Guru Rabbit

Turn a new leaf (and EAT it)

Mr. Peanut, the Hangman June 13, 2011

Filed under: Interestin' Food Info — rabbit @ 12:14 pm
Tags: , ,

My boyfriend just shook his head at me.

As far as I’m concerned, peanut butter goes with almost anything.  Chocolate, honey, apples, bananas, grapefruit, blackberries, strawberries, celery, tomatoes, pickles, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, chipotle hot sauce, coconut, curry…  Don’t judge me.  I just… I really love peanut butter.  I want to hug it.  (Actually, I’d like to hug the voice of Mr. Peanut, but that’s irrelevant.  Look it up if you don’t know who it is.)

I would die for peanut butter, but I know some people would die because of peanut butter.  How sad.

The causes of peanut allergies, whether mild or severe, are still pretty mysterious.  They could be due to genetic disposition, early exposure or lack-there-of to peanuts, growing up in a rather sterile environment, or perhaps even the roasting process, which strengthens the allergen(s) in peanuts.

Back in 2007, a technique of inactivating the allergens in peanuts was developed at a North Carolina university.  Whatever happened to that progress, I don’t know.  It seems to be a slow ride to get to an allergen-reduced or allergen-free peanut.  The latest news comes from the University of Florida, where a researcher has been using concentrated bursts of ultraviolet light to drastically reduce the allergens in peanut extracts and peanut butter.  Pretty neat, though I wonder if the UV light would have any other effect on the peanut?  Either way, I think it’s still gonna be a while until the peanut-sensitive can savor a Reese’s.

What I find most interesting about the article is another one of UF’s doctors indicates that “epidemiological data show an increase in food allergies over the last 20 years”.  From what I’ve seen around me, no kidding.  Between friends, family, and customers I’ve had at past jobs, it seems like everyone develops something, even if it’s just temporary.  Gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, dairy.  What in the world?  I thought people used to eat these things with no problem.  My suspicious side thinks it has to do with the way foods are being processed. I think more global studies need to be done, comparing the types and rates of allergies, diets, food processing, and organic production versus “conventional”.  I know.  That would take forever.

But maybe it is indeed genetics, or exposure-related.  I’ve had my share, too.  As far back as I can remember, I always had an odd feeling in the back of my throat whenever I ate shrimp.  And then, before I finally gave up seafood, there was the lobster incident.  I had only eaten lobster a couple times in my life, and decided to indulge since I certainly wasn’t paying for it (monetarily, at least).  I felt feverish, itchy, nauseous, my hands felt swollen even though they appeared not to be…  I thought that maybe I was feeling similar to what the lobster felt when it was cooked.  Anywho, I took an anti-histamine and that was that, fortunately.  But yeah, no more lobster for me.  I would’ve given it up eventually anyway.

So I’m looking forward to hearing about new food allergy progress, to see if one day, the peanut no longer holds a noose over some people’s heads.  In the meantime, I going back to my jar of peanut butter.  And Mr. Peanut…


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