Food Allergies: Don’t Let Your Guard Down!

I have a habit of doing something a little odd before ordering a meal out. I pick what I might have eaten before my stomach became a sieve and I developed most of the top eight allergies and then some. I have a feeling I’m not the only allergic foodie to do this. 🙂

So For Father’s Day brunch at one of our favorite restaurants I chose Eggs Benedict with crab accompanied by homemade breakfast potatoes pan-fried in butter. Oh, and don’t forget to add one of those freshly baked scones everyone around me is oohing and ahing about. And maybe a dollop of that raspberry jam. Mmmmmmmm……

Then the waitress arrived, and I ordered a salad with salmon, avocado, tomatoes, and Kalamata olives.

And an hour later I became sick. Oh so horribly sick. With stomach cramps and everything else that comes with being allergic to soy. How do I know it was soy when I’m also allergic to corn, eggs, dairy, gluten, and so on? Because when I become that sick, it’s almost always caused by soy.

My first reaction was what it always is. Geesh, if I’m going to get this sick, couldn’t it have been from a big slice of chocolate cake? My second reaction was How could this have happened?

The waitress at this particular restaurant knows me well and has extensive food allergies herself. The chef even keeps a list of my food allergies in the kitchen! They often come back and recheck my order with me. This is the one of the very few restaurants I feel safe eating at.

A few guesses as to what went wrong. It was Father’s Day and busy and contamination occurred. The olives may have been marinated in vegetable/soy oil and they missed it. Or, they changed the brand of oil in the vinaigrette (see my post about soy oil in olive oil). Maybe they used a cooking spray containing soy lecithin in the pan where they cooked the salmon. I plan to talk to the restaurant staff the next time I see them to see if we can identify the illness-causing culprit.

Until then, this was a warning. From now on, even in the restaurants I’ve safely eaten at before, even when ordering the dishes I’ve safely eaten before, I’ll review my allergies and specifically ask how the food is prepared. Ingredients change. Chefs change. Sous chefs change. Staff change. I remember a few months ago my son got “glutened” by a sauce that claimed to be gluten-free. Turned out there was wheat in the canned jalapenos. Sometimes chefs need to be reminded to check the labels.

I have to admit I’m feeling reluctant to eat out anytime soon. I mean if I get that sick from a salmon salad, why don’t I cook my own food that’s much more tasty and interesting. Or even eat a salmon salad with my own ingredients and know for sure that I won’t react. Because my family LOVES to eat out and most of our social life revolves around food.

So I’m sure in a week or two when my autoimmune system is a bit calmer, I’ll venture out to another restaurant.  Rest assured, I’ll be on high alert for possible allergens in my food.

I won’t let my guard down again.

Stop!  Is that soy in my food???

Stop! Is that soy in my food???