Another One Bites The Dust

Garlic adds a sharp flavor to almost any dish, but what if you find out you can't eat them?
Garlic adds a sharp flavor to almost any dish, but what if you find out you can’t eat them?

“So, what can you eat?”

After I’ve covered my lengthy list of things I cannot eat due to food allergies, sensitivities, intolerances, and Celiac Disease with the person who is eating with me for the first time, I get asked this question. A lot. It’s valid, and I wish the answer would stay static, but it doesn’t. I can only say, “For today, this is what I know.”

Last weekend at the start of the International Food Bloggers Conference (check out the agenda, as I’ll be sharing more about my experience there as a Citizen Journalist), I sampled some food that had been freshly prepared in front of me on a clean, uncontaminated surface.

I sampled. I consumed. And I nearly fainted, vomited, and gasped about ten minutes later. How could this be? I was so careful! There wasn’t a crumb of gluten around. My brain began to spew reasons to explain why I had just heaved my guts out in an office garbage pail. Nothing made sense.

After narrowing down the ingredients, it was determined that I may have developed a reaction to alliums. Alliums include garlic, onion, leek, shallots, scallion, and their related wild versions. As far as I know, I have not been allergic to them previous to this incident, but I had noticed about two months ago that sometimes when I eat garlic in a pasta sauce, I would feel a bit queasy; I could eat plain tomatoes on a green salad without incident. Something shifted.

Presently, I’ve eliminated alliums as a precaution. For the next three months, I have to avoid them completely, and then follow up the period of elimination of alliums with a food allergy panel, of which the link provides one sample of the types that are available.

As it dawned on me that it was time to go through another cycle of elimination and testing, I drifted into mental shock. Not again! And then, oh well, I’ve done this before, and I can do it again.

And then it hit me.

No more fresh Sriracha sauce! F@ck! Sh!tty sh!t sh!t! And no garlic mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. No salsa! No garlic fries! No this, no that, f@ckity f@ck.

Once I stopped spitting out all my “no’s”, I let it be. Another one bites the dust. And you know what? I always, always, ALWAYS, come up with something tasty, something better, something healthy, and something I would eat again, not just as the “substitute” food for the thing I can’t have, but something I would share with someone else. Can you say, Cauliflower mashers with lavender salt? Yes, you can!

Every moment of desperation I have faced regarding my food allergy and Celiac Disease journey has nudged me onto the path of creativity and vitality. 

This moment of realization is no different from the three hundred others that came before it.

How do you handle these surprising food issues, especially when you think you FINALLY got a handle on things? I personally, document, call my doctor, eliminate, test, and return to basics. Then I get busy in the kitchen and create my super duper Imei version of the foods that fuel me, heal me, and taste good enough to repeat. Wait until you find out what I’m doing with race gummies!

And yeah, I weep in a corner for a moment, until I remember, as I always do, there is always BACON.

[Update: in January 2016 my allium allergy response was positively confirmed by ELISA test, along with hazelnuts, soy, chickpeas and other legumes, and an intolerance to sesame and sunflower seeds. This goes to show, we just can’t even make this sh!t up. Listen to your body, respond appropriately, and your body will thank you. That is all.]

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