Friday, November 2, 2012

Allergic to Lettuce?!

Some information on lettuce allergies

Lettuce.  It’s a staple food for vegetarians, gluten intolerants, raw foodies and health nuts alike.  We’ve all been told we should eat it, it’s good for us, we need it.  But what if eating lettuce caused anaphylactic shock?
 
 “Horror upon horrors!!” you say, “Could it really be true?!” 

The answer: Yes. 

I became curious about the possibility of lettuce allergies a little over a month ago when a reader commented on my Oral Allergy Syndrome page that she was allergic to raw lettuce.  I hadn’t heard about this before and so set off to do some research about whether or not lettuce is related to oral allergy syndrome. 


First things first: What is Oral Allergy Syndrome?

Oral Allergy Syndrome (a.k.a.food-pollen allergy syndrome) is a combo of food allergies related to pollen allergies.  People who are allergic to pollens such as birch, grass, mugwort, ragweed and latex (I’ll be adding cypress to this list too, based on the research I found in relation to lettuce), can experience allergies to foods related to these pollens.  The most common OAS food allergies are apples, peaches, kiwi, banana, wheat, soy and nuts. For a chart of OAS related foods, head on over to my Oral Allergy Syndrome page.


Symptoms include lots of fun things!  (irony here) 

Like itchy and swollen lips, tongues and throat, hives, eczema, indigestion, and even… wait for it… anaphylactic shock! 

All of the symptoms of OAS have been seen in lettuce allergies as well. For example, a Japanese study reported a case of a cook who experienced tingling in his hands and had a hard time breathing after handling and washing lettuce. 

In another reported case, lettuce has caused dermatitis, which has been made worse by eating the lettuce. 

This study reported that a man had hives and perennial asthma related to his lettuce.  During testing, he also experienced itchy lips, dry cough and stomach pain about half an hour after eating lettuce.   

And of course, anaphylactic shock has been associated with lettuce allergies.  This study looked at 14 people who suffered from lettuce allergies, some of whom experienced anaphylactic shock after coming in contact with lettuce. 

So yes, there is such a thing as a lettuce allergy.  It’s unclear what percentage of the population has it, but clearly several scientific studies have shown that lettuce allergies do exist!   

So what pollen is lettuce related to? 

From what I can gather, lettuce seems to be related to several different pollens.  Various studies have linked lettuce to Cypress (along with peach, mustard and hazelnuts), latex, mugwort, and plane trees, as well as grass.  Furthermore, I found that lettuce is part of the Asteraceae family.  This family includes sunflowers, and sunflower seed allergies are associated with birch pollen allergies.

Sooo, basically from what I can gather, this means that if you are allergic to any of the above pollens, you stand a chance of being allergic to lettuce.  

It’s not a huge chance.  I mean it’s unlikely you’ll see lettuce in the top 8 on your foods’ ingredients list any time soon, but it does mean there’s a small chance your child isn’t just being sneaky when they say they can’t eat their salad with dinner because they’re allergic to lettuce! 

So what can you do about it? 

You’ll probably want to get tested if you're experiencing symptoms.  See a doctor or allergist and do a prick test and elimination diet.  It’s always a good idea to be sure of what your allergies are.  Avoidance is the safest bet, but if you’re willing to risk it, do so with an epi-pen handy and a bucket of water to help flush it out! (I confess I frequently play with fire and try things I might be allergic to, but then again, I always carry an epi-pen in my purse and my husband thinks I'm a little nuts)

What can you eat INSTEAD of lettuce?

Steamed greens, such as Swiss Chard, might be alternatives to lettuce


If you’re still looking for a salad, there are other greens of different families that you may find easier to eat, like swiss chard, collard greens, kale and mustard greens.  All of these greens are also great steamed or even boiled and the process of heating them helps to denature allergen proteins, making them less likely to cause an allergic reaction. 

I frequently eat steamed green salads.  They’re delicious warm or cold.  If you’re looking for some ideas, check out some of these steamed greens recipes:

Quinoa, Beet and Bocconcini Salad (substitute with steamed greens)



Looking for more info on Oral Allergy Syndrome? 
Check out some of these articles!


Oral Allergy Syndrome, Wheat Allergies & Your Cosmetics
Celiac Disease, Wheat Allergies, Oral Allergy Syndrome & Sprouted Grains 
The Oral Allergy Syndrome Page



Tropical Butternut Squash Salad with steamed greens



*As always, please note that my posts are not intended as medical advice, or an alternative to seeing a doctor.  It's always a good idea to work with your doctor to deal with food allergies.  I'm just a girl with a lot of food allergies who likes to do research and can access some medical journals !


Do you have an unusual food allergy outside the top 8? I'd love to hear about it!
 

This post was shared on the following great sites: Monday Mania, Make Your Own Monday, Natural Living Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Whole Food Wednesdays, Wheat Free Wednesdays,Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Eat Make Grow, Simple Lives Thursdays, Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday,



53 comments:

  1. Isn't that crazy? I had a food sensitivity test a few years ago and lettuce came up on it. Of course just about everything I was eating at the time came up on it too. My Dr. said it may or may not have been accurate.

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    1. Kristina, thanks for sharing! From what I've read, it seems that the pollen tests can be inaccurate, but the elimination diets are more reliable (albeit a bit more risky if you're really allergic to something). I was tested too, then did an elimination diet and stuff that came up on the test were not reactive during the diet. Thank goodness, or I'd really have nothing left to eat!

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    2. Wow, I'm amazed at this story. I have always had a severe allergy to latex but nothing else. However, the last few years I've discovered I can't eat lettuce. I love salad and always think it is something else that caused the issue but it has become very clear it is the lettuce. I get sever stomach pains within 30 minutes and then severe diareahha. I never knew there was a relationship between latex and kiwi. Thanks for the great info.

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    3. You're more than welcome. Glad you found it helpful!

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  2. I have IBS and can't eat iceberg lettuce, but romaine and other greens are just fine.

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    1. That's really interesting, thanks for sharing lady hawthorne! The studies I've read haven't really been specific about the type of lettuce, and I'm curious which ones in particular would cause reactions. It seems like there is still so much research to be done!

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  3. I have never heard if OAS so I learned a lot by reading! I would love to have you share this on Thursday at Tasty Traditions http://myculturedpalate.com/

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    1. Thanks for the invite, Dina-Marie :) I'll come by and check it out!

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  4. I have never heard of OAS but I am most definitely allergic to lettuce. Ever since jr. high whenever I eat it (any kind of it) I have trouble breathing. It always weirded me out because, seriously, what is there in lettuce for me to be allergic to? Thanks for helping clear it up!

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    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful, Raia! I would definitely suggest talking to a doctor and getting tested for allergies. While the chance of anaphylactic shock seems to be small, it is still a chance so at the very least you could get an epi-pen to carry with you just in case :)

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  5. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

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  6. my husband is not only allergic to lettuce(of all kinds) but also anything green. and some plant based food. my daughter takes a soy based formula that he is allergic to. we found out one day while he was burping her and she spat up all over him. hives then a rash followed. makes. meal planning harder.

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    1. Anything green?! Wow, that does make it tough! Can he have green things if they're cooked/boiled/steamed? That often destroys the allergen protein so it's safer to eat.

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  7. In regards to the lettuce. I have not been able to eat any king of lettuce, except red and green oak lettuce from Trader Joes. It comes in a package one green, one red. It may not work for everyone but it was a life saver for me.

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    1. Hi Laragene, thanks for sharing about the oakleaf lettuce (there is also a new comment on this on the OAS page, I don't know if that was you or someone else?) I just did a quick search and haven't found much about it online to explain any difference (it's in the same family as regular lettuce), but thanks for the tip! Maybe someone else with lettuce allergies will find it helpful :)

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  8. found out through allergy test yesterday, I'm allergic to lettuce, carrots, apples, CHICKEN! 24 total.. I'm in shock.. never thought anyone could be allergic to lettuce... I'm on a strict elimination diet (dr supervised) ... Its all a bit confusing and I'm still trying to make sense of it.. I'm going to look through your archives and see what info I can find.. thank you

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    1. Hi Coffybeans, I know it can be really tough in the beginning to discover so many bizarre allergies! I recommend starting with the Oral Allergy Syndrome page - http://www.poorandglutenfree.blogspot.com/p/oral-allergy-syndrome.html and then checking out some of the recipes to see what can be modified to suit your diet. I've done the elimination diet, too and can try to help if you need assistance modifying recipes :)

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  9. I used to think foods were spicy. After my son was diagnosed with 29 allergies, I had myself tested. It would be easier to just list what I was not reacting to... but I came up with 25 allergies, that I had no clue about, but these were foods that I found "spicy". I react to lettuce, yes, stomach ache, burping, but I also react to raw carrots, not cooked ones though... Many of the things, I can not eat fresh or I will react, but if they have been canned or cooked, I am OK. Once I took the worst allergens out of my diet, food was no longer "spicy". Apparently, it was an allergic reaction that had my mouth and throat breaking out in canker-type sores that would last anywhere from an hour to 36 hours. Only 2 allergies are severe enough to swell my tongue and restrict breathing, Avacado & Chocolate. Then we also have the joy of Gluten/Casein/Soy intolerance as a family, (myself & kids, not DH). the bizarre part? I can do spinach & cabbage, but not lettuce, and I can do cauliflour, but not broccoli.
    nini2033a@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story, it's tough to discover so many allergies, I know the feeling! Did you check out my Oral Allergy Syndrome Page? (it's on the top menu) It certainly sounds like you might have OAS, with the sores, upset stomach, raw veggies vs cooked, soy, gluten etc...

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  10. Being allergic to veggies would definitely be a set back especially if you are a vegetarian. And yes, the best solution is to completely avoid your triggers. Anaphylactic shock is severely life-threatening, and it can kill you within minutes of onset. Taking epi-pen with the meals your allergic with may be a good idea, but it's important to have someone with you just in case. Thanks for sharing this. OAS is fairly common, so I know many can benefit from these information.


    Mei Deere

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    1. Hi Mei, you're right, having someone with you is a good idea! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  11. I have always avoided salads because of the itching it would cause. I lucked up one night at Applebee's when I was served a spinach based salad with my meal. Imagine my surprise at the lack of a reaction! I will say though that my longest OAS battle has been with apples. I would tell my mom they made my gums itch when I was a kid but she paid it no mind. Most recently I was making an apple pie and some of the juice from the apple flew up into my eye. My eye of immediately swelled up and I walked around the rest of the night looking like Quasimodo (sp) from the Hunchback of Notre Dame - not a good look and it itched soooo bad! This is such a great site and I hope to get a copy of your book when it comes out.

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    1. Oh my gosh you poor thing! (My sincere apologies for chuckling a little at your hunchback tale ;) Thanks for sharing!

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  12. My son is allergic to:

    Environmental: Cats, cattle, dogs, anything with feathers, Horses, Rabbits, fungi/mold, ash, birch, maple, elm, oak, pine, cottonwood, sycamore, fescue, bluegrass, orchard grass, red top grass, timothy grass, sorrel weed.

    Food: lima beans, navy beans, buckwheat, garlic, hops, lemon, lettuce, green peas, raspberries, sesame seeds, watermelon, eggs, turkey, cow milk, flounder, mackeral, lobster, brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, casein and pistachios.

    He was eating raspberries with each meal until the test on Friday. Suddenly most of his eczema is gone. He had severe eczema too, he looked like a burn victim.

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    1. Poor guy, that's quite the impressive list! I assume you mean he just had an allergy test and discovered this? What do you attribute the change in his eczema to?

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  13. Along with everything else on your OAS charts, I'm allergic to many lettuces - iceberg is the least "prickly" and radicchio is the most. If I'm is a less reactive cycle (that means I've been careful, and my histamines are low), I can have a few bites of salad and have only a mild reaction - most of the time I skip any uncooked salad.

    When I originally started keeping a food diary years ago, I thought I reacted to lettuce because of food handling - sometimes they wear latex gloves when they make a salad - and I'm extremely sensitive to the latex cross-reactions. But over time, I learned that I am allergic to the lettuce itself - the latex glove issue just makes it worse.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Jess! I'm totally fascinated by this whole lettuce phenomenon now. It seems like there are far more people than I ever expected with it and I'm super curious about the types of lettuces people react to.

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  14. I too have lettuce allergy. Unfortunately, my diagnosis took about 15 years to come to light and I was the one that discovered the culprit.

    As a child I had been back and forth to pediatricians, family doctor and yes even dermatologist. I had tried numerous gloves, creams, prescriptions and lots of benadryl. Swollen lips, itchy hands and legs and tears but, no one could pinpoint the problem. When I reached the wonderful age of 19, I had ordered a burger "all the way" and behold 20 minutes later started itching. Next time tried burger "no lettuce or tomato", no problems. Next just lettuce = itch+swelling.
    Next tomato = itch+swelling. Then I moved on to oranges, grapefruits etc. Found allergic to citrus acid and lettuce...wow, what a bummer especially growing up eating salads and fruits alot after all I do live in Florida.

    I just want to make parents aware of things they can help research also, instead of relying on doctors for all the answers, since some things are so hit and miss. My allergy problem was constant as we ate salads with almost every meal and oranges and such were inexpensive back in our day to have as a snack. So, you can only imagine the discomfort I had through alot of my childhood. I just want parents to play the rule out game just as I did so their child won't suffer as I did. Remember the rule when checking baby allergies...one week at a time. You may have to play this game again as you grow older since alot of things get processed over time.

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    1. Great points! Parental awareness is really important, as so many parents assume their kids are just trying to avoid eating fruit and vegetables. I finally discovered the cause of my problems in my late 20s, and I still had to deal with accusations that it was all in my head, or that I was just trying to avoid eating healthy. Ironic since I've always been a big advocate of healthy eating in my family. Unfortunately many people still don't know about/understand oral allergy syndrome and fruit and vegetable allergies.

      So glad you were able to figure out what was bothering you. If you can handle steamed or cooked kale, I definitely recommend it as a salad base because it is so nutritious!

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  15. I have to say thank you 5,000 times for writing this! I found out that I have a severe allergy to romaine lettuce. I have been struggling with severe eczema all over my face, arms, really severe on my hand, ears, neck & chest. Anyways to make a long story short I never wanted to go to the doctor because I heard most of the time they prescribed steroids and the eczema will come back right after you are off of them and sometimes even stronger. I researched all the natural ways to eliminate eczema such as the candida diet, which at that time I was eating ALOT of salad and vegetables. Well it didn't get better. It came to a breaking point when I woke up and my whole face was blown up like I got stung by a bee. My wife said I am calling the allergy doctor and we are going. Well as I expected they put me on steroids (prednisone, decadron and hydrocortisone.) The hopes that it would knock the skin condition out of me. I tell you what that week I was on the medicine I felt good. No eczema on my face and everything looked good. People especially my family weren't asking me if my condition (eczema) was contagious 8). I wasn't embarrassed to talk to customers at work and be social. After that week was over, the next day after I was off the medicine, I started getting really itchy. I went to chipotle for lunch and I always get extra lettuce and my arms started itching like crazy and my face started swelling. I didn't put two and two together. I just thought the medicine was wearing off. This day my wife's friend started talking to me about a friend she had that had really bad eczema and ended up being gluten intolerant. Well that night my wife and I started planning this gluten free diet to try it. Anyways I love vegetables, I eat a lot of salad and I usually don't even use salad dressing. The next day my wife packed me my new gluten free diet. One of the items was a container of just romaine lettuce, I was surprised because she usually doesn't just pack me lettuce. It was about a ten hour day and I was starving towards the end so I went and grabbed the lettuce. I'm munching away thinking I am starving. About a half hour later I got extremely itchy! Every part of my body that had eczema was really itchy and then my arms started to get hives towards the edge of my eczema. After another 10 minutes my face started to really swell. I sucked it up and finished work and then went to Lowe's to pick up some stuff for a project while I was trying to hide my face. The next morning when I woke up my face looked like a balloon was underneath my skin. It dawned on me that all I ate was lettuce. I looked up and found this exact page you put together and said oh Lord is this the answer to my prayers. Well I started a fast from lettuce and MAN all I can say is thank you for putting this page! I didn't even know there was such thing as a lettuce allergy. I still have a little redness but my eczema hasn't looked better then before I had it. I think it will take a while to completely go away. I wanted to tell my story because I know so many people are out there suffering and looking for that one piece of hope. Food journal and trial and error! I pray that the Lord will guide you to your allergy as he did with me.

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    1. Oh my goodness you are 5,000 times welcome and thank YOU 5,000 times for sharing your story, you made my day! I'm so humbled that you were able to find some relief as a result of this post. The food journal is definitely a good idea, as you never know what might be causing your body to react. If your eczema doesn't go away or still experience other symptoms you may want to test for other allergies, as most people with OAS tend to have more than one (lucky us, right?)

      I had horrible painful hives on my back before I discovered my allergies and gluten intolerance, and I was so embarrassed by it. Sometimes it's not just the physical aspect of allergies that's debilitating, but the mental trauma! So thank you for sharing your story and hopefully it will help others :)

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  16. I'm very familiar with the elimination diet and my MD/Integrative Physician did blood tests to determine food sensitivities, of which I have many and avoid them all. However, lately I get mouth tingles and my tongue feels fat sometimes and I can't put my finger on what is causing it. My question is this...which tests do you consider to be more accurate for determining allergies, blood test or scratch test (done by allergy Dr)? Thanks for this very informative article!

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    1. Based on my own experience and from what I've heard from others, keeping a food diary and/or doing an elimination diet seem to be the best ways to determine what specifically is bothering you, especially if you've already had tests done and avoid the foods you are most reactive to. Sometimes the blood test and scratch test conflict with one another. My own scratch test indicated that I was allergic to some foods that I don't seem to have a problem with (i.e. eggs, thank goodness because I eat them every day). I have a sample food diary chart you can download if you want to give it a try: http://www.poorandglutenfree.blogspot.com/p/oral-allergy-syndrome.html.

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  17. Thank you for your article on lettuce. I still cant believe I am allergic to it.
    I went to an allergist early in 2013 because I was constantly coughing and clearing my throat. I wanted to stop torturing my co-workers so I thought I'd see if something could be done.. The doctor called and said I had an autoimmune issue and he wanted me to come in for some shots to boost it. At that time he (or the nurse) said nothing about allergies. I looked up the shots he wanted to give me and it kind of freaked me out because it was made from human blood. I thought..OK..I'll skip that and I will just try to eat better. to boost my immune system. So the following months I tried to eat very healthy. Took my vitamins. Ate lots of salads and fresh veggies. But I didn't get better. A few months later, I was having a hard time getting out of bed without a lot of pain in my joints and I was extremely tired. I could hardly walk without my heart pounding. I couldn't understand what was wrong. So I went to my GP and to see if I could get some answers. I told her I had blood work earlier that year at the allergist and had it sent over for her to review. She called me the next day and told me to go see my allergist. Apparently the he blood work indicated that I had positive IGG blood test results food sensitivities for Gluten allergen 3.3, Onion 4.8, Apple 3.6, Banana 4.2, Barley 6.7, Beef 10.4, Cheddar Cheese 2.0, Chocolate 3.3, Coffee 3.2, Egg White 2.8, Garlic 2.2, Green Bean/String 2.1, Lettuce 2.2, Malt 5.1, Casein 3.9, Mushroom 3.3, Oat 3.8, Pork 9.0, Rice 3.7, Strawberry 2.5, Sunflower 3.6, Tomato 3.7, Wheat 2.7, Black Pepper 13.3.
    I was eating ALL of these foods. Banana and strawberry smoothies, lots of salads with onion, garlic, mushroom and tomato.
    I also had tested very positive for Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) which meant I either had antibodies to an active or past infection. Apparently if you ever have had chicken pox, mono, or herpes you have this virus in your blood. Which according to the doc 95% of the population has. My immune issues had allowed the virus to re-activate causing my fatigue. He put me on an antiviral for the EBV and withing a few weeks I was feeling less tired. The allergist said that the food allergies were probably the cause of my joint pain and suggested that I cut out all of the foods that I tested positive for and that in a few weeks I would start feeling better. Sure enough after restricting my diet for the past two months, my energy has returned and my joints feel much better. I don't feel like an 80 year old anymore. (Im 50).
    My point with all of this is not only can food cause the typical reactions of itching and swelling, but apparently it can cause your joints to ache. I Because I've been eating those foods my whole life also think the foods allergies contributed to my immune system issues. Wearing away at my immune system.
    I've had a heck of a time trying to find foods I can eat since my list is very long. I found out from the nutritionist that many of the foods on my list have also related foods that I should avoid. For example since I am allergic to green beans I should avoid all beans (black, pinto, etc) other than lentil beans. I cant have gluten (wheat, barley, Rye), and I also cant have oat, or rice. Which means I have a very limited sources of flours. Much of the gluten free bread contains rice and sunflower oil. Sigh.. Thankfully I haven't' had a reaction to corn or buckwheat. ..and No lettuce! No tomato..or cheese which means no spaghetti sauce or pizza.
    It's certainly has been quite a struggle the last few months. I have so much sympathy for people that are now dealing with these issues. Best of luck to everyone.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story, I'm glad to hear you're starting to feel better! Yes, allergies cause inflammation the body (hence the swelling of throat, tongue, etc when ingesting certain foods) which can lead to joint pain and ultimately arthritis, along with fatigue, so it's good you've stopped feeling that pain.

      My husband actually has Epstein Barr and I'm actually planning a post on it for the next couple of weeks so I hope you come back for it. We've worked really hard to prevent flare-ups and halt them when they start. We don't want him on antibiotics as they are terrible for the system and when the EBV gets bad it can progress to sinus infections so we've found some good, natural methods to prevent this.

      If you can have lentils and flax seed you might be interested in checking out my super easy, GF lentil bread and the flaxmeal sandwich bread. Both are gluten, egg, rice, oat and dairy free. A lot of my salad recipes are lettuce free, too, or you can sub with steamed/blanched kale, chard, spinach or other greens that you can eat.

      http://www.poorandglutenfree.blogspot.com/2012/02/grow-your-own-bread-sprouted-lentil.html

      http://www.poorandglutenfree.blogspot.com/2012/05/gluten-free-flax-meal-sandwich-bread.html

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  18. When I was a child, I had severe migraines and was put in the Pain Clinic at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, IA. There they did some type of allergy testing via bloodtest. They tested 100 allergens and apparently I reacted to everything except lettuce and white potatoes. I decided then and there that it was impossible to live on just those 2 items and the test must be wrong. I promptly forgot about it. Fast forward 25 years... My son was diagnosed with ADHD. One of my friends, who also had a son diagnosed with the same thing, discovered that he was allergic to Gluten and when it was removed from his diet, all the signs of ADHD disappeared as well. I had my son tested and he came back with 29 allergies. We took everything offensive out of his diet, used digestive enzymes religiously and probiotics. His ADHD symptoms disappeared. We slowly started adding stuff back in as his intestines "healed". Now, 6 years later, he is still off of Gluten, Casein and Soy. The rest he can handle. Anyway, after having him tested, I was once again tested. Again I reacted to many things(over 60). Several were intolerances, but I had 25 allergies and was diagnosed with OAS. I noticed that the reactions were worse at certain times of year. Guess that it makes some sense. The other thing I noticed is that I can handle foods better if they have been cooked/canned. I figured that the heat was denaturing something but no idea what. I react to lettuce, carrots, grapes, citrus fruits and stone fruits. But if they have been cooked/canned, I can handle them. My reaction to these things is the itching mouth and severe (blisters?cancers?hives?) that last from 1 hour to 3 days, making my mouth and throat very sore. I thought I was crazy though because sometimes it is really bad, and others it is just a nuisance. I do occasionally cheat, but it is with the knowledge that I will be uncomfortable and always with Benedryl right at hand. The only Ana reactions are to Avocadoes and Chocolate, both easy to avoid.
    Nini2033a@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Nini, thanks for sharing that! How wonderful that your son's symptoms went away and he is able to add food back into his diet. Cooking of most fruits and veggies does break down the allergen proteins so it's not surprise you are able to eat most of them cooked or canned, and I use cooked food a lot - otherwise I wouldn't be able to eat much either!

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  19. Last summer after going gluten free I ate a salad at work, same as i had, mixture of arugula domain and iceberg lettuce. 30 minutes later my throat felt full started wheezing. Being a nurse in ER I walked to clinic. I ended up with epipen steroids and nebulizer. Since I have found I can't eat any lettuce (obviously) and spinach. It doesn't matter if organic or not. Even yesterday I forgot to order my meal with no lettuce. Just the little bit of shredded lettuce I didnt get scraped off bothered me. It was severe but enough my throat felt horrible for 6 hours. I can't even stand in front of the produce at store for extended amount of time without feeling it. I believe mine is more of a chemical allergy but i people need to know it can be strangest weirdest things, but allergies happen instantly. It doesn't matter if you have had been eating it for years, they still can develop.

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    1. Hi Caren, that's scary! But yes, you're absolutely right, these allergies can develop suddenly. My friend's mother developed a severe peanut allergy a few years ago - after eating them every day one day she just went into anaphylactic shock, and now can't be anywhere near them. I myself had absolutely no allergies until my early 20s, when I developed hay fever and then things steam rolled from there. Like you, I believe that chemicals and pollution have played a part in the allergy development.

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  20. It is good to know I am not the only one... My lettuce allergy started as atopic eczema in my hands (after rinsing the lettuce) and after a short while I also got OAS. Of course, I have also a long list other food items I am allergic to. My doctor felt sorry for me, but he said that I am not alone: this was 25 years ago. I have never met anyone else with the lettuce allergy, si thank you! Greetings from Norway!

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    1. That's one awesome doctor to have diagnosed you 25yrs ago with OAS! So many people are still having to struggle to figure out what's wrong. Thanks for visiting from Norway and greetings from Canada ;)

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  21. For the past 2 - 3 years I've struggled to control a stubborn rash around my lips and on my chin. My dermatologist diagnosed it as seborrheic dermatitis but I really doubted this was the root cause of my troubles because symptoms resited all treatments except topical steroid creams. For reasons I don't even recall, I stopped eating my huge romaine lettuce salad for lunch and .... you guessed it! The symptoms disappeared. I started having the salads again 5 days ago and my rash is back. No more romaine lunches for me. I'm also very sensitive to gluten and many pollens.
    Greetings from West Central Florida where the oak pollen has blanketed everything.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story! While it's terrible to discover you can't have romaine, I guess the upside is knowing what is causing the rash. Gluten and white potatoes caused my hives/rashes and my doctor was trying to give me meds for it too. I got rid of the gluten and potatoes and that solved the problem! And sorry to hear about the oak pollen. I'm still stuck in the cold and snow so I'm *almost* jealous ;)

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  22. Hi Danielle,
    Old post, but just happened upon your site - and I will have to read more later.
    Just thought I would mention, regarding lettuce, that I am under the impression that there is a link between lettuce and low libido! I can't remember where or when I read it, but it was probably 20 years ago. Interesting, if nothing else!
    Nicole

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    1. Hi Nicole, thanks for mentioning that! I had no idea, I just googled it and it looks like Wikipedia has it listed as one of the foods that is reported to have anaphrodisiac properties :) I don't know what the scientific research is to support the claim, but it's definitely interesting! That said, I'm sure that those who can't eat lettuce can find other ways to boost their libido ;)

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  23. This is a great article you wrote. I am allergic to lettuce amongst other foods including carrots. It is good to hear that there are others out there with a lettuce allergy and I am not just the freak that has it. It is always good for a laugh when people find out. However, allergy to lettuce and carrots makes eating very difficult. Most of my food allergies are related to a severe allergy to latex I developed after too many years of wearing latex gloves in the medical industry. There is a long list of foods that may cross react with latex for some latex allergic people. Unfortunately I am allergic to nearly the entire cross reactive list. I recently found 1 article that found a link to latex and lettuce. I feel for all of you that are allergic to lettuce (and any other food for that matter) because it is a difficult allergy to avoid when eating in restaurants. My allergy happens to be very severe and starts with esophageal spasms and quickly leads to anaphylaxis. Thanks for sharing this information with others.

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    1. Hi Scott, thanks for sharing that. You're right, it is incredibly difficult to avoid lettuce! Especially when you have other allergies or are gluten intolerant or vegetarian. The fall back meal when eating out is always salad, and if you can't have that then options are really limited. Pollen related food allergies are really awful to have!

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  24. Happened on your site looking up iceberg lettuce. Thought I had a problem allergy test proved it together with raw tomatoes, citrus fruits, onions, cheese, gluten and dairy. Had recent problem with kiwi fruit resulting in vomiting some hours later. Difficult eating out! Last 2 months saw a return of (head) migraines after an absence of several years. Connectio ???

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    1. Hi Cathy, have you been avoiding the foods you know you're allergic to? It could be possible that the migraines are aggravated by your food allergies, but it's definitely worth asking your doctor or allergist about.

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  25. I am just beginning my journey with allergies. Tested yesterday. Allergic to lettuce,apples,bananas,citric acid,pineapples,cow's milk,oysters,plums,green olives, and karaya gum. Never thought I would have this at 61. I am starting the elimination diet for 10 days. Dr. changed a couple of my meds. Will have more testing next month. Now I know what is causing the terrible itching,hives,and the sinus infections every 3 months.I won't go into all the other things outside,and of course dust mites. At least I am not allergic to our dog. Have to stay away from the horses,though.So glad I found your site. Have a great day!

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    1. Hi Linda, I know it's disheartening at first to find out about all the things you're allergic to, but on the upside I always think it's good to at least know what's causing the problem. Then you can work on improving quality of life!

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  26. It's entirely possible to test "allergic" to a food (by skin testing or IgE blood testing) and yet have no symptoms when that food is eaten. Thus, confirmation requires appropriately designed oral challenge testing with each suspected food. (this straight from a real MD allergists' email)

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    1. Yes, you're right. I tested positive for some things on a prick test (like eggs) but in the oral challenges had no problems (I eat eggs all the time with no problem).

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