It’s been a busy month so I haven’t had much time to both challenge foods and write about them, but here’s the basic gist:
Challenge # 10: Onion powder — wasn’t sure how this would go, considering I just barely passed boiled yellow/spanish onions. Turns out, I barely passed this one by even less of a margin. Got some minor tightness and headache-y, so it was, as my doctor put it, my call. I could eat onion powder if it happened, from time to time, but not regularly by any means, and certainly not without feeling good. So cross contamination is fine, if it’s less than 2% of the ingredients, it’s fine on occassion, and if someone cooking for me erroneously includes onion powder in something, there’s no reason to panic. Just take Claritin and move on. Oh, and ps: I know I said I’d try cottonseed oil but it is IMPOSSIBLE to find. It’s like transfat central so no one sells just a plain bottle, and it’s so hard to find a product that lists cottonseed oil as the only possible oil – most say cottonseed/sunflower/soybean/canola. Guess I’ll have to wait until its on the shelves for Passover cooking. But the good news — I called the bagel store that I surmised used cottonseed oil because they were once vague on the phone, and it turns out they use soybean oil. So I can eat their bagels, challah, and pound cake! So many foods and so few challenges!
Challenge #11: Lentils — this was a surprise allergy from my blood test. I’d been eating lentils A TON after the skin test took away practically every other food, so when it showed up positive on my blood test I was bewildered — I’d eaten them for dinner just the night before! As expected, I was fine. And the test counted for all types of lentils! A few people questioned my decision to challenge lentils — I mean, how important are they, really? To them I say: I challenged them around the time of the Torah portion about Esau selling Jacob his birthright for a bowl of red lentil soup. Red lentils were such a coveted food that they were worth lifetimes of blessings. When I ate my challenge lentils, all I could think was, “Man, this food is hearty and delicious. I would TOTALLY give up my birthright for this.” I mean not really because I can live without plenty of foods and blessings are cool and stuff, but they are a significant food. How many other foods are called out with such great import in the Torah? Most of them are foods I’m allergic to – bitter herbs, olive oil. To be able to eat a food that is a worthy enough food of God, well, that’s important.
Challenge #12: Pickles — I tried pickles mostly because they take very little prep and I’ve been craving salt. Man, that was a lot of salt. I picked Israeli pickles as the type to try after a short conference with some of my oldest friends, and while I’m thrilled I got the chance to eat them (the pickles, not my friends), it didn’t go too well. After 4 small pickles, my face got flushed, ears burning and itchy, and throat tightness. Not enough for a Benadryl, but enough to have clearly failed the challenge. I popped my Claritin and left the office finally understanding why I could never eat more than two Israeli pickles without getting cranky. Silly me, I thought it was the cabbage cross-contamination often found in restaurants serving Israeli pickles. Answers!
Challenge #13 — Oreos — why try Oreos, you may ask. You better be asking. Oreos are a preposterous food to challenge when you can’t have things like, say, basil. Well, funny story. I bought organic fresh basil. I brought it to the office. The doctor offered me oreos, which he’d bought randomly as an office treat. I said, “I can’t eat that!” and he said “I’m offering you to look at them.” I sort of laughed, and ate the basil. Well, put the basil in my mouth and promptly spit it out because it tasted like soapy manure. I’m assuming it was spoiled. I looked at my doctor, asking him what to do now. He handed me the bowl of Oreos and said, “I guess try these! See, I bring treats for a reason!” We fished the package out of the trash to read it, and I ate four Oreos. They were sugary, delicious, and frighteningly processed, but I was fine! And they made a much better breakfast than basil.
FOOD CHALLENGE TALLY
Cindy – 9
Allergens – 4
Up Next – *non-spoiled* basil