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:


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.


Cindy: 19

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

Up Next: Onion Powder

Food Challenge Round 2: Cindy vs. Olive Oil

You know how the American men’s swim team was supposed to win the 4×100 relay in the Olympics yesterday, and there was this huge upset and France won instead? And how Jordyn Wieber was slated to place in all-around but Aly Raisman beat her to it?

That’s how I feel about what happened today with olive oil.

I thought it was a sure thing. I’ve cooked exclusively with olive oil for years and I had been fine. How could I be allergic to it? This morning’s challenge — rye crackers baked with olive oil — was supposed to be more of a formality than anything else.

But, there are always upsets, and that’s what makes life — or the Olympics — interesting, right? It’s precisely because I cooked exclusively with olive oil that I can no longer have it. (Me, to my boss: “I od’ed on olive oil.” Boss: “Oh god.” Me: “Hey, at least it’s not heroin, that’s a win, right?”)

I noticed something was wrong about three bites into the rye cracker. My mouth just didn’t want any more. I figured it’s because rye crackers aren’t so delicious, and these were made really haphazardly in the middle of the night. I was determined not to be allergic to olive oil. So I kept plugging away at the cracker.

One day’s worth of olive oil lasted for eight nights back in the days of the Maccabees. One rye cracker’s worth of olive oil should last me 72 hours, in these days of the Maccabeats. (Yes, I know it’s a bad joke). Reverse Chanukah miracle, anyone?

Nothing was swelling, nothing was itching, the doctor was with another patient. I wanted to power through. “It’s in your head,” I thought. “You feel fine. Keep going. Chewing isn’t hard.” Except it felt so hard. My mouth just didn’t want to comply with my brain.

As I forced the cracker down, I started noticing that I couldn’t really read the book spines on the doctor’s shelf so well anymore. My vision was going and I was exhausted. Sitting was hard. Chewing was hard. Keeping my eyes open was hard.

The doctor returned as I started cracker two.

“You look happy,” he said half-sarcastically.

“I think I’m going to pass out.”

“Yeah, I think so, too. I think we call this one a “no.” This isn’t working.”


I still had cracker in my mouth.

“You might want to stop eating.”

“That’s a good idea. Can I get water?”

“I think you should.”

So I drank a lot of water, got complimented on my green pants, and then got too tired to stand.

“Was that enough or do you need a pill?”

“I want Benedryl.”

“Looks like we got a positive result.”

“Depends on your definition of positive.” I don’t know why I have to make Chandler-y jokes when I’m uncomfortable.

I took my Benedryl, sat for a bit, and the doctor determined that I was not going to go into anaphylactic shock. Just discomfort. So I was free to go. But not before we discussed next week’s malt challenge.

I asked him which to do: pretzels or cereal. He said cereal, and I said, “Really? Even though I can eat a few kinds of cereal as it is?” And he said, “What about beer? That’s how you should really test malt.”

So, one week from today, I will drink a beer at 7:30am. And I better not fail the challenge.

Excuse me — not fail — “have a positive outcome,” which is my doctor’s optimistic way of speaking. I’m a little too competitive for that. Plus, going to work high on Benedryl, with a trace of a cold that’s exacerbated by allergies (totally see why they didn’t let me try new foods when I had a cold as a child), and having half a voice, a runny noise, and only 85% coherency all day doesn’t feel like a positive outcome. Having a throat that swells every time the Benedryl runs out but not quite enough to warrant the steroids I so desperately want doesn’t feel like a positive outcome.

But I got answers, I guess. My constant reactions to food I cooked myself makes a ton more sense now. So when I feel better, I know I’ll think about this, and simply think, “yay.”

Food Challenge Tally

Cindy – 1

Allergens – 1

Up next: beer. Any suggestions for which beer I try? I’m debating between Stella and Corona. It’ll be the only beer I can drink until I challenge more, so let’s say a year or so…