It's the mushrooms!!!

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I’ve FINALLY figured it out!

Six months ago, I woke up with severe abdominal cramps that I assumed was food poisoning, maybe from eating out the night before. I thought “It happens” and shrugged it off. But after that, every few weeks my stomach would cramp up after a meal and leave me groaning for hours. It seemed completely arbitrary. Sometimes it was chicken, sometimes beef, sometimes well-cooked, sometimes nearly raw; but the crazy thing was, I could eat the exact same stuff other days and be fine. I was totally mystified, especially since my stomach has always been pretty hardy.

But I caught it in the act last night. This time, when my phantom came, all I’d had to eat was a few bites of a mushroom and shrimp stir-fry, made with pre-cooked shrimp no less. I knew it couldn’t be the shrimp because I’d eaten out of that very bag many times before without ill consequence. So I got suspicious: Was it the mushrooms?

Spencer and I put our heads together and sure enough, here’s a list of Major Incidents and what we could remember about the meal that caused them:

  1. Steak salad, can’t remember the contents. Can’t even remember the name of the restaurant. It was somewhere in Burbank.
  2. The Iron Skillet: Chopped sirloin steak, rare, topped with swiss cheese, mushrooms, and onions.
  3. A supermarket meal: Rotisserie chicken, a peach, a tomato, two raw mushrooms, proscuitto, and Muenster cheese.
  4. The next day. Lunch at the Loteria: Scrambled eggs and shredded beef. I also ate intermittently from our grocery bag, which still contained many mushrooms. My stomach hurt all day with a major showdown in the evening.
  5. Fuddrucker’s: Ground beef burger with guacamole, mushrooms, and bacon.
  6. Shrimp and mushroom stir-fry in olive oil, seasoned with coriander, garlic, and salt.

You can see why for the longest time, I thought it was the meat — the mushrooms usually accompany a steak or burger.

Now to be fair, I’ve had many minor stomachaches in addition to the big nasty ones, and I can also remember several other times when I ate mushrooms, but I can’t say for sure whether the mushroom-eating and stomachaches line up. So it’s still just a hypothesis. But until something solidly refutes it, I’m going to stay well away from the little buggers!

Anyway, I looked it up and the term is mushroom intolerance. It’s not an allergy because it doesn’t involve the immune system — if it did, I’d be vomiting, my throat would be swelling shut, and I’d be in a real pickle. But it’s just an awful stomachache (mild by comparison, eh?). Of course, I still haven’t the faintest why this is all happening. I’ve been eating mushrooms all my life. It’s not like I took a long break or anything; I ate them regularly right up to the point when all this started. Maybe that first incident really was food poisoning and it messed something up in my stomach. That would make more sense than my body suddenly boycotting mushrooms. But I’ve not had trouble with anything else, including very rare meat. From all the hubbub about cooking your meat lately, you’d think that raw meat would be the first thing to trigger stomach issues. But nope. Just mushrooms. Weird huh?

So now I feel like my gastrointestinal tract is conspiring against me. First carbs, then mushrooms. Pretty soon, I’ll have to subsist on a diet of ribeye steak and butter. (Actually, that sounds really good. Mmm.)