If you have ever offered someone a piece of fruit or veg and they told you no thanks I’m allergic, you would probably think they were joking right? Well guess what it’s a thing. It’s called Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) or Pollen Fruit Syndrome (PFS).
Oral allergy syndrome is a medical condition in which the person affected suffers immediate allergic symptoms in the lips, mouth and throat, usually when they eat certain kinds of raw fruit, raw vegetables or nuts. These symptoms are most commonly itching or tingling, in extreme cases swelling may also occur.
This syndrome that stops so many people from enjoying nature’s gifts emerges because of allergies to the pollens of certain trees or grass or ragweed. For those with OAS, the immune system sees the proteins of some fruits and vegetables as being much like the pollen protein — and causes a cross reaction.
My daughter is one of those people with OAS. She was diagnosed by an allergy specialist at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in 2008 at the age of 13. From the time she could eat fruit, up until the age of 7, she was absolutely fine.
The primary sensitisation is to the pollen, with secondary reactions to the food. The key factor is that these foods can be tolerated if cooked, because the protein (usually profilin) is heat liable.
As many of you know I have been an avid fan of juicing since 2014. My daughter can smell the apples from upstairs! I have to make sure the pulp is disposed of outside as soon as possible for her sake. When I am unable to juice myself, she will do it for me in record time. Cats, dogs and dust are a big issue too. Over the years she has adapted and manages this very well, we always joke about the fact that if the fruit is soaked in alcohol, i.e. in Sangria, or in a refreshing summer time Pimms she can eat the fruit! Through trial and error she has discovered she is not allergic to some of the most powerful produce on the planet, lemons, ginger, Kale and turmeric, these make a lovely juice for her.
I may have some challenging physical hurdles, but I haven’t had a cough or cold since 2013 for which I am grateful. The whole family have been willing and happy to share in my juicing experience.