Please help solve my hummus mystery!
August 3, 2011 7:54 PM Subscribe
The mystery sesame allergy: WTH is going on here?
posted by emkelley to health & fitness (11 answers total)
In the fall of 2009, I had a minor allergic reaction to hummus at a restaurant. I began avoiding hummus casually (which is so sad because it's delicious and I have had frequent opportunities to travel to the Middle East). On one trip to the region, I was able to eat one hummus-like dip without reacting, but another one caused a break out. I have since reacted to black sesame seeds, and this weekend the reaction progressed to anaphylaxis, pretty scary. I've been to the allergist and both skin and blood tests came back negatively for sesame, pine nuts, chickpeas and garlic. The planned next step was for me to sit in the allergist's office, eat some hummus and watch me react, but I don't want to do that since my allergy has progressed way beyond hives.
My questions: is there ANY possible way that I would react differently to sesame seeds and tahina? I had no reaction to eating a sesame seeded-bun a day before the anaphylaxis. On the other hand, I was in the Middle East earlier this year, and ate a bunch of plain tahina because it was yummy, and I did not react. I reacted to hummus when I ate it on this trip.
Am I confusing tahina with some other ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine? If I'm actually confusing two foods, that would help me wrap my mind around the mystery.
Is there a difference between sesame species used culinarily? I've read some stuff about Mexican vs. East Asian sesame, but I can't tell if it's merely geographical difference or genetic variation. Would it even make sense to be allergic to one and not the other if there are two species?
How should I follow up with my allergist? Is there a point to sitting in the doctor's office, eating hummus and waiting for them to stab me with epinephrine? Is it worth it to ask for another round of blood tests?
If you have a sesame allergy, are there any non-obvious foods I should be looking out for? I realize I must tread very carefully within Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines from now on.