Babe, You Want Some Salsa?

This is DAY 2 on the allergy food rotation diet. Yikes… this rotation diet is something else.

salsa and chips

Photo by fabalv


Babe: “Babe you want some salsa?”

Marissa: “Babe, not sure I can have that. They probably use chili powder, and that’s not on Sarah’s list. I don’t want to push it”

Babe: “Wow, you really have to consider EVERYTHING you put into your mouth.”

DING DING DING…Babe is CORRECT.   I am REALLY having to consider EVERYTHING I put into my mouth. I keep telling myself…

What would happen to Sarah is she ate something outside of the approved list? Also, what about the ingredients she can’t control or see in prepackaged foods!

I have a new level of respect for those with severe allergies forced to make SO MANY limiting changes in hopes they have a better quality of life.

Much love,

IgE Antibodies Are The Culprit And Allergies Are The Response!

Last week’s blog post titled, Allergies Are An Inappropriate Immune Response. What’s Appropriate? I attempted to explain what happens to an immune system that responds appropriately to viruses, bacteria, and other invaders.

Antibodies (fighter proteins) are formed, antigens (bacteria, viruses, invaders) are attacked, and ridden.

In a person WITHOUT allergies, substances can pass through the bodies immune system without a response.

In a person WITH allergies, substances normally seen as “harmless” become allergen invaders and the body will react.

Woman With An Allergy Smelling A Flower


According to Allergy Therapeutics, here are examples of substances that can turn into allergens…

* Pet dander

* Tree and Grass Pollen

* Moulds

* Certain foods

*Insect venom

*Dust mites

The allergen substances attack, and the body responds by creating several antibodies.

It’s necessary to note that there are 5 DIFFERENT CLASSIFICATIONS of antibodies. When dealing with allergies, IgE antibodies are the culprit.

SO…. when your body is producing antibodies to fight off what it believes is “harmful” the result can lead to allergic reactions.

We know that memory cells are created to “remember” the specific intruder. SO…the next time your body encounters an allergen substance the body remembers to attack!

The attacks set’s off a chemical release known as histamine. (A compound that triggers the inflammatory response).

According to the Breakspear medical group

“Contact with an allergen (the item that causes the reaction) can be with your skin, eyes, or with the lining of your lungs, mouth, oesophagus (gullet), stomach or intestine.”

As more chemicals are released into the body, annoying to life threatening symptoms can form.

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny Nose
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Hives
  • Skin Rash
  • Watery eyes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Congestion
  • Itching
  • Dizziness
  • Mental Confusion
  • Difficulty Breathing

AND more

Much love,

P.S. How can such a beautiful and complex process go SO WRONG?



“Remember I’m allergic to shrimp?” You can eat salmon!

hyp·o·crite in the house? GUILTY.

This is the 2nd time this week I’ve had to call myself out!

A popular seafood chain has brought back for a LIMITED TIME endless shrimp for $14.99.

“Try as much as you like, any way you like.”

Cooked Shrimp

photo by mhaithaca

I LOVE SHRIMP. Fried, grilled, and breaded, I don’t discriminate.

It’s important to note because of my vestibular(balance) disorder my visits to restaurants are infrequent. I was up to the challenge and invited babe to join me for some endless shrimp.

Babe: ” I’m allergic to shrimp babe. ”

My response: “But babe, I really want to go! You can eat salmon! Just order salmon or a steak.”

WHAT? I TOTALLY DISMISSED babe’s allergy concern because I had dreams of eating Alfredo shrimp pasta.

My selfish justifications:

1.) I infrequently visit restaurants.

2.) I REALLY want that endless shrimp. I have been waiting for it to come back to the menu for a few years.

Babe’s shellfish allergy justifications:

1.) Hives or eczema

2.) Nasal congestion

3.) Allergic conjunctivitis

4.) Nausea

5.) Abdominal pain

6.) Vomiting

7.) Diarrhea

8.) Wheezing

9.) Coughing

10.) Runny nose

11.) Swelling of lips

12.) Swelling of tongue

13.) Swelling of face

I offered babe menu alternatives to shrimp without taking into account restaurant preparation. Shared cooking areas, utensils, cooking pans, etc. all part of cooking kitchen operations.

According to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis network…

Eating away from home can pose a significant risk to people affected by food allergy. Research suggests that close to half of fatal food allergy reactions are triggered by food served by a restaurant or other food service establishment.

The seafood chain’s website has an allergy information page. They are committed to making adjustments to those with allergies and dietary needs, BUT there is a disclaimer toward the bottom of the page…

Since all of our dishes are prepared-to-order at (popular seafood chain restaurant), our normal kitchen operations may involve shared cooking and preparation areas. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that any menu item can be completely free of allergens.

To prevent babe from encountering a severe allergic reaction it’s required that we practice shellfish avoidance.

Thank GOD for Sarah (babe thanks you as well) this month’s 12-12-12 project member.  Sarah is living with severe allergies and learning about the condition has opened my eyes. I now realize the severity of the situation and I will make adjustments ensuring babe is safe!

Much love,



Allergies Are An Inappropriate Immune Response. What’s Appropriate?

To understand allergies and their negative immune response I have chosen to start with understanding what happens when the immune system responds appropriately.

If our bodies immune response played to a soundtrack, it would be Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4. Starts slow, then works itself into a frenzy.

With the help of Paul Andersen’s excellent walk through of the immune system, I will attempt to break down what I have learned.

The Immune System Breakdown

We start with an antigen (invader).

The foreign substance is identified and eaten by a macrophage. (A type of white blood cell that ingests foreign material.)

The macrophage secrets enzymes (Protein that initiates a chemical reaction but won’t be altered itself) breaking up the antigen.

A little bit of the foreign substance left from the break up rises to the top of the macrophage. The macrophage then introduces the antigen to the T-cell. (White blood cell produced to regulate the immune system’s response to diseased or malignant cells.)

 T-helper cell (Provides help to other cells in the immune response) is activated producing activated Killer T-cells (specializes in attacking virus, cancer, and bacteria cells) AND Activated B-cells. (A type of white blood cell that produces antibodies.) They will clone and multiply.

The B-cell looks for antigens that match the produced receptors. The B-cell grabs onto the bacteria.

The Helper T-cell is a champ providing protein needed to a created  activated B-cells AND Killer T-cells.

Once the B-cell is activated it breaks up and produces a plasma cell (antibodies) that will attack the bacteria and create a memory cell.(These cells have a prolonged life span and can thereby “remember” specific intruders.)

The antigens in the humors of the body are attacked by antibodies and bacteria is ridden.

The Killer T-cell that is already attached to the cell infected by the antigen will secrete enzymes and the invaders will be eliminated.

A Little Awesomeness 

I found it AWESOME this complex process leaves behind memory cells stored in the body in case the same invader returns. It will be activated, and you will heal much quicker from the invader.

Now that we understand an immune system that functions appropriately, the focus for the next few weeks can be on understanding allergies and their inappropriate immune response.

Much love,


References and Medical Definitons:

Here are the medical terms I wanted to understand. I pulled the definitions form Medline Plus, medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary, and MedicineNet.


Antigen:  “An antigen is any substance that causes your immune system to produce antibodies against it. An antigen may be a foreign substance from the environment such as chemicals, bacteria, viruses, or pollen.”

Macrophage: “A type of white blood cell that ingests foreign material. Macrophages are key players in the immune response to foreign invaders of the body, such as infectious microorganisms. They are normally found in the liver, spleen, and connective tissues of the body.”

T-cell: “A type of white blood cell produced in the thymus gland that regulates the immune system’s response to diseased or malignant cells.”

T-helper cells: ” A type of T cell that provides help to other cells in the immune response by recognizing foreign antigens and secreting substances called cytokines that activate T and B cells.”

Killer T-cells: “Specialized in attacking cells of the body infected by viruses and sometimes also by bacteria”

B-cells:”A type of white blood cell and, specifically, a type of lymphocyte.”

Enzymes: “A protein that catalyzes chemical reactions of other substances without itself being destroyed or altered upon completion of the reactions.

Memory cell:”These cells have a prolonged life span and can thereby “remember” specific intruders.”




Got Allergies?

Chronic allergies?

This month’s focus is going to be on severe allergies. I am going to take one for the team and display my allergy ignorance.

My assumptions about allergies are as follows:

  • Seasonal
  • Avoidable
  • Caused by peanut butter or seafood
  • Life threatening but in extremely rare cases
  • Can be easily treated with medication


I am EXCITED to be spending time with 12-12-12 project member Sarah Mills. With her guidance, I will test my assumptions, learn, and report back my findings.

Much love,