You know how you crave the things you cannot have. For me, it’s a good, greasy hamburger. Cotton’s in Lake Charles, LA makes the best! White Grill in Nevada, MO had very similar hamburgers. It was only after about 6 or 7 trips to the ER that I was able to connect ever incident to having eating a hamburger, even once after eating a greasy burger at home, that I was diagnosed with Alpha-Gal Allergy. It’s a weird one (who would expect less from me!) but if you’re interested, you can read more about it here.
Some folks who have the reactions cannot eat any mammal meat at all so I am lucky that it seems to be only the fat that causes problems for me. There’s not a lot known about the allergy and even my doctors here look at me like I’m from Mars when I tell them about it. I always take a handout to a new doctor so he doesn’t think I’m making it up.
We can make burgers at home and use 93/7 meat but you know you need more fat to make a good burger. Mostly we eat pork burgers and so far, I’ve not had any problems with those.
Yesterday about an hour before Vince came home for lunch, I was sitting and knitting and he called and said “Let’s go to Diamond R for lunch.” Fine with me . .
Diamond R is a little hole in the wall type place that you would never stop if you didn’t know about them from someone else. On Friday and Saturday they have fried fish and that’s when I like to go but they also have amazing onion rings!
They also have good burgers and since yesterday was Monday and there was no fried fish, I couldn’t decide what to get. Their meat is 81/19 and that’s pretty risky for me to eat but I said . . what the heck? It takes about 6 or 7 hours for me to have a reaction and weighing out my options I figured (1) we’d be back home by then — we were headed to the next county to look at deer blinds and (2) I have an epi-pen with me all the time, and (3) Monday is probably not a bad day to go to the ER. Weekends, it’s a zoo but who would be drunk and fighting or doing crazy things on a Monday?
So, I got a burger on a jalapeno bun.
I keep Benadryl with me so about an hour after eating the burger, I took two of them and then 4 hours later, I took two more and . . no reaction.
Reading some of the info on Alpha-Gal, I’ve read that some people “outgrow” the allergy and after a few years, can go back to eating whatever it was that caused their reactions. For some, it gets worse and they go from not being able to eat fatty meat to not being able to eat any meat from mammals. I would like to think that since nothing happened yesterday, I can go back to eating hamburgers but I’m probably not brave enough to have another one for a very long time. It was probably just taking the Benadryl, or maybe enough of the fat cooked and drained out of the meat that I didn’t get enough to cause a reaction.
Whatever the reason, the burger was delicious and I enjoyed it tremendously!
Linda Mincher says
That’s very interesting. Thanks for posting the information. I started having problems 7-8 years ago after eating beef. Mine are gastrointestinal symptoms. Not fun when you have to spend the day after eating a burger in the bathroom! It took me a while to figure out what was causing my problems. I thought it was the proteins in beef, because at about the same time I started having the same problems with shrimp. These were both things I grew up eating and never had problems with. I don’t have any problems with fish, poultry, or pork. This is something else to consider, particularly since I have spent the past 20+ years living in the south where the ticks are prevalent. Hmmm
I read something recently that talked about how the allergy can diminish after several years. Hopefully that is the case for you. At least you know you can occasionally (once every year or two) have a good greasy burger!
It’s probably been 10 years or more since my first ER visit and at that time, the allergy was unknown. I’m ready for it to go away!
Oh my gosh!! Something else I’ve never heard of! It’s true that you learn something new (almost) every day. HA That is a really weird thing to have and of course you have it, Judy! You are full of interesting info and one of the many reasons I love reading your blog. Hopefully you can have a GOOD burger once or twice a year anyway. LOL
Lynn in Va says
My 36-yr old son has had this since he was about 14. At that time nobody knew what it was and he actually came up with the diagnosis himself when he was about 20 even though he didn’t know how he got it at the time. He only eats chicken and fish and is very strict with his diet.
I figured out what I had too and the first three doctors I talked to thought I was nuts. I ended up writing Dr. Platts-Mills, who was part of the group to discover it and he put me in touch with a doctor in Austin who had worked with Dr. Platts-Mills. The doctors here still look at me like I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about when I tell them that I have it. You would think doctors would at least be willing to listen. I even printed info and took it to one doctor and he said “I just don’t believe it.” Fine . . I’m now seeing a doctor who at least took the time to listen to me about it.
Judy, you get more interesting all of the time! What happens if you only eat half a hamburger? Same reaction or not as strong? As I live on burgers (remember, I hate to cook!), this allergy would be a disaster for me…Luckily, you love to cook and are amazing at it.
Rebecca in SoCal says
A nice, loaded burger is what I miss most since diagnosing my meat intolerance (not allergy). 🙁 There is a new burger place nearby that my friends want to go to: it has 50/50 beef/bacon burgers! Fortunately, they do have alternatives.
Those are the BEST-looking onion rings! Good-looking burger, too.
Linda Minchin, I don’t think gastrointestinal symptoms point to allergies; trouble breathing does.
Judy H says
That bun picture makes me drool almost as much or more than the onion ring picture! I’m dieting, so I have to live vicariously!