I can write about anything I want here on the blog, so today, it’s eggs. Or rather, the absence of them, from my diet.
This is Day 39 for me on an elimination diet, with eggs at the top of the list of foods that have been cut. Two of the others are what you’d expect: Gluten (I can hear you groaning) and dairy. But then there’s also almonds (no other nuts, just almonds), clams (no other seafood, just clams) and beans (definitely navy and green, and maybe more).
It’s a quirky list. I have 21 more days to go.
But today I want to talk about eggs. Because EGGS. Seriously, people. Eggs. Do you think you could go without eggs for very long? Close your eyes and think about everything you’ve eaten in the past week that contained eggs. I’m not just talking about the Big American Breakfast but also all the baked goods in the world and pad thai and stir fries and even hard candy, can you believe it, hard candy. Yeah. Now you see what I mean.
A special note to vegans: I see you sitting there all smug, saying to yourself that you’ve got this no-egg thing down. But did you notice the rest of my list? Can you do without eggs AND beans AND gluten? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
You over there, looking at me with duck-egg eyes. Nope. Don’t even go there. I’m off all eggs. Probably even emu.
(Yes, people eat emu. There’s a ranch not far from my house.)
So you can see my predicament. This egg thing isn’t something I pulled out of the air, either. Over the years, I’ve had two blood tests plus a skin-scratch test consistently show a high reaction to eggs.
The first blood test was taken after I’d been on a self-selected diet of only fruit, vegetables, rice, and meat, plus eggs. Essentially, I’d eliminated all of the standard food allergens EXCEPT eggs. Why? I don’t know. Maybe denial.
In an attempt to eliminate symptoms, I had been going off the results of the allergy skin scratch test I’d had nearly a decade before, in 2002. (This allergy issue has plagued me my whole life.) Everyone knows by now that the skin scratch tests aren’t very reliable, and that one showed me allergic to pretty much everything. I guess I chose to ignore the egg portion of “everything.”
But what’s really curious is that after that blood test came back in 2011, and I’d completed a yearlong egg abstention, I returned to eating eggs again.
It could be that the one food I really should never eat is the one food I apparently will continue to eat to the point of self-delusion. I had two allergy tests identify eggs, and I reverted back to eating them after each go with the elimination diet.
Eggs. I love them. Poached, fried, sunny-side up, whipped into quiches and meringues, placed atop a Korean bibimbap, snuggling cheese and veggies as an omelet blanket. I love a runny yolk, sopped up with toast. I look forward to Easter for the hardboiled eggstravaganza (you knew that word would work its way in eventually, right?) When I was a kid, it was eggs with ketchup. We ate a lot of foods back then that weren’t good for you or that didn’t even taste all that good, but eggs weren’t one of them.
In my defense, I had a conspirator in my delusion. I’d begun to see an acupuncturist, who was convinced after he was done with me, I’d be able to eat “anything.” He put me on a cleanse, and after I completed it, I had a new eating plan, eggs included. I tried to tell him I was supposedly allergic to eggs, but he wasn’t having it.
He was great help in getting me off an inhaler, and on that new eating plan plus running every day, I was a weight I enjoy being. But my symptoms never really went away.
So, I switched acupuncturists. My new one wasn’t convinced of my egg allergy either but said I wasn’t eating enough protein. That was a watershed for me. While more recently, I'd eaten meat, I'd never fully embraced a meat-eater's existence. I’d been a vegetarian for 13 years, and a vegan a good portion of that, and you know, I just don’t really like meat. It was a struggle, but I upped my protein intake. This helped more than anything, as I’ve written about previously. All of my symptoms cleared up.
…At least for a while. But then last summer, I had symptoms again, some new, some old. Hence the latest blood test and quirky list of foods to avoid.
When this latest test came back a high positive for eggs, I kind of flipped out. I thought maybe since I’d eliminated it twice before in my life, for significant periods of time, and health-care providers I trusted seemed to think I could eat them again, that I was fine. But apparently not.
You don’t hear about egg allergies much; it’s not as common as say, a peanut allergy, or a gluten sensitivity. A lot of those gluten-free foods I can’t eat by the way because they’re loaded with eggs, which act as a binder in the absence of gluten.
Crazy, the power of eggs. Note not one but two acupuncturists totally spaced on the egg-allergy thing for me, despite the test history.
But my new small-town acupuncturist/naturopath, who seems a bit bemused by the quirkiness of my allergen list, declared a moratorium on eggs for two months, and possibly longer.
So there I was at the beginning of the Season of Baked Goods, with a no-egg death sentence.
To find out how I survived this ordeal, check back on the blog next Monday for “Who Needs Eggs?”