My story began in the summer of 2013. My husband Tony, two daughters Ashley and Amber, were on our ritual camping trip to celebrate another end to a long school year. Exciting a week of no stress; just relaxation, family time and good barbecuing from Nanny (grandma). Two days into the trip that’s when it happened! I pulled off a tick and it looked as if it had been feasting on my foot for a good day. One trait I recalled about this particular tick is that it had a white spot on its back. Very unusual I’ve never seen a tick like that before.
Living on Long Island it’s not uncommon to get bitten by a tick at least once or twice during the summer season. Lyme’s disease is rampant on the Island, so I hear from so many friends and family. Vacation had come and gone and the weeks had passed, it was back to the rat race once again. I started to notice very strange occurrences; some nights I would awaken with severe stomach cramping and others by small localized rashes ( that would itch like crazy ). I didn’t think much of it since my symptoms would subside.
Mid Summer had arrived it was August, Another trip was afoot, this time to Maine 7 hours. away. Tony and I were pondering moving out of NY and were seriously considering purchasing a home in Maine. So after a long week at work, we scrambled the girls together and rushed to make the cross sound ferry. The boat ride was roughly one hour, so we grabbed a couple of burgers and enjoyed the beautiful sunset. The water was calm and the girls were bursting with excitement and couldn’t wait to reach our destination. By the time we arrived at the hotel it was 1AM, suffering from exhausting it was time for sleep. Once again I was awoken at 3AM doubled over with severe abdominal pain, vomiting accompanied by hives. The reaction subsided once the food was out of my system.
That moment on each reaction progressively got worse, when ever I consumed meat (not knowing meat was the culprit at that time). Tony encouraged me to see a specialist. My primary MD sent me to see Dr Byrnes an allergist in Riverhead, who confirmed with a simple blood test I had the Alpha Gal Allergy, from the Lone Star Tick. Great!!!! Not pleased one bit, not only could I not eat beef “pork and dairy were also included”. Try cooking something that taste good and that the whole family would enjoy, or that’s appealing to a 6 or 10 year old. Eating out was also out of the question, since the risk of cross contamination with other foods are greatly increased.
Much time and money was spent trying to locate stores that carried dairy free and meat free items. I resorted to the Internet searching out dairy and meat free recipes, but most of the products used in these recipes were very pricey and it was a one time use. Looked for Alpha Gal, Lone Star cookbooks (None were to be Found!). That’s when it hit me, the foods that I once enjoyed, why not take my favorite recipes and just substitute soy products or chicken products in its place. It was genius, I got started immediately and needed to the allergy was taking its toll and I was down 10 lbs in just 2 months. The stress at work was also causing severe reactions which in turn lead me to having to take 3 different medications (histamine blockers).
The first couple recipes I tried not so good, thank god for my husbands honesty. My eldest daughter Ashley always made me feel good commenting ” Mom your food is delicious” and ate it, but I knew, Amber not so nice and disliked most of the dishes. As the experiment went on the food actually got better and was delicious.
Its been many months later and my book of recipes are finally completed. My goal was to develop inexpensive easy recipes out there for myself and anyone that can’t eat dairy or meat, and to provide some resources to anyone suffering from the Alpha Gal Allergy. I’ve been blessed to have experienced this journey and thank the lord for giving me the strength in never giving up hope. Since being diagnosed I feel more energetic and healthier with my new diet. Now down to one histamine blocker and I’ve removed myself from the stress-full work environment, It’s great to feel normal again.
The Alpha Gal Allergy Cook book is available at http://amzn.com/1500685461 currently paperback is $13.99 and you can download the Kindle version for $2.99 (normally $7.00) with purchase of book, I plan on running a holiday special soon; Paperback will be available for $9.00. Any feed back and comments would be greatly appreciated.