolerance. There are generic versions avaliable.

        2. As I have celiac I can no longer have gluten. :( Gluten is in SO many ingredients such as soy sauces and Worcestershire (in Canada) in addition to the obvious breads, pizza, croissants, choux pastry, phyllo, bagels, etc. Sure, I make decent GF alternatives but they will never be the same. Good bread needs gluten. So, not only do I get intense horrible reactions but it wreaks havoc and causes serious damage to my small intestine which can cause all sorts of sordid illnesses and diseases (malabsoprtion). I am also lactose intolerant and Lactaid does not even help. Makes it impossible to eat at weddings, potlucks and others' homes and tricky at restaurants.

          Thankfully I love to cook so eating well at home is no problem. :-)

          2 Replies
          1. re: chefathome

            I was on chemo and one of the rare side effects (lucky me) of the combo of two drugs I had to get for 4 months was a wheat allergy. It was like deja vu all over again, because I had the same thing as a child. Luckily in me it was "only" a skin reaction but it was a crash course in gluten free living. I waited 3 months after finishing that round of treatment to even risk eating wheat again. I was amazed at the difference in quality between my homemade GF baked goods and the packaged garbage that is sold in stores (yes even at Whole Foods); the latter is garbage, IMHO.

            I was also amazed at how much more the specialty flours cost, too. That was quite the eye opener! But then again, I discovered quinoa which I still eat by choice. Also learned that buckwheat (kasha) is okay as well -- and I have always loved it, my mom used to make it as a special treat from the usual rice-or-oats for a grain side dish. :-)

            1. re: skyline

              You are so right - purchased GF baking is substandard to be diplomatic. It would be very tough to live gluten free and not enjoy cooking and baking, that is for sure. I have so many kinds of expensive flours - some are 10 times as expensive as wheat. Actually, more than that.

              It really forces you to take stock of every single thing that you eat, that is for sure. I, too, really like buckwheat, especially in pasta (as opposed to rice flour pasta).

          2. I'm blessed with the ability to eat pretty much anything, further blessed with the ability to learn to like almost anything too. When I was young I found hard-boiled eggs distasteful unless mixed with mayonnaise (as in devilled eggs or egg salad sandwiches), nor could I stand sweet custard; got over the HB egg thing just past puberty, the custard thing maybe five years ago - very much past puberty! My only problem is that I can no longer drink a glass of milk unless I do it very slowly - I don't think this is lactose intolerance per se, since I eat cheese much more often and in greater quantity than I ought to. I just can't chug a glass like I used to, or else it barely pauses in my stomach, then keeps right on going …

            3 Replies
            1. re: Will Owen

              I know what you are saying about milk - I have pretty much the same issue (why is that, do you think?). The only other strange thing I have noticed, is that sometimes sea scallops make my mouth go all numb and tinny tasting. Not all scallops, so at first I thought maybe it was some kind of preservative or something, but even scallops we get right off the docks, caught that morning, have done the same thing, so I am leaning to something specific to scallops.

              1. re: Will Owen

                I get that too... I drink at a fairly normal pace, but if I were to chug a glass of milk (any kind, though it's always either Skim or 1% in my house) it would immediately make me queasy, among other effects.

                Then again, when I have the rare chance to order an egg cream (see below*) which MUST be drunk quickly... never a problem. Maybe it's the fizz factor?

                * Egg Cream: for those who have never lived in the NY metro area during the 1950s-1970s and have no clue what an egg cream is:
                It has no eggs, nor cream either. It is chocolate (or vanilla) syrup, milk, and fountain seltzer. The fountain seltzer is critical, as are the mixing proportions. An egg cream made with bottled seltzer is a pale imitation of the real thing, and a bottled egg cream is an unforgiveable insult to the Food Gods, LOL.

                Very very few places make egg creams nowadays but there are some here and there. It's a lost art. ;-)

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Cheese, particularly hard cheese, contains a lot less lactose than milk. A majority of the world's population has some degree of lactose intolerance. It's not really a medical issue, just a normal genetic variation, but a mighty annoying one if you happen to have it and live in a country where dairy products are a staple.

                  I'm moderately LI, but can eat a lot of cheese without symptoms. A latte on an empty stomach can be deadly, though....