A Nut is A Nut Is An … Allergy

My favorite nut is the pistachio and I can eat bags of them. And for weeks now, I’ve had a small bowl of pistachios as part of my lunch. Don’t think salad bowl when I say a small bowl — think a two inch wide, two inch high small snack bowl.

Nuts (Courtesy, Microsoft Free Images)
Nuts (Courtesy, Microsoft Free Images)

For a couple of weeks though I’ve had what I thought were problems with my lingual nerve — a burning tongue (only on the left side) and small irritable tongue bumps. The problem usually occurred in the afternoon — after lunch. So — I decided to remove the everyday lunch item from my diet and the pistachios were a major “normal” so they were eliminated.

The first day I stopped having pistachios for lunch, I had no problems.  Coincidence? The next day, I didn’t have pistachios again — no problems. I have now been without pistachios for 5 days and have had no problems. So — I have to believe that I have a pistachio allergy OR that I was simply eating too many of them at once. Is there such a thing though as eating too many of this wonderful nut? Sigh …

Wednesday, I was making a salad and decided to throw in some pine nuts. First I toasted them on the stovetop and, to make sure they were toasted enough, I popped two in my mouth. Within minutes I had a large itchy bump on my tongue — large enough for me to be concerned.

What is going on here? I knew it was an allergy immediately. I waited for 15 minutes or so to see if I experienced any other problems. Yes, I felt chest tightness but just a little. I drank lots of water and, while waiting, read a few Google articles about pine nut allergies. I knew I had to watch my symptoms carefully because throats have been known to close on people who have had pine nut allergies.

Fortunately, within the hour, the symptoms went away.

I recently read an article on the American Pistachio Growers website that said “According to the International Food Information Council, allergy to tree nuts, which includes pistachios, is one of the most common food allergies among adults and children.”

I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  No — not really. But I eats nuts on a regular basis so I was a little troubled that perhaps I would have to eliminate them from my diet.

I decided to try other nuts to see what happened. I don’t recommend anyone do this but consult a doctor first. I just happened to blindly do a test run of other nuts by eating some of the recent paleo granola that I had made. I had varied the type of nuts in this recipe as I don’t make the granola the same way every time anymore (so much growth in my cooking experience).

This batch of granola had almonds, macadamia nuts and walnuts. I ate a small amount and waited.  Nothing happened.  I ate a little more and I had no ill effects. Hmmm … I finished off the bowl. And I felt happy.

The pine nuts I had used were in the cupboard for at least 4 months. I wonder if that had something to do with it … But, the pistachios were fresh from the store so I could blame it on the age of the nut.

My plan is to (when my husband is home) scale back on the amount of pistachios I eat and see if I experience any problems. Perhaps eat 5 … is that possible? Pistachios to me are like Oreo cookies — can’t have just one of them.

Fortunately for me I don’t have pine nuts on a regular basis since they are so expensive which is why they were in the cupboard for 4 months — I should have frozen them. At least I’ll be able to keep my grocery bill low on a non-pine-nut diet.

Because the pine nut experience was a lot worse than the pistachios, I’ve decided not to have any — ever. Sure — I could go and be tested for nut allergies but that costs lots of money and even under the new Obamacare insurance (I say this tongue-in-cheek) things are expensive.

Anyone else experience a pine nut or pistachio allergy?

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