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Food Allergies




  1. Where can I find a dietitian who works with people who have food allergies? Answer
  2. I was diagnosed with oral allergy syndrome and I have been having difficulties finding a balanced diet to eat. Answer
  3. I am trying to locate information on multiple chemical sensitivity. Answer
  4. I spent some months on an elimination diet with the aid of a dietitian who specialized in food intolerance. Answer
  5. I have problems with amines, salicylates and wheat causes blood clots to appear. Answer
  6. Which foods contain antihistamine? Answer
  7. I'm allergic to cantaloupe, watermelon and bananas, what other fruits are similar? Answer
  8. How are these products listed on food labels other than peanut and soy? Answer
  9. My recipe for tomato-free pizza. Answer


  10. Do you have a recipe for egg-free potato salad? Answer


Where can I find a dietitian who works with people who have food allergies?

The Medical Nutrition and Nutrition Entrepreneurs dietetic practice groups of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provide nutrition therapy based on your diagnosis. Dietitians often have their own private practice nutrition counseling services in addition to services provided in a clinic or hospital. You can find a dietitian at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Include your zip code or city / state, the type of service you want (individual consultation) and expertise in food allergies / intolerances.


I was diagnosed with oral allergy syndrome (OAS) recently and I have been having difficulties finding a balanced diet to eat. Hoping to find suggestions, I looked on the Allergy Q&A. However I found your advice, particularly to one with my disease. One of the questions pertained to an allergy to cantaloupe, watermelon and bananas; another to ragweed. You said in your response to the fruit allergy question that melons and bananas are unrelated. However, I have these same allergies and I found out from my allergist that these were in fact symptoms of oral allergy syndrome. It is caused by a body's intolerance to certain antigens found in foods and pollens. In fact, ragweed pollen, bananas, and all gourds are grouped together as symptoms of one type of OAS related to a body's intolerance to profilin. OAS is discussed in the July 1996 Issue of "Allergy" and this grouping in particular are on page 22.

I checked the Merck Manual which doctors use for diagnosis and treatment and found no oral allergy syndrome. Thanks for the info so I re-checked the National Library of Medicine and found no research on "oral allergy syndrome". Articles in Allergy Journal are included in the National Library of Medicine's database so I am puzzled. Sop then I searched for melon, banana and allergy and found some articles, but not the one you list.


I am trying to locate information on multiple chemical sensitivity. How can I find out if there are any doctors in the Portland, Oregon area who know anything about it? Thank you.

Multiple chemical sensitivity is a reaction to pollutants and other chemicals like pollen, not usually foods. Allergic reactions don't seem to affect other people in the same environment. I would suggest you ask your primary care physician to suggest an allergist.


Thank you for your prompt reply. I spent some months on an elimination diet in 1992 with the aid of a dietitian who specialized in food intolerance. Also I had skin prick tests and tested egg yolks and whites independent of each other. I have a comprehensive listing of the amount of salicylate found in vegetables, fruits and liquids, spices etc. I will send you a copy along with a copy of "Friendly Food" which is a book based on 10 years research at the Human Nutrition Unit, University of Sydney and the Allergy Clinic, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. They developed a comprehensive dietary program which is now in use throughout Australia. The book has food charts (chemicals) and relevant recipes. Thank you for your advice about hydrochloric acid and enzymes. Much appreciated.

Your email sounded like you had run the gauntlet of testing and trying various treatments. Would greatly appreciate your listing for salicylate in food and reference for source of data.

My gut reaction is that you may need to start from square one with food as your body may be "confused" as to what is friend and what is foe. Therefore, I suggested the elimination diet as a place to start.

My other concerns have to do with your nutritional adequacy. Because of the number of foods that you are eliminating, you are also eliminating nutrients. If your intestinal absorption is reduced due to food allergies which is quite possible, then a concentrated pill of vitamins and minerals i.e. vitamin supplement, may go straight through as well without being absorbed - a waste of money. I would encourage you to pursue your food allergies to try to get some resolution / stabilization / improvements in your symptoms with your allergist doctor.


I am a food intolerant person (male, age 40) and was first diagnosed about 6 years ago. I have problems with amines, salicylates and wheat causes blood clots to appear in the rectum. These and some other things like egg yolk etc. cause migraine headaches and facial neuralgia on the left side also tiredness and sometimes minor psychological change. The headaches showed up sometime after I had my tonsils out at age 27. In the "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine" for food problems, migraine and digestion problems, they recommend "digestive aids". These are products like hydrochloric acid capsules, pancreatin, bromelain and papain. Do you think they are correct in this assumption?

Is there a possibility that these preparations could cause complications and worsen the situation?

My food situation has been in a very slow and gradual decline. I am seeing an immunology allergist and of all the people I have seen so far no one has mentioned the word cure and improvement which seems to be a possibility, is for some is an unknown quantity. I would like to hear your opinion.

Glad to hear you are seeing an allergist as that is the type of doctor who can best address your symptoms. Before starting on these digestive aids, I would recommend discussing them with your allergist.

Who arrived at the conclusion that you don't tolerate amines, salicylates or wheat?

Salicylates are aspirin like compounds. It would be very difficult to isolate salicylates in foods. I haven't found a laboratory tested list of foods that contain salicylates. Years ago there was a diet for hyperactivity (Feingold Diet) that eliminated salicylates, however, the foods omitted by the diet did not contain salicylates when tested.

An amine is derived from an amino acids which can be found in every food with protein. Even fruit has some protein. Some internally produced amines are thyroxine (hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which regulates the metabolism), epinephrine (same as adrenalin - hormone which causes blood vessels to constrict and is secreted by the adrenal glands which sit on top of the kidneys), norepinephrine (maintains blood pressure during shock) and melatonin (hormone secreted by pineal gland in the brain which induces sleep. Melatonin is derived from serotonin (regulates sleep, appetite, mood, pain and causes blood vessels to narrow). BTW, amines need a nutrient called pantothenic acid to be metabolized. Pantothenic acid is found in chicken, beef, potatoes, oats, cereals, tomato products, liver, kidney, yeast, egg yolk, broccoli and whole grains.

Wheat intolerance is not an allergy, but an immune disorder and often accompanies other grain intolerances (rye and barley) which can result in celiac disease which is a gluten intolerance. Have you been tested for this? It's a simple blood test which would indicate if you need a small bowel biopsy to confirm.

Egg yolk allergies are not the norm as they are mostly fat, but egg white allergies are. Usually people who are allergic to eggs are sensitive to the proteins that are in the whites, but migraine headaches and neuralgia (facial pain) are not typical symptoms. You need to have these symptoms evaluated by your allergist doctor.

Hydrochloric acid is normally produced by your stomach in response to the smell or taste of food. Hydrochloric acid supplements are helpful for people who don't produce enough stomach acid for digestion (ahydrochloria) because a deficiency can cause anemia (Vitamin B12 type). This more often happens in senior citizens than a person of your age. The effect of hydrochloric acid pills would produce the opposite of taking an antacid and if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hydrochloric acid supplements would not be recommended.

Pancreatin is an extract from cattle or pig pancreas. It breaks down starch, lipids and proteins. Pancreatin can be used as a digestive aid, but would be deactivated by the stomach acid unless the pills were coated so they could reach the intestines intact.

Haven't a clue what bromelain is. Bromelin though is a protein digesting and milk clotting enzyme that is found in fresh pineapple juice and is used for tenderizing meat. Since it is an enzyme and protein based, it would be denatured by the acid in your stomach and never reach your intestines. FYI, fresh pineapple juice cannot be added to gelatin recipes because the gelatin would never set since bromelin would denature the protein in gelatin. Canned pineapple or pineapple juice can only be used in gelatin.

Papain is meat tenderizer and is extracted from green papaya fruit and leaves. It breaks down protein including other digestive enzymes inside or outside the body. Taking papain without food would be like sprinkling meat tenderizer on your stomach lining which I would not recommend. Since papain is an enzyme, it will be inactivated by the acid in your stomach unless you produce insufficient hydrochloric acid.

Bottom line is any hormone or enzyme that you take by mouth will be denatured by the hydrochloric acid in your stomach. That is why hormones and enzymes are instead secreted by your body into your blood or intestines respectively. You would be wasting your money to take hormone or enzyme supplements by mouth.

Rather than complicating your symptoms, I would recommend holding off on adding anything new until your doctor can perform some tests and diagnose you. In fact, I wonder if you shouldn't start from scratch with elimination nutrition therapy (only includes foods no one is allergic to like lamb and rice) then more foods are added back in every 3 days until you experience symptoms. I would recommend you see a dietitian who specialized in food allergies and Australia has many competent dietitians.


Hello, I am wondering which foods, if any, contain antihistamine. I am allergic to ragweed pollen. Sniff!! Sniff!!

The foods we consume do not contain antihistamine. FYI, Antihistamines are medications available with or without a prescription that you take to interrupt your body's production of histamines in response to allergens in your environment. However, the foods you eat can still play an important role in controlling allergic reactions.

A healthy, balanced eating plan that follows the recommendations of the Food Guide Pyramid is the first key to defending your body against allergic reactions. A healthy body is more resistant to attack, whereas stress, poor food choices, insufficient sleep, emotional trauma and infection can predispose your body to allergic reactions. More specifically, vitamin C and vitamin E can help protect your body.

Vitamin C will boost your immune system and is found in
  • fruits (guava, kiwi, oranges or orange juice, grapefruit or grapefruit juice, strawberries, cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple or mango)
  • vegetables like peppers (sweet red or green), Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli, edible pod peas, sweet potato, cauliflower, kale
  • beverages like vegetable juice cocktail or tomato juice.
Vitamin E is high in:
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • nuts (sunflower, almond or hazel nuts)
  • vegetable oil (sunflower, cottonseed or safflower)
  • green, leafy vegetables like turnip greens.
With allergies in mind, the best eating plan to follow is one with plenty of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Hopefully the next frost will bring you relief from your allergies!


Thirteen years ago I became allergic to cantaloupe. I had eaten it all my life so it took awhile to find out what was making me sick. By sick, I mean vomiting, diarrhea and cold sweats. About seven years ago bananas did the same thing, three years ago it was watermelon. Now there are three fruits I have always eaten that I am afraid to eat. Each time I got sick, it was more violent and quicker.

My question is this. Will I always have to avoid these foods? Do they have something in common with other foods I should avoid? Is it possible to outgrow these allergies? Would it be a good idea to try just a little bit of one of them? I am trying to lose weight so these fruits would be a nice addition to my diet. I appreciate any help or suggestions you can offer on the matter.

Food allergies can be rather difficult to pinpoint because you eat meals of mixed foods and beverages. Any food that causes the symptoms you describe should be avoided and you should not try little bits of them either. Each episode of contact with the suspected food may increase your sensitivity and reaction. Out growing a food allergy is not a realistic possibility. Desensitizing you to the allergic food is a possibility.

How soon after you eat any of these fruits do you experience symptoms? How did you associate your symptoms with these specific fruits?

Cantaloupe and watermelon are both melons, but other than that, bananas aren't related to either. Consider that you may be allergic to pesticides used on these fruits. Though these fruits don't have edible peels, I am wondering if you wash the outside before cutting or eating these fruits? Fruits and vegetables often have residue on them that should be washed off with a produce wash before cutting through the peel. One reason for buying organic fruits and vegetables is to avoid pesticide residue on the peel.

I would suggest you discuss your symptoms after eating these fruits with your doctor. Contact a medical doctor in your area that specializes in allergies to evaluate your symptoms and find other foods you may be allergic to before you get a reaction to an unknown offending food. Your doctor can perform blood or skin tests to determine your sensitivity to foods as well as discuss treatments to desensitize you to the fruits to which you are allergic.


I was just diagnosed yesterday with several food allergies (as well as airborne allergies). They are nuts, the plum family (raw), beans / legumes (raw), peanuts and soy.

My question pertains to the soy and peanut allergies. How are these products listed on food labels other than peanut and soy (i.e. sugar = glucose, etc.)? Also, the doctor told me I could still use peanut oil, but what about soy sauce? I use it all the time in marinades, etc. and have never noticed a reaction to it. Please tell me it's OK to use it still.

Peanut should be listed on a label ingredient list as peanut or if the food is manufactured in a facility that uses peanuts. New food labels require peanut and soy ingredients to be listed with an allergy warning on the label. Soy however, may be listed as soy or vegetable protein or textured vegetable protein. Soy is extensively used in many food products including some cheese substitutes.

If your doctor says you are allergic to both these, I would not suggest you use peanut or soy oil or soy sauce. Make an appointment to see a registered dietitian for advice on what foods to eat and what to avoid based on your allergy diagnosis.



I am allergic to tomatoes and I make a really good pizza. I thought you would be interested in my recipe. I make pizza dough and instead of spreading on tomato sauce, I melt some margarine or butter and spread it over the crust. Then I add whatever toppings I feel like and sprinkle on the cheese. I bake the pizza at the same temperature and time as one with tomato sauce. I hope you like my recipe. As a person allergic to tomatoes, you wouldn't believe all the foods I have to avoid because they contain tomatoes.

Sounds good. A healthier substitute would be to brush the crust with olive oil or canola oil. The oil seals the crust and prevents it from getting soggy as the toppings cook.


I haven't been able to eat eggs, ever since I was a baby. They make my tongue and inside my mouth itch. I can eat chicken and sometimes, I can eat foods with egg in them. But I can't seem to tolerate potato salad. Do you have a recipe for egg-free potato salad?

An "itchy" mouth is most irritating and you should avoid all egg containing foods. You should ask your doctor what to do in case of a severe allergic reaction.

Your "allergy" to eggs is probably to the egg white rather than to the yolk. You don't say how old you are, but you seem to be aware of some egg containing foods.

As any person with a food allergy, you should be an avid label reader. If whole eggs, powdered egg white or dried egg is added, it should be listed with the ingredients. You should also avoid foods with "vitellin" or "albumin" as they are parts of an egg. Your intolerance for "foods with egg in them" is not unusual. Sometimes small amounts of cooked eggs, especially yolks, are tolerated. But a meal, which combines several foods containing egg, will have an accumulative effect and your mouth will get itchy. Potato salad is one such food. It usually has hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise as ingredients. I found the following egg-free potato salad and boiled mayonnaise recipe for you.

EGG-FREE POTATO SALAD
  • 2 pounds sliced warm boiled potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Combine potatoes, chives, celery, onion, vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir well and chill. Refrigerate while making boiled mayonnaise.

EGG-FREE BOILED MAYONNAISE
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Combine flour, salt, dry mustard and sugar in a saucepan and stir to a smooth paste with the 1/4 cup of cold water. Add the boiling water and cook only until mixture is clear. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Add the lemon juice, vinegar and oil beating constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Pour cooled boiled mayonnaise over potato salad. Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

In recipes that call for egg, substitute one-half teaspoon of egg-free baking powder for each egg omitted from the recipe. (Calumet Double Acting Baking Powder and Clabber Girl are egg-free.) Egg is often used as a leavening agent, which helps a cake to rise. The baking powder would create the same effect as the egg. However, in recipes that use eggs for other purposes, the baking powder would not be recommended. For instance, egg is often used to dip foods prior to breading with crumbs. In this case of an egg based batter, the egg could be omitted and some baking powder could be used with the flour or batter coating or omitted entirely.

I would not recommend using low cholesterol egg products like "Egg Beaters" for persons with an egg allergy. These products are mostly egg whites.

I would like to suggest an allergy cookbook. (Most recipes are milk, egg or wheat free).
  • "Cooking for People with Food Allergies", Home and Garden Bulletin No.246, is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.






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