Celery Allergy?!?

Day 76, Feast Day #41

I obviously have been trying to eat more vegetables while alternate day fasting so I consume enough essential nutrients and stay full on the fiber and water on my fast days. I normally eat these veggies in a soup, salad, or sauteed. I found myself snacking on a couple plain stalks of celery, since I managed to forget to take salad dressing to work a couple days ago, when I noticed my mouth was going numb and my throat started to swell. Uh, do I have my first known food allergy?

This was not my first time eating celery or eating celery raw. In fact, I have eaten celery regularly since I started eating peanut butter on celery in elementary school. I have also eaten celery many times since I started ADF. Celery is even in my low-calorie tuna salad recipe.That is why I find this development/sudden realization really strange.

I didn't find any peer-reviewed research on why celery is giving me an oral analgesic effect. However, a Google search for this phenomenon assures me I am not the only person to experience this. There are many theories floating around on the Internet, mostly on online forums and on Yahoo! Answers (not reliable in the search for the truth), about why this happens. I have seen the eugenol in celery as a theory (I cannot verify that celery does contain this or in what amount) and other chemical reasonings. I don't believe this theory because the website most people cite as proof that celery contains the anesthetic eugenol, does not actually list celery as a notable source of the chemical in the section on eugenol. There is a reason dentists use clove oil for its eugenol. I have had eugenol used on me for a temporary filling, and the dental mixture smells and tastes like cloves. So, basically a lot of the information on the Internet about celery and this numbing sensation is less useful and less entertaining than the celery song:

My theory is that I experienced oral allergy syndrome (OAS) or Pollen-Food Allergy. OAS is a common allergic reaction caused by certain uncooked produce and nuts that develops in adults that also suffer tree and weed allergic adults (I belong to this category of adults). A cross-reaction between pollen allergens and certain foods can cause allergic reactions. Celery is known to react with alder, birch, and mugwort pollens. Not only are red alders a common tree in the Pacific Northwest, there is one on my normal route to my bus stop. I also have had terrible allergies this year, which I have complained about previously on this blog. I haven't had this problem with celery before, but I also try to take an allergy medication daily. I might have forgot to take my allergy medication that day, but I honestly don't remember. 

So, I am pretty sure I have developed a new food allergy as an adult in addition to becoming lactose intolerant. My mother, the doctor, also thinks I had the symptoms of an allergic reaction, not a run in with eugenol. Getting old sucks.


Fast(ing) Food - Spicy Lemon Butter Pasta

Day 73, Fast Day #35

Turns out I lost another pound, so I have surpassed the 20 lb milestone and am down 21 lbs  (9.5 kg) since I started alternate day fasting back in April. I also busted out the measuring tape and I have shed two inches from my waist and a bit over one inch from my hips. My slimmer self is now fitting into clothes that had magically "shrunk a lot in the dryer" over the years.

My copy of Wheat Belly should be arriving in the mail tomorrow. I would like to stop eating wheat products in the near future as an additional experiment, but that day is not today. Plus, I just looked at the list of food and alcohol supplies for my hen weekend at the end of the month, and there are some really tasty wheat products (vodka, croissants  muffins, more vodka, beer, more vodka). It will be an epic weekend at the shore with my girls with some epic feasts. 

While I had carbs on the mind, I worked on using up the last box of pasta in the house and threw together a savory and spicy pasta dish. 
Spicy Lemon Butter Pasta (Yields 3 servings) ~325 kcal/serving
Takes 10-15 minutes

I really enjoy pungent, strong flavored foods like mustard, garlic, olives, vinegar, and pickled vegetables. So, if you are not as fond of these sorts of strong flavors, I would recommend cutting the olives and garlic, then perhaps adding more lemon. Capers would be good instead of olives, but I unfortunately had none on hand tonight.
  • 4 oz pasta (I used whole grain medium shells) ~400 kcal
  • 2 tbsp olive oil ~250 kcal
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter ~102 kcal
  • 1/4 large onion (I used a yellow onion) ~15 kcal
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced thinly - optional ~4 kcal
  • 8 kalamata olives, sliced - optional ~50 kcal
  • 8 grape tomatoes, halved ~16 kcal
  • 8 pieces of marinated artichoke heart (quarter pieces), chopped (I used Costco's~108 kcal
  • 1/4 cup sliced banana pepper or peperoncinis (I used Mezzetta's mild pepper rings~10 kcal
  • 2 cups arugula, chopped ~10 kcal
  • 2 tsp lemon juice ~2 kcal
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar ~7 kcal
  • pepper, to taste ~1 kcal
  • Italian seasoning, 2-3 dashes (or mix of marjoram, thyme, oregano, and basil)
  • red pepper flakes, to taste - optional for even more spiciness
Fill a large pot 2/3 full of water and heat to a boil. While the water is heating up, prep the veggies and garlic. Once the water is boiling, add pasta to cook for 6 minutes (slightly underdone, because they are going in a skillet later) with a little salt so they don't stick.

In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, add in the onions.

Heat onions until they start to become translucent. Stir occasionally. Add in garlic.

After about a minute, add in the olives, artichoke hearts, and peppers. 

After a minute or so, add the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

Once the pasta has cooked 6 minutes, drain and toss the pasta into the skillet. Add arugula. once the arugula is wilting, season with pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes . Eat!


Week 10 Summary

Day 72, Fast Day #34

My mother left Seattle yesterday and I ended up making her 3-day stay a 3-day feast for myself. I did stick to a 16/8 fast on Thursday, but that was really my only restriction. Within those three feast days, there was seafood, buttery movie theater popcorn, corn pudding, a cheeseburger, fried brie, and lots of wine. This weekend reminded me that lactose is not my friend, ugh. After all of the dairy and other food debauchery, I am glad it is a fast day.

I somehow managed not to gain any weight and even lost a pound over the weekend, which puts me at a total of 20 lbs lost in 10 weeks. That is right at 2 lbs (0.9 kg)of weight loss per week, which is what is generally expected while alternate day fasting. My weight loss seems to defy traditional logic since I was having extra feasts. But, I managed to not go completely carb crazy this week. I ingested and average of 150 grams of carbohydrates/day this week, while my baseline was 213 grams/day. Perhaps my continued transitioning to a lower carb diet has something to do with it, but I am not sure. 

I did eat 14% less calories than my baseline this week, despite the extra feasting, which is 1,813 less calories this week than prior to starting alternate day fasting. This is not the theoretic 3,500 calories/week reduction needed to lose a pound, mind you. Although, the 3,500 calorie "rule" is probably not a very good rule of thumb anyway because the energy deficit requirement to lose weight is probably dependent on body composition  I reduced my caloric intake by a total of 13,468 calories over the last 10 weeks, which by the 3,500 calorie rule would mean I would have only lost a bit less than 4 lbs overall, not the 20 lbs I have lost. How mysterious. 

Week 1: 1,437 kcal or 76% of baseline calories (-3,213 kcal/week)
Week 2: 1,938 kcal or 102% of baseline calories (+294 kcal/week)
Week 3: 1,680 kcal or 89% of baseline calories (-1,512 kcal/week)
Week 4: 2,196 kcal or 116% of baseline calories (+2,100 kcal/week)
Week 5: 1,829 kcal or 96% of baseline calories (-469 kcal/week)
Week 6: 1,531 kcal or 81% of baseline calories (-2,555 kcal/week)
Week 7: 1,954 kcal or 103% of baseline calories (+406 kcal/week)
Week 8: 1,196 kcal or 63% of baseline calories (-4,900 kcal/week)
Week 9: 1,638 kcal or 86% of baseline calories (-1,806 kcal/week)
Week 10: 1,637 kcal or 86% of baseline calories (-1,813 kcal/week)

While ADFing: 1,704 kcal or 90% of baseline calories
Baseline Days: 1,896 kcal

All Feast Days: 2,802 kcal or 148% of baseline calories
All Fast Days*: 472 kcal or 25% of baseline calories

For reference
Week 1: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 2: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 3: 4 feast days, 3 fast days*
Week 4: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 5: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 6: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 7: 4 feast days, 3 fast days, 
Week 8: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 9: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 10: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
*Includes faux-fast day that was my mama's birthday dinner.

I watched a few health and weight loss talks and documentaries this week. I think the one that was most intriguing to me was Wheat: The UNhealthy Whole Grain by Dr. William Davis, the author of Wheat Belly. I haven't looked into the papers and whatnot that Dr. Davis cites, but I know I do not feel great after I eat refined grains. I also have looked at the research papers showing the high glycemic response in those foods, so I figured they aren't healthy anyway. Zach just ordered me Wheat Belly on Amazon, so I am interested to read what he has to say on why we shouldn't be eating wheat. I would like to experiment at some point with cutting wheat from my diet entirely and seeing how I feel. 
I didn't eat any wheat products on today's fast day. I made some Paleo egg and ham cups instead. Yum. I rarely eat wheat on fast days anyway because of the calorie-load plus I never feel full from breads and what not.

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