• -Natalie

Imagine almost dying from a carrot.

It was exactly 10 years ago, when I was 15 years old, that I experienced my first allergic reaction in my life. One bite of a carrot caused severe coughing, trouble breathing and throat swelling. My life-threatening allergy to carrots, which is a food I safely ate frequently as a child, was confirmed at my very first allergist appointment. I was handed an EpiPen and told to avoid carrots in all forms - both raw and cooked.

When I asked if I would be able to ever eat carrots again, the allergist responded “maybe in 10 years”. That’s when I’m 25, I thought to myself. I always dreamed of getting married around the age of 25, and it seemed so far away at this point. I remember trying to picture the life I would be living at 25, and how I would manage an allergy to carrots.

As the years passed, I went on to develop life-threatening food allergies to literally everything except wheat and dairy. Everything includes all vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs, nuts, legumes, etc. This led me to seek treatment through the Tolerance Induction Program by Dr.Randhawa at the SoCal Food Allergy Clinic.

For the past three years that I’ve been in the program, I have dosed and challenged multiple foods and greatly expanded my diet. These foods include tree nuts, eggs, legumes, fruits, spices and more! Currently, I am dosing for peanuts.

For the past 6 weeks, I have updosed peanuts at home from 1 to 4 peanuts, and today I went into the clinic to challenge an even larger amount: 9 and a half peanuts! This is an amazing step towards reaching food freedom, and the end is near.

Surprisingly though, the peanut updose challenge was not what got me most excited. During my appointment, I ended up challenging two other foods after my 9.5 peanut challenge.

After over 3 years of not being able to eat A SINGLE VEGETABLE, whether cooked or raw, I got to challenge Broccoli. I did not choose this food, as Dr.R chooses all foods according to how the proteins cross react with each other and many other individualized factors, but nonetheless, I was so excited to finally add a vegetable back into my diet.

The challenge consisted of eating 2oz of broccoli, followed by intense exercise for 5 minutes to ensure my body can completely tolerate the vegetable. After passing with flying colors, I think my body will be happy to be able to get some more nutrients that it has been deprived of for all these years.

The most exciting part of today’s appointment though was the third food I challenged: CARROTS. Cooked carrots. I ate them. And had NO SYMPTOMS. And all I could think about was what my very first allergist told me about maybe being able to eat carrots again in 10 years - only little did he know it would be due to treatment!

Here I am at 25 year’s old, exactly 10 year’s after my first official food allergy diagnoses, eating carrots. And the sweetest part of it all? My wedding is in less than 5 months! Time flies.

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