Mushroom allergies aren’t as common as other food allergies, so people who have it need to be extremely careful. Read on for tips on how to deal with your mushroom allergies.
As someone who suffers from mushroom allergies, I know how challenging it can be to deal with. More than once I’ve accidentally eaten some and feared a trip to the hospital. Unfortunately for those of us who are allergic to mushrooms, the fact that it’s fairly uncommon means we have to be far more careful than people who are allergic to wheat, peanuts or other common food elements.
One of the most important things for you to do is to read the ingredients on everything you buy. Since it’s not common, mushroom isn’t printed in bold black letters as an allergen. You’ll need to read every word of the ingredients looking for any kind of mushroom, mushroom extract or mushroom powder. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with popular types of mushroom like Shitake, truffle, Enoki, Portobello and others. Some companies will have “Shitake” in the ingredients rather than “Skitake mushroom”.
It’s also a good idea to stay away from meals that have multiple components that are combined during preparation. I learned the hard way that Betty Crocker Bakes have mushroom powder in the gravy, and that it’s only listed on the can inside the package, but not in the ingredients list on the outside of the package. One lick of the gravy and my throat was closing up. So be careful, and try to buy meals where all the ingredients are clearly listed on the outside of the package.
Another thing we have to worry about is cross-contamination at buffets and some take-out establishments. I went to a buffet restaurant a few years back and got sick because someone had used the mushroom tongs in the noodles in the next bin. If you go to a buffet, it’s best to stay away from foods that are in a bin next to mushrooms, since some people will use the same tongs or spoon from one dish to the next, even though they’re not supposed to. I also experienced an incident with a Chinese take-out restaurant that cooked my Lo Mein in the same vessel that had been used for a mushroom dish. Tiny bits of mushroom got into my meal, and I got sick from it. If you get take-out, be sure to let them know of your allergy and request that they prepare your food in clean vessels.
If you’re going to a family gathering, it’s usually a good idea to let everyone who’s bringing or preparing food know that you are allergic. This way people can either choose not to cook with mushroom, or they can warn you of what dishes you should not eat. Most people are really good about it too. I know most of my family is more than happy to cook without mushrooms so I can eat safely, or they will warn me of dangerous foods when I arrive.
Depending on the severity of your allergy, it can be a good idea to get an epi-pen and carry it with you at all times in case you consume an amount that sends you into anaphylactic shock. Be sure your family and close friends know the symptoms and how to use your epi-pen in the event you are in too much distress to use it yourself. It’s also a good idea for both you and your loved ones to know what to do in the event of a mild reaction.
I’ve found that ice water will wash the mushroom out of the mouth and throat and help you to breathe after consuming mushroom. My family knows what it looks like when I suddenly have trouble swallowing or breathing, and we keep water in the fridge and ice cubes in the freezer at all times so someone can get them in a hurry and give them to me. When I’m eating out at a restaurant, I always make sure I have ice water on the table in case there is contamination in my food. If you eat something and feel and oddness on your tongue or tightness in your throat, stop eating and start drinking the ice water. Take small sips at first so you don’t choke, then continue to drink as much as you can stand to dilute and flush out the mushroom.
If you’re careful, you can live with mushroom allergies and not be in constant fear of your food. Read ingredients, tell restaurants about your allergy as well as telling friends and family, and know what action to take should you ingest any mushroom. Do these things, and you should be able to live long and happy without any hospitalizations from mushroom ingestion.