Physical Symptoms & Tips for eating out.

I am not writing this for sympathy but to help others that may also have allergies and be unaware. I am happy to know that I have these because I am no longer suffering from the symptoms they caused as listed below. These are the 10 allergies  I have, if you’d like me to add a section for your allergy please ask. I will do my best to research and build a resource for you. Do not confuse this with food intolerance, allergies are not the same and far more serious.

Anaphylactic Shock is NOT the only symptom or group of symptoms that one can experience from eating something they’re allergic to. As a result many people don’t think that they are allergic because they don’t experience their throat closing and don’t go into shock. The reality is, that you might be allergic and having problems and over-time the symptoms could worsen putting you at risk of a life-threatening episode.

I’ve known some people that don’t have any allergies and have heard them say things like, “You are just believing that you’re allergic.” or “If you believe it, you are allergic, stop thinking you are and watch it will go away.” or “You need to take better care of yourself it’s probably just that you’re not eating good.” I remember thinking how pompous and cruel they sounded and realized that if I’ve heard it before several times that some of my readers may also have been made to feel responsible for their allergies.

I want you to know that I NEVER wanted this, I DO take really good care of myself and you CANNOT believe it away! Allergies are not a conscience decision someone makes, it’s your immune system working to create histamine in effort to protect you against proteins that are present in some foods. No training can make your body stop this process, you simply need to stop ingesting the foods that cause this reaction in your body.

You can’t out-grow a food allergy and the only preventative is to avoid or not eat those foods you’re allergic to. There is nothing you DID or DIDN’T do to prevent the allergy, you’re just allergic. Don’t feel guilty about having allergies, instead feel empowered with the knowledge and begin a new life feeling good and breathing easy! This doesn’t mean you won’t be embarrassed from time to time or have someone lacking in social skills make comments that make you have to set them straight, be strong and know that you are better for not hurting yourself and that it’s a real disease.

Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis will result from eating foods that someone is allergic to and in some highly sensitive individuals, it can become life threatening. In other words, not all anaphylaxis episodes will result in death. Some people experience these symptoms but survive them and that is why some people have no idea they are allergic to foods that cause some or all of the following symptoms.

Anaphylactic symptoms include

  • Swelling of the airways to lungs resulting in the patient’s inability to breathe (doctor gives you an inhaler)
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Drop in blood pressure level
  • Feeling of dizziness and light headedness
  • Numbness in various limbs
  • Fainting

I never went into Anaphylactic Shock, or so I thought! I did have:

  • Difficulty breathing  (Swollen airways Asthma)
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizzy spells
  • Numbness in my feet
  • Fainting I did loose consciousness, or have to go to sleep in a hurry!

For me, fainting was so common I thought I had low blood sugar. It seemed like it because feeling weak, light-headed, fainting, having trouble breathing and staying awake was clearly associated with the food I was eating.  I never felt good after eating – ever! I’m blessed to have not crashed my car on more than one occasion, when it became impossible to keep my eyes open even during the day despite a prior full-night sleep. You might believe that I should have known I was experiencing  an Anaphylaxis episode but it’s not that easy to determine when you’re experiencing it first-hand, probably in-part because you do in-fact loose consciousness. It also didn’t help that diabetes runs in my family and hypoglycemia (border-line diabetes) resembles the anaphylactic symptoms.

Sometimes after eating, I felt the need to lay down for a nap and thought I’d wake in a few minutes but instead it was hours before I could pull myself back up. One thing I knew for sure was that all of my symptoms were happening followed by a meal or snack. 

Finally I listed all of my symptoms to my primary care physician, he ordered a simple blood test that screens for hundreds of known food allergens and my lifetime of suffering is now coming to a close. For the first time in my life, I’m enjoying the foods I eat, not just for the taste but for the fact that I don’t need to pop pills for heartburn, I don’t fall  asleep in inopportune moments and I don’t feel sluggish anymore. Another thing I no longer have, is the need to take an afternoon nap, something my parents, my brother and I have done for years.

Over the last 3 months I’ve learned which symptoms relate to which foods, as I’ve inadvertently became exposed to them by well-meaning restaurants and also spent much time researching. One of the most embarrassing symptoms that I suffered with was my skin’s appearance as pictured below, not eating allergens and my skin’s improvement is astounding!

I recently was approached by someone that had seen me at sewing and quilting shows over the years and she said. “I’m glad to see that you’re not drinking anymore, your face isn’t red anymore.” I was shocked that she thought I had a drinking problem, just because my skin was red! I patiently straightened her out and explained that it had nothing to do with alcohol trying not to feel angry at her for being so presumptuous. After-all, life is what we make of it. We either get mad when someone says something hurtful or we take it as a learning experience and become more compassionate towards others suffering.

MY LIST OF FOOD ALLERGENS

1- LEMONS

Caused red discoloration on my neck that was shaped like a necklace and I spent a lot of time covering it up with makeup over my lifetime. Lemons are in many alcoholic beverages and products sometimes list lemons as citric acid instead of spelling out that the citric acid was derived from lemons. Lemon flavoring, is also made from lemons. You will even find lemon in mayonnaise, so be sure to read labels should you determine you are allergic.

Watch out for Lemon dusting sprays – detergents – soaps – lotions – shampoos – cleaning sprays – room deodorizers and toothpaste. Lemon juice is also used as a preservative on fruits and vegetables – commonly used to keep foods fresh in salad bars. When you dine in restaurants be sure to ask the chef if their lettuce is treated with lemon based preservatives.  Or be safe and don’t eat salads  – out, unless you can trust the business makes their salad from fresh lettuce. (No fast-foods)

HINT: As soon as you’re seated in any restaurant tell them NO LEMON on or in your water glass before you arrive at the table so you’re not exposed by the person thinking you just don’t “LIKE” lemons and they simply take that lemon out or off the glass out of your view – preventing an exposure causing suffering throughout the remainder of your day.

Lemons cause skin issues

I'd rather have a diamond necklace 😉

Other symptoms :

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Difficulty breathing. (Asthma)
  • Burning (skin burns even if not touched by lemon. If ingested the skin on your face becomes hot to the touch)
  • Itching (after touching or drinking anything with lemon)
  • Stinging skin (when your hands become in contact to the skin or any part of the lemon)
  • Brittle hair (shampoos) hair breaks off in 1″ sized pieces
  • Peeling skin (lotions) surface of skin feels broken and catches on fabrics.
  • Cracking skin (dish soap)
  • Swelling of the roof of your mouth (pallet)
I had all symptoms listed.
_____________

2-TOMATOES
As a child I really didn’t care for tomatoes, unless they were in tomato soup and every time I ate it I felt sick and tired. Later in life I ate tomatoes almost daily in one of my favorite things, “salsa” not knowing it was hurting me. After-all, tomato is loaded with Lycopene, a vital antioxidant that protects against cancer and heart disease. Because I am always trying to be as healthy as possible I made sure to have tomatoes every day. To those allergic to tomato, you can get Lycopene in Grapefruit and watermelon in place of tomatoes. If you are not allergic, eat them they are a great benefit to you!

Symptoms:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Difficulty Breathing (having to THINK to BREATH)
  • Red rashy looking skin on nose, cheeks and forehead.
  • Heartburn
  • Acid Reflux
  • Lips tingling
  • Chest constricting
  • Swelling mouth and throat
  • Swelling of the roof of your mouth (pallet)
I had all symptoms listed.
_____________

3-STRAWBERRIES
I was eating strawberries daily for my weight control and had no idea that I was allergic however I did find that I really didn’t like strawberry candy. Each time I ate a strawberry I thought pesticides where making my tongue feel furry but it turns out, that no longer happens unless I’m exposed to them.

Symptoms:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Difficulty Breathing (having to THINK to BREATH)
  • Red rashy looking skin on nose, cheeks and forehead.
  • Heartburn
  • Acid Reflux
  • Lips tingling
  • Chest constricting
  • Swelling mouth and throat
  • Furry feeling on tongue
  • Swelling of the roof of your mouth (pallet)
I had all symptoms listed.
_____________

4- CARROTS
These seem so harmless and so healthy and are used in every broth sold that I’ve found and I’ve looked really hard for one without them because the symptoms are horrible. Carrots are are dramatic. If you think you are allergic to them, you cannot simply remove them from your plate, you must not eat anything that they’ve been near or in. To test this, take a carrot and shred it up. Place it into a glass of water and watch the water within seconds change to orange! I suppose this is one reason it’s used in soups so often, it blends into the other ingredients making for a full-bodied flavor but it’s dangerous for anyone allergic.
I think this allergy is not as common only because it’s hard to tell that it is carrot causing the odd symptoms it causes. It is so integrated into our American fast foods and soups and gravies and almost all heath foods that it’s difficult to know it’s in the food at all. If you buy a broth, you’re eating carrots. They are also in many marinades and are used for color in some deserts.

Symptoms:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Difficulty Breathing (having to THINK to BREATH)
  • Rashes on upper arms (pimple looking)
  • Rashes on upper thigh and buttocks (pimple appearance)
  • Boils when skin is in contact with elastics or polymers like Lycra (bathing suit material) bras undergarments.
  • Conjunctive (eye discoloration and excess secretion of fluids)
  • Eye discoloration
  • Eye itching
  • Chronic Sinus issues (infection or allergy symptoms) You may think you’re allergic to something outside.
  • Chronic cysts (ovarian)
  • Halitosis
  • Gingivitis
  • Swelling of the roof of your mouth (pallet)
I had some symptoms listed.
_____________

5-CABBAGE
I never really liked or desired cabbage. I always felt sick or had acid reflux whenever I ate coleslaw so I had little experience with this allergy and I am so thankful that it’s not used as much as carrots or I’d have even suffered more over years.. Cabbage has a long list of symptoms!

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Cough
  • Hives
  • Asthma
  • Lip swelling
  • Tongue swelling
  • Hoarseness
  • Throat swelling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Headache
  • Sinus pain
  • Itchy mouth
  • Tingling mouth
  • Breathing problems
  • Facial redness
  • Facial swelling
  • Redness around lips
  • Constipation
  • Skin flushing
  • Swallowing problems
  • Abdominal pain
  • Eczema
  • Low blood pressure
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Lightheadedness
I had some symptoms listed.
_____________

6-WHEAT – GLUTEN (Complex long-string protein that causes an allergic reaction when inhaled or ingested)

I miss wheat toast, my favorite was Honey Wheat Berry by Oro-wheat and it is fantastic! Except, whenever I ate it it felt as though I was swallowing razor blades and or that my entire esophagus was cut. This is one of the most frustrating allergies to have in today’s society because it is and ingredient in just about everything as a thickening agent. It’s in just about all marinades, soups, gravies, breads, croutons, crackers, (even rice crackers have wheat) oatmeal. (even steel cut oats)  cereals, snack bars, hard and chewy candy and some chocolate bars, marshmallows, salad dressings, mustards, and other popular condiments.   I could go on but the list is so long it’s simply safer to look for products that state GLUTEN FREE because odds are if they don’t there is some in the product or they’d be bragging about the fact that they are gluten free.

Another symptom that stands out is this never ending need to clear my throat even though I wasn’t sick. I also couldn’t hear as well as I can now that I’m Wheat/Gluten free. I was always feeling the need to clear my ear canal as if I was coming down in an airplane. It was noticeable to those around me, as I was asked about why I did that so often. I also see this in my family members and thought it was genetic, it  appears the allergy may be and not the behavior. Post-nasal drip is another chronic issue that is all but gone now that I’m no longer eating wheat.

Wheat allergy is not the same as Celiac disease, if you believe you may have Celiac disease get tested before eliminated wheat from your diet or they may not get a valid result. Celiac disease  causes damage to your intestines so it is important to learn if you are suffering from it. I am allergic to Wheat and the Gluten is the actual allergen, the allergy reaction is worse the stronger or healthier the wheat bread or more whole the grain.

Symptoms:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Throat itching or irritation (mucous) Causing constant need to clear throat
  • Swelling, itching or irritation of the mouth or
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Acid Reflux
  • Hoarseness
  • Hives, itchy rash or swelling of the skin
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Itchy skin
  • Difficulty breathing (Trouble breathing in a sandwich shop like Subway) or bakeries
  • Cramps, nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea (more common for celiac disease)
I had some symptoms listed.
_____________

7- ALMONDS
This allergy was a complete shock! I really didn’t think I was allergic to Almonds at-all, because I enjoyed them and didn’t remember any immediate symptom related to them. I did know that I was having trouble eating candy bars but had no idea that it had anything to do with nuts, because I rarely selected those with nuts except for peanut butter or peanuts (which I’m also allergic to) but it seemed no matter the chocolate bar, I would feel sick soon after or even while taking a bite. I found that I would cough whenever eating chocolate of any kind.

Until you find out you’re allergic to something, you really don’t notice just how many products use or include that food and this one is a surprise! Just about all hair conditioners have Sweet Almond and it makes your hair brittle if you’re allergic that-is. It also dries out your skin if you enjoy the bubble baths that also include this ingredient.

Symptoms:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Itching and hives all over the body
  • Redness and flushing
  • Eczema
  • Brittle hair (breaking off in 1″sections)
  • Dandruff (flaking on scalp)
  • Swelling of lips and mouth
  • Allergic shiners (dark circles under the eyes)
  • Repeated sneezing
  • Watery eyes and nose
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Allergic asthma
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramp
  • Nausea
I had some symptoms listed.
_____________

8- PEANUTS

I’ve known many people that would experience Anaphylaxis symptoms once exposed to the slightest degree of peanuts but never did I think that I had an allergy to them. Looking back, now that I know my symptoms – it’s been a problem my entire life. I started to notice that whenever I enjoyed a bit of peanut butter, I’d wake up a few hours later unable to pull myself up off of the couch or wherever I fell asleep (car, theater, friends home) without much effort. It was something that I recalled many times and just attributed it to me being over-tired or simply needing that nap. However, I tried this test: 2 nights in a row not feeling tired at-all before I ate peanut butter, (1 tsp) I passed out (sitting up) no matter how hard I tried to stay awake!

On a recent business trip (15 hour drive) I purchased Kettle Chips by Lays, ate a few at a time and kept needing to pull-over to nap. I was litterally shaking my head and slapping my face to try and wake myself considering I should not have been tired and wasn’t just seconds before eating them. I re-examined the package and noticed it said “Cooked in oil that also prepares peanut products” because it was printed far from the Ingredients listing I hadn’t seen it in the store. I was at risk of an accident by not seeing that. Since then, I’ve determined the only chip I can eat are 2 Lays with the label NATURALS. The Ingredients are simple Potatoes, Sea Salt and Safflower oil. They are sold in the health food section of my local grocery but not in my health food store – go figure! You will notice a trend in chips, they are all writing Natural on the bag, this is not the same chip I’m talking about, you need to see a BIG “NATURALS” across the top of the bag. Or, be sure to really read the bag – go online and read their ingredients and make sure they don’t process any other known allergens within that plant.

Symptoms:

  • Anaphylaxis 
    • Constriction of airways
    • Swelling of your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
    • A severe drop in blood pressure (shock)
    • Rapid pulse
    • Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
  • Itching and hives all over the body
  • Redness and flushing
  • Eczema
  • Swelling of lips and mouth
  • Allergic shiners (dark circles under the eyes)
  • Repeated sneezing
  • Watery eyes and nose
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Allergic asthma
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramp
  • Nausea
I had some symptoms listed.
_____________

9- EGGS

As long as I can remember whenever I ate eggs for breakfast I needed a nap not long after and no amount of caffeine would help, in fact it just made me sleepy too. I recall dragging myself to school and rarely making it through the day without falling asleep in class. But there was one day that I was riding my bike to school and I passed out cold on one of the busiest streets in my area. In all, I’ve passed out over 200 times in my lifetime, mostly during my adolescence when I didn’t get to  choose what I ate. In my parents defense, there was very little knowledge about allergies back then. They didn’t believe in Asthma or hypoglycemia but they jumped to the conclusion I had hypoglycemia instead of Asthma. Now I know that the reason I fainted so often was due to my blood pressure (normally low) dropping due to anaphylaxis.

I’m pretty sure that eggs and peanuts are my most dangerous allergies and they are in so many foods, skin care and hair care products the list is too long to list them all. Just know this. If you’re allergic to eggs, you need to stay away from Ice cream, Gelato, salad dressings, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, face masks and every cake or cookie that you see in the store (unless they are egg-free) not to mention cereals and even TURKEY. Yes. I said Turkey. Turkey’s are most often fed, eggs and nuts, unless you buy an ALL NATURAL Turkey from a farm that ensures they are not fed any allergens.

I finally ate Turkey without becoming seriously ill this last Thanksgiving because I was able to purchase an All Natural Turkey! My first bite was scary and after 20 minutes symptom-free I enjoyed each and every bite that followed. I ate Turkey for 3 days following and made 2 gallons of broth from the remains.

I can make the best Eggs Benedict ever, but I can’t ever eat it again, memories will carry me, and I’ll never be gasping for breath again. 🙂

Symptoms

  • Anaphylaxis (Little did I know I was actually experiencing Anaphylaxis!)
    • Constriction of airways
    • Swelling of your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
    • A severe drop in blood pressure (shock)
    • Rapid pulse
    • Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
  • Skin inflammation or hives — the most common egg allergy reaction
  • Allergic nasal inflammation (allergic rhinitis)
  • Digestive (gastrointestinal) symptoms, such as cramps, nausea and vomiting
  • Asthma signs and symptoms such as coughing, chest tightness or shortness of breath

10- GARLIC

This is another “difficult to avoid” allergen and it is one that is frequently left off of the ingredients list on products. Companies list it as “BLEND OF HERBS AND SPICES” and I can tell you this, if it tastes too good to be true, it is GARLIC!

This is a painful allergy, it hurts sometimes for days following with mouth pain and blisters that seem like cold sores but are actually just an allergic reaction to the oil within the garlic. It coats the digestive tract and hurts all the way down. It is in MOST chili powders and CURRY Seasonings! Be mindful and careful when selecting seasonings. Even those that say only have 1 ingredient can often have Garlic added. I suggest going to the seasoning companies website and looking through the list. You’ll be shocked and dismayed at the mislabeling going on in the spice industry!

HINT: Make your own spices and take them with you when you go out to eat and it will be very hard to find anything but steak that hasn’t already been marinated. Bring your allergen list and hand it to the server and make sure they know that it is an ALLERGY  not that you simply Don’t Like It. They just don’t hear you the first time – get GOOD eye contact and make sure they’re listening. The pain that follows is just not worth being shy and quiet and I know it’s tough to go out and be a pain to the server but they really will care if you make them listen. Once they get that it’s an allergy not a dislike you’re going to have them as your advocate to make sure the chef doesn’t mess up their tip.

I grind seasonings together using a coffee grinder and make a mild and spicy blend, then package into small easy-to-carry baggies and keep within my purse at all-times. I also keep a bottle of Wheat/Gluten free Soy Sauce and will prepare a mixture (make-shift steak sauce) on my plate of these ingredients and adding orange juice adds a unique and wonderful dipping sauce.

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Constriction of airways Asthma
  • Swelling of your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
  • A severe drop in blood pressure (shock)
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
  • Blisters in mouth
  • Blisters in digestive tract
  • Coughing
  • Smells bad and too strong to inhale air when it’s being cooked
  • Cramping
  • Acid Reflux

I had all symptoms listed.
_____________

© Clare Rowley 2011

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5 responses to “Physical Symptoms & Tips for eating out.

  • New page on Symptoms « clarerowley

    […] HomeAbout ClareCreative FeetVideosFoodPhysical Symptoms & Tips for eating out.Recipes for those with Allergies […]

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  • Cherrylmaree

    Hi Clare, as I was reading your article I realised that a very dear friend of mine is experiencing alot of the symptoms you describe. We know that she has some food allergies but now I am wondering if there are others that have been missed..I will definitely follow up with her about this. Thank you for going to so much trouble to write all of this information out.

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    • Clare Rowley

      My pleasure:) Life is much better with the knowledge needed in order to remain as healthy as possible. I just wish more insurance plans would allow the test. Seems they’d save a lot of money with reduced medical issues and doctor visits…. that’s another topic for another day…

      I wish your friend success in determining her issue and she’s welcome to contact me should she want to discuss… ((HUGS))

      Like

    • Clare Rowley

      If your friend has received a blood test covering the 300+ known food allergies then it may be that she doesn’t know about the non-specific hidden medicines, candies and personal items that also contain her allergen. This will be my next post. I feel for all with any issue that prevents them from living their lives to the fullest and will continue to share what I learn about this and other medical issues. This, our bodies, is not something to fool around with – to ever guess at… I am shocked that any doctor could ever utter the words. ” Try the elimination diet.” Ignorance is the only reason because this is life threatening! Anyone suspecting food allergies may be effecting themselves or a loved one should take it seriously.

      The biggest killer of Americans now is inflammation, = increased white blood cells trying to protect tissues within the body. So, why? What are we all doing that makes our bodies swell? So many people all swelling up and dying from it- HA! I just can’t believe they can even make that a diagnosis – there is a cause and it should be discovered. A little passionate this morning after suffering for 3 days due to 2 food allergen exposures and one medicine exposure (Ibuprophen) – The reason Ibuprophen can sometimes make you sick if you’re allergic to wheat will be covered in my next post.

      I wish her and all sufferers a life free from these so painful exposures…

      Like

  • Cherrylmaree

    Thank you Clare.

    Like

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