Wednesday, March 18, 2009
A few days ago I mentioned that I would eventually post an entry about my chocolate allergy. I am not allergic to chocolate, but to the storage mites of Central America where most chocolate is stored. For awhile, I thought my allergist was out of his mind, but then I began noticing the difference. As soon as I stopped eating chocolate, my allergic reactions decreased significantly. Anytime I would eat chocolate I would get a runny nose, itchy eyes, and the inside of my belly would itch (similar to the itchy throat I'd get from dust mites, but in my belly). I am able to consume cocoa butter and chocolate liquor, though, for it has no presence of actual cocoa. I told a coworker about this bizarre allergy, and found out that he had the exact same one. At that point I began to believe what the allergist had told me.
It has been very difficult to find evidence of this allergy on the interwebs. Most articles just refer to the fact that storage mites are a common allergy, but neglect to specify their presence in cocoa. I know many people that I allergic to chocolate, itself. Their allergies usually result in migraines or vomiting which convinces me that they do not have the same allergen effecting them. It had been years since I had heard of anybody with this cocoa-mite issue until I came across this blog entry that backed up everything I had been told.
As a line cook, I used to get annoyed with people who were "allergic" to onions or garlic because most times they just don't like the ingredients. I cannot count the number of times people have said they have an allergy to something they don't like just to make sure it won't appear on their food. However, possessing an incredibly odd allergy has made me feel like a bit of a hypocrite in the weird-allergy category. It has forced me to accept that not all people are just dramatic fools, and that a lot of them have an actual reason for rejecting the food on their allergy list. After all, no one wants an itchy belly.