Today, I am 9 days into my new food restrictions and just about 1 year past my upper GI to widen my esophagus. I was warned at the time that it wasn't a permanent fix, and it does seem like I've probably put my own health (in this respect, at least) on the back burner for a bit too long. Summer might be turning into "upper GI procedure" season for me!
In addition to foods I already knew were problems (bananas, melons, yeast), we added chicken for sure and a long list of possibles, including squashes, peas, and wheat. Which got me thinking about wheat allergy---not gluten intolerance (commonly seen as celiac disease but also including some skin manifestations).
Wheat is one of the top 8 IgE-related food allergens in kids; many outgrow the allergy by adulthood. Its gluten proteins are the trigger of IgA (not E) and other immune cell reactions in gluten intolerance conditions. And wheat is one of the common causes of eosinophilia (build-up of yet another type of immune cell) in the esophagus of EoE.
It's easy to confuse the different types of food reactions and just call them all allergies. And the treatment for all of the different conditions is the same: avoidance. The physiology differs, though, and I think the psychology does, too:
Tell me that any of those options wouldn't mess with your head!
As I learn more about my food triggers of EoE, though, I'm feeling more comfortable with the idea of managing it and living with it. I'm still worrying about things:
But I'm also appreciating an odd contrast with my daughter's anaphylactic allergies: her risks are clearly defined (and potentially lethal), whereas mine are less clear-cut (and sometimes emergent) but not nearly at the same scariness level. Jo's treatment: always avoid all forms of her allergenic foods. In EoE, I'm just starting on the trial elimination of foods, based on symptom timing and skin test results. I'm glad that it's me who has a condition that needs invasive procedures to assess and improve, too, and not my child.
Figuring out this funny food allergy-but-different-immune response condition really takes a trial-and-error approach. My particular plan with the allergist is to eliminate only the definite causes, take another look at the esophagus, and hope that the inflammation and cellular responses improved enough to stop there. If not, we'll re-assess (as I bounce between my allergy and GI specialists) until I get to a manageable place. This tactic is opposite a more-common approach to early EoE treatment: total elimination of top culprits (similar to anaphylactic culprits) and careful individual re-introduction to detect symptoms. But our baby steps are a measured approach that fits my already restricted meal planning for my daughter as well as my aneurysm risks with repeat GI endoscopies.
I was reminded pretty quickly this week that my allergy-friendly recipes are heavily snack based, because it's those baked goods that rely so much on butters, oils, and eggs. We just stopped including nuts and cheese in meals and called it a day.
Now I'm thinking deliberately about daily nutrition, not just fun foods. It's something new for me and makes me grouchy, because I'd really still rather just have Gram's lasagna. All of the time. Last night was a success, though: pork tenderloin marinated with salt-free spices, steamed green beans with olive oil drizzles, and couscous with fresh mint leaves and a Greek spice mix. Tonight, leftovers!
But I do hope that, once my brain gets over this extra food hurdle (with a lot of help from supportive, clear-thinking friends!), our dinners will have the same result as our vegan-like baking: healthful, mindful foods to share all around. I'm sure that we'll have nights when my family eats chicken or breads and grains without me, but I am still going to aim for big, inclusive family meals as often as I can.
And I'll probably dream of lasagna. Chicken cacciatore. The yeast-iest pizza ever.
Good thing I like quick breads.
Hi, I'm Nicole.
ABOUT THE BLOG
An apothecary is a person or a place. Either one implies healing and relates to pharmacy in its truest sense, as a source of treatment and advice.
This blog is my way of uniting my pharmacy training with my efforts to provide a healthy and safe lifestyle for my family. In true apothecary form, I research and prescribe alternative ingredients that work just right in each specific recipe, and I would like to share the results with anyone who needs help making their own family’s kitchen allergy safe and heart healthy.
Nicole Van Hoey's books on Goodreads
Bakery Bites: Breads and Treats Without Dairy, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds, or Soy
ratings: 1 (avg rating 5.00)
Kitchen Adventures With Multiple Food Allergies: A Recipe Collection for Celebrations Without Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Seeds, or Soy