author of Feeding Eden


April is around the corner and I'm already pining for some of the late spring / summer fruits like juicy melon, California grapes and local berries. My husband has to select carefully though. He has Oral Allergy Syndrome coupled with seasonal allergies. (Yes genetics do play into Eden's allergies.) 

Oral Allergy Syndrome is often confused with food allergies when, in fact, it is a condition generally found in people with severe pollen sensitivity. It's characterized by an itchy mouth, can progress to mild lip swelling and it's not life threatening.
Plagued by pollen and mod allergies since childhood, my husband sneezed his way through camp and college. When we met, he reported, "Apples and carrots make my mouth itchy. Almonds too."  I didn't really believe him. Why not? He ate apple pie unhindered and I figured he was avoiding my healthy purchases - like granola bars and raw veggies.
(Later, I would learn that cooking can render the culprit food less allergenic than raw.)
Then one night we went to dinner at vegan restaurant, oft said to be frequented by vegan celebrities. The waitress recommended the "Cafe Cocktail" a combination of fresh apple, carrot and ginger juice. Well, after a few sips my husband began to squiggle his mouth towards the back of his jaw, remarkably resembling a llama in a petting zoo.  I immediately apologized for my former skepticism and he swiftly excused himself to gargle (while I scanned the dining room in hopes of spotting Woody Harrelson or Demi Moore eating tofu piccata.)
Sadly, a study now shows that even the healthiest of food choices - certain fruits and veggies - may not be worth eating at all when battling hay fever. In this case, the nose may not know but the mouth does.