Monday, April 4, 2011

An Allergy Epiphany

I had sort of an allergy epiphany today.....some might roll their eyes at me and shake their heads, but I thought I would share anyway.

Here it is:  after much discussion with a friend on an online board, I have discovered that paprika and pimento ARE members of the nightshade family.

Before you think I am a total dolt, let me show you how I came to different conclusions before.

Back in 2008, when I started my elimination/avoidance diet, I had gotten the scratch test done and was told to avoid the 13 different foods I reacted to and their families. The allergist's office gave me nothing to work off of, so I had to find the information for myself.

Two of my main sources for determining foods and their families are here:
Calgary Allergy Network
Botanical Food Families

BOTH of the above sites show that Paprika and Pimento are members of the Myrtle family(a food family that I could safely eat).

What I neglected to see (or ignore) was that on BOTH of these sites, Paprika and Pimento are BOTH ALSO members of the Nightshade family(a family that I consistently have trouble with, especially tomatoes...).

This is NOT true. But it is extremely confusing trying to find out what is true in doing internet searches. Even , which cites 4+ different "reputable" sources, has rather questionable information and don't differentiate between the very different foods called "pimento"!

From what I gather now, Pimento SPICE, aka Allspice in the U.S. is from the dried fruit(looks sort of like black peppercorns) from a tropical American evergreen tree, Pimenta dioica,  in the Myrtle family.

Red pimentos that are stuffed into olives, according to this site, are indeed from the Nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Ok, so we've got Pimento down. What about Paprika? Why are those listed as being in the Myrtle family on those sites? Hmmmm?

I think someone got their lines crossed or got faulty information and it's just been (unfortunately) reproduced across the internet.   I can see how people would get confused about Paprika, in trying to research it and keep everything straight. Especially when reading on this site about allspice (the spice, not the pimento pepper in the nightshade family) and then reading the sentence: "Allspice is also grown in México, albeit in lesser quality. It is used there for the famous mole sauces (see paprika). "

WHAT? So now I am *really* confused: Do the Mexicans then use allspice(the ground up spice like you would use in apple pie) in their mole sauces, or do they use paprika, the kind of spice that comes from a pepper plant in the Nightshade family? AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

My brain is going to explode.

When I started avoiding all those foods 3 years ago, I *thought* Paprika and Pimento were nightshades and treated them as such....then I read that they weren't(at the two botanical list sites) and started having them off and on. They are not something I have on a regular basis or anything....but MIL does have the green olives with pimentos out about every time we go to their home for dinner...and I have had deviled eggs with pimento sprinkled on top. The last 2 weeks I have suspected the olives might be a culprit for me and I have avoided them...looks like it's a good thing I listened to my body(finally!). I also find it interesting that the mayo that I reacted to not too long ago also has paprika in it....I know the soy was one of the things that I reacted to, but I suspect the paprika too, now that I know it's family of origin...there are SO many condiments that have paprika in them, too!  *sigh*

I wonder if it's eating those olives on a weekly(or so) basis that has sort of held me back in my allergy journey. Something to think about for sure.

I can't believe it took me 3 years to figure this out! Ugh! (Many thanks to my online friend who called me on my wrong assumptions!)

I also learned that there are other foods high in solanine ( present in Nightshades) and am thinking about omitting them from my diet...I need to do some more research on that topic before I decide what to do and if the solanines are something that my body reacts to---blueberries and okra are two of the main foods I remember on the lists... 

So....just to be clear:

Pimento SPICE(as in, Allspice) = Myrtle family

Pimento(as in the red powdered stuff in the spice aisle) = Nightshade
Paprika = Nightshade

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so long after the fact, I don't know if you will read it. But, pimento is actually a red pepper, which is from the nightshade family. So no stretch here if you are allergic to potatoes and tomatoes to be allergic to pimento as well. In olives, they actually powder the red peppers and mix them with guar gum or such to form them into strips and insert them in the olives. It took me ages to figure out why olives bothered me. Of course, now I know it was the little bit of red pepper in each one.