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 Post subject: an organic solution?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:02 am
Posts: 116
Location: Gatineau
Hi everyone

I am new to this forum and wanted to pass along some information that might be helpful.

I have several severe allergies - nuts, eggs, shellfish and bananas, and used to have TONS of other minor ones to various fruits and vegetables.

As you can imagine, proper nutrition was very hard for me, and for years my iron levels were low and I was anemic. At one point, since nothing would cure my anemia, my doctor suggested I be tested for Celiac disease, which has affected a couple members of my family. I went to a nutrionist desperate for advice and terrified the tests would come back positive (which they thankfully didn't). She, however, advised that I try organic versions of the fruit/veggies I was allergic to, including tomatoes, apples, pears, plums, carrots, celery (crazy, I know). My symptoms with the non-organic versions of these items included very itchy throat and hives on lips (certainly enough to avoid them).

I tried first an organic apple and nothing happened! (ps apples are delicious!!) I tried all the other items and SAME THING - no symptoms at all!! I called my allergist, wanting to be re-tested, and she said they don't have organic versions of anything yet to test with. So I did it myself - I moved on to my most serious (life-threatening) banana allergy, which my allergist said was the most severe she had seen in her career. I rubbed it on my arm - nothing - then on my lip - nothing - then my tongue - nothing. Then I ate some - nothing happened. This is messed up. By accident I ate a non-organic apple in the fridge and I had the same reaction I did before, so I know I have not outgrown the allergies.

As a side note, I also broke part of a non-organic egg on my arm, which immediately developed a hive. So it seems this is a produce-only issue.

Worth giving a shot, for those who have mild allergies to produce - could be the pesticides! My iron is FINALLY normal and I feel like a completely different person. I'm no doctor but I can tell you from experience it changed me.

Hope this helps. :)

L


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 323
with fruits and veggies, one common reaction is called Oral Allergy syndrom. It is a reaction to the pollen and having organic versions of fruits and veggies make a difference in the pollen that is on the fruits and veggies as they come from different places. That could explain the variation in your reactions. There are certain "brands" of apples that I react to more than others and same for other fruits and veggies. You could see with your allergist if that could be the cause of your reactions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:31 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I have OAS too---I did try organic veggies and fruits to see if it makes any difference and it doesn't with me. I do think organic food tastes better though and I'm concerned about the pesticides too so I try to buy organic as much as possible now. (With oral allergy syndrome people can often eat things cooked but not raw---cooked carrots bother me a bit sometimes but I can eat most fruits and veggies (with some exceptions) as long as I cook them first. Mylene is right that different varieties of fruit and veggies having different amounts of protein in them resembling pollen protein. It isn't only the location where it is grown---it's the actual variety. (For me personally I find for apples that McIntosh is the best. I still get slightly itchy occasionally with raw McIntosh---but only slightly.)

That having been said, I do wonder about whether there is a relationship between the number of chemicals in our environment and the prevalence of allergies. (And I've wondered if the fact that there is mercury, PCBs, etc. in fish and shellfish is related to the fact that so many people are becoming sensitive to them. Fish and shellfish allergies seem more prevalent now.)

About the banana reaction---I read that bananas sold in the US and in Canada are treated with an ethylene gas to make them ripen quickly (I'm guessing they are picked fairly green) and this gas leads to a formation of a protein that cross-reacts with latex. (Often people are allergic to both latex and bananas--there are other fruits + one vegetable--potato--that cross react with latex.) I would bet that the organic bananas have not been treated with ethylene gas. Maybe you are allergic to the particular protein that forms with the ethylene gas treatment. I'm allergic to bananas too. I wonder if I could eat the organic type.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 323
I've had allergies all my life and they have grown with time, but even when I was young and on an organic diet that my parents were on (it's not new, it existed before ;) ), I already reacted to foods. That may be why I'm not that convinced with that whole organic thing going on right now :roll: .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:02 am
Posts: 116
Location: Gatineau
Thanks for the responses, and for the interesting info.

At this point, I am just happy to be able to eat these foods. If it makes any difference to your theories, I am in the UK right now and my reactions to produce here is no different than at home in Ontario. As for the pollen idea, that could be a possibility since I have lots of outdoor allergies.

It just seems so strange to me that even a fruit with a thick skin, like a banana, can be so affected by its environment (whether by pollen, pesticides, or anything else) that its inside is actually altered, to the point where I can be perfectly fine with one, and severely allergic to another. So bizarre.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
With oral allergy syndrome what we're reacting to is not necessarily the pollen on the outside of the fruit/vegetable----I think that the proteins that are part of the makeup of the fruit are similar (but not identical) to pollen proteins. As for the pesticides--pesticides are more concentrated on the skins but they do get inside the fruit as well.

I can't find the online source I read about bananas and ethylene gas, but here are a couple of other sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=7


This study concludes that "Ethylene treatment induces the expression of plant class I chitinases." (chitinases are apparently a type of enzyme to which people are commonly allergic):

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10887324&dopt=Abstract

A lot of fruits and vegetables are treated with ethylene gas I bet. From that one source I found it sounds like organic fruits and vegetables are allowed to ripen naturally. I wonder if this could explain why you react to conventional produce but not organic produce.

I have quite a list of questions to ask my allergist which I'm not sure if I'm going to get through...so I'm not sure if I'll actually get around to asking him this one, but I'll add it to my list! (especially if there's a chance that I could eat organic bananas---which I don't think I'd want to try outside of his office as my banana allergy is kind of severe--not like nuts or anything but my mouth and throat get really itchy with a small amount.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:04 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
After my last post, I remembered reading somewhere that people with OAS tend to react more to super-ripe fruit and vegetables. That makes sense with the theory that ethylene gas causes an increase in the concentration of those allergenic enzymes because ethylene gas is naturally given off by fruits and veggies as they ripen.

lin101--since you're from Toronto you probably know all the good places to shop for organic food here for when you come back to Canada. But just in case (and this gives me an excuse to advertise some of my favourite places to shop :)--I've just discovered these places this past spring/summer so I'm still really excited about finding them ):

There's a farmer's market with local *and* organic produce at Dufferin Grove park every Thurs. (from 3:30 to 7:00) I believe. (It's right across from the Dufferin mall--on the east side of Dufferin, south of Bloor.)

This spring they started up an outdoor organic market in High Park. They were supposed to close last weekend, but they actually managed to move inside a building--(that cafe on the south end of the park) I don't know whether they will be there all winter or not--I hope so!

Then there's the Big Carrot just east of the Chester station and Whole Foods on Avenue north of Bloor.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:55 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:02 am
Posts: 116
Location: Gatineau
Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the fantastic resources - I really appreciate it. And I LOVE markets - even aside from the allergy issue, I always love supporting local farmers.

Don't you feel like you are in Beverly Hills when you shop in Whole Foods? Don't get me wrong, it's like the Mecca for organics (at least in Southern Ontario) but everything seems so posh! There is a great store in Oakville called "Alternatives", but I worry they might go under since a Whole Foods opened.

Another great place - The Great Canadian Superstores (like Zehrs but huge). They have a great section for organics. Seriously, though - since living in the UK there have been so many fantastic products... to the point where I bet there is an organic version of almost anything you can buy on the regular shelves, which is fantastic.

Thanks again for all the info.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 1:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I've never been to a 'Great Canadian Superstore' and the first time I heard of it was on this list. It's definitely something I'll want to check out if I end up staying in Canada and not in Toronto.


Last edited by Helen on Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 10:29 pm
Posts: 76
Location: Markham, Ontario
Lisa, they have a few new Real Canadian Superstores in Toronto and several more in the GTA that opened within the last year or two. It's the same company as Loblaws.

http://www.superstore.ca/ontario/default.asp


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Thanks!--I didn't realize that there were any in Toronto.


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