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"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny." - C.S. Lewis

Alpha-Gal.net

About me and this blog

About Alpha-Gal

       A bite from the Lone Star tick or a chigger can cause people to develop an allergy to red meat, including beef, pork, lamb, venison, goat, and bison. This can also include the by-products that are hidden in a lot of the processed foods available today. The Lone Star tick has been implicated in initiating the red meat allergy in the US and this tick is found predominantly in the Southeast from Texas to Iowa, into New England.
Alpha-gal allergy is different from other food allergies like the peanut allergy as the response is delayed. Unlike someone with a peanut allergy who has an immediate allergic response after eating peanuts, people with the alpha-gal allergy do not start having symptoms until several hours after they eat mammalian meat. The reaction can take anywhere from 3-12 hours to present after the patient has ingested the allergen. The reason for the delay is due to the allergy being to a carbohydrate and not a protein.  
Some Alpha-Gal patients do not have adverse reactions to dairy and are clear to eat it. Others have to avoid it too. The issue for Alpha-Gal patients is that so many products are made with by-products. This could mean, for the patient who doesn't know yet, a very harsh wake-up call and a trip to the ER. The higher the fat content in the product the worse the reaction. 
After the delayed onset, the allergic response is typical of most food allergies, and especially an IgE-mediated allergy, including severe whole-body itching, hives, angioedema, gastrointestinal upset, and possible anaphylaxis. These symptoms are caused by too many IgE antibodies attacking the allergen, in this case, the alpha-gal.  In 70% of cases, the reaction is accompanied by respiratory distress and as such is particularly harmful to those with asthma. Alpha-gal allergies are the first food allergies to come with the possibility of delayed anaphylaxis.

Some above retrieved from http://alpha-gal.org/
 
Alpha-Gal in the media
  1. New Tick Can Cause Deadly Food Allergy to Red Meat - FOREVER
    Jerath said doctors did not know about alpha-gal allergy, as it is called for short, until recently. Though she couldn't say the total number of cases the clinic has diagnosed in the past year, she said that it has become so frequent that it's something she and her staff check for in almost every patient who comes to the clinic. "We probably follow 30 or so patients with it," she said. Jerath said she suspects a lot of people have the condition but are undiagnosed because the symptoms start showing four to six hours after they eat the culprit food, which makes them think that it is not caused by food. "People just don't think about it. If it happens right away, you associate it" with food poisoning, she said. Though researchers are still trying to determine what triggers people to start producing the antibody, a recent study from the University of Virginia suggests the condition may be linked to tick and chigger bites. In the study, 80 percent of the participants reported being bitten by ticks either weeks or months before symptoms began. Researchers believe all types of ticks can trigger the reaction. They also found that people with Type B or AB blood seem protected from developing the antibody. Clark believes a tick bite is how he got alpha-gal. While working outdoors last fall, he noticed that his legs were covered with little red ticks. He got them off his skin and clothes but did not suffer any other symptoms at the time. He said that since he was diagnosed, he has been bitten twice by ticks. On both occasions, the area around the bite swelled into a red welt, a common reaction University of Virginia researchers found in their study among those who develop the red meat allergy. Jerath said that though the tick theory is the most common explanation that is available right now, scientists are still trying to determine how it happens and how they can make it go away. She said that because there is no commercially available test yet that looks for the antibody, the clinic has come up with a surrogate testing that looks at other things present in the blood of alpha-gal patients to determine whether a person has it or not. She said people who suspect they are having allergic reactions to beef, pork, venison or lamb need to see an allergist.

About me

       Hello, readers! I want to first start out by saying I am by no means a writer, journalist or author. I started this blog because when I was diagnosed with Alpha-Gal there was nothing on what to do. I found very little on what life was like once you were diagnosed. All of what I know about Alpha-Gal, I learned on my own. What not to eat my doctor told me, but what about the things I could? I was lost and for once, the internet did not hold all the answers. 
After learning of my diagnosis and what to avoid, I started learning about what by-products existed. I was horrified. I can not have a tetanus shot. There are IV medications that I can not be given. This product has casein or whey in it. That product contains gelatin. My head was spinning. The thing that we do not know is that so many products today contain by-products. The American diet is laced with them. 
I am no means a health food nut. I love soda and not exercising. When I learned all the by-products I could not have, the fast quick and easy lifestyle I had was gone. I had to really try to avoid what would kill me if I was not careful. My family had a very hard time understanding. Going out to eat with friends became impossible. Try explaining that on a first date. I felt like my life was over. 
It was my cousin who showed me not all was lost. She has been a vegetarian for years even when her husband does not like it. She pointed me in the direction I needed to go. Peta then began helping me spot all the by-products I had to avoid and thus my Flexivegan diet was born.
Once I understood that a hybrid diet of still eating turkey, poultry, fish and seafood while eating vegan in every other part I had my life back. No this is not a full vegan diet nor do I claim to be one. Vegan is just the easiest way to avoid what will kill me in processed foods. I came up with the term Flexivegan to describe the diet. In this blog, I will show you what I have learned. I hope that in doing so others with this allergy can learn to live again. A lot of the recipes and such were adapted from their original contents. It is time to start living again!