I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

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Re: I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

Postby Indiana » 21 Apr 2012, 18:10

ironlady wrote:Yes. Your body can change over the years. I ate mango for years with great delight, until I turned 40 and suddenly became allergic (now my face and lips swell when I eat it.) I haven't tried again to see if the effect would worsen over time. Fortunately it is easier to determine whether something contains mango than to find out whether it has fish or seafood hidden somewhere in it.


I have the same allergy! I have been told that it is an allergy to the sap on the mango...if it is peeled without getting any of the sap on the fruit part I'm eating, I'm fine, but if the sap gets on the fruit my face and lips swell up, my hands and feet swell and become intolerably itchy, and my whole body feels kind of itchy and uncomfortable for about an hour or two. It started in my late 20's.
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Re: I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

Postby finley » 21 Apr 2012, 18:36

mango sap is nasty stuff anyway ... it's toxic and somewhat corrosive (AFAIK it's the sap that causes the black spots on ripe mangoes). I don't think it's exactly an "allergic" reaction, pretty much anybody will have the same response to some extent. Cashews (related) are even worse.
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Re: I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

Postby housecat » 21 Apr 2012, 21:30

Yeah, most people don't know it, but cashews are fatally toxic if not harvested and prepared correctly. Crazy stuff.
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Re: I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

Postby Petrichor » 22 Apr 2012, 04:18

I have the mango allergy too. Over the course of several hours my head swells up like a balloon and I scare small children in the street. It's from touching the skin as far as I can understand. I've inadvertently eaten mango not prepared by me and had no reaction. Whenever I have medical treatment they always ask "Are you allergic to anything?" So I say "just mangoes". Then they laugh condescendingly and say "Well, you aren't likely to get given mangoes here." I mean, I know that, but they did ask!

I'm reminded of one of my Muslim students who asked the catering staff if there was any pork in the dish she chose. They said no but she found herself spitting out pieces of bacon. When challenged they replied "There isn't any pork. That's bacon."

I can't imagine what it must be like having a life-threatening allergy to a common food. A friend of mine has a daughter who's allergic to peanuts, wheat, dairy and one or two other things. I don't think they eat out much. I don't think I could put my life in the hands of strangers if I had a choice about it. I think there's a lot of disbelief around allergies if you don't have any personal experience of them; a tendency to think it's just fussiness. So caterers can't be relied upon to pay attention.
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Re: I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

Postby housecat » 22 Apr 2012, 06:40

Actually, my son registered an allergy to a whole list of things. Wheat, grass, eggs, peanuts, cheese, mites, cockroaches, mangoes, avacados, tuna, fish, seafood, shellfish, seawead. . . I can't even remember the entire list now.

The Dr. told me that this didn't actually mean he was trully allergic to all these things. Apparently, he's extremely allergic to anything that grew/lived in the sea, and to avacados. The rest is just kind of residual allergen stuff. Like his body is was so extremely allergic at the time of the test, that nearly everything tested for brought back a positive result.

He identified the sea life and mangoes by doing more, and different allergen tests and getting results from several different labs.

At first I was terrified that just anything at all would make him allergic, but after a couple of weeks when he began to get better, it was clear that he really wasn't likely to be sick if he ate bread, or walked accross some grass.

But we don't eat out much any more, for sure. And this is really not easy. I like to cook very much, but don't have a lot of time for it. Plus, it's often more economical to eat out here (depending on where you're eating).

We'd have no problem in the states, but here there is fish in everything. Little tiny woodfish, ground up, are in just EVERYTHING. Wan tan soup, with no fish, has woodfish as soup flavoring, usually. Oyster sauce, fish sause, or even if there's no fish, fish has usually been cooked in the same oil as other stuff.
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Re: I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

Postby Petrichor » 22 Apr 2012, 08:02

Yes, fish or fish derivative is like salt here. It must be really hard being a strict vegetarian.
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Re: I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

Postby Taiwan_Student » 23 Apr 2012, 12:37

Wow, I'm so concerned with my own preoccupation of staying a live, all these other types of serious allergies were actually news to me. Wow, you can learn a lot.

Cashews Toxic!!!???? Can I trust big nut company here that uses the outline of the State of California as their logo?

Not only am I allergic but I have a small low blood sugar problem so I always keep peanuts and cashew as my emergency energy food. Those are also my staple snacks and substitute meal if I'm in fish country.

Allergy to Mangoes, Garlic and other vegetables or meats are hard for me to understand. So I have to give these local people a little credit. But still, even if I find it unbelievable, I'd still accept that it is true and do my best to serve or turn away the customer.

Housecat. Was your sons test a blood test or a scratch test. My blood actually turns out to have no allergies. The allergist in Kaohsiung that I saw offered the scratch test but he said that .. since he has seem my reactions.. The test may be an unnecessary risk.
I was going for "dust-mite" desensitization at the time. After each treatment, I still had to take an antil histamine pill.
Just for some information. The pill stopped the secondary reaction but it did not interfere with the desensitization process.

I'm still thinking of going for the scratch test.
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Re: I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

Postby Lili » 23 Apr 2012, 13:09

Very upsetting. Im sorry to hear the difficulties.

I used to work in an Asthma and Allergy place. you wouldn't believe the things that people are allergic to. o_O
Growing up, we always are made aware of peanut, chocolate, shell fish allergies and we're trained to be aware.

Working in the buxiban, I've found there is a complete lack of awareness. I very rarely prepare snacks for the kids, but when I do I always ask "Are you allergic to the chocolate? What about the peanut butter?" and the moment a kid gives me a weird face I go running to the laoban "Does so-and-so have an allergy?" and then I get the "What the fuck are you on about?" Taiwanese look.

They understand what an allergy is. But they dont have the training/awareness campaigns that we do so of course, they dont make it a priority.
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Re: I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

Postby headhonchoII » 23 Apr 2012, 13:22

Allergies and asthma is very common among young children in Taiwan, but I believe it is mostly to household dust and air pollution.
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Re: I nearly died again! Food allergies and trust in Taiwan!

Postby Tempo Gain » 23 Apr 2012, 13:33

Petrichor wrote:Yes, fish or fish derivative is like salt here. It must be really hard being a strict vegetarian.


That's another thing, there's a Japanese flavor enhancer widely used made from fish.
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