Death By Chia Seeds

So recently, in an attempt to get my physical health under control I’ve gone all uber health freak on my autoimmune disease’s ass.

Raw food. Yep. Quinoa. Yep. Gluten free. Yep. Cutting out all (ok. MOST) packaged foods, caffeine and alcohol. Yep. Making bread. Yep. Milling grains. Yep. You may mock, but it’s pretty much the only control I feel I have over my disease. And I don’t do well when I feel I have no control. AND I feel a whole lot better doing it. Physically the eosinophil infiltration in my gut have gone down. “Keep up the diet!” my immunologist told me. So I shall.

Anyhoo, so the other day I was really craving a chocolate milkshake, so decided to make the next best thing: a raw cacao and banana smoothie. Now I don’t have the best record with smoothies. Sure, they are super healthy for most people. But for me, no matter whether they are green, berry, banana, or cacao, I always seem to end up praying to the porcelain Gods for approximately 48 hours after consumption.

The smoothie of doom.

The smoothie of doom.

Did this stop me? No.

The recipe called for a large number of chia seeds, unsoaked, which was kinda weird. But hey, I’m all for trying new things.  I made the stupid smoothie. Took a sip, and almost immediately my tongue and lips started itching and burning.

Hmmm. That’s weird. I thought, trying to SCRATCH my tongue. Never had a tongue itch before. Then I turned the page in my book and in a rather regrettably cavalier fashion took another sip.

The burning got worse, and now even my ears started to feel like they were on fire. Clearly I like to live dangerously so I took another sip.

Then my tongue started swelling up, and I completely flipped out.

Oh my God! I’m having an allergic reaction! My airways are going to get blocked and I’m going to DIE! I randomly ran around the kitchen. Why. I’m not quite sure.

I tried to contact my Mum. Naturally when I called her number, I heard her phone ringing right next to me. Next I sent Hubster a message asking whether he thought I was having an allergic reaction. He suggested it might be hay fever (probably so not to panic me, which didn’t work because news flash: I was panicked). I gave up on Hubster. He wasn’t any use anyway as he was working in the city and I knew he would never get home in time to administer CPR or call a coroner or whatever it was that I was going to need.

I really didn’t know what to do. I have plenty of allergies/intolerances but they tend to affect my gastrointestinal system, not my mouth. So I sat back in an armchair and thought. So, this is how it ends.

Luckily at that moment my Mum arrived. Almost simultaneously my tongue swelling started to go down. I felt a bit silly for the terror I had felt, and was actually pretty glad no one was around to witness my freak out. With venom I chucked out the rest of my smoothie, and went upstairs to lie down.

Then the vomiting started. Then the unbearable pain. I cannot begin to even describe the pain I feel when I eat something I cannot tolerate. But lets just go ahead with BAD. Mum came up with a glass of water and I told her I think I had had an allergic reaction to chia seeds and begrudgingly admitted that I may need to see a doctor.

Just for future note. If you ever want to get in to see your GP super quickly tell them you are having an allergic reaction. They will tell you to go to hospital, but once you convince them that that isn’t going to happen, they will take you in immediately, and you will even get to go and lie down in a germ infested bed as opposed to the germ infested waiting room.

The first thing I asked for was a vomit bag. Then a maxalon injection. My GP came in to see me, the GP who knows ALL about my health troubles. And she was all “Hello Rachael…what have you eaten now?”

“It was the damn chia seeds!” I told her.

“Chia seeds. That’s unusual!” She said.

“Everything about me is unusual!”

They wanted to give me an anti-histamine injection but couldn’t because of the Lithium. Which is pretty much the story of my life. So I had to lay in the bed for ages under observation, listening to an old guy in the bed next to me getting some sort of abscess cut out of his ear.

I must have looked pretty bad at one point because I had the nurse and doctor hovering over me. And the nurse was saying “Rachael? Are you still with us?” I didn’t want to tell them that I was actually trying to meditate, the way I did in labour, to get myself through the pain, and their questions were TOTALLY DISTRACTING ME. So I just muttered a grumpy “Yes. I’m still here.”

After a designated amount of time, Mum and I left the practice, me barely able to walk and clutching the vomit bag. On the way home, without a whole lot of warning, I puked into the bag, which was all very well and good except the BAG HAD A HOLE IN IT. Now what kind of bag, with the sole design of containing vomit, has a hole in it?! I’m not sure I have ever vomited that much in my life. And believe me. I’m no stranger to the power spew. The holey bag was becoming a major issue.

Mum started winding down the windows and laughing (which she later told me was awkward laughter but at the time felt a trifle unsympathetic), and because I always get the giggles at inappropriate moments too I started laughing. It is almost impossible to laugh and spew at the same time. It was not a pretty sight.

We got home and since I was covered in vomit I was chucked out of the car to dispose of my vomit bag before coming in. I seized the opportunity to throw up in the hedge. I then spent the rest of the evening rolling around in agony and rushing to the toilet.

So, lesson learned. No chia seeds. No smoothies. And if your mouth starts getting itchy after eating, just stop (no matter how good it tastes).

Chia seeds 1: Rachael: 0.

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14 thoughts on “Death By Chia Seeds

  1. Oh no! However from the research I have done, people with adverse reactions to Chia Seed is more common than you think. Though most common reaction is diarrhea and bloat. I hope that you feel better, Can you use flax seed instead? I hope you can find something.

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  2. Crap! And I thought it was bad that I’m in pain after eating a chocolate chip muffin. I just have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and cannot eat gluten without a negative reaction. At least I will probably be able to make it to the bathroom in time and will not throw up all over myself. Yikes!

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  3. Although while I read this it was terrifying to imagine suffering the way you did, it was still so funny in certain parts! That, my friend, is a gift to pull off in writing!!!!! I was captivated with the chain of events.

    I’m quite relieved that you’re okay!!!

    I’ll never look at chia seeds the same way again, and even though I have no reaction when I tried eating them a few months ago, I have absolutely no desire to consume them again either! 😉

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      • I also couldn’t help but think about a dumb contest I entered a while ago that I lost. The contest was run by a “healthy cookie company” in the Bay Area and they wanted to create a new cookie and asked the public for ideas. They wanted something unusual, with a trendy health food ingredient element, so I suggested “Red Velvet Chia Seed” cookie (Yeah, that sounds gross, but I thought it could be done!) and I was the first entry on Facebook. The next person who entered this contest wrote “Lemon & Chia Seed”, basically stealing half my idea. Of course that person won, the fiend! I stopped buying their $4 “designer” cookies after that!

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      • Hahaha this made me laugh. Don’t you just HATE it when people do that! For the record the red velvet chia cookies sounded much better. I’m a big red velvet fan and if it weren’t for the whole chia seed and gluten thing I would be all over that! 😉

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  4. how horrible! i had that kind of reaction, well, the swelling, not the vomitting. It’s terrifying! You feel your tongue and whole mouth swell and you can’t talk. I don’t think there is a worse feeling as you gasp for air and believe you are going to die. Breathing… a pretty necessary aspect of living! Mine was to a new med but anyways….
    Glad you’re feeling better! No chia. ixnay on the hiachay! 🙂

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  5. I am glad you are feeling better and really glad that I do not have serious food allergies. I just recently started drinking lactose free milk simply to ease up on the symptoms so I could once again enjoy a bowl of cereal in the morning. As soon as they come up with something for my egg issue, I will be all over that. Until then, I will continue to eat eggs!.
    Though I think you should maybe start saving a few “buckets” for future use. In my household, we always have a few designated plastic items that might have been recycled or tossed out that I save for just the occasion you described. Toss a wet paper in the bottom to prevent splash back and you are good to go. Take care, I look forward to future writings!

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    • Thank you! When I wasn’t allowed eggs I did find this egg replacement stuff in the supermarket. It was ok for cooking with..not so much if you wanted scrambled “eggs” or something I would guess! 🙂

      Ironically I did have a vomit bowl in the car, but chose the bag as I thought it would be less messy. How wrong I was lol! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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