maybe tomatoes

[Note/warning: this is a lengthy post.  It’s my first post in almost a month, and I have a lot of thoughts on the subject so just be warned!]

There are some things I had to stop eating back in 2006 and 2007 after I had a nasty reaction to eating bell peppers one night for dinner, and after undergoing extensive food allergy tests at MGH.  Back then, tomatoes were on my list of foods to avoid along with things like corn (most difficult because of corn syrup!), peas, beans (legumes – including soy!), and just about anything red like strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, etc.  It was painful trying to accept this huge change in my diet/lifestyle, but eventually I got used to it and just went without.

But within the past year, I’ve learned that one thing I love love love — potatoes — cause problems for me.  This was after going on for about two years constantly itchy and scratching some part of my body while breaking out in small rashes here and there, even after avoiding those main foods (and a couple of others we discovered along the way).  Then one day one of my coworkers suggested that I might be allergic to potatoes because they fall in the same nightshades family (read that post here).  So along with bell peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes I dropped potatoes from my diet and felt much better.

Fast forward to today and being roughly five months pregnant (new news, yes!  One reason my blog posting lagged for a while there … ).  I’ve been slowly trying to reintroduce foods that I thought/think I’m allergic to and it’s been pretty successful so far.  I’m eating things like almonds, cashews, avocado, soy sauce, miso soup, tofu, and even corn without problems.  It’s awesome!  It may seem like small things to normal people, but it’s given me a lot more freedom and variety in my diet lately.  This leads me to wonder if A) this is because I’m pregnant and along with hormones, my body has changed to allow these foods to be eaten again; and B) if this is because we were mistaking my reactions to potatoes as allergic reactions to other foods all this time.

Now, I can’t find anything “official” online about any correlation between pregnancy and a change in food allergies, but I’ve had many people tell me that they’ve heard of things like that changing during pregnancy.  A friend of mine had pretty bad irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for almost all her life, but hasn’t since she had her first child about two years ago. 

So where is this all going?  Well in continuing with my food experiments, I decided to be really bold last night and reintroduce one thing — red pasta sauce.  Made with, yes, you guessed it: tomatoes

Although I know it falls into the nightshades vegetable family, I also read that:

“Since cooking only lowers alkaloid content of nightshade foods by about 40-50%, highly sensitive individuals may want to avoid this category of food altogether, while non-sensitive individuals may be able to eat these foods, especially in cooked form, without problem.”

About 24 hours later, I still feel fine.  No itchiness, no rashes, and no stomach problems (just an actively kicking baby!).  So maybe I wouldn’t have this reaction if I ate a raw tomato, but it’s making me feel good about eating cooked tomatoes again.  If I do have a delayed reaction (i.e. happening more than 2 hours after eating something), then tomatoes could possibly pose a food intolerance for me which is something that people commonly confuse as a food allergy.  So we’ll wait a couple more days to see how I feel (fingers crossed) before totally celebrating and moving onto the next food item to reintroduce.

I made a super simple sauce with ground beef (sirloin), onion, garlic, fresh oregano, a little bit of anchovy paste, canned tomato sauce, salt and pepper.  We enjoyed it with linguini noodles and romano cheese.

I think it tasted delicious, but then again you have to remember that it has been a LONG time since I’ve had pasta with any sort of red sauce so my judgment is probably biased!  But my husband said it was good to him (he did go for seconds) so hopefully he was being more honest than nice.  Let’s hope this leads to my ability to eat things like normal red sauce pizza and creamy tomato soup!


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