rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


Should you eat chestnuts if you have a peanut or tree nut allergy? I’ve researched and written about this before and chestnuts aren’t really nuts in the true sense so could be alright for some people with nut allergies, but as we all know, it’s never that simple.

I’ve eaten chestnut before, by mistake, a couple of times and had no reaction. I’ve eating a pie cooked with chicken and chestnuts (thank you Nicola :)) and most recently I ate most of a chocolate sponge made with chestnut flour with no problems what so ever. Greedy? Moi? I did share the cake, honest I did, with Mum, Catherine, Ken, Karen and Julia and they all loved it to. You can ask them.

This was the cake we all ate, made at The Perfect Retreat in Chesham last month.

Nut, gluten, wheat, dairy, soya free chocolate sponge

Nut, gluten, wheat, dairy, soya free chocolate sponge

I ate some in London with my Mum and sister and raced across London to make my way home on the underground. I do not walk slowly, as anyone who knows me will tell you. I walk at warp speed and always take stairs if I can to get some exercise in.

So what happened a few weekends ago when I took a slice to the pub with me? It was a glorious day, we sat outside in the sunshine in the pub garden at The Plough in Cadsden enjoying a pint of Marlow Rebellion real ale which is wheat free. He had crisps and I had a piece of this cake.

After which we duly hiked up the hill on our way home and that’s when it all started going wrong.

I felt quite nauseous. I actually thought I was going to be sick at one point and had to stop for a rest. Not normal for Mrs Warpspeed.

This is not something which usually happens when I have an allergic reaction so I put it down to eating a big slice of very rich cake and washing it down with a pint of beer.

My stomach was making some incredible noises. Mr What Allergy could hear them as we walked along. I thought I just had indigestion and we slowed our pace. Irritable bowel syndrome is something I am very familiar with so I didn’t really pay much attention to the stomach flips and churning. Eventually though I was doubled over massaging my stomach. Things were not looking so good.

I then became very dizzy, felt really uneasy and lost the power or sensible decision making. My head was alive, covered in hives and I was tearing at my skin. I felt hot, I felt itchy, I was getting worried.

The first thing I did was use my inhaler as a precaution since my breathing was fine and also too three anti-histamines.

Mr WhatAllergy took control. We stopped. We got out the adrenaline and looked at them for a bit. My breathing was fine but something wasn’t right. My heart was racing. I was completely unable to decide what to do.

Should we have injected the adrenaline? Should we have called an ambulance? We had, by chance, arrived at the main road, so we rested there for about half an hour waiting to see if things progressed. They didn’t. I began to feel calmer. My stomach was aching but I could breathe fine and perhaps it was foolish, but we decided to begin walking home, slowly. VERY slowly. Mr What Allergy didn’t want to leave me to get the car and I didn’t want to visit A&E unless I abcolutely had to.

We snailed our way home and I got slowly better and better. I’m not sure quite what happened, but I have deduced that for me, chestnuts are now totally off the menu.

But how confusing is that? I can eat chestnut one day. Literally the day before I had some.
Forward 12 hours and THAT happens. What is that all about?

Is alcohol the factor?
Or is it exercise? I know that I do get anaphylaxis if I eat any of my allergens and exercise and a far milder reaction if I am calm, sit still and stuff anti-histamines.

Or have I become sensitised to chestnuts?

I know some advise avoiding chestnuts if you have a nut allergy but I really genuinely thought I was OK with them.

What would you have done? Used the adrenaline? The reason I didn’t was because none of the throat swelling and horrendous hayfever type mucous production happened. It was just my stomach and my scalp, oh and my poor brain which short circuited in a big way.

By the time we got home I was fine. Totally exhausted which got me off cooking and earned me a night in front of the fire with my feet up and a rather handsome waiter attending to my every need. But really, was it worth it?

Well I did have a very lovely relaxing evening but it wasn’t worth the risk.

Has this happened to anyone else with a nut allergy?
The other interesting thing to note is that chestnut allergy can cross react with latex allergy, which I definitely do have.



An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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