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Posted on Monday, May 26th, 2008

Dave!Well, I can't say this has been a good turn of events.

Last night I had a sudden allergic reaction which caused hives to break out all over my body. The welts didn't itch, but they were painful to touch. And they looked kind of funny. In a bit of a panic, I swallowed a half-box of Benadryl and got my Epi-Pen ready... my lips were all tingly and I was afraid it was a precursor to some serious swelling of my tongue or throat. After a couple of hours the swelling stopped. This morning I woke up with nothing but pink splotches to remind me that it had even happened. Benadryl seems to work wonders, but the side-effect is that it puts me in a coma.

I'm trying to get an appointment with an allergist this coming week, but that scares me almost more than choking to death on a swollen tongue.

Worse-case scenario? I'm allergic to soy.

As a vegetarian, soy is a substitute for a lot of meat products I used to eat... hamburger, bacon, hotdogs... they're all soy-based products for me now. And, as far as I know, there is no substitute for this substitute.

Next worse-case scenario? I'm allergic to wheat.

Bread and pasta are such a hugely enjoyable part of my diet that the idea of losing them fills me with dread. Sure there are gluten-free breads... but they just don't taste as good.

Worst-case scenario after that? I'm allergic to dairy.

I've tried giving up dairy before when I wanted to switch to an all-vegan diet. I couldn't do it. Chocolate pudding and cheese are two of my favorite foods. I don't even want to contemplate my life without them. And what about ice cream and gelato? None of the substitutes are remotely close in taste and texture.

I could, of course, adapt to whatever diet was necessary... if necessary.

But not being able to sit down to a veggie burger with cheese and a chocolate pudding for dessert?

I don't know how I'll be able to deal with that.

And now it's time for another dose of Benadryl and another coma.

At least I'm getting some sleep out of the deal.

Categories: Food 2008Click To It: Permalink


  1. apricoco says:

    yikes dave! i am sorry you are going through this. i can sort of relate, as a fellow veggie i thought i had developed a serious dairy allergy or eggplant but after several negative tests i concluded stress.

  2. Penelope says:

    Urgh! Good luck getting this figured out. Losing your chocolate pudding doesn’t bear thinking about!

  3. ssp says:

    Let’s hope this is just a temporary thing. A colleague of mine has the anti-wheat thing and it’s absolutely horrifying as pretty much every single processed food contains wheat in some form.

    Good luck!

  4. MRKisThatKid says:

    Vegetarianism would be a nightmare for me and my allergies. I can only eat small amounts of egg, as say a minor ingredient in something, too much and i feel myself going droggy, gums will swell a bit and i’ll wanna vomit and in the long term i’ll get majorly itchy.

    Too much tomato and i’ll get stomach ache and also itchy (but not as much as with egg).

    Peanuts, walnuts and other similar nutty things can kill me. Woohoo!

  5. Oh man – it’s like telling me I’m allergic to chocolate and wine.

    At least you’ve not allergic to Benadryl. Hope you feel better soon. Hugs, CK

  6. if it’s celliac (sp?) the allergic to gluten one – you would be vomiting and doubled over in pain. At least the 7 people I know with celliac (sp) that’s what happens to them.

    Good luck.

  7. Damn man, that’s a scary thing. I’ve had an allergic reaction once and after blood tests they couldn’t find what caused it and luckily it’s never happened again.
    Keep us posted on how you get on.

    Stay well mate

  8. Sodapop says:

    I hope you feel better soon and I hope the allergist does not give you bad news. If he/she does, maybe it won’t be too much of an adjustment? Either way, I’ll cross my fingers for ya!

  9. Göran says:

    Sorry about the allergies. Hopefully it´s something easily fixed by the doctors!

  10. Avitable says:

    My wife had to start eating chicken after her endocrinologist recommended it for thyroid issues.

  11. Sandie Law says:

    Oh, man…that sucks. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’s not one of those big ones. I didn’t realize how much soy, wheat, or dairy I ate until I started looking into vegetarian options. Keep us posted.

  12. Tobi says:

    allergic reaction hives are the worst! I’ve had them many times, unfortunately to medication. Hopefully you get this all worked out, good luck!

  13. jenny says:

    Oh no! That’s awful! I continually put off going to an allergist because I’m afraid to find out what else I’m allergic to (I know…really stupid logic). It was a big enough disappointment to have to cut out sesame from my diet.

    Ugh – I hope it’s something weird that is much easier to avoid than soy, wheat and dairy. Maybe you’re allergic to endives?

  14. Robin says:

    Soooo weird that this has come on so suddenly….

  15. Poppy says:

    Good luck.

    It’s better to know than not.

  16. Colin Brooks says:

    Oh that sucks. I wouldn’t be able to cope with any food allergies. The idea of being denied a certain food would only make me crave it more and it would eventually drive me mad. I hope it’s not that serious.

  17. Karl says:

    If you ARE allergic to dairy, then I have the product for you! It’s called Lactagen and my good friend, Darrel, who was severely lactose intolerant for DECADES was cured. You take it for 60 days and then gradually start adding milk to your diet. Never have to worry about it again, it regenerates the enzymes and shit in your system so you can digest dairy again.

    And no, I don’t get paid for the endorsement. But it works miracles.

  18. Poppy says:

    Oh, Karl, bless your little heart.

    (I was channeling my grandmother there.)

    I may need to take Lactagen very soon.

  19. nicole says:

    i hope your not allergic to any of those things, it would be kinda hard to eat a veggie dog in a new england style hot dog bun with cheese, and i gotta say that after you wrote about it i made one and it was delicious but if you are allergic then i will eat in you honor even if i go into a chocolate pudding over dose!!

  20. Dave

    I am happy to hear you are finally getting some sleep, but sorry that it is all such a worry for you. It seems strange this has happened all of a sudden. I know you have been keeping a food diary, but is there ANYTHING else that has changed in recent weeks?

  21. robert dean says:

    yeah losing soy would be quiet the problem. Could it be stress related? During one sucky time in my life and all within 2 weeks I was gifted with first the blotchy red itchy spots, then a week later was tiny blood blisters on the finger tips and toes. painful but only lasted a day with Benadryl and quasi meditation to calm the heck down. I hope this isn’t more serious. do take care.

  22. Dar says:

    You can always go carnivore. I dont know anyone that allergic to meat?

  23. ChillyWilly says:

    Oh man.. that would suck. I really hope they can find out that you are allergic to something easier to live without. Giving up cheese and chocolate pudding would be difficult…. there’s not real replacements for those, and being your favorite foods, that would be a blow.

  24. Chris says:

    Benadryl does the same thing to me, that’s why I never take it. I’ve had to limit my wheat intake as part of managing my diabetes and a good substitute I’ve found is Spelt bread. I actually prefer it to wheat bread now, the texture is more like homemade bread. Good luck with the allergist!

  25. Chag says:

    There is actually a pretty tasty dairy-free chocolate pudding on the market. But you’re right, there is no bread substitute that comes close to the real thing.

    Here’s hoping you’re just allergic to kumquats or something like that!

  26. Howard says:

    …or it’s all in your mind.

    Naw, that was mean. Hope you get better soon.

  27. Finn says:

    You poor thing… I hope it’s something you can live without!

  28. sizzle says:

    I hope you can get to the bottom of it. It must be scary to have those reactions not knowing what caused it. 🙁 I’m sorry to hear it Dave. I will hope that pudding remains in your future!

  29. kilax says:

    Oh no! I hope they find out you’re allergic to something else completely… get better soon 🙂

  30. Mr. Fabulous says:

    You can still swallow jism though, right?

  31. Foo says:

    Sigh…sorry you are dealing with this. Not knowing the cause has gotta suck. I hope you get your answer from the allergist and that cheese and chocolate pudding remain in your life forever.

  32. Hilly Sue says:

    I hope you get to the bottom of it soon AND that it turns out to be the least heinous of the food groups and definitely not soy.

  33. turnbaby says:

    Are you keeping a food/supplement/drink diary? And stress can trigger some pretty sucky stuff–I know.

  34. lizriz says:

    Hey, I’m just glad you’re OK, and hope that you find out what it is.

    Did you ever hear about that guy who sneezed almost constantly for almost his whole life? Destroyed his life, and when he was an old man, they discovered it was his musli that he had every morning for breakfast.

  35. You sound like me. Poison ivy so bad I needed prednisone and now I have hives (probably from pred). Benadryl makes me deaf, dumb, and unconscious. Hope it’s only your fabric softener or something.

  36. I hope it’s not dairy. That would suck. I hope they’re able to pinpoint what is suddenly causing this to happen now.

  37. Jacki says:

    I thought worse case would be if you found out you were allergic to a specific type of plastic, say……the one used on your MAC laptop?

  38. Argh! Sorry you’re going through this. And here’s really hoping that you’re not allergic to any of those things!

  39. claire says:

    Maybe try alavert instead of benadryl. Dissolves on your tongue with an orangey taste. Helped me last fall when I was getting hives as an allergic reaction and didn’t make me tired.

    I know it’s hard, but try not to stress over the allergy possibilities. Do your best to be patient until you can get test results. Fingers crossed for you.

  40. jewelz says:

    A dairy allergy is very different than lactose intolerance. I have the latter and it’s been a pain in my ass, but it’s not life-threatening if I have some dairy occasionally. However, since I prefer not to spend a good majority of my time pooping my guts out and doubled over with cramps, then I steer clear of the ol’ dairy aisle. I’ve found that soy has been a great substitute for milk and yogurt. Cheese? Well…I haven’t really found a great substitute for that, other than I know that the milder cheeses don’t seem to bother me as much as the others.
    ALL OF THAT BEING SAID….I hope it’s nothing too horrific for you and that you feel better soon. And while allergy shots do require needles (and I know how you feel about those), perhaps they could offer some relief and you wouldn’t have to completely give up fave foods.

  41. Delmer says:

    Hopefully you aren’t allergic to awesomeness … then you are really screwed.

  42. Lewis says:

    ALLERGIST PRONTO! You can “what if” forever. But until you know what you’re allergic to, you’ll just be shooting blanks (not that kind!). In the meantime, I cuddle up to 1/2 of a Benadryl every single night to sleep.

  43. Talena says:

    Oh noes! ::internet hugs::

  44. whall says:

    Let’s hope it’s something you can easily do without, like butter or Internet.

    Wait, I got an idea. Butternet! Interconnected gobs of electronic pleasure, scattered over popcorn everywhere! Invented by Gore!

  45. Kailey says:

    I will be eating chocolate pudding in about 5 minutes and I will think of you. I hope it isn’t serious! Benadryl does work wonders, both for allergies and for sleep.

  46. Patty says:

    Sorry to hear about your possible allergies, Dave! That must suck to get the welts and worry about all the swelling. At least the meds work somewhat and you are ready with that epipen. yikes. Hope it’s not the dairy….it would suck to not be able to eat the choc. pudding. Hope you get some answers soon.

  47. Carl says:

    Poor Dave! It seems like some alien alergy virus is ravaging you. First food colorings, now soy, next you will be opening the cupboard and your face will be suddenly twice its normal size.

    Take care

  48. Winter says:

    Oh, dude. I so feel for you. Mostly because that’s happened to me before. Most of my allergies are to food. Those hives suck ass. Don’t worry too much about the allergist. They did this weird test on me where they drew a grid on my back and poked me with little needles (which you don’t really feel). Then they wait for a reaction. I went back 2 weeks later and they did the 2nd set of stuff. The worst part of it is laying on your belly while waiting for the reactions. It’s hard to read Star in that position. The other hard part is the itchies on your back for a week. It’s totally worth it to find out what’s up though. Could save your life.

  49. Ren says:

    One of my daughters is allergic to corn, which is in practically all processed foods in the US. Luckily, her reaction is very mild, so we let her manage it herself. When she has too much corn (and I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a real handle on how much is too much), she starts getting a bit of a rash.

    She’s also allergic to melon, but that is much less of a problem.

  50. Belinda says:

    Oooh, I’m so sorry. I’m dealing with a possible celiac (gluten) issue myself, and the prospect horrifies me. You know I can’t do soy, because of the whole phytoestrogens-will-kill-me thing, and that is what ended my vegetarianism a few years ago.

    Now I’m paranoid enough about toxins and xenoestrogens and other crap in industrial raised/grown food (even “whole” foods), that I am trying hard to get my family to a place where we know exactly where the stuff we eat comes from (hence the chickens). I figure the more of us who get off the agribusiness grid, even a little, the better.

    But wow, your sudden-onset allergies freak me out. I hope you find out exactly what the deal is.

  51. Benadryl – Keep the chewable and fast strips on hand. They get into your system faster than the regular pills. I must admit, sometimes when I can’t get to sleep, I pop one of those puppies.

    Food Diary – Since it seems you’re gonna wait a little while to get allergy tests, you might want to keep track of your eating and reactions. Maybe you can figure it out on your own.

    For me it’s dairy, which is a huge bummer. I don’t let it get me down too much though. I avoid it as much as I can, but I splurge now and then with a Benadryl chaser. I know it’s bad, but you gotta live!

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