So yesterday afternoon started off as just another day of me attempting to try new options for foods, and ended with me being rushed to the ER. I would normally not post about what happened to me yesterday, but i truly feel like my experience and what I have learned from it, could save a life.
Since my gallbladder surgery, my diet has been somewhat limited in order to keep up with my new intolerance’s and make sure that I don’t cause myself unneeded pain and discomfort. My biggest struggle that I have found right now has been varying my options for meats. Let’s be honest, chicken and fish just get boring sometimes. I have heard so much raving about a tree fruit that is being used in Vegan recipes because it mimics pulled pork, it’s called Jackfruit. I have talked about it to my daughter and dad several times, and he happened to pick up a package of “BBQ Jackfruit” that you heat up and put on a slider. So…. yesterday I figure why not. Let’s try this!
After heating up the mixture on the stove, I placed some of it on top of a Gluten-Free Bread slice. I know what you are thinking….. She is sooooo fancy. Right? But seriously, this stuff smelt so good and was begging for me to try it. So I tried a bite and you know what? It tasted fantastic!! So I had a few more bites. Then I noticed my tongue was starting to tingle and I was feeling tight in my throat like something was stuck in it. I immediately decided to stop eating it. Then my original concern turned into panic, because I was having a hard time breathing and was feeling very not normal.
My dad rushes me to the ER, because it is obvious I am having a severe allergic reaction. I take the box of the mix with me to the ER, because I needed to see what happened. On the way to the ER I begin reading the ingredients. I am trying to keep calm doing a preliminary check of what I have and haven’t eaten before to figure out what was trying to kill me. Going through all the ingredients and they all seem like stuff I use daily except for 2: tamarind paste and Jackfruit. I sit here in the car wondering what exactly is tamarind paste and have I possibly ever eaten it. After questioning several chefs and looking up ingredients to items on line, I have determined that I have successfully eaten tamarind paste a lot. So the culprit is down to Jackfruit, as I have never had it before this time.
We get to the ER and they can now visibly see on my face that I am definitely having an allergic reaction, so they get an IV in me and push Benadryl, steroids, and some other stuff I can’t remember because I was trying to concentrate on not rubbing my nose off with steel wool to make it stop itching. Honestly, I was so happy once the drugs started to kick in, because I thought I was going to just stop breathing. Once I am more stable, the doctors ask me more questions and determine that it really had to be the Jackfruit that caused all this and that I should never ever ever eat it again. I wholeheartedly agreed.
Now I am sent home, and really still trying to figure out what caused it and why such a severe reaction. So I start doing all this research online into Jackfruit and what it is. From my research it says that there are like really barely any person ever who has had a reaction to this stuff. So of course my first instinct is to immediately play the lemon card, because my body just seems to want to give in on me sometimes. Yet, after more research I find out that Jackfruit has the same allergen in it as Birch trees, and that people who are highly allergic to birch trees can be highly allergic to Jackfruit. Well that solves the mystery! I am severely allergic to birch trees, but why on earth would I ever think a food would give me a problem because of this? Then it dawned on me…
There are severe allergens that people have that are environmental or contact based that people suffer from all the time. A lot of these allergens can be found in trace amounts in food items around the world. Latex sufferers have to be mindful that they can be allergic to several fruits because of their latex allergy. With my new found severe allergy I realized that I needed to make sure that people were aware of this situation.
It is so important that when you are trying a new food item for yourself, your family, and especially small children, that it is done in small amounts. You need to give the person time to see if they are going to have an allergic reaction to the ingredient. Especially in children who are young, these severe reactions can be fatal. Pediatricians have guidelines on when to try the major allergens with kids as they develop. It is important that these guidelines are followed. Those guidelines are making sure that children’s immune systems have had the chance to develop to the point that they can accept those possible allergens into their system. Women who are breastfeeding must also be aware that everything you eat, your baby drinks in trace amounts. So if you are eating the major allergens, they can have a reaction to it.
I am going to add a page to the Blog that will list major allergens and their relatives. This will also include allergens such as latex, certain woods, and more. Please feel free to check the page, once it is up, and share with your loved ones. It is shocking how many people do not know the relatives of their allergens, and they could be doing their body harm each day.
Please be safe and stay knowledgeable about your allergies and what they are related to! Remember when trying new food items, do it one at a time, and small bites and wait to see if it is ok.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. I will answer what I can , and find out the answers to what I don’t already know..