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    Garlic/Onion Allergy

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    Chef #1186046
    Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:25 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Came across this thread by accident....I Googled Garlic Allergy because of a bad reaction I had after eating a very tasty roast that had SIX cloves of garlic inserted into the meat. Talk about overloading my system! I will be 59 this year and this is new to me. Raw onions have been out for me for about 10 years and I have been milk intolerant from early childhood. It is nice to know that I'm not alone and there are widely different degrees of reactions. Does anyone have a family, dad, brothers, sisters??
    Most of my friends are use to my allergy to raw onions and work with me on foods. Not sure why it's only raw onions that bother me and not cooked ones.
    Chef Mikey #5
    Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:18 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    About 7 or 8 years ago I thought I had an ulcer…went to GI specialist, cameras down the stomach…they couldn’t find anything….I went searching on the internet and it turned out that I’m allergic to onions. Symptons include 24 hours of extreme agony with stomach pains, nausea, diherrea, gas, headache. Raw onions are the worst, but so is onion powder and it lurks everywhere.

    The good news is that I’ve stumbled onto something that has actually helped. It’s an extract derived from pinecones. I was taking it to build up my immune system and coincidentally discovered that my onion allergy has been greatly reduced. I take a few drops of the liquid extract in the morning and at night. When I go out for dinner where I know there's likely to be a heavy dose of onions (some ethnic foods), I take about 5 drops under the tongue. At first I wasn’t sure the extract was helping, but today I forgot to take it and had a few onions in my lunchtime salad…ouch! Within three hours I was really feeling it…not as bad as the past, but certainly very unpleasant. The liquid extract works better than powdered form in capsules. If you want to try it, go to a health food store or google 'pineone extract'. I had a hard time finding the liquid but managed to discover one small company that makes it but they don't advertise, they just have it on their website. If you need help here’s my e-mail address:

    Best of luck.
    Chef #1271930
    Mon May 18, 2009 11:42 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Wow... where has this forum been all my life? I have had a life threatening allergy to onions, shallots, scallions, etc. since as long as I can remember. I can eat garlic and fennel but that's about it. Even onion grass and flowering onion plant is a problem for me. I carry an Epi Pen everywhere and sadly I've had to use it many times. Particularly it is the oil of the onion that I am allergic to so thankfully powdered, granulated and dehydrated only cause lots of hives and itching and not death. If I am exposed to a fajita plate or a yard full of freshly cut onion grass I am immediately covered in hives and my throat and tongue swells up. If I touch or God forbid eat an onion I am in full anaphylactic shock within minutes and have to use the Epi and go to the ER. It can be really scary but since food allergies have become more commonplace I find eating out much easier. I've found both P.F Chang's and Maggiano's to be very knowledgeable and accommodating when it comes to food allergies. Most of the time I end up with salad and sauce free steak. Italian food is particularly challenging so I often smuggle in my own marinara sauce which is kind of tacky but whatever. It's nice to see I'm not alone. Yay onion allergy suffers!
    Chef #1287275
    Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:17 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Hi everyone-
    I'm glad that there's a way for us "weird allergy" sufferers to reach out to each other. I've been allergic to onion/onion powder since the seventh grade and garlic/garlic powder (sadly, since I'm half Lebanese and love the cuisine!) since high school.

    I just wanted to mention that sushi bars (if you're open to trying them) are a great place to feel safe while eating out; in my experience, many of the dishes don't use garlic or onion ingredients.

    I've also found that some pizzas that are made in the traditional italian method don't have onion/garlic in the sauces! Trader Joe's carries "Pizza Vegetariana" in the frozen section, and Rising Moon Organics (found at Whole Foods & the Seattle area's PCC markets) carries not only a "PESTO (!!!) and buffalo mozzarella" pizza that are safe (among other flavors), but also some frozen raviolis (such as feta hazelnut) that are delicious. Also in the Seattle area is a pizzeria called Tutta Bella which serves some safe pizzas (always ask to make sure).
    Hope that helps, and good luck to all of you! ^.^
    Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:53 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I was diagnosed with a severe allium allergy at 18 months of age. I went into anaphylaxis the first time I was introduced to onion. I've spent my entire life "onion free," quite an accomplishment really. I can't go near onion, garlic, leek, shallot, lilies - the whole lot really. All this, and I've worked in professional kitchens. How am I still alive? Well - here are my tricks of the trade.

    1) Don't ever eat anything with "spices" on the label. If it isn't specific, it isn't safe.
    2) Don't eat cold bar foods. Restaurant kitchens do their best to be accommodating to people with food allergies, but there is only so much they can do. When doing prep-work in the morning for the cold bar (slicing veg) we worry about food contamination, not onion contamination.
    3) Don't eat in restaurants at peak times. When you need your food to be special, it's best not to go during lunch rush, etc.
    4) If ordering a burger, always be sure to let them know you need it cooked on a clean grill or in a clean grill pan. This is easier if not ordering at peak times.
    5) Forget packaged foods. I've never had jarred pasta sauce, prepared salsa or tinned soup. I make big batches and freeze.
    6) Asoefetida is a decent substitute for the flavor of onions or garlic in cooked foods (but quite smelly, so store in an air-tight container and use a spoon not your fingers to dish it out). If you encounter any Hare Krishna recipe collections, snag them! Hare Krishna recipes are ALWAYS onion and garlic free, and there are heaps of Indian recipes that are onion and garlic free.
    7) Beware marinades and spice rubs! In the majority of restaurants meat is marinated and/or has a rub. The overwhelming majority include some type of allium (onion, garlic, shallot, etc.) whether fresh or dried. Some even include the incredibly evil "onion juice" (or as I like to call it, Juice of Death).
    icon_cool.gif Be very careful with beans as well. Even straight up boiled beans in restaurants (not even mentioning refried beans!) have onion/garlic with them in the pot.
    9) Keep a protein bar or peanut butter and crackers in your bag - just in case. When in doubt, it's best to have something you KNOW is safe to eat, rather than risk it.

    I forgot to say - as a vegetarian, I've encountered issues with "meat substitutes" containing allium as well, I can't have Boca or Morning Star Farms. Some Quorn products are onion free, although the majority aren't. So if you've got allium issues and are a vegetarian, I suggest learning to make your own veggie patties and veggie sausage. It's not that difficult, and it's certainly safer and less expensive.
    Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:50 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I avoid garlic and onions due to my religion not an allergy. I have vowed off meat, onions, and garlic. Most processed foods in a Chinese market that are labeled vegetarian will also be onion/garlic free. The Taiwanese versions of morning star are all onion and garlic free, you can find these in the frozen vegetarian section of many Chinese supermarkets. I have become a label reader and mostly cook everything myself too. Although inconvenient, I think it's super healthy, especially having to avoid most processed foods. It is true how sensitive the nose and tastebuds become simply by never eating the alliums. Many people smell very unpleasant sometimes to the point I have to hold my breath or get sick.
    Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:02 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Me, too! Along with a host of other allergies and intolerances. (listed on my profile) Had I not found Sushi Bars, I would be pretty depressed about it all. I saw a Swedish cookbook at IKEA the other day that looked really promising, too, so I'm going to check that one out again. I saw no garlic and few onions in the book.

    People ask me how I make it with so many restrictions, but I say it's totally worth feeling great for the first time in my life to go without all the stuff that makes me ill.

    I agree that it seems to be some sort of cover-up by the medical community when they don't send people straight-away to an allergy specialist. I was diagnosed with several things before figuring out the whole allergy thing. I quit eating the irritants and 'poof!' hypo-glycemia, chronic fatigue, IBS, gastritis & acid reflux, muscle ache, swallowing problems, hives, irritability, etc. And all with NO medication! icon_smile.gif

    I would love to know if there is something to take for the onion/garlic allergy, though. That's the toughest one to take in today's pre-made markets. It's just in everything!

    Happy to have found the 'others' like me! icon_smile.gif

    Chef #1449209
    Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:44 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I know I will never live to see a time where onions and garlic are not allowed to be used in food served without a disclaimer, but seeing people with my same problem is encouraging. For me, onions are worse than garlic. Garlic is still pretty bad as far as reactions go, but onions top my list. I eat anything with onions in it, and 2-5 minutes later I have the following symptoms:

    1. Extreme abdominal pain
    2. Heart Palpatations
    3. Shortness of breath
    4. Heavy sweating
    5. Feeling like there is something on my vocal cords, requiring me to force coughing to clear it (lasting for an hour or more)
    6. The dreaded D word but yet it requires much effort to finish completely.

    It's downright miserable. I get ANGRY when I am tricked into eating food with onion or onion powder. My parents always tried to encourage eating garlic and onions because "it's good for you." Well, when I touch fire, my body says DON'T... IT IS HURTING YOU. I think any slight beneficial features of the two cannot outweigh the shear physical torment suffered.

    This is my first post. Looking forward to reading and using the recipes I find.
    Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:42 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    There may be hope for garlic yet! I had allergy testing done on my blood and on my back by the pricking tests and they proved negative for garlic or onion, but they did find that I was eating other foods that gave a large reaction on my skin test. Turns out that I was eating these foods every week, so now that I've eliminated them, I find that I can tolerate some much-missed garlic! (Still not raw onion, as it still gives me acid indigestion, but I'll try cooked and see how it works for me.)

    Anyway, it turns out that the culprits were: white potatoes, celery, peas and tomatoes.

    No wonder I had to lie down after Holiday meals! I used to eat sugar snap peas and celery like nobody's business, too.

    Get's expensive, but it's the best way to know for sure!
    Chef #1450634
    Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:11 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I too have an onion allergy. I don't seem to be bothered by garlic though. Sweet onions are significantly worse. I get severe migraines, vomiting, nausea, weekness. Even onion powder and dehydrated onions bother me. If I eat a sweet onion or something cooked/ prepared with sweet onion my body reacts within in 20-30 minutes. Reaction usually last for days. Any other kind of onion the reaction maybe be delayed as much as 24-36 hours. But I always get some type of headache. I have to read all labels. Eating out is almost a guarenteed headache. Just because someone doesn't add onion doesn't mean that the product didn't already ready have some type of onion in it. Once I get the migraine there's very little that can be done. I have suffered days after eating a few bites of something with sweet onion in it. I can take a perscription migraine pill as soon as the headache starts, but the medicine that works has not been proven safe pasted 3 doses a month. I wish I knew what it was in onions that cause this reation in some people and a way to prevent it.
    Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:58 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I am so happy to find other people in the same onion boat as myself! Thank you all for your stories and tips, many I have had to figured out myself. Doctor saying well just dont eat them if they bother you, bother me I have literally passed out on the throne during bouts of fright! I spent many years trying to figure it out, after my first child was born, dont know if it was related to having a child, but 16 years later that same child suffers from the same problem. Why one evening, he called me to let me know he was in a restaurant washroom sick from onions hidden in the food, and I let him know I was in the exact same predicament, just a different restaurant!
    I think I am being so careful when out of town with a sports team but always end up sitting in the area washrooms way longer than I care to be. I actually carry a video game on my cel phone now to stay busy between the three rushes of detoxing my body seems to do to get rid of the allium monster.
    Misery loves company, but my compassion goes out to all allergy sufferers.
    Funny I read that onion juice is good for bee stings, I am deathly allergic to bees, and carry the eppipen for this allergy. hope I never need it for allium or that no one decides to pour onion juice on me!
    Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:36 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I have been doing research on garlic allergies for about 7 years since I was first diagnosed - by skin testing. I even contacted the FDA and similar organizations because Garlic was allowed to be listed in both Natural Flavorings and Spices without being listed as a separate ingredient. I even fired off some heated emails that garlic and onion are foods, not a spice. Well anyway, I guess a lot of us were pretty irate and they did take garlic out of the Spices category.

    It takes a very long time to go to the grocery store and read a lot of labels, but fortunately, I can cook. I made my own ketchup for years, till I found a few that did not have garlic. I also found a tomato sauce that does not have garlic, but it has been a laborious process.

    How serious is my allergy? I wound up in intensive care for three days and had a cardiac catherization because they thought I was having a heart attack. It turns out my esophagus was in spasm, and the culprit was garlic bread.

    I had suffered with indigestion my whole life, irritable bowel, etc. Three days after I eliminated Garlic, all that was over. But eating out is a nightmare, hidden garlic is dangerous, all the things the other posters have discussed can make me irritable and annoyed that we have to be detectives.

    Thank you for having a place we can vent.
    Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:44 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I love to cook East Indian food. They use a spice called asoefoetida, which gives some of the depth of flavor and "bass notes" to a dish that onions and garlic can give. It is a dried powder that is similar to horseradish. It has a quite strong unpleasant flavor before it is heated in oil, but don't let that dissuade you. It has to be heated for a minute or so in hot oil, and you only use a small amount. It cannot be sprinkled directly onto foods. It works well for my friend who is allergic to onions. I would look it up to see how to use it, because the strength varies from brand to brand.
    Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:12 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I checked on the Rising Moon Organics Pesto/Buffalo Mozz pizza and it contains garlic. Just FYI. Always check a products ingredients, manufactures change their ingredients frequently!

    Also...there is an onionfree support group in Yahoo groups.
    Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:12 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Double post, sorry icon_smile.gif
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