Friday, 24 February 2012

Myths and miconceptions about allergies

I've written plenty of recipe posts of late, I have one to put up as the next post but I think they are some important things that need to be discussed.

Firstly, I would like to cordially invite you to the Nuffnang Food Bloggers of Macarthur Unite morning tea on the last Saturday in May. All you have to do is tweet me, of make a comment or email me to let me know you are coming. If there aren't enough food bloggers in the area I will change it to just Bloggers of Macarthur Unite! I will let you know if the Food specific part is going to be removed. All you have to do is be a member of Nuffnang, go to their website and join if you aren't already

I thought I'd wait until everything calmed down a bit, but last week there was a massive controversy in the blogging world about an article on food allergies, intolerances and Coeliac disease. I have to be honest and admit I was on the bandwagon too and started tweeting, to be corrected, the meaning that I took was not the intended meaning.

As a Coeliac, eating out is always painful, your lucky if there are two things that you can eat, and then you have to check with the chef if the stock, etc are gluten free. I've been assured food is gf, only to have a reaction 30 minutes later! It's not just about the puffer fish, or the cramps, or other A, its that whatever food we have just digested as actually damaged our small bowel! Coeliac disease is not an intolerance, it is an autoimmune disease! This needs to be taken more seriously and chefs need to be taught more about this horrible disease. With knowledge comes power, if I go to a restaurant and see that I can eat most things, and when I speak to the chef, they talk in rice flour and all my language, I know I can sit back and enjoy my evening.

As well as Coeliac disease, there is gluten intolerance, where someone is allergic to gluten but it is not doing them any damage by eating it, it just might cause a reaction. People who are gluten intolerant might choose to eat gluten when they go out as they can handle it in small amounts. I can see the confusion though if someone is stressing that the main meal has the be GF and they eat a non gf cake for dessert, it doesn't really help in our plight to create more awareness. These people don't need to say they are allergic to gluten they have an intolerance and only say that if you plan on eating gf all night!

There are people who have even more serious reactions then us Coeliacs do, is the people who suffer from peanut allergies. This is a life threatening condition and if they digest, just a hint of peanut, within minutes they could die without an epipen. About 5 and 1/2 years ago I was unfortunate enough to experience anaphylaxis, mine was from spraying some cheap but labelled from France perfume on my neck, within 30 minutes the reaction started, with a ring like a rope around my neck, I had hives all over my body. I remember when I looked in the mirror and my lips was swelled and my face all red. Thankfully I called my friend and I managed to get to the front of the house, within 5 minutes my tongue started to swell. I'm ever grateful that my friend pulled into the ambulance station and rushed to get someone. I had shots of adrenalin and I went to the hospital, sirens blaring, doctors and nurses everywhere. The ambulance officers who saved my life that day, told my now husband that if my friend had driven me I would have died. So I have experienced the reaction, its one of the scariest things that has happened to me. So I know what this horrible reaction feels like, and it was damn scary as a 25 year old, so a child would be petrified. My oldest friend is allergic to peanuts, so I'm sure we get cursed by waitresses when we go out.

There are other strange and bizarre things people can be allergic to I know someone who is allergic to garlic and has a massive reaction that last a few days if she is exposed to it. There is a variety of foods that people can be allergic too and we can't critique unless you have spoken to them and its by choice they are not eating certain foods. So before you put your judgemental hat on and think, take that person as innocent until proven guilty!

I also know people who have by choice removed gluten from their diet, once again their body, their choice. Yes they may decide to try a bit of the wedding cake even though they requested a gf meal, but again it's their choice and it won't do any harm to them.

I join a chat on Twitter on Tuesday nights at 8.30pm #ausallergy that AES time, the different things that people are allergic to has soon opened up my eyes. Although it might sound strange to you to be allergic to onion, some people can be and they can't tolerate any at all otherwise they will have almost a anaphylaxis reaction. We would love for any new people to come and join us, we generally go for an hour and chat about various allergy related things. Even if your a cynic come and join us and speak to some people who have allergies and then see where you stand.

I hope I have enlightened you on the topic of allergies. Thank you for letting me tell my story, I think it's important to know that it's not always what you digest it can be something you put on you. Thankfully I have never had that reaction again, I use one perfume J'adore and I will only buy it from David Jones or the airport. So just beaware of these chemist selling perfumes at crazy prices, they aren't the real thing. I called Gucci, and they hadn't supplied directly to that chemist for 5 years, so it makes you wonder what else is put in the perfume? We got the rip off bottle and the real thing and you could smell the difference. Please don't let it happen to you! If you or your family has a reaction like that call an ambulance immediately, there really isn't much time in these situations!

Until next time where I have the best healthy muffin recipe, I'll catch you on Twitter @MMOAGFL or Facebook under Mishaps and Mayhem of a Gluten Free Life.