Grace is when God gives us what we don't deserve.
Mercy is when He doesn't give us what we do deserve.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The fine line between yummy and dummy

Some of you may know that I am allergic to eggs (No, even if I could, I would never eat Robins' eggs, I just love the color of them).  Not even the whole egg really... if I can find a way to get to the yolks without them being contaminated by the whites I could be in eggy bliss.  You see, I LOVE EGGS!  I love them when I bake, I love them in egg sandwiches and I love them when I cook.  The worst part for me is I think if the allergy was worse I would be better at living with it.  Right now, my reaction isn't great, but it isn't life threatening.  I don't even break out in hives all over, instead I get these annoying patches on my elbows and knee (right side only) that itch like crazy.  The allergist told me (after the prick test) that since it wasn't life threateningly severe I didn't have to completely cut eggs out if I didn't want.  He did say that I would have to manage my exposure and over time my reaction could become increasingly uncomfortable to the point where it might become severe but there is no way to know when or if it would worsen or how bad it might get to be.

The doctor told me that my reaction would be worse if my body was dealing with other allergy triggers (say Christmas with 3 dogs instead of 1) and that it would be better if they were baked into things than cooked (cake = good, mayo = bad) or combined with other things.  Please, trust me that I am really grateful eating eggs doesn't require use of my constant companion the Epi pen or send me to the ER because I have had my throat swell shut and that is NOT a fun experience.  It's just that when I first found out it was really overwhelming.  I mean, I started to run through all my favorite recipes... No pancakes, No pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, No custard pie for Christmas, None of Mom's sweet breads, No cakes, No French toast, No crusty breads, No breaded chicken and the list just went on.  I started running through all my favorite recipes (I have quite a few since I like to read cookbooks like some people read novels) and thinking about how the last time I made them I didn't even realize that they were causing my problems.  More importantly, that it would be the last time I got to enjoy them.  Thanksgiving was just a few weeks away and my family was coming to me this year.  What was I going to do?  There had to be pumpkin pie.  I was not going to make them miss out just because it would make me uncomfortable.  Then as I came to grips with the fact that this was my new reality, I started researching and experimenting with egg free cooking.  I now have some tricks that have helped me to continue baking and be able to enjoy the treats I make without itching.  

Joy, right?  I found a way to work around this complication... not so much.  I know logically that cutting out eggs completely clears up the itching and makes life in my skin more comfortable.  In fact, since I found out what exactly the problem was I have cut eggs out for the most part, and that is the problem.  "For the most part" means that I no longer eat omelets, traditional cakes or most breads from the grocery... but I still drink Root beer, nibble on jelly beans if they're around and succumb to the temptation that is really good sour dough bread if I am not focused on what is in them.  Uh-huh, that's right, all of those items contain egg whites.  Yep, I know.  They are EVERYWHERE!  The obvious things aren't such a problem, even though they still tempt me, it is all the little ways eggs sneak into things.  Then, just that because the reaction is mild and mostly uncomfortable not threatening, it is easy to be less diligent about checking when I am feeling rushed or stressed over other things.  I also occasionally rationalize that just a little isn't so bad, the allergist told me I just had to manage my exposure to eggs.  The thing is... I know if I avoid them the patches go away and I don't want to crawl out of my skin, so I know in my heart that I should cut them out COMPLETELY.

I kind of think of it like temptation and sin (and yes, eggs are majorly tempting when you can't have them by the way!)...

There are some things that really aren't good for us, but the consequences of those choices aren't dire.  Sure, they maybe make things a little uncomfortable and make it hard to live in our skin for a bit, but because it's not sooo bad we let ourselves slide when we're stressed.  Instead of checking our choices, we just go with what we want and then later, when the now familiar uncomfortable reactions set in, realize it was not our best decision.  If it was a hard and fast NO vs a YOU WILL HAVE TO MANAGE THIS it would be easier I believe.  The flaw is in thinking that we can manage it.  Because we can't.  Not without putting a lot of time, effort and work into managing it and odds are that even then you will slip up because we're HUMAN and fallible.  We start out strong managing our temptation, we research a little by reading the Bible, find other people's tips and tricks for working through the process and then we start to put somethings into practice.  We do enough to feel comfortable and confident with this new altered reality of our life and then the problems start.

We're comfortable that we can handle it, so we are a little less intentional and diligent.  Maybe you stop looking for new ways of managing the temptation or you quit seeking out others who are coping with the same situation.  We've got this down, so we mainly exist with our safe options until that one day we see something new and decide to give it a go without really looking into it... It's only later that we realize that it was a seriously bad choice for our well being.  Sure, we can stop now it's not too late to walk away but we've already compromised ourselves.  We will be paying the price for this choice.  I think that like eggs for me, sin is the same is everywhere, it can start out small enough but will cause increasingly severe reactions over time and in some ways it is just better to cut it out completely than try to manage it.

So yeah, while I am really grateful that my reaction to eggs is mild, I think I would be a lot more diligent if it was a serious threat instead of an uncomfortable one.  I am especially prone to feel this way as I scratch at my knee because I have forgotten that egg whites are used to make Jelly Belly candies shiny and have consumed several.

It is everywhere, it can be hidden in places I wouldn't expect it, I need to be diligent about avoiding it because some of the things that are just uncomfortable for me to live with now may later cause serious complications and put my life at risk.  

What things is it just easier (or maybe would be smarter) for you to avoid than try to manage?


  1. Not going to lie ha ha! I stopped reading half way through because i thought I was just reading about Eggs... LOVED the ending though!

  2. Ha! I didn't see that coming--I was totally going through my mind trying to come up with some sort of egg alternative for you and then boom...truth. Nicely played Andie. ;o) (BTW, can you use powdered eggs or egg beaters for cooking?)

    I really liked this post...I pray that I never stop having a bad reaction to life so I don't turn from medicine.

    I need to avoid sugar. LOL...but life-wise, I need to avoid situations I know the outcome from past experiences. I need to make a conscious effort.

  3. @ S- Now who is Sassy? Glad you loved the ending but the middle was the best part (where I connected egg issues to sin)

    @ Morgan- Nope. In fact most egg replacement things (think Eggbeaters) have whites in them. There is a powder you add water to that I can use but I wouldn't want to make an omelet out of it. For baking you can replace eggs with yogurt, sour cream, bananas or apple sauce. The trick is to figure out which one to use for which recipe and what the function of the egg is in the recipe. Lots of trial and error.

    I'm right with you on not repeating past mistakes...