Food Allergies – The Unexpected

All my life I have been sick, from mild headaches, backaches, to dizziness. Never in my life did I suspect I had any types of allergies. It all started when I was in elementary school. I remember being mildly sick a lot.

Why did my allergies get missed? Well , there is such a thing as delayed allergic reaction. I would not be sick until 24-48 hours after eating the food. Also, I wasn’t vomiting, my throat wasn’t closing up, I didn’t break out in hives, and I wasn’t dying. I was just mildly ill. Also the symptoms came out in weird ways, neck and back pain, dizziness (from lack of blood pressure). I thought for years I had vertigo.

What are my allergies? Shellfish, and fresh fish. Yes, I’m allergic to both, not all fish, but I’ve tried a few, and maybe due to cross contamination, I get ill. In the end, I got ill immediately. It was then that I finally knew it had to be the food. Many times, the reaction was delayed, and then I just felt very low energy, back pain, and dizziness but for days. It was in my system and would take some time before it left.

But it took me almost 35 years to figure this out. The worst symptom I had was loss of blood pressure. I was fainting since I was in high school. I fainted while driving, while working, while giving a speech once in college and even while out shopping. I never realized it was food because, it was not something that happened immediately after eating, and I didn’t have any stomach issues. It was only towards the end, that I realized it was due to food.

I had learned to manage my pain, I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I also broke my tailbone and so that made me think my back pain was from that issue. I still have pain from that, but not like the pain before. It was excruciating. Who would have known that food can cause back pain, and neck pain? I was probably so swollen, my whole system was trying to adjust.

Over the years, I have been to every kind of doctor imaginable except the allergist. After one of the last times I fainted, I thought I had food poisoning, and passed out from the pain. No. I passed out due to lack of blood pressure. That was my main symptom.

Please if you have a child, who is mildly sick, or has dizziness, or just complains about not feeling well in general and the doctor can’t find out what is wrong. Ask to have them tested for allergies. Not everyone gets hives, or their throat closes, or need to be rushed to the hospital immediately. This is how most people find out they have allergies. There is such a thing as delayed reaction, and it can make allergies very hard to detect.

Much of my life I was sleeping, and resting, and just trying to manage my life, while being very ill. Don’t let this happen to you or any other family member. Your doctor can run a blood test, and test for the major food allergies. You do not have to go to an allergist, you can try that first. I was the one that figured it out, I told my doctor, I think I am allergic to something. You can be sick for days and days after also, for a week I would have very very low blood pressure after eating shrimp, or crab and especially trout.

Pictures are Ghirardelli chocolate covered peanut butter balls, about 40 of them at a close angle, I can fit about 90 per batch.

Grandma Terry’s Peanut Butter Balls and Recipe

Chocolate covered peanut butter balls with Speical K ceral.
Chocolate covered peanut butter balls.

Grandma Terry’s Peanut Butter Ball Recipe

My Grandmother used to make these every year for Christmas.  They were not a favorite of mine, but somehow I end up taking up the tradition of making them for everyone.  Funny how that works.   I’ve been doing it many years now.  I do it for the kids mostly, they look forward to them.  I make them also dairy free, for the people in the family allergic to dairy, they are just as tasty as the regular peanut butter balls.

 

 

Chocolate covered peanut butter balls, on a huge wood tray, covered with wax paper.
Chocolate covered peanut butter balls.

 

My Grandmother passed away this past July 2015, and this post is dedicated to her.  Most likely she got the recipe off the box of cereal many years ago.  I’ve seen other variations also, but my family would not be fans of a new recipe.

When I make peanut butter balls to give out at Christmas time, I make 3-4 batches.  Since I double the regular one, and then make one dairy free batch of peanut butter balls.  The peanut butter ball recipe takes two-three days to complete, keep in mind.  First you make the peanut butter balls, then roll them, and let them sit overnight.  Then you dip them in chocolate, and let them sit overnight again.

 

 

 

 

Grandma Terry’s Peanut Butter Ball Recipe

  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 Cup Karo Syrup
  • Add 2 C Peanut Butter
  • Add 7 C Special K

Heat Karo and sugar until sugar dissolves. Do Not Boil. Add Peanut Butter and then Special K. Mix well, and Form into Balls onto wax paper (1 in. diameter). Let sit over night, covered lightly with wax paper.

  • 12 oz Bag Ghiradelli Milk Choc. Chips
  • 12 oz. Bag Ghiradelli Dark Choc Chips

For Chocolate: Melt both bags of chocolate together, in a double broiler pan or Grandma does it in the microwave.  Then Dip the peanut butter balls in chocolate covering them completely and put on a large covered surface to let sit overnight again to harden. Lightly cover those also after they have dried a bit.

For the dairy free version, use Rice Krispies instead of Special K. Yes, believe it or not Special K has dairy in it.  For the chocolate, you must find some chocolate without milk.  Unfortunately Ghiradelli changed their recipe, and now all their chocolate has milk.  Now, I use Trader Joes Semisweet Chocolate chips.

Grandma Terry’s Dairy Free Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 Cup Karo Syrup
  • Add 2 C Peanut Butter
  • Add 7 Rice Krispies

Heat Karo and sugar until sugar dissolves. Do Not Boil. Add Peanut Butter and then Rice Krispies. Mix well, and Form into Balls onto wax paper (1 in. diameter). Let sit over night, covered lightly with wax paper.

  • 2 – 12 oz Bags Trader Joe’s semisweet chocolate chips.

For Chocolate: Melt both bags of chocolate together, in a double broiler pan or Grandma does it in the microwave.  Then Dip the peanut butter balls in chocolate covering them completely and put on a large covered surface to let sit overnight again to harden.  Lightly cover after they have dried some.

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Cold cracked crab meal all laid out with butter, cocktail sauce, lemons, drinks and dungeness crab.

Dungeness Crab

Dugeness Crab is preferred by most of my family in California.
Dugeness Crab meal with my parents. It was spectacular.

Wonderful meal of dungeness crab, cold cracked, with butter, bread, cocktail sauce, and lemon wedges and white wine.
Dungeness Crab is easy to get in California in the winter.

Something that one of my wonderful aunt’s usually does on Christmas is have cold cracked crab. This year we are not going to travel south to her house, but we did have a casual mini crab picnic indoors while watching Fred Klaus. The crab was delicious Dungeness crab!