Saturday, January 9, 2010

'Egg'ceptions Apply

I've been allergic to eggs since I was five or six years old. It never posed much of a problem in India as there always have been eggless foods to bank upon. A lot of people there do not eggs as they believe it to be a non-vegetarian food item and against their religion to eat it.
Before I came to the United States, A's sister and A had told me that a lot of food items will have egg here. Having come from India, I had never thought that ice-creams and some everyday breads can also have egg!
It so happens that when at a house party or when invited for dinner, I would ask if some food has egg, only to avoid a problematic situation for me as well as the hosts. Several families find it difficult to fathom that a person can have egg and other food allergies. Or some people feel that it is extremely uncommon for people of Indian origin to have food allergies. So over the years, have come across a wide array of things people have told me when I said I don't eat desserts, cakes or anything that has egg or eggs itself.
Here are some reasons that people have told me. And these are after I have told them that I am allergic and have been tested for it also just about a year or two back. Please feel free to tell me your experience, if you've had any on these lines.

1. Are you sure you have an egg allergy?
2. Why don't you try this food? It has egg, but who knows, you may not actually react!
One of the most common thing I get to hear is this:
3. I am sure it is psychological. You should keep an open mind. It's all in your mind. Just eat it. Then see what happens! Take the thought out of your mind and try it once.
4. Beta, does your entire family not eat egg? (I don't understand why family comes in this. But I still say that my dad, mom and sister eat, but I can't. And then I get to hear this) So only you don't FEEL like eating eggs?
One of the most bizarre ones I hear is this:
5. When A eats eggs, and everything else, then why don't you?
Even as I write this, I feel like telling them that there is just no connection in the question you just asked me.
6. Beta, you should do Pranayam, your allergies will go away. All allergies will go away if you do it everyday for X amount of time
7. Maybe you are plain scared to try eggs.
8. Why don't you start eating eggs now? Maybe you had allergies as a child. I have not heard of any adults having food allergies, so now you should eat eggs.

I started eating chicken a year back, not to increase my food options, but because I started enjoying it. So people's comments have reduced a little, but one comment remains.
9. See, now that you can eat chicken, try egg. I think it is a psychological barrier you have against eggs. When you eat non-vegetarian, what is wrong with eggs?

I had a funny experience when I was in Delhi this summer, visiting T. T, her daughter and I were out shopping. At lunch time, I thought of getting myself a butter chicken frankie. Out of my usual habit for checking if the tortilla (outer covering of frankie) had egg, I asked him if anything had egg. And the guy told me that they had a regular roti (Indian flat bread), then an omelette and inside that they put the chicken filling. So I told the man to omit the omelette and just put the filling in the roti. To which he said that the omelette will accentuate the flavor. And I persisted saying I still didn't want it. And then he said, "Lekin madam, aap ne toh chicken frankie order kiya hai. Phir bhi?" ("But madam, when you have ordered chicken frankie, why omit the egg?) After I said yes once again, he did omit the egg, but was definitely flustered at this weird order!!

I feel good that sometimes people are genuinely concerned and some will go the extra mile and read the tiresome list of ingredients when they go shopping. This really touches me that they went out of their way to accommodate me. It gets to me when people assume I have a psychological block over and over again.

One last bit of information for those who have egg allergies. Here are some foods to watch out for. They are foods that you may assume do not have eggs.

1. All flavors of Ben n Jerry and Haagen Dazs have egg.
2. Subway veggie patty has egg.
3. So do some multi-grain or 12 grain or 15-grain breads.
4. Some whole wheat organic and regular burger buns.
5. Most Kaiser rolls.
6. Indian flat breads in restaurants - especially naan and kulcha have egg most of the times. Won't hurt to ask if it does or doesn't.

Wish you all happy and healthy eating!


  1. great blog, Amishi!! Hopefully everyone reads it and does not discuss the FAQ's! Perhaps you should add in all of the foods that you have modified such that they do not needs eggs, but still taste great!

  2. Egg-cellent post Amishi :) Keep them coming!