Strawberry Kisses & A Rant

Contact Dermatitis.

Ever heard of it?


Well, as you can see Web MD refers to it as a type of skin reaction caused my a “foreign substance”.

Enter “foreign substance”

Yep, that’s right, after the other night’s DELICIOUS bowl of strawberry ‘n cream oats, my upper lip decided to rebel against me…or technically speaking, my antibodies reacted in a way that was not much appreciated.

I woke up the next morning with a weird sensation in my upper lip. It felt a little swollen, chapped, and dry. While driving to work, I noticed a slight burning sensation and a little discomfort so when I got to the hospital, I checked in at employee health to see what the deal was.

Knowing that I have an allergy to kiwi (lovingly referred to as oral allergy syndrome where my lips and throat swell and itch), I was worried that I was having some sort of similar response to something I ate but for the life of me couldn’t figure out what it was. When I explained everything to the doctor, she asked me if I had had any fruit in the last 24 hours…

Um, any fruit like my beloved strawberries?

“That’s it!” she said.


Then she proceeded to write me a prescription for a steroid and load me up with samples of ibuprofen and Zyrtec.

Can I have a little aside for a moment? Of course I can…this is MY blog isn’t it?! 😉

Ok, so for years I’ve been living life along with the other millions upon millions of people who believe that modern medicine is the only option out there. Well, that is NOT my belief anymore. While I understand that there is a time and place for modern medicine (instances of severe trauma and/or other life threatening occurrences), it has come to my attention in the last few months how much it seems that the world relies on modern medicine as an answer to everything. I’ve also found that it is hard to have such a change in beliefs when you work in a modern day hospital.


Everyday I see people come into the hospital toting their never-ending list of medications and/or the actual medications themselves in their handy dandy Walmart bag and it just makes me wonder how much of it is actually necessary.


I understand the need for some medications…I just think our society relies on them too heavily. I mean think about it. Let’s say “Susie” was just diagnosed with diabetes. Now most doctors will glaze over the fact that perhaps a little diet and exercise would help, but really push the need for pharmaceutical drugs. But let’s say, for entertainment purposes, that “Susie” decided to start walking everyday and eating more well-rounded meals full of fiber and low-glycemic carbohydrates and miraculously her blood sugar began to stay at a more manageable level.

Oh my gosh, I could talk ALL day about this subject, but I’ll try to stay focussed on what got me here!

Steroids. Anti-inflammatories. Antihistamine blockers.

For a small swollen area on my lip??

I took the prescription and the samples and smiled as I thanked the doctor and went back to work. Then I threw the medical paraphernalia in my purse and pulled out some cocoa butter lip balm. The way I figured it was this: if it gets any worse, I’ll take the meds.

And you know what? I DIDN’T get any worse. It took all day of applying and REapplying lip balm to keep my lips from getting dry (obviously avoiding the “m” word here), but, other than it being a little annoying, by the time I woke up this morning, I was perfectly fine.

Overmedicating. Suppressing the body’s natural responses.

That is what I’m NOT okay with!

The doctor told me that I’m not necessarily allergic to strawberries, but that I should limit my intake and rather than biting into them, (where my lips will touch the skin of the berry) that I should maybe chop them up or even throw the whole berry in my mouth.

So, that being said, allow me to introduce you to tonight’s dinner:

Hey, just following the doctor’s orders! 😉

They ARE chopped!

Sourdough bread French toast coated with Mighty Maple*

with a “spattering” of fresh berries

and a drizzle of maple syrup!

*Mighty Maple has officially redeemed itself! Word of advice: this peanut butter was meant to be served warm!

♥ Oh MM, I take back all those nasty things I said!

I didn’t mean it…really I didn’t! ♥

And don’t worry, I have meds if I NEED them! 😉

Dare I ask? What are your views on modern vs. alternative medicine?

Do you have any food allergies? How do you deal?
I can’t eat kiwi at all. The last few times I had it, my reaction seemed to get worse and worse. But I do know some people who seem to know just how much of the “illegal substance” they can tolerate before having a reaction. Ugh, wish that were the case for me! I miss my little green fuzz balls!




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45 Responses to Strawberry Kisses & A Rant

  1. Wow, I’m sorry you had that reaction! I feel very lucky to have never had a reaction to anything food related. I TOTALLY agree with you about us being too dependent on modern medicine. In my experiences, traditional doctors don’t focus enough on OVERALL health and PREVENTION of diseases, they just treat whatever symptoms arise with some pills and then send the person on their way. I really believe our health system has some issues and needs to be fixed. I can’t tell you how many times as a kid my pediatrician just threw steroids and antibiotics at me when I came in for a cough or sniffles without looking any further. Not cool.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Exactly! Always treating the symptoms rather than getting to the root of the cause! And of all the medications that are over prescribed…steroids and antibiotics, who’s main purpose to it go against everything natural in our bodies!

  2. Heidi says:

    Oh no, I hope strawberries don’t give you any more trouble!
    I completely, completely agree with you on modern/alternative medicine. Yes, we need our modern medicine for sure in life threatening cases and for certain ailments but in general I think the medical system needs to focus more on the cause of the problem(like you mentioned, fixing problems with changes in diet and exercise) and treating things naturally to help the body not pumping us full of medicine to do the job for our body so next time something happens our body really doesn’t have a clue what to do. If that made any sense, haha. I’m not even in the medical field and that topic really interests me 😀
    I haven’t had french toast in so long and yours looks amazing! I think I need to get myself a good loaf of bread to make some 😀

  3. I’m gonna do this in list form to avoid writing a longer comment than your post 😉

    1. have you looked into MSM? its a supplement.. sulfur compound have you.. all natural, and anti-inflammatory. also there area a ton of anti-inflam. foods you could up with your strawberry binge days to help fix that little situation =) I THINK that might help. we can gab later about it

    2. EFF western medicine! ive seen what it does to people… ive seen what it does to cancer patients and babies and puppies and — no no no “eff that noise” as p would put it. no way. there are so few meds i believe in.. i think a FEW are needed… just a few. and the bulk.. like 99% make things worse! and screw your liver

    3. i wuv you =)

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      I do know about MSM! I’ve taken it for my joints before when I was experiencing some knee trouble. I never thought about using it for anything else though! You’re a genius and THAT’S only one of the reasons why I love you J Babe!

  4. I totally agree that Americans are definitely over-medicated. There are definitely a lot of natural ways to treat disease that do not require shoving a million pills down your throat!

    Anyways, your strawberries and cream oats look absolutely delish! And your French toast with Mighty Maple looks out of this world! I love that you eat breakfast for dinner – that’s totally my type of thing! 🙂

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Haha! Well, what would you think if I told you that I’ve had breakfast more of my meals than I’ve had anything else in the last 2 weeks?

  5. Tulika says:

    I just recently stumbled upon your blog…and am already a HUGE fan because of this post!! I feel similarly about taking medications, and it is really unfortunate that healthcare has shifted heavily towards treatment instead of prevention. I’m sorry you had such a bad reaction, but I’m glad to hear that you were fine without taking any of those pills. PS that french toast looks delish!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thank you so much for commenting Tulika! Seems like we are on the same page here!

      And yeah, I can’t seem to get enough French toast these days! Haha!

  6. I wholeheartedly agree with you! Like you mentioned, I’m sure there are instances where modern medicines are absolutely necessary. But it’d be nice if other options – simpler things, things better for an individual all around – were looked into as well. Your example of exercising and a change of diet for high blood pressure is the perfect example. *sigh.*
    I hope you don’t have any more trouble with the berries! Glad you were able to solve the problem without all those meds :]

  7. rebecca says:

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaah I got this once (your lip kinda had a bubble on it, right? Well mine did) and it happened after eating some kind of fruit but I don’t remember!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Yes! But it’s never happened before! That’s the same way I discovered my allergy to kiwi. I was fine eating it as a kid and then one day my lips got itchy, swelled up like 3 times the size and it was hard to swallow! Just be sure to stay alert anytime you are eating fruit that you haven’t had in a while. Allergies can come out of nowhere and get worse with exposure!

  8. Lee says:

    I totally agree with you about the medicine. As a society, we’re fixated on covering up the problem rather than finding a solution. I get into this argument with my husband all the time.

    BTW – I don’t know if you know this, but your pictures are showing up huge in google reader. At least they are in my google reader.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Ugh!! Your the third person to tell me that in the last week! I’m not doing anything differently…it’s just been since the switch to self-hosting! Any ideas what could be causing it? I used to post my pics as “actual size” but last night I switched to “large” to see if it made a difference…obviously not! 🙁

  9. Evan says:

    You and I are on the same page, because I just did a post about my experience with acupuncture! I’m totally on the alternative medicine team…unless I have a traumatic situation on my hands, like a broken bone or cancer, give me the alternative remedies first. No offense to Western medicine, because it’s great in its strengths, but Western doctors don’t know diddly-squat about preventative care and the subtleties of the human body. I’d recommend an acupuncturist or TCM doctor to anyone.

  10. I think modern medicine is a bunch of BS. LOL.

  11. I went to a dietetic mtg last night and whaddayaknow- the topic was infectious disease. What does this have to do w/ nutrition and medication You ask?? Most infectious diseases are foodborne or somehow relate to the food we eat. Many are becoming resistant to antibiotics/meds. Largely in part bc we overmedicate everyone and throw unnecessary meds at ppl, often times before we even have a valid diagnosis.

    It was an interesting (and scary) discussion. Scary to know how many ‘super bugs’are out there and our defense against them is pretty weak. I try not to take any meds unless I absolutely have too (you know, for the important stuff like bloating, cramps, fatigue…the occasional midol!) 🙂

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh my gosh, yes! Isn’t it terrible? Our bodies are so immune to so many things, that the viruses are having to get even more complex! So sad that as a dietician, you have to deal with that stuff!

  12. Nooooo! Not berries! Be careful. Sometimes allergies get worse with time – at least that’s how it was with my grandma and strawberries. I understand your preference to avoid meds though. I avoid them when I can too.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      I know, that’s exactly what happened with the kiwi. At first after just a bit of lip tingling, I just thought that if I peeled and washed them REALLY well, I’d be ok, but the next time is when my throat started swelling and it was difficult to swallow. I love kiwi, but it’s not worth my life! :-/

  13. Katie says:

    I agree with you 100%. I was talking to a co-worker who is from Argentina and she said they are still using penicillin there. Penicillin, the first antibiotic. Whereas, here in the US we are using omaxacillin (no idea how to spell that!) and tons of other stuff, and those are even failing us. Hmmm, maybe we should stop using so much of it?

    I can’t stand it when people just take medication for illness or health problems. If they adapted a healthier lifestyle, they wouldn’t have to be taking and paying for all of those pills. Well, actually, WE wouldn’t have to be paying for their pills…as, it’s usually (but not always) the people with little money who resort to modern medicine. And, then they complain about the price of it. Sheesh. Eat some fruit and veggies, people. Throw out the greasy french fries and fast food!

    Okay…whew. Sorry. Rant over.

    By the way, lovely french toast you have there. And, I am glad that you found a way around your strawberry conundrum. I would DIE if I couldn’t eat strawberries!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh my gosh girl, you hit the nail on the head!! Working in a hospital, I see it ALL the time…some of the worst patients we have are the ones who don’t pay a dime for their medical treatment! Are health care industry has been taken advantage of by people who are lazy and looking to see what they can get for “free”!

      Penicillin? Do Americans even know what that is anymore?? Oy!

  14. I think it’s completely normal to have reactions to foods at any given time. Especially when your hormones are higher. I’ve heard of people that can’t touch cantaloup skin, but can eat cantaloup. I think that’s pretty interesting. I’ve been loving strawberries with my peanut butter too! Such a great combination! Oh and I completely agree with you, there is a time and place for meds, but I’m definitely more on the natural side.

  15. Strawberries are meant to cause happiness not pain!!!
    I too agree about over medicating society
    I’m a 100% believer in natural medicine
    Glad your new PB was redeemed, what a relief 🙂

  16. Did cutting up the strawberries help?

    I am fortunate in that I don’t have any known allergies but my sister is allergic to ibuprofen. Her lip will swell up like a duckbill when she took it as a kid (it took a little while for us to figure out what exactly she was allergic to!)

    Hope you have a good weekend!

  17. Kelsey says:

    I TOTALLY agree with you. Western medicine relies way too heavily on drugs–often ignoring the root of the problem (such as diet/exercise). So much of our health depends on what we put in our bodies day in and day out (FOOD) and yet often doctors won’t even discuss diet with patients. So frustrating. While there are some situations where drugs are necessary (obviously), I like to stay away unless I have to.

    And how weird/annoying are allergies?? I have a random allergy to soy milk (not any other soy product) that’s realllly bad and just developed in the last couple of years. So. Strange. Also raw almonds make my mouth a little itchy. BUT I deal and eat them anyway because they’re so good 🙂

    Glad you can still eat strawberries!!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Only to soy milk? That’s so strange! You’re very lucky though, I know that soy allergies are one of the worst ones to have to live with…soy is in EVERYTHING!

  18. Oh noes! I get the same kind of reaction from pineapple… and it’s weird because I had absolutely no problem with it growing up, and then all of a sudden, outta the blue, pineapple started making me sick. Grrr. My worst allergy is probably the one I have for peanuts, though… It’s a life or death thing, so I always have to read labels and know exactly what’s in my food. It’s a pain in the butt, but it’s how I grew up so I don’t really know any other kind of life.

    And the medication thing. Gah. I’d rather not open up that can of worms because I might never stop ranting if I do. Let me just say that I absolutely HATE how haphazardly medications are thrown at people as a first line of treatment… I agree that there are instances where medication is the only way to get better, but if I go in to my GP with flu symptoms and he hands me a trial pack of antidepressants… well… there’s something very wrong with that. I don’t even take Tylenol for headaches… I pretty much refuse to take pills unless I’m close to dying… and even then, I seriously debate it first…

  19. I have been a STRONG believer in natural and alternative medicine for many years… and I am one small example of how it WORKS!

    there are a few instances (okay, ONE) where I used traditional medication recently, but it was only after exhausting all options my naturopath gave me (that usually work!).

  20. Ohhh no! I can’t believe that. I’m so sorry about your reaction. I’m glad you’re not banned from strawberries completely…I LOVE strawberries. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t eat them.

    As always, your food pictures are GORGEOUS. Drooling now, thanks;)

  21. Ahhh, sorry about the reaction! But glad to hear its gone down! I’m allergic to kiwis too. But strangely only to green kiwis. I can still eat the golden ones (thank goodness! because they’re sooo good) but only a limited number of them.

    Good call on avoiding the meds to see if your body would get better without them first. I usually try not to take medication until its really necessary. They’re just not meant to be taken all the time.

  22. All I can say is AMEN. I complain to my parents (both doctors) about this issue very often. While I think they understand my point and agree with me, but also both say that no matter how often they suggest diet and exercise patients WONT LISTEN. They can tell them to change their diet and they simply won’t do it. So sometimes it’s not necessarily the doctor’s fault.
    That being said, many doctors don’t even suggest it and THAT I have a problem with.

  23. As a [pre] physician assistant I’m all for modern medicine but I do think that we tend to over medicate. People abuse it too much. Everyone wants an easy fix, I think that’s why it annoys me when people take diet pills >.<
    Gah your french toast looks amazing!! Come cook for me pleaseeee

  24. i have quite the opinion about western vs eastern medicine… which is why im back in school getting my masters in acupuncture/holistic medicine. after working as a nurse and seeing how our healthcare system truly is (and how OVERLY medicated people really are) i knew i needed to help people in the way i felt was right in my heart. i still work as an RN and i love my current job, but will be opening my own practice as soon as school is over !

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh wow! What an incredible story! I KNOW you know what I’m talking about having seen it first hand as a nurse!

      Congratulations on going back to school! That is awesome!

  25. I am completely with you about not taking meds if you really don’t need them!! When I used to be a medical transcriptionist, I was always amazed at how some people in their 40s would be on 20 meds, and then you’d have someone in their 80s on NO meds. I think the more you take, the more side effects you have, and the more they have to prescribe other meds… such a vicious cycle! And I’m so glad the Mighty Maple redeemed itself, because I was straight up about to tell you to send me your leftovers… it’s my favorite! 😀

  26. Yes! I totally agree. When I first saw all that medicine they gave you, I was thinking ‘All that for a rash?!’ My doctor seems really unconcerned by any ailment I tell her about but loves to shove medicine down my throat. I stopped getting my period for a while, which she claims was normal but started me on all kinds of hormones that made me totally crazy. Arghhh!

    Hope your lip is feeling better!

  27. elise says:

    omg, dont ever GET ME STARTED. seriously. i cant even begin because ill go apesh!t on your comments section.

    hope your lips are less angelina today 🙂

  28. Hmmm, I’m not sure how ot open this comment so I’ll jump right in 😉
    I’ve dealt with some mxiture of depression and anxiety for about 7 years and have been on and off medication for about that amount of itme. I got INCREDIBLY frsutrated because after being put on antidepressants, I felt very detached, loopy, and had serious trouble concentrating. So what did they do? They prescribed me Concerta. That gave me trouble sleeping some nights. WHat did they do? Give me prescription anti-anxiety meds (lorazepam) so I coudl fall asleep on nights I was having a lot of trouble.
    Eventually I jsut stopped taking the meds altogether because I HATE how I feel on them. However, without the antidepressants I’m DEFINITELY more prone to having complete breakdowns and serious anxiety about everything. So I feel like crap either way which is very frsutrating. I’m looking into other options for “treatment” or whatever but I’m not really sure where I’m going with that yet. At any rate, I have been continually frustrated with teh fact that the FIRST thing they do to solve everything is prescribe medicine on top of medicine on top of medicine. To the point that when peopel ask if I want to do psychiatry I can definitely give an adamant NO. Yes, medicine is sometimes absolutely necessary in the treatment of mental disorders. But I really don’t think it shoudl be the first answer.

    Anyways that was a lot of personal babbling so I”ll shut up now 😉 I think we have a very similar view on the matter 🙂

  29. shannon says:

    Totally agree with you about the overmedication of America. My husband had the same thing happen with avocado. He had eaten it his entire life, and then out of the blue he gets an itchy throat from them now. Really glad I found your blog. The recipes look fab.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      I know, it’s crazy how food allergies work! Thank you so much for leaving a comment Shannon! It makes my day to hear from new readers! Hope you try some of the recipes! 🙂

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