Interesting article about John Grisham

In a recent interview with Parade magazine, Charlottesville resident John Grisham stated that he can no longer eat beef or pork due to “a weird food allergy”.  Check out the full interview here.

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24 responses to “Interesting article about John Grisham”

  1. Alice says :

    I read that John Grisham article. A celebrity spokesperson would be a great idea. It would certainly make more people aware of this allergy and maybe even save someone’s life.

    • Leah says :

      I agree. John Grisham speaking for us would help inform so many in the dark. I am concerned about future heath risks? Is the allergy to red meat the only side effect?? Will these tick antibodies be in me forever?
      I just wish there were answers!! I cleanse, do acupuncture, ???
      What can I do???

  2. randaway says :

    I almost died from this allergy and was saved by epi-pens and an alert allergist who tested for the allergy…. lately have discovered that “jello” is comprised of “bovine” products and causes a reaction too.. just sayin… there are substitutes for animal gelatin products like pectin etc.. we must be vigilant about our consumption of bovine products.. it shows up in strange places…

    • allergytomeat says :

      Thanks so much for sharing your findings and I am sorry to hear that you have had such a difficult time! You appear to be particularly sensitive to mammalian products. I would just like to make sure that other readers know that the majority of people with this allergy do not react to small amounts of alpha-gal–like what is found in gelatin, etc.

      • Carla Nixon says :

        I was diagnosed allergic to alpha-gal last August. I took the information from this site to my allergist, who said this was rare, but worth testing. Sure enough, I was positive and relieved to discover the source of random bouts of sickness. I don’t eat much meat in general, so it was difficult to determine what was going on.

        I also saw the note about gelatin products here. To be safe, I’ve tried to avoid them for the most part, but am probably eating them as an ingredient in something else without noticable reaction. For school, I had to have an MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine (I’m 46, was vaccinated as a child, but the titers were .03 low for mumps). My doctor’s office gave me an informational sheet prior to the shot that said anyone with a severe anaphylactic reaction to gelatin should not take the vaccine (the vaccine contains gelatin as a stabilizer). This got my attention and I declined the vaccine until I could get a recommendation from my allergist. My allergist advised that there was so little alpha gal in the vaccine that no reaction should occur.

        Not only did a reaction occur, it was the quickest of any I’ve had so far (perhaps because of injection directly into tissue?). 70 minutes from the time of the vaccination, the severe stomach cramping began That’s how the “attack” usually starts for me (and they are unmistakable). Sure enough, about 10 minutes later, the hives began. Because it happened so quickly and was the result of an injection, I played it safe and went directly to the ER (by the time I got there, my thighs torso were quickly covering with hives. Three steroid pills, two Benadryls, a Pepcid, and two hours later, I was fine.

        I wanted to share this information and also hoped that it would get to the folks at UVA for informational purposes. I don’t see a way to contact them with a question on this site anymore.

    • Randa Perry says :

      yes like jello

  3. OH Perry Cabot says :

    Three insights: 1. The alpha-gal allergy is so strange, the allergist to whom I was referred in 2009 did not diagnose it even though she knew one of the researchers who had just isolated the problem in Charlottesville VA! In fact, only after I asked her about the news reports, did she say, “Yes, that’s probably it.” I then confirmed it with a blood test in Charlottesville.
    2 It is difficult to isolate the offending diet. Half a normal serving of mammalian meat will give me a strong reaction. A half piece of bacon or half a pork dumpling does not. This may confirm the follow-on finding that the syndrome is dose sensitive. But three times I had a minor reaction to cheeze pizza and cheeze smothered pasta shell dishes. No cross-contamination was discovered, and I am definitely not allergic to milk.
    3. A month after beginning regular B-12 supplements, the cheeze & pasta dish had no effect. This may confirm the B-12 malabsorption finding because I have gradually worsening ulcerative colitis. Alternatively, having not been bitten again for at least a year, it may relate to the IGe decrease over time finding.

    • Donna K says :

      I am in the process of being tested for this at this time. Like the author John Grisham, my reactions started back in 2002 and into 2003 and have happened every two to three years. I just recently had two episodes. My question, I guess goes with this comment about just having reactions on occasions, but I eat red meat all the time. Is this normal, not to react every time I eat red meat or is this not a true red meat allergy. I also was bitten by a tick this summer and have been bitten by them before but can’t remember if the timing went along with other reactions. If someone can give me any info on this I would appreciate it. My tongue or mouth swells and up to this point have been able to control it with benedryl.

      • P Cabot says :

        The research MDs’ suppositions regarding the course of this phenomenon appears to be true in my case. They told me the sensitivty may decrease unless bitten again; and that I should ‘challenge’ my system periodically with small doses of meat. I have managed to avoid being bitten for nearly three years now, and have increased my intake to an ounce and a half of pork. I plan to have another blood test soon to determine if the IGe level is indeed also decreasing.

      • randaway says :

        Dear P Cabot.. I see your post is May 2012.. have you any further to report since then??… my allergy is NOT subsiding… and am curious as to why yours “is”…

  4. Randa Perry says :

    I plan a colonoscopy soon because my allergy attacks are simultaneous with a cramping / nausea intestinal episode… others are mentioning some sort of colon and allergy attack sympathies…. Jello is a recent sensitivity … Also.. B12 deficiency is an interesting thought.

    • wanda says :

      I too experienced those kinds of attacks. I would have guessed I had food poisoning except for the lobster red skin, heart racing and pounding in my ears,hives everywhere,and clawing my whole body. The body not knowing whether it wanted to throw up or excrete out… and with a low blood pressure there is no way to sit up on a commode. I took Benadryl daily for about 3 years and always when I consumed meat and at bedtime before I found an allergy dr. in High Point,N.C. to test me( my regular dr. would not even though I handed him the lab papers to send the blood to the special lab. I see this dr. every 3 months.I guess he thought this was all crazy talk).I do hope you just give up meat. It took me about 50 episodes to finally realize I needed to make a change(dr. and diet).

      • randaway says :

        give up mammalian meat! oh heck yeah!!.. never touch the stuff because flopping like a fish on the floor after midnight and itching all over does not appeal to m

  5. Leah says :

    I have been allergic for six years…When it first happened to me there was no research. My ER doctors didn’t know what to tell me. I too have almost died from this. I now live in a bubble 🙂

  6. OH Perry Cabot says :

    No need to live in a bubble. There are many factors which mitigate the issue. (1) The Study indicates that sensitivity may lessen the longer you go without another bite, (2) The Study suggests that food ‘challenges’ may increase tolerance, (3) the syndrome is quantity dependent – small amounts may not trigger it, and (4) very lean meats, such as venison, cause much less or no reaction. I can personally attest to these results.

    • T.Moore says :

      I’ve avoided red meat. I can eat Jello and marshmallows. I moved from beef to lamb, pork then deer and cannot even have the smallest bite. I can eat dairy. I do have reactions to cats that include those wonderful hives. I take shots for those and am having second thoughts on those. My reactions have ranged from semi-mild to severe expulsion, cramps, swelling and breathing issues. This whole thing is so unpredictable. Sticking to feathers and fins is the best and only resolution.

  7. Steve says :

    Curious I am originally from MS and my Mother maiden name is Grisham and we are related to John Grisham the author and I too have the late onset (1995) beef allergy.I am 57.

  8. John says :

    I was sixty years old in 1997 when I had my first reaction. Doctors said my problem was atrial fib and was treated for that for about two years. I had several more episodes during that period. I suspected an allergy and went to an allergist and tested positive for beef and pork (but not dairy) with a regular skin prick test. Stopped eating red meat but in 2006 had a very bad incident after eating a dish of ice cream–medics could not find a pulse and I was shocked twice enroute to the hospital. Later normal blood test showed low positive results for beef and dairy, but not pork. So a few months later I tried a small amount of pork and had a reaction.
    Last year I learned of the alpha-gal problem and found someone who knew about the special test developed at UVA. I had the test and found to be positive at a relatively low level (0.45). I wanted to be tested again this year to see if there was a reduced level, but the doctor would not re-test!
    During the period from 1995 to early 2005 I lived in Bedford County VA and had tick and chigger bites every year. I moved to NC and have not received any bites since leaving VA.
    Does the alpha-gal antibody thing ever go away?

    • randaway says :

      i do not think this allergy goes away… I even think that the spectrum spreads .. like to butter, cream, grease… and bovine products such as gelatin… be careful… always have your epi-pens on hand!,, and breathers too if you can..

  9. T.Moore says :

    I have a question, I get shots for cat allergies. I react to the shot sites. Is this from cross reaction? I get hives like I do with red meat not the sneezing, runny itchy eyes. Am I doing harm getting the shots?

    • SP says :

      In addition to beef, pork, and lamb I may or may not react to “whey protein” depending on how much is consumed. FYI whey is in softer cheeses such as manacotti. My reactions are severe and require epinephrine and albuterol. I take h1 abd h2 blockers daily.

      • P Cabot says :

        Very interesting. I had very unexpected reactions to cheese pizza. One month later, a mijnor reaction to Italian pasta shells stuffed with ricotta cheese, and smothered in mozarella cheese. SAme dish another two months later, no reaction. I have also noticed, after one year abstaining from meat, I have over the span of a second year increased my meat tolerance to up to one ounce with no ill effects. My serum count was 87.5 kU/L, fairly high. Therefore, it seems this condition does indeed subside as suggested by the lab.

  10. randaway says :

    Dear P Cabot.. have you any more to report since May… my allergy is NOT SUbsiding… I avoid all mammalian meat and any bovine byproducts… or else..

    • P Cabot says :

      Update: My sensitivity continues to decrease (improve). I can now eat 1.5 oz of pork product in a single sitting, and another half onze the next day — with no adverse reactions. I will have another serum test this year to see if it correlates.

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