Food Challenge Round 27: Cindy vs. Olive Oil — The Rematch

First of all, yes, the punctuation in the title of my blog post is stolen from Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. No, I didn’t seem Tom Cruise at the allergist.

But I DID successfully eat olive oil.

As you may recall, on July 31, 2012, I posted about my first challenge with olive oil. It was a horrible experience. Not anaphylaxis bad, but not fun. I remember how lethargic I was after eating those rye crackers, how everything hurt when I moved. Not today, though! Today, I ate potatoes with olive oil and was totally fine. I ate like a normal person eating potatoes. It’s so strange how I can so easily recall feeling my whole body start to shut down just a year ago, and today, I ate food and just felt like I’d eaten. Not like a bulldozer had dragged me halfway across Prague. (Not sure why I picked Prague).

It's Chanukah in August!

It’s Chanukah in August!

So yay! I can now eat olive oil! This is a serious life change. It’ll be easier for other people to cook for me, I can probably go to more restaurants, and I there’s one invisible food that’s off my list. And more importantly:

I’M GETTING BETTER.

The hypersensitivity that started two years ago (isn’t it just dandy that the X-Games are a reminder of my first hospital visit?) is on it’s way out. I’ll always have allergies, but some of the ones that went all wackadoodle on me are waning. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. My body is recovering. It’s relenting in its war on food. Just call it Robert E. Lee. Proclaim me emancipated, or something.

I have to be careful about how much olive oil I eat so as not to overdose again — twice a week, in limited amounts (basically one dish per meal, twice a week, preferably not in back to back meals), but it’s still a game changer. It’s on the table…literally.

FOOD CHALLENGE TALLY

Cindy: 19

Allergens: 6 (yayyy this number is going down!)

Up Next: Onion Powder

Emmys! (and some hives)

It’s the superbowl of TV…the Emmy Awards! Only, there’s no typical food for this major American holiday, which is a shame. It’s my turn to host the Emmy’s “party” this year (read: a few friends in sweatpants sitting on a couch watching the show), and I decided to cook what will maybe become an Emmy’s staple menu.

Main Dish:

Homemade pizza — for recipe, see here.

Side:

Fried zucchini — essentially, zucchinni fried with garlic, salt, and pepper.

Dessert:

Strawberry chocolate oat muffins – a twist on my pumpkin oat muffins (vegan! gluten free! nut-free! woo-hoo!) only with pureed strawberry and some chocolate powder instead of pumpkin…or cherries

It all would have been an absolutely SUPERB dinner to accompany a really incredible Emmy show (Homeland! Homeland! Homeland!) but I erupted into hives for a reason I simply can’t understand.

Or maybe I can understand it. Last Monday, on the second night of Rosh Hashana, we had the traditional new fruits to make a blessing for the new year. I am allergic to most fruits, certainly exotic fruits, so I didn’t eat them. No one anticipated an airborne reaction, because there was no horseradish involved. And yet, I broke out into hives for a few days following that meal. My guess right now is that I had an apple that was right next to the fruits, and as with the horseradish incident of Passover, I think the apple absorbed some of the other fruits’ essences. Apples are pretty absorbent — they’re known to absorb most of the pesticides sprayed on them, for instance — and since I had definitely not overdosed on apples and that’s what I was eating when the hives began, I can only imagine they are the culprit. It’s been under a week, and I haven’t been strict about my Benadryl usage, but these sorts of hives can reappear for days. So I’m betting it’s that. Or I overdosed on wheat, with it being in the pizza, and having challah pretty regularly as part of all the ritual meals. Not that I’ve been eating a ton of challah, but I’ve had less wheat over more time than in most weeks (most weeks I eat wheat only on the weekends, in huge amounts. This week, I’ve had bread at many meals, but in small amounts).

Either way, my traditional Emmys meal was slightly marred, but very delicious, so here’s to hoping that next year:

a) I’m closer to winning an Emmy

b) my allergies are in check enough to eat the above foods totally 100% safely

Strawberry Overdose!

So cheap and juicy!

Regina Spektor sings, “Hey remember that time when you OD’ed? Hey remember that other when you OD’ed for the second time?” in her song “That Time.”

It’s a great song, and while I know she was talking about drugs, I can’t help but relate right now. Because I totally OD’ed on strawberries, and a part of me knew I was going to.

I’ve had an inkling for a while that the three times a week rule is more of a ballpark. Sometimes, I can get away with 4-5 times. And sometimes, 1-2. It depends on the food. Strawberries, it seems, are more of a 1-2 time food.

I ate about 5 strawberry cherry muffins early this week, and I used about 6 strawberries for the batch of 10. So that’s like 3 strawberries, over the course of 4 days. Not a lot, but a lot of times. Today, on my drive home from work, I wanted sugar so I had some freeze dried strawberries. One handful, fine. Two handfuls, fine. Third handful, verging on mediocre and I thought, “Hey, I think I’m overdosing.” But then, like a drug addict, I guess, I got hungry and wanted more and decided I was invincible. So handful number four, and it was like FIRE in my mouth. I feel hives on my tongue. It’s unlike most of my allergic reactions, because it’s not swelling per se, but it feels exactly like a hive only on the back of my tongue, not my skin.

I had one more to see if I was crazy and of course the hive flared back up. So yes, I am crazy, but probably for experimenting. While driving. Um, clouded allergy judgement anyone? (I was safe, though, hives just hurt they aren’t like fatal or anything, and I knew I wasn’t at risk for anaphylaxis, just discomfort. Sure it was dumb, but I promise it was not as dumb as it seems).

I then decided to do what any normal person does. Stop to pick up dry cleaning that’s been waiting at the cleaner’s for over a couple of weeks. There’s something about proving to myself that I’m not sick that makes me really want to do chores. I bet that these days, if I had an anaphylactic reaction, I’d consider cleaning my apartment before using my Epipen. I’m motivated by stubbornness and control issues. You can’t stop me, I say!

Anyway, as I climbed the stairs to the cleaner (4 steps), I noticed I was not as spry as I usually am. That confirmed this reaction. This burning on my tongue is not a hallucination, it’s not insanity, it’s not psychosomatic, it’s a real reaction. And since I am not allergic to strawberries, it must be an overdose.

I’m Cindy, and I overdosed on strawberries. But hey. I also finally picked up my dry cleaning.

Win/win?