Archives for: May 2012, 24
I have a dilemma about peanuts. How should we as a society balance the needs of peanut allergy sufferers with the needs of Type As for whom peanuts are a beneficial and inexpensive food?
When DD was a little girl, she did not like much meat, and she did not like cheese. (It amazes me how self aware she was of her nutritional needs as a Type A) Because of that, I packed a peanut butter sandwich in her lunch almost every day. I thought she would eventually get tired of it. I certainly desire more variety than that. But DD never did. She is now 22 years old and she still eats a peanut butter sandwich for one meal almost every day.
I have a vivid memory of her coming home from school one day with a paper from health class saying that peanut butter was an unhealthy food. This was shortly after I had started the Blood Type Diet, and it made me furious. We had a talk about protein, and about good fats and bad fats. She was convinced that peanut butter was beneficial for her, but she wanted a good grade in the class. We agreed that if there was a question about peanut butter on a test that she could answer what the teacher had taught, but continue to eat her peanut butter sandwich.
One of my nephews was allergic to peanuts. Eating anything with peanuts or peanut oil could send him into an asthma attack. His mother was very careful with what he ate. And after one time when he ate a peanut butter cookie at the insistence of an uninformed adult, he was very careful about what he ate as well. Eventually he grew out of the allergy. Today he is in his 30s. He has three children and none of them are allergic to peanuts.
However I have a friend whose elementary school son has a peanut allergy that is so violent that the smell of peanuts can send him to the emergency room. He has had attacks on airplanes and in the school cafeteria. His mother is on a campaign to get peanuts outlawed in the school, or to make students with peanut butter sandwiches eat their lunch in a separate room away from the other children.
I don’t see a fair way out of this situation. Her son’s life is at risk. I can’t ignore that. I would support a system where peanut allergy sufferers could declare themselves when they bought their ticket and flight attendants would not serve peanuts on those flights. What to do about school is more complicated. It would certainly be socially damaging for my friend’s son to have to eat his lunch alone in a separate room every day.
Yet it seems equally unfair for a Type A child to be stigmatized and sent to eat their peanut butter sandwich alone. While DD might have had the self confidence to stand up to that kind of pressure. I can easily imagine peer dependent Type A children who would eat more meat and cheese just so they didn’t call attention to themselves. That meat and cheese would be detrimental to their health - just not as rapidly as or as obviously as an allergic reaction.
If any of you have heard of a school that has come up with a wise policy about this issue, I would be interested to hear it.