The Superbowl has come and gone, but I thought I’d share that NFL’s Adrian Peterson is allergic to shrimp, scallops and lobster. Shellfish is one of the top eight food allergens in the U.S. The first part of the following interview contains Peterson’s diagnosis story. Click here to watch the video.
It took about five years to figure out that I was allergic to peanuts. I had several reactions before my parents took me to an allergist (although none of them landed me in the emergency room). The first was when I was a baby. My family had gone to a restaurant that served peanuts to every table. Peanut shells littered the floor. Before long, I got sick. My parents (understandably) assumed that I just had a stomach bug. As a toddler, I refused to eat peanut butter. I always pushed away peanut butter crackers and if ice cream had peanut butter on it, I would keep my mouth sealed shut. I did not, however avoid chocolate covered almonds. I ate them all the time (and now I know why they always gave me stomach aches). I was roughly four when my parents took me to see the Nutcracker. During intermission, I bought a candy that I thought was filled with chocolate. The moment I bit into it, I realized that it was in fact filled with peanut butter. I spit it out immediately, and did not swallow any of it, but it did not take long for me to feel extremely ill. I was about the same age when I bought a bag of M&M’s from a girl on my street. The first candy I pulled out of the bag was yellow. As soon as I put it in my mouth, I realized it was a peanut M&M and spit it out. Nevertheless, I was soon extremely lightheaded nauseous.
My parents became suspicious of these events. They took me to an allergist when I was five. They did a test that involved a huge tray of needles being scraped on my back and that traumatized me quite a bit (I was five and had a fear of needles). Each needle had a sample of a common allergen. The spot that corresponded to peanuts swelled, and I was sent to get a blood test. The results came back that I was deathly allergic to peanuts. I was also allergic to tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, etc.).
Ever since, I have avoided all nuts like the plague. My peanut allergy is worse than my tree nut allergies, but I do not eat any nuts in order to avoid cross contact. I also do not eat food cooked in peanut oil. My epinephrine is always with me. I have also gotten involved with FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education).