Wellness Wednesday – Peanuts

Y’all. This is a weird one.

Let’s take a quick trip back in time to a series of events.

• 2018: Lost my sense of smell (but not my taste) due to a bad cold in January. Smell didn’t return until June 1st, when suddenly everything smelled of plaster, and the taste of certain foods changed (peanut butter, for instance, tasted spoiled). From June to November, my sense of smell changed from plaster to yeasty bread dough to sewage to rotten onions, each changing a few flavors of my sense of taste (ketchup = mint, sour cream = metallic, etc). Any time my nose got stuffed up and I couldn’t smell anything, my sense of taste returned to normal. Dr ordered an MRI that came up negative for any anomalies.

• 2019: Dr treated me with heavy antibiotics “just in case” and I developed a massive hive outbreak for five months. The only change the treatment made in my sense of smell was that it split into three scents: rotten onions, tamales, and patchouli. The treatment that got rid of the hives in May 2019 also allowed my sense of smell to partially return to normal. While any food with sulfur (onion, garlic, eggs, etc) still smelled and tasted rotten, everything else was normal. I figured this would be my new normal from then on.

• 2020: Twice late in the summer, I experienced a weird tightening of my esophagus after a meal, and the only ingredient in common between the meals was peanuts. I figured I might as well remove peanuts from my diet for a month to see if it changed any of my health issues, and it did. First, the rotten onion smell disappeared, and I could sudden taste/smell all foods normally again for the first time in 2.5 years. Second, my chronic eczema disappeared. I talked to my allergist about this and found out that while anaphylactic peanut allergies are talked about more often, most peanut allergies are low-grade and cause chronic eczema and/or hives, two conditions I’d been experiencing since infancy. I decided not to re-introduce peanuts at that point, because life was far better without them!

Fast forward to now. For the most part, staying away from peanuts has been easy. Every once in awhile, though, I start to crave some food from my past. The first time this happened was about 18 months after I gave up peanuts. There’s this particular protein bar made of peanuts and chocolate chips that I just love. (Yes, protein bars are usually disgusting, but GoMacro makes really good ones!) So I got a bar, ate it, and awaited the inevitable fallout. Within 24 hours, I had awful eczema outbreaks on most of my fingers. Took about three weeks for the outbreak to subside. Was it worth it for that bar? Absolutely yes. That’s when I decided that I could eat peanuts on a very, very sporadic basis, as long as I was prepared to deal with consequences.

A couple months ago was Girl Scout cookies season. Tagalongs are my favorite. I’ve skipped them for the last couple years because peanut butter, but this year, I bought a box. I ate the first few cookies in the complete knowledge of what would happen…only nothing happened. I ate more. I ate about 2/3rds of the box over about a week, and then sent the remaining five cookies to work with Jason. Still nothing happened. For weeks, I waited for the outbreak, but it never came. No eczema. No hives. No weird tightened esophagus. No smell of rotten onions. Nothing at all.

So was it a fluke, the peanut butter bars? A fluke that my eczema stopped when I stopped eating peanuts? Last week, I ate another of those peanut butter protein bars, and nothing happened. This week, I bought a jar of peanut butter, had a spoonful, and again nothing happened! Which leaves me wondering now: What the heck is happening here? Why did peanuts once affect me a particular way, and why aren’t they now? Am I just less sensitive now that I’ve gone so long without them? Was I just more sensitive then because of all the problems I’d had with hives and such? Is it the fact that I’m on these Mounjaro injections, which I wasn’t on when I had the pb bar the last time? I have no idea, but if I can eat peanuts and peanut butter again? That makes me a very happy person!!


About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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