It Nearly Cost Me My Life. Don’t Let This Be Your Mistake, Too

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I have been hospitalized for anaphylactic shock 2 times in the last 10 days.

With both reactions, the symptoms came on strong and fast. My lips swelled, airway became constricted, hives covered my body and my skin, mouth and throat burned and itched.

Thankfully, I was close enough to a hospital each time that I was able to get the drugs I needed to stop the reaction before it killed me.

I have had a severe allergy to peanuts my whole life. Knowing that my body has the potential to attack itself has always terrified me so I take every precaution to avoid exposure. What scared me the most from these 2 recent attacks, was that I had no idea what the culprit was.

After the first attack, I removed every possible culprit that could have caused the reaction and booked an appointment with an allergist.

5 days later, I had another attack.

The only thing I had before the second attack was the amazing hydrochloric acid pill that magically clears my acne. I ruled it out after my first attack because I’d been taking it for awhile with absolutely no reaction… but logically, I know that allergies like this can develop over time.

Then I looked up fenugreek (one of the active ingredients in the pill) and my world changed.

The first article I found was titled, “Proceed with Caution: Fenugreek and Peanut Allergy”

From the Anaphylaxis Campaign

A Norwegian allergy register recorded 15 peanut-allergic patients reacting to curry, which often contains fenugreek, a legume. Doctors studied cross-reactivity using serum from a peanut-allergic patient. The patient’s serum was positive for fenugreek and two grains on the patient’s lip caused an immediate reaction. Allergy to fenugreek may be considered a possibility when someone with peanut allergy reacts to curry.

There are many cross reactivity allergies out there: sunflower seeds and Jerusalem artichoke, apricot kernels and almonds, find the full list here.

If you are allergic to peanuts, it may be wise to avoid fenugreek.

If you, or someone you know has food allergies, pass on these details to them so that they do not make the same mistake I did.

Now, I’ll be sure to avoid ALL fenugreek, including switching up my miracle acne killer supplement with this fenugreek free version. If you’re allergic to peanuts, perhaps you should look into this, too.

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  1. OMG thanks for posting this, I have a nut allergy (actually I’m allergic to all legumes)! I had no idea!

  2. I agree with Kevin. I know the “eye rolling” that can come along with the food allergy/intolerance subject. In our house, the symptoms range from cracking of the feet, to upset guts, to body aches, racing brains, etc. Most people around us respect what’s going on and are curious to know more, but a “select few” still look at me as if I’m nuts and don’t know what I’m talking about. I really don’t get that mentality at all. I’m sorry about what’s gone on with you recently. I can’t imagine just how scary that was for the both of you. I really do wish you the best of health from here on out! God bless!

    • I agree with you, Mary – I can’t understand why people think “food allergies” should come with rolled eyes and a bad attitude. Here’s to changing those perceptions, one at a time :)

  3. Nice Sleuthing Leanne! Not sure I could have figured all that out.

    More importantly, thank God you are still with us!

    I just came across your banana macaroon recipes and opted in for more weekly recipes from you. And Leanne, if you are a full blown certified nutritionists, I’d love to plug you with 20 questions on how to best become one.

    John

  4. How scary! Thank you for sharing this. Both my children are allergic to peanuts and I’d never heard of this link.

    I’m going to share this on Facebook as well, because fenugreek is something commonly recommended to increase milk supply in nursing moms, so moms with peanut allergies need to be aware of the risks of taking it.

    • Thanks for passing it along, yes you are right… so many Moms take it. Ah!

  5. Hi, I’m using the alchalinize you suggest (without fenugreek as in Europw I could find only this version. It’s 3 weeks, more or less, I’m using it, but I honestly can’t see any change (I’m 43 years old). So you think I should insist or not?
    Regards
    L

  6. I am allergic to peanuts as well and I am glad you are okay! Good detective work with the cross reactivity. I figured out the fenugreek connection the hard way too and now I make an excellent curry powder from scratch, allergen free! Tamarind is also in the same family (Fabaceae) as peanuts and fenugreek and I tread cautiously around it as well. I love how you celebrate what wonderful foods we can enjoy in your blog. Thanks for helping me meet my allergies with joyfulness. It can be such a downer to otherwise only inevitably hear the”that must suck” or “how do you live?!” when my allergies pop up in conversation when I pass on the Easter chocolates!

  7. For the last few days I have been suffering from a reaction to something. I woke up 2 days ago with hives, swollen lips and eyes. I took some Benadryl and then decided I should go to Urgent Care. By the time the doc came in the Benadryl had seemingly done its job. Most of my symptoms had lessened. But over the next couple of days, the itching and swelling comes and goes. Benadryl and Prednisone help somewhat, but not completely. In thinking back over what I had eaten, the only thing I can think of is maybe msg. It’s scary how that stuff can be hidden in so many things. I’m seeing an allergist in 10 days (who has already tested me for dozens of food and environmental allergens following an even more severe reaction including asthma — all negative). I have to carry an Epipen at all times, just in case. I’m afraid to eat anything that I didn’t make myself, but even that can be a problem. I had made some GF blueberry bars with blueberry fruit spread from a jar. On checking the ingredients it had only blueberries, apple juice and pectin — sounds pure enough, right? I searched and found this article which lists names of ingredients that always contain msg, ingredients that often “contain or produce processed free glutamic acid” (including pectin), and other suspect ingredients: http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html. The fact that it can build up in your system over time before you see a reaction makes it difficult to determine the source. I really hate this and fear the doctor will once again come up with nothing.

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