People sometimes ask me to dinner, and ask me about my allergies. They're complicated
enough that even I forget, sometimes. Here is the list.
- Peanuts, walnuts and all other nuts (except macadamias, almonds, pine nuts,
cashews (!) and chestnuts).
- Soya beans, protein or protein isolate (soya sauce is ok, as is teriyaki
sauce, as is soy lecithin or soy oil---in all of these last, the proteins
are processed right out). Soya flour and soy protein isolate cause me the
most difficulty of all my allergies---they put SPI on many cold cuts of meat
nowadays to make it look better when they add water. My nephew Tom cynically suggests that it's really to make it weigh more.
- Lentils, chickpeas, peas, snow peas, etc. Ordinary garden peas I can eat
if they are raw, but I am quite allergic to lentils and chickpeas. Most beans
- Raw egg (hardboiled, fried or scrambled, overdone souffles and omelets are
all fine---but not chocolate mousse, for example, or some kinds of ice cream)
- Raw oatmeal.
- Alfalfa sprouts.
- Overripe avocado (this one bothers me as I love avocado and guacamole and will eat it anyway).
- Some kinds of beer, especially Heineken (I don't know why). I don't regret
the Heineken, but some of the exotic Belgian beers are another story. I am
allergic to wheat beers (weise) as well.
- Some molds, and therefore some moldy cheeses (including, alas, Stilton).
What happens to me if I eat something I am allergic to:
My lips, tongue and mouth swell up and itch; if I have eaten enough of something
I am quite allergic to (say hummus) I will feel nauseous and my throat will
be closed and painful---but it is a purely local reaction, not anaphylactic;
and my reactions have been decreasing over time. Usually the swelling occurs
within 3 minutes of my sampling something, and I have developed the habit of
eating only a small taste to start, and waiting. Then I just stop eating it,
and am usually fine even without medication. I use an oral antihistamine for
the times when I am hit with SPI, lentils or peanuts. Peanuts are the worst: a half a peanut will make me ill for hours.
So if you have to be allergic to something, this is the kind of allergy to
have---fast enough to know when to stop eating, and slow enough not to kill