Did you ever hear of anyone being allergic to peanut butter when you were growing up? I never did! We ate pb&j’s all the time on white, nutrition-less Wonder Bread without thinking twice about an affect. I used to scoff at people who made such a big deal about serving nuts on planes and in schools. Seriously, it’s just a peanut! How deadly can it be?
Well….serves me right. I have a toddler with a peanut allergy. And it IS a big deal. I am now becoming one of those big deal makers! I want to sock people in the mouth who don’t take it seriously. People like Joel Stein, who writes for LA Times, (but shouldn’t because he’s a bad writer) and says that peanut allergies are an invention of yuppy parents.
I’d like to see Joel witness his tiny son get red, itchy bulges all over his face and watch his lips blow up like a balloon and then see if he still has the nerve to tell me I’m making this up. It’s really quite heartbreaking. And so scary.
The number of kids with peanut allergies has doubled in the last five years. So why do so many kids have peanut allergies? Maybe it’s my fault for liking peanut butter so much. One theory suggests pregnant women who eat a lot of peanut butter are to blame. Another, called the Hygiene Hypothesis says that because our kids have fewer infections, their immune systems (I’m assuming out of boredome) are targeting other things like the enviroment and food.
That’s a really weird theory. But I can’t come up with anything better. My attempt was that maybe evolutionarily kids are protecting themselves from peanut butter but getting allergies to it. Maybe we’re supposed to rid our world of those foods for future health. There was that big salmonella, peanut-recall lately. . . . hmmm, probably not a plausible theory. Do you have one?
PS: NorthWest Airlines (my airline of choice) just re-introduced peanuts to its snack menu, despite protests. Following Delta’s lead, I’m sure, with whom they recently merged with. I couldn’t be more disapointed.