Extreme allergies: ‘I couldn’t even feed an apple’

Image caption Debbie Schmid says she’s learned how to turn her dietary restrictions into a positive thing

What it’s like if you can’t eat any raw fruit and vegetables? It sounds inconvenient, restriction and potentially unhealthy.

But what if you is in addition to that dairy, soya, gluten, lactose, nuts and seafood?

That entails no bread, milk, cheese, yoghurt, cereal, fish, pasta, pizza, bought sauces, cakes, biscuits and chocolate – the list goes on.

This is the reality for Debbie Schmid, who has to live by an “exhaustive, extraordinarily long list” of banned foods due to her allergies and intolerances.

The 46 -year-old from Truro, Cornwall, explains how she has managed to turn her dietary limitations into what she believes is a “positive” thing.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Debbie cannot feed any raw fruit or veggies

“It’s kind of the cruellest joke anyone could play, because I do really like feeing, ” says Debbie.

She is dangerously allergic to seafood, nuts and celery, and also suffers from oral allergy syndrome, meaning all raw fruit and veggies make her unwell – as do dairy, lactose, soya, wheat and gluten products.

As a outcome, Debbie always carries two Epipens, or adrenaline auto-injectors, due to the threat of her collapsing.

She’s one of a growing number of people who must avoided many everyday foods all year round merely to prevent illness and even death.

“I have to have an antihistamine every single day to ward off other things because I don’t believe I have ticked every box of what I’m allergic to, ” she explains.

“Your standard antihistamines are about 10 mg. Mine are about 180 mg each.

“Originally I was on four a day, which was really wiping me out, but by clean eating and by eliminating a lot of other toxins from my body, I’ve actually been able to get it down to one a day.”

Debbie says her problems began in 2005 when she was 20 weeks pregnant and she miscarried their own children, who she named Sofia.

A week later Debbie developed a rash on her neck for the first time, after feeing seafood for dinner.

Image copyright Debbie Schmid Image caption Debbie says her whole family are happy to eat what she fees

“I think there was a shift in hormones that made this change in my body … ongoing from that, each time I had it it get slightly worse.

“I had only had one prawn … I started to develop a rash that literally ran its way up my body, I became very hot, I was quite disorientated, I felt very sick and then I became really cold, ” she explains.

“The last thing I remember of that particular event was just crawling into bed … I just was almost like I needed to shut down.”

After this “frightening” incident, Debbie was referred to a specialist clinic on the NHS in Plymouth and she was diagnosed with anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction, in her case to seafood, nuts and celery.

Swimming ‘helped me overcome depression’ The body-positive campaigner made to diet at seven Why the world is becoming more allergic Image caption Debbie has major reactions to seafood Image caption Prof Hasan Arshad says some people are “genetically doomed” to suffer from allergies Image caption People with serious allergies often carry adrenaline auto-injectors for emergencies Image caption The everyday foods most people take for granted as an option are off the menu for Debbie – often for more than one reason

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