Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 48: Death? Yeah, sounds about right...

Lesson 45: Nut allergies are not to be trifled with.

Lesson 46: While a peanut is actually a legume, tree nuts are actually split into 6 or 7 different families. So, allergy wise, you can have reactions to one family, multiple families or all of them, but if you're allergic to one nut in a family, you will be allergic to all the other nuts in that family. Or be similarly un-reactive to all of them.

Which is why it was a bad idea of me to test out whether I have an allergy to chestnuts by eating a (absolutely delicious) chocolate-chestnut cupcake at the ACA bake sale (which was a huge success, btw). You see, I haven't had chestnuts at all really, and certainly not in any volume, or since I discovered my peanut allergy and started reacting to nuts.

I didn't even know I was actually allergic to peanuts until high school, after a ridiculous few weeks of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for every lunch. That incident culminated in me having 3 such sandwiches in one day, and reacting terribly (itching, hives, breathing issues... everything). I haven't eaten peanuts since. At least not intentionally, and I don't really react to small amounts.

But I've eaten walnuts, pecans and almonds and have no reaction to any of them. Which makes sense to me now, as most people who are allergic to nuts aren't actually allergic to almonds, and walnuts and pecans are both from the same family. I've been noticing a small reaction to cashews, which are with pistachios in the mango family. And my mouth itches a bit if I eat nutella or kitkat bars, which means I'm probably allergic to hazelnuts, filberts and hickory nuts, but like I'm about to stop eating kitkat bars and nutella! I've never noticed a reaction to macadamia nuts, which are apparently a family of their own, or brazil nuts, from the family legythis, that I'm aware of.

But really, I always thought a "nut allergy" was more of an all or nothing thing. Not a you might be allergic to these ones over here, but have no reaction to those ones over there kind of deal.

And now I know, nuts from the beech family, such as beechnuts and chestnuts, are 100% painfully off the table.

All it took was a numb mouth transitioning to tingling and onto painful, watering eyes, itchy throat, headache, exhaustion, nausea, and finally itching from the inside out.


Worth it. If only for that cupcake.

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