Food Challenges

Happy New Year everyone!

This is the year I’m going to introduce some old foods back into my diet or least test them out for how allergic I am to them now (versus a few years ago).

Eek-I know!

Some of these foods I may do as a food challenge in a doctor’s office; some I may try with a safe person nearby with meds at the ready, but I’m going do it.

Don’t think for one second that because I’m blogging about it that I’m in any way cavalier about this endeavor. I’m totally scared about doing this; I may even punk out on trying a few of these. However, most of these foods on my list I’ve had a least once (or used to eat regularly like tuna). And for one reason or another, I gave them up.

For the foods that gave me an itchy throat or itchy lips, I feel I need to test if they still do like eggplant or honeydew melon. For something like lemongrass, it put me to sleep. Which was weird, it was like I was drugged but I should try it again. For foods that I gave up after starting an elimination diet in 2005, I think it’s time to start to add some things back in and see what happens--trying any of these might give me 2-3 days of stomach discomfort, bloating, rumbling etc. etc.. and I will futher refine what I can and shouldn’t be eating. Notice I am not testing tree-nuts nor salmon, my biggies. No need; there's still an issue. But these outliers, they need to be tested.

Wondering why I’m not taking a blood test to determine my allergies? Because blood tests are inconclusive.

What is conclusive? You eat a food and you have an adverse reaction.

Here’s what the esteemed allergist and colleague Jay M. Portnoy, M.D., has to say about this from a press release on the America College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology site.

In short: "Just because you have a positive test to a food doesn’t mean you are allergic to the food," Dr. Portnoy said. "It is really important that the symptoms correspond to the test. Personally, I’m still seeing a lot of patients who have been told by a physician not to eat foods because of positive test results, when in fact they have never had a problem with the food. You don’t want to avoid food that you are not allergic to, but you do want to avoid foods that you are allergic to. Allergists can be helpful in determining this because they have special training and experience in interpreting the test results."

So, here is my list of new/old/scary foods to try and if they don’t make me allergic or give me GI distress I may add or re-add them to my diet. At the very least, I will know where I stand now. Here’s the list in no particular order:

Flax seed
Hemp milk
Coconut water
Coconut oil
Winter squashes
Goat’s milk
Sheep’s milk
Fish--tuna, cod, flounder, fluke, sardines, anchovies
Soy, tofu, edamame, soy milk
Cow’s milk
Pumpkin Seeds
Sunflower Seeds

**REMINDER: This blog documents my personal journey. It does not substitute for medical advice. Please consult your personal physician or allergist to make the best decision for your health and that of your family’s.**


jill elise said…
Oh man, good luck! That is scary. I don't follow my allergy test results because I've found they're wrong in the past. I'm supposed to be allergic to seafood, which I never liked, but I have started (so carefully) eating it and haven't had a problem yet, also am supposed to be allergic to lamb, but am completely fine eating it. Goodluck!
Meghann said…
I wish you the best of luck in your food trials of 2009. It took me years to find out what I am allergic to:
meat (don't ask me why, though organic doesn't bug me as much, but it still bugs my digestive system)
I now have a blog and online store with tips, tricks and recipes. Contact me if you want the addresses as I don't want to advertise uninvited :)
Alisa said…
So what HAVE you been eating girl? Just kidding :)

Good luck, I hope that several new foods make it into or back into your diet!

Here's to a Delicious and Happy New Year!
zebe912 said…
There are a few foods that I had a skin reaction to in the Dr office, that I've never understood because I don't seem to have a reaction to them. Some I don't like so I don't feel a need to mess with them, but others, like strawberries, I only seem to react to touching the plant, but not eating them. Your description of trusting your body to tell you rather than a test is interesting, and I think kind of what I've resorted to. My environmental allergies are way worse than my food ones, but since eliminating wheat (which I didn't test pos. for) those have even gotten better. I find that really interesting.
Unknown said…
Best wishes on the food challenges. Hope you have a happy and healthy 2009!
Renee said…
Best of wishes on your venture. I have 2 children with food allergies and it is quite a trial. I started a blog called It's just a list of allergy-free recipes.

Also, I stumbled across a website that is just awesome. You may have heard of it. It is It is an awesome site to buy food from. The people who run it are nice too.

Well, God bless and have a safe new year.
Good luck with all those challenges! Wow, you do avoid a lot. I hope you are able to add many new foods back into your diet this year.
Food challenges can be scary. Our allergist said the same thing about testing. We went straight to our sons milk challenge instead of retesting because actually ingesting the allergen is the only and best way to know if you are truly allergic to something or not. He may also have a few more challenges this year. Saying prayers for both of you :)
Mrs. Rellim said…
I have been avoiding many foods since skin prick testing nine years ago (even though I had only minimal to moderate reactions with the food). You have inspired me to consider re-introduction of some items I've been missing. Thank you and good luck!
Mrs. Kachur said…
best of luck and I will be eagerly waiting to hear how this turns out.

Just spent the last 6 weeks with major GI distress and submitting to a host s of test only to discover that it is most likely eggs I am recacting to. UGH! this allergy stuff stinks. Wish we could find a cure!
allergic diner said…
Congrats on the kiwi! Looks like we're like-minded in the New Year.
Do me a favor, and let me know about your experience with flax seed? It's something I'm very interested in trying.

Talk to you soon!
Allergic Girl® said…
me too with flax. i have them ready to try i've just been nervous to do it yet... :-)
CrysAnderson said…
Good Luck! Hope it goes well. I have had the opposite of many of you, instead of testing positive for foods but not reacting - I actually have negative test results yet have near anaphylactic reactions. Still haven't fully discovered root of it only have hints of cause (soy, green beans, bell peppers).
Let us know how it goes :)
A+ said…
I'm catching up with your blog now. I had negative ImmunoCAP results with several foods that I've reacted to in the past (peanuts, almonds, etc.) and then tested positive with SPTs. I also tested positive with SPTs to quite a few foods that are staples in my diet (eggs, wheat, garlic, etc.). I feel like I'm in limbo not knowing what to trust. My doctor says to continue eating the things I eat constantly yet tested positive to, but that makes me nervous.

I also have a list of things that I used to eat but no longer do (refried beans, baked beans), as well as a list of things I've never tried and would like to (chickpeas, quinoa, black beans).

Would you follow the same protocol for introducing new foods as you would for re-introducing foods?

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