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A Good Thing Gone Bad

In the midst of all the packing and airline melodrama Katie and I had going on last week, my body decided that it, too, would capitalize on this opportune time to start actin’ a fool.  And act a fool, it did.

I could easily ramble on for the next five paragraphs about the symptoms I had and what all led up to the final diagnosis — and I did in the first draft, before remembering that long-winded monologues detailing your every pathological idiosyncrasy generally make people want to chew their legs off or jump in front of moving vehicles to make it stop.

So, instead, let’s just say the good news is: I’m not dying.  Can I get a what-what?!

However, the bad news is… I can no longer drink wine.

Delicious, stress-reducing, body-tingling, confidence-boosting, life-affirming wine.

Why not just stop feeling while I’m at it?

While there’s no way to test for it — since, technically, it’s not even an actual allergy — recent events seem to indicate that I’ve developed an intolerance to the sulfites in wine.

For those of you who’ve had no reason to ever learn about sulfites — because, why would you? — they’re preservatives added to extend the shelf life of processed foods such as baked goods, soup mixes, pickled foods, dried fruit, potatoes and potato chips, trail mix, jams, maraschino cherries, condiments, juice, molasses, guacamole, etc.

Dang.  There goes my world-famous Molasses Pickled Prune Bread with Guacamole Marmalade recipe.  The PTA Council will just have to find another Refreshment Coordinator for the monthly meetings.

Even then, sulfites and I would be cool if that were all but, for whatever reason, they had to go and “naturally occur” in grapes.  And then wine had to go and “be made out of” grapes.  And then I had to go and “be sensitive” to grape sulfites.  Really, there’s a lot of blame to throw around here.

By the way, I couldn’t find any pictures, but here’s what I’m guessing a sulfite looks like:

Sulfites are characterized by douche-y smirks, Ray-Bans and circa-early ’90s soul patches.  Also, they’re known to lurk around local high school hang-outs, wear button-down flannel shirts with the sleeves ripped off, and drive beater Camaros they claim to be “restoring”.

It’s no wonder my body decided to wisen up and lay the smackdown on these suckers.

The cause for sulfite sensitivity is unknown, but apparently it’s pretty common for people to randomly develop it later in life, and the only “cure” is to avoid foods that trigger a reaction.  Which is a pretty lame cure if you ask me.

Never in a million years would I have suspected such an utter betrayal by my internal organs but, apparently, developing new allergies is one of the many sadistic tools your body has at its disposal to destroy your will to live as you get older, thus paving the way for your bitter-ass retirement years.

Fortunately, my sensitivity seems to pertain specifically to wine and certain juices (Orange, I’m looking at you), so I guess I should be thankful that my culinary habits don’t require a major overhaul.  Plus, some friends have put me onto certain low-sulfite wine brands to try and I can still drink beer like a champ (or at least as well as I was able to before, which was actually not at all like a champ).

Normally, this would be the part where I indulge in a little righteous self-pity but, during my exhaustive Google research over the past week, I’ve come across a number of blogs written by people with sensitivities to all sulfites, and it definitely puts things into perspective.  Considering they’re as much a staple of the American diet as flour and eggs, this means every grocery shopping trip, restaurant, social gathering, buffet, snack tray and baked good made by a well-meaning neighbor is a minefield of potential toxins for them.  And you don’t hear them whining.

One blog I especially loved was Wine NOT!, written by a spunky, hilarious lady who’s adapting hilariously to her new lifestyle.  Seriously, cannot emphasize the hilariousness enough.

Hilariosity?  Hilariality?  Hilaritude?

Whatever, just go read her blog.

(Ed. Note: Ok, I actually just clicked on her blog and today’s post is about scooping a growth out of her neck with a melon baller.  So if you’re not into that sort of thing, maybe wait until tomorrow to start reading.)

Anyhoo, what I’m trying to say is, in the Grand Scheme of Things, considering all the potentially horrible diagnoses I could’ve been handed, I got off easy like Lindsay Lohan on a drug charge.

I’ll drink to that!




I totally feel your pain-ish. I recently developed an allergy to strawberries. I used to never really notice before, but they’re in soooo much stuff!! I have to READ LABELS when shopping, and I generally like to avoid reading whilst shopping. Allergies totally suck!


Hate to hear that you’ve developed an obnoxiously delicious allergy too, but secretly love that I have a comrade in arms. Observing how other people manage to handle the situation with class and dignity and patience reminds me to stop being such a whiny brat about it. (But it’s a constant struggle, let me tell you, ’cause being a whiny brat is what I’m all about…)


I think you need to be pro-active on this. Get your butt back up here immediately! We have about sixty bottles in the cellar and I suggest drinking those sulfite bastards into submission!


Haha, I like your thinking, Dr. Rick! I refuse to accept defeat!


NOOOOO!!! I once thought I was allergic to grapes, so I quit wine for a few years until finding out it wasn’t the grapes, rather heavy metals / pesticides or something.

ANYHOO…To cope I drank cherry wine – YUM! A bottle at a time ;-) Perhaps you can find alternatives (strawberry, blackberry, apple, etc.) at places like Total Wine & More and the military booze stations.

Hang in there…


Ooooh, that sounds delicious! Going to the wine store, STAT!


Ok. So I love your blog and we sound like if we were in a room together at a party drinking wine, we would have really bad reactions but have a really kicka** time together. Can’t wait to read the rest of your blog:)


I’m so glad you said that, because it’s exactly what I wanted to write on your blog… but then I remembered that not everyone appreciates unwarranted declarations of adoration so I toned it down a notch. :) And it goes without saying that we’d totally be the coolest chicks at ER.

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