Find out why I stopped eating eggs for eight years, and why I’ve started eating them again.
I’ve been eating egg-free for 8 years… until recently. Since this is a place where I share my health and food intolerance journey, I think it’s only fair to be honest with you about where I’m at. After all, I’ve shared how I eat for so long (check out a past post on this here) on these topics, it seems the right thing to do to share where I am.
Before I get into the story and the update, let me just say that this is one of those posts where people often complain about “I don’t need to read their whole life story to get to the good stuff.”
Well, in this case the good stuff IS the life story. So if you’re only here for free recipes, then this post isn’t for you. Click the little “x” at the top of the tab and find something else to read today. This is my story, my journey, and I am going to share it here.
Now. Let’s start at the beginning. Why did I stop eating eggs to begin with?
Back in 2014, when my son was just three months old, I started breaking out in hives every time I nursed him. After a few days, I was miserable and decided I needed to be checked out by a doctor. I went to the urgent care, and the doctor who saw me said “it could be from anything” and I left with nothing more than a “good luck.”
I continued to break out this way every time I held my son close. I was starting to think it had something to do with the hormones from the letdown, the close contact, or the heat between us. I could not figure out what could be causing this weird reaction. I had hives up and down both arms, on my back, and across my belly. I was miserable.
So I decided after another few days to make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor. Maybe they’d have a different solution for me that a traditional medical doctor didn’t? I couldn’t be seen for an entire month, but I was still getting these hives all those weeks later so I decided to go.
This doctor was extremely curious and interested in this and couldn’t make sense of what was going on either. She recommended boosting my vitamin C levels and taking colloidal oatmeal baths. We also decided to do a food intolerance/food allergy test via blood sample right then and there in the office. Similar to what Everlywell offers without having to see a doctor.
I was relieved that I might be getting some results soon so I’d know what to do to get rid of these hives once and for all.
“Stop eating eggs right away”
Fast forward a few weeks and the doctor calls me and tells me that we’ll go over the full results when I was in the office next, but that I needed to stop eating eggs right away. Any and all eggs, because they could be what were causing the hives.
I did as she told me and lo and behold, the hives stopped showing up almost immediately.
Now, up until the point of my pregnancy, I wouldn’t say I was a HUGE egg eater. I’d have them with breakfast, put them in baked goods, and use them as most people did – not as a huge part of my diet, but one that was firmly in the “I eat eggs” category.
When I became pregnant, I really boosted my intake of eggs because I was already not eating any dairy products (I later did eat some dairy while pregnant because my body was craving it so much). I was trying to get more protein in my body without adding loads more meat to my diet.
So with my (now) four-month old baby and not eating eggs, things improved for me and my hives. I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to eat eggs anymore and see if my overall health felt like it improved.
And it did. And the more time I really sat with the idea of not eating eggs, the more I was reminded of other times in the past that I potentially had reactions to eggs. Like how even if I ate gluten and dairy-free pancakes or waffles, I’d still want to take a nap immediately after eating them and felt foggy all day in my head.
Or the time that my husband and I drove home from a weekend away together and I held my stomach clenched over with stomach pains for the entire five hour drive home after eating at a brunch restaurant. This couldn’t be a coincidence, right?
I was all in on the idea of being egg-free
I told myself I could live like this. I’d cut out gluten before. I could live without dairy. Now, eggs… I could do this! I pumped myself up, I got to work on a plan for what other foods I could eat, and I made it work.
I’ve created recipes, I got creative with my breakfast dishes, and I was able to find healthy protein sources that didn’t involve eggs. I was able to come up with substitutes and replacements for some of my favorite baked goods.
For over 8 years, I made it work. And I actually never intended on coming back to them if I’m being really honest.
But I did eat eggs a few times in that time frame. And sure enough, I’d get brain fog, headaches, some mild hives, and itchiness that I couldn’t explain away with anything else.
As an example, there was one time we were out and my husband REALLY wanted me to try a bite of whatever it was he was eating. I remember saying out loud to my family “if I break out in hives later or tomorrow, remind me that it was from this one bite that has eggs in it because I’m not going to remember what I ate.”
And sure enough, I can’t remember if it was later that evening or the next morning I was sitting on the stairs right off our kitchen saying to my husband, “I just don’t know what’s going on, why do I have all these red bumps on my belly?” and my son walks up and says “Mom, you ate eggs. Remember?” And it all clicked for me. Eggs equaled itchy red bumps. Of course I didn’t remember before he told me, but it took those moments to remind me to keep going and keep eating egg-free.
Why I decided to try eating eggs again
So jump ahead and now we’re at last year, 2023. I’m sitting in my allergist’s office, because out of sheer curiosity I felt like a 36 year old person should know what is causing their random hives, what they’re allergic to, and simply know why the heck a few times a year, I can’t go outside without my nose running like a faucet.
Bottom line: I knew I was allergic to things, but truly wanted to know what they were so I could avoid them. I also might have wanted to validate that I was truly allergic to cats, because I had long “known” it, but wanted proof that I really should stay away from hanging out with them.
From this skin test, I learned that I am absolutely positively allergic to cats, as well as some molds, and outside environmental allergens (namely the giant tree in my front yard, etc). But no foods. Not even eggs. Or gluten. Or dairy.
While gluten and dairy I knew I wasn’t truly allergic to, I was surprised by the eggs because of the reactions I’d had in the past plus the hives… hives felt bigger than just tummy troubles, headaches, or skin issues.
After discussing this with the doctor and telling her my laundry list of what the different foods had done to me in the past (I even had printed out a table of all my suspected allergies and symptoms associated with them!), she had laughed at me that I had gone to such an extreme measure cutting these foods out for SO LONG when I clearly wasn’t allergic to them.
We discussed the hives, and she (like the doctor years ago) said “well hives can be from a million different things.”
We discussed the other symptoms with gluten, dairy, and eggs. Ultimately, she recommended I try to test all the foods I’d cut out back in and see what happened. Basically the “bring food back in” portion of an elimination diet.
She said try lactose-free milk or ice cream. She said “no one should live without dairy if they don’t have to!” And I said “I promise you that I am a better person without it,” and she replied “that’s your choice and people choose to avoid foods for a variety of reasons, but I personally would never live without cheese or ice cream if I didn’t have to!” Fair enough.
I already knew I wasn’t going to take bringing gluten back into my diet seriously. I know my digestion/brain fog/everything is MUCH better without it. I also know that I can tolerate small amounts of gluten without issues, so I would keep on keeping on with this lifestyle.
When it came to eggs, I told her I didn’t believe it. That the hives part didn’t add up. She said she’d order a couple blood tests for egg allergy. And we’d go from there. She said we’d start with eating a fully cooked egg in the office if I was nervous about having a reaction.
I tried testing eggs back into my diet on my own
A week or so later, I got an email alert that the egg tests concluded no allergic reaction. I decided to go rogue and wasn’t going to pay a bunch of professionals money to watch me eat an egg. So I made up one egg and ate it for breakfast. I later found out that this is frowned upon – ha!
I watched myself for symptoms in intervals at 5, 15, 30, 60, and 90 minutes. I realized nothing was happening… I wasn’t too surprised. Oftentimes these reactions weren’t right away for me.
I checked back in with myself a few hours later… nothing. In the afternoon and before bed, I did a scan of my body and no hives, no rash, nothing.
The next morning, I was a little congested through my nose, but other than that, I was completely fine. And I was confused.
I gave it a few days and decided to try another egg. Did the same routine: watched for symptoms, paid attention to my body… and nothing.
This is where I really started getting a little bit lost in my thoughts. And I spiraled.
Was I healed from not being able to eat eggs?
I started asking myself a million questions. Was I magically healed? Did time heal my body to tolerate eggs again? Was I ever allergic or intolerant to eggs to begin with?! Was anxiety about eating eggs CAUSING the hives? Could I honestly have been eating eggs for the past eight years?!
And then I remembered that no, I had proof. I had a doctor tell me to stop eating them. I had blood tests to prove it years ago. I had brain fog, headaches, and hives every time I tried to eat them.
And even though it was always very seldom that I tried to bring them back into my diet, I felt like it was so OBVIOUS to me that I shouldn’t be eating them.
I was at a crossroads
I was at a crossroads. I had gotten so used to being egg-free that all my favorite recipes now were gluten, dairy, and egg-free. In some weird way, being egg-free felt like part of my identity.
Was I some kind of liar that had made up an egg intolerance and now I’d have to come clean to the internet that I actually COULD eat them again? I know the answer is “no” but it felt like a huge thing a few months ago in my brain.
Anyway, I did start eating eggs again. Mostly in the form of just plain scrambled eggs at first for breakfast. Then as the weeks went on, I added them to my other dishes where I’d previously used flax eggs. Funny enough, I still prefer the egg-free version of many of the recipes I’ve written.
I’m listening to my body and eating eggs again
So, that’s the story. I went egg-free 9 years ago, because I had big symptoms every time I ate them for a while. I adapted, I created, I thrived. I lived through being egg-free for close to a decade.
And now I’m eating eggs again. I don’t know “how” I did it. I don’t know why my body can tolerate them now when it couldn’t in the past. I don’t know why I was getting hives then and not now. I have no idea what’s different, if I healed, or if I’m just listening to the signals my body is sending me. And that signal for right now is that we’re all green lights for eggs.
Either way, I’m happy. And if my body ever starts giving me signs to pull back on them again, I’ll be happy then too.
And as a side note, I did try lactose-free milk and it was weird. I haven’t had milk in so many years that it was just strange. It was overly sweet and heavy, and coated my tongue in a way that made me feel kind of gross. But I can definitely see why kids enjoy it so much – it tastes like sugar!
I gave it to myself in “doses” and drank one cup for 7 days in a row. My digestion wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as awful as it had been in the past. I’ll leave the details on that front there. What I did notice was that my cystic acne showed up in full force that month. As did some major menstrual cramping and I had one of my heaviest flow periods in years. So… that was enough for me to decide to keep on keeping on with my dairy-free diet.
Can I eat dairy? Yes.
Can I tolerate gluten in small amounts? Yes.
Do I want to? No.
I am still my best self without these foods in my diet.
But I can eat eggs again.