Monday, June 15, 2009

Carrots and Chlorine

For years I thought I was allergic to carrots. I ate from a variety of sources so I am sure there were a few times I didn't react to them. However, the majority of times I did. I had horrible reactions to them - a catch in the throat and a general feeling of being choked. However, I enjoyed the taste of carrots and for some reason carrot juice never seemed to give me the same problem. Years passed and finally I decided to get new allergy tests. Nothing showed up new - I had the same allergies I had when I was two years old (although interestingly enough many of them don't bother me anymore. I have four cats, for example, and don't have any reaction to them anymore). My favorite carrots were the little mini carrots that were pre-cut. They just seemed so easy. The other place I ate a lot of carrots was when I lived overseas. I ate them fresh from the market.

Have you figured out the mystery yet?

I didn't either. It took me years and years to figure it out until one day I read an article about how packaged carrots are treated with chlorine bleach before going to market. In Egypt, where I was living for a time, it was common for people to soak their vegetables in a weak bleach solution to kill parasites and other contaminants. In both cases I was getting from minute to large doses of bleach - something I am severely allergic to.

I am sharing this story because this happens, not only with carrots but with many food items. You may feel miserable after eating certain foods, but it may not be the food itself - it may be the way it is processed or what is added to it.

Did you know that boxed orange juice most often contains at least a little moldy fruit? This is bad news for people allergic to mold but not allergic to oranges.

Did you know nuts have high mold counts too?

Many salads contain sulfites?

Salad dressings in most restaurants contain MSG?

Some processed meats, chips and canned soups contain gluten?

The list could go on for pages.

So if you are having a reaction to one of your favorite foods it may be helpful to do some research into how it is harvested, stores, transported, processed and displayed. It could be at one of these points that the irritating substance is added and not the food itself. And keep in mind - purchasing organic and/or at the farmer's market will reduce your chances of having a reaction but won't eliminate the chances all together.


Earthmama said...

Scary what ends up on our food nowdays isn't it! Sad thing is that even for people that aren't allergic to bleach / chlorine it is a carcinogen and people are unknowingly ingesting it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I have recently been "reacting" to packaged carrots, cherries, apples,and-hello-packaged cole slaw. More of a reaction in conventional produce, mild in organic. When I super scrub the apples (and get the wax off?) no reaction. Where can I find more research on this?

Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND said...

Thank you for reading :)

I don't have any exact links I can find easily right now. However, if you go to and type in
"Carrots and Chlorine" a lot of information appears. If you add the word "research" more specific articles show up. Hope this helps :)

I will try to post some links next time.

Blessings & Health,