Allergy Profile – Lou from CookingWithoutIngredients.com

Allergy Sufferer Lou

Lou from www.CookingWithoutIngredients.com has Allergies and Food Intolerances.

Name : Lou
Lives  : Derbyshire
Allergies : Cashew Nuts, Raw Grapes, Grass Pollen, Tree Pollen – anything green pretty much!, Hay Fever, Feathers

Intolerances : Dairy & milk from anything with hooves, Eggs, Yeast, Gluten, Soya, Lentils, Cranberries, Bananas, Tomatoes.  Processed white sugar and cocoa produce weird occasional reactions.

A Lifetime of Allergies

Lou has had allergies for as long as she can remember.  It was first discovered that she had allergies as a small child.  The first time she ever sat on grass she came up in huge welts and she also had a reaction to cashew nuts after eating them for the first time.

Lou does have a family history of allergies, her Dad has very bad multiple food allergies, her Mum is allergic to something but she hasn’t been able to figure out what yet, her Grandma has hay fever, her Sister has an allergy to some sun creams and possibly cauliflower, her Uncle is allergic to cucumber and her Grandad was allergic to penicillin.

Medication and Controlling Allergies

Like many other allergy sufferers Lou takes antihistamine every day and she also takes Vitamin C daily too;  these have stopped her having random allergic reactions to everything which is what was happening to her about five years ago. Lou feels that keeping control of her intolerances helps keep her allergies from getting too bad but  as yet she has been unable to find any scientific studies that support this.  Sometimes she takes L-Glutamine if her stomach is very bad due to accidentally eating something she shouldn’t.

Worst Allergic Reaction

I asked Lou to tell me about her worst allergic reaction.

“I had a random reaction to Almonds this was before I was diagnosed and before I was on an elimination diet.  I, was eating bread, milk everything and my body was just in such a mess, I think my body just thought it was under attack all the time.  I’d had a random reaction to pineapple only the day before and the day prior to that kiwi and strawberry had set me off but only a bit.

I was at a restaurant and had an almond cake and the minute I took a bite it it was like putting nettles in my mouth.  I panicked and swallowed, I took two antihistamines immediately but was violently ill and my lips and throat swelled slightly.  Touch wood my body always reacts violently and quickly enough for me not to go into full-on anaphylactic shock so i don’t need an epi-pen. My lips and throat have swollen before but not to emergency levels, I have just been violently and I mean burst blood vessels in my face, eyes and neck violently sick that is what normally happens. I consider myself very lucky”.

Medical Support

I asked Lou if she was happy with the Medical Support she has received.

She said that ” Not overall, no, I have seen outright rude to simply dismissive Doctors. Once I actually managed to get a Doctor to refer me to the allergy clinic at the QMC they were great and very very informative. My last Doctor was brilliant he had a wheat allergy so he knew exactly what I was talking about”.

Allergies Under Control?

Compared to how she was five years ago Lou feels that she has her allergies under control as she felt so ill.  But even saying this she said that her Hay Fever rules her on some days and it makes it difficult to go out for a simple walk because she struggles to breathe, if people mow their lawns she has to stay indoors or otherwise suffer the consequences of going outside.

Allergies Impact on Life

I asked Lou how have allergies impacted on her life?

Massively, I don’t know where to start in answering this question. I haven’t been abroad because I have been so incredibly unwell and financially allergies are very difficult as food is so much more expensive. I always have to go self catering and I’m concerned about feeding myself abroad. I have been out of work because of my allergies and I have nearly lost 3 jobs because of my sickness rates (this is all prior to being diagnosed) so it has affected my career progression greatly. I have missed out on meals out, I have experienced depression, I have missed out on holidays, camping etc – the impact is absolutely huge. People use food to socialise and to bond so if you can’t have the Birthday cake that your work colleague has brought in to share with everyone, as nice as everyone is to try to include you, you’re still pushed out of that experience and it begins to have an impact on relationships. My last Doctor understood the gravity of the impact and that was so useful, it is not just your health that it impacts on it is your social interactions and your relationships“.

Improvements in Allergy Support, Availability of Allergy friendly Products & Services

” I would like to see allergy products marketed as just food as everyone can eat them and if we can get more people eating them then they will come down in price. I would like people who write about allergy facts and science to back up their claims with links to the scientific data as I have read such a lot of stuff that just isn’t backed up by anything”.

Your best advice to other Allergy & Food Intolerance sufferers?

“You have to find a good Doctor, then once you have one write a letter explaining your difficulties in detail and explain exactly what you want to get from them and why you want it/what you are trying to achieve and then take the letter with you to the appointment. Work with your Doctor as much as you can get them on board, if you aren’t getting anywhere shop around talk to your friends find out who has a good Doctor and change (where possible). Don’t spend money on ‘cures’ on the internet or anywhere else unless you have done real proper research.   I know some people feel desperate, I know because I have been there. I have spent so much money on herbs, various tablets, reiki, crystals, counsellors, hypnotherapists, reflexologists, spiritual healing, acupuncture because I couldn’t get any Doctors to listen to me and I was just desperate to get well and didn’t know where else to turn. I’m not against alternative therapies but you have to eliminate the cause not treat the symptoms. None of those therapists could do anything until I had my diagnosis and I had eliminated the foods that were causing me harm if they made me feel better the minute I had cereal or a sandwich I was back to square one. I still use alternative therapies now to help my body heal and to reduce stress which also interacts negatively with the immune system”.

Read more about Lou’s life with Allergies and the website she has created in the Interview post

Take a look at the recipes that Lou has very kindly agreed to share with us on Allergy Zone

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