The deal with me and fruits and vegetables

So I've made some Facebook posts over the last week that, if you don't know about my weird dietary restrictions over the last 10 years, probably made no sense.

I have oral allergy syndrome. This basically meant that my pollen allergies were so bad, my mouth and throat mistook fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts for pollen, and swelled up whenever I ate them. Needless to say, I went many years without eating them. Cooked was okay, canned was okay, but fresh was off limits.

Then I figured out by accident (okay, I was at a party and had some drinks) that if I was drinking alcohol, I didn't have any symptoms. After my initial discovery, I began working my way through fruits and veggies I hadn't eaten in years, and figuring out a lot of good alcohol + fruit pairings in the process (chardonnay and green apples, banannas and guinness, etc.)

But obviously I couldn't be drinking all day just so I can eat fresh fruits and vegetables. This, and the fact that I started sneezing my head off even more once I moved to  Maryland, led me to start getting allergy shots. I've been getting them for almost two years, once a week up until recently.

And they are so worth it. When I realized last week that I was almost unbothered by a pollen count that would have had me marching through the tissues, I thought it was time to give the fruits and veggies a non-alcoholic try. So I tried a strawberry. Nothing happened. I tried an apple. Nothing happened.

I went nuts. Every day this week, I've been at the salad bar at work, loading up my salad with crazy things, vegetables I'm not sure I've ever had raw, even when I was a kid (the food allergies kicked in during my late teens) -- things like raw broccoli and peas in the pod. Things don't always feel quite the same as they would if I ate a piece of toast, but if there's anything, it's just the slightest twinge of the old reaction.

I'm learning how to redefine my diet. No more delicately forking carrots out of my salad (lettuce, oddly enough, was always okay unless it was really stemmy), and handing cucumbers and tomatoes over to the normal people at the table. Things everyone else takes for granted, like being able to snack on an apple, or a bannana, or some carrot sticks -- I get to do those now.

The allergy shots were a huge time commitment, and sometimes made me feel downright bad. I'm really sensitive to the serum, and a dose too high too soon made me feel like I'd been whalloped with the flu. But now I know they are so worth it.


Anonymous said...

Yay! Almost makes me want to try the shots again. Almost.

(This is Tanya, btw, didn't feel like logging in.)

Carrie G said...

Tanya, I don't know if the shots are any easier now than when you did them, but I've definitely had huge improvement. Even just the straight-up pollen sneezing is far, far less than it used to be.