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In California strawberry season usually runs from early April to late June.  Fidel brought us strawberries from his brother’s farm.

Delicious.

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Take said strawberries and put them in a pb & j on white, and it’s outta this world.

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Now, technically I am not supposed to eat berries.  Yep, that’s right; I still eat them.  I will continue to do so, because I cannot imagine life without them. The chances of them making me ill is not that high.  The only thing we do at home is rinse them with a fruit and vegetable wash. It’s bad enough that I can’t eat brie, which will truly make me sick.

Here’s the thing about food restrictions.  Most of the food on the restricted list doesn’t directly make you sick.  Raw meat & fish?  Yes.  Soft and unpasteurized cheeses?  Yes.  The risk of getting bacteria and mold from them is phenomenal.

Berries? Maybe. Fresh salsa? Maybe.  The risk of getting ill from these is contingent upon the treatment of them before consumption.  Obviously e-coli, salmonella, listeria, etc. will make me ill.  Berries are more susceptible to them so they are put on the list. It doesn’t mean they automatically have said germs on them.

I think a large part of why these ‘maybe’ type foods are given the ‘better safe than sorry’ mentality is because you have no control over how the food was treated before it reaches your table. Apparently lunch meat,  specifically cold-cuts, is a risk because if they’re not handled correctly in the factory, listeria will invade between the time the meat is cooked and when it gets packaged.

One can argue that I’m just trying to justify eating berries and ice cream.  I was surprised to find ice cream on the 10 riskiest foods list.  While this is true in part, the reality is that I don’t care.  Well, that’s an exaggeration.  I do care, but not enough to stop me.  Obviously.

I guess rationally one would think since I’m in poor health already, I should take care of what I have and follow all the rules.  I, on the other hand, am in the other camp that says since I’m in poor health already, eating berries and ice cream is a risk I’m willing to take.  Hmm.. does this make me a glass is half-full, or a half-empty kinda person?

One of the many lists that are out there on the web also says that I should not be eating miso soup and soy sauce because of its fermentation.  I was actually curious about this a couple of years ago and asked my transplant center.  My nurse asked one of my doctors and she said it was fine.

Actually, after first transplant, before I was discharged, I was asked where I lived.  When I said San Francisco, the nurse said it was fine for me to drink the tap-water.  The only other food restrictions were the obvious – no raw meat or runny eggs, no raw sushi, no soft cheeses, and no grapefruit.  The detailed list I found online was actually surprising to me.  I looked up dos and don’ts because someone on a transplant forum was talking about not eating foods that my doctor didn’t mention.

If I truly can’t eat miso I may as well throw out 75% of Korean food as well!  Doenjang and gochujang – which are similar to miso, and soy sauce are staples in Korean food.  Hell, nearly all Korean bahn chan (side dish) is fermented in some way or another. I’m also not supposed to eat raw sprouts.  Does that include bean sprouts? I just put a bunch of them in my pho the other day!

And really, so much of what I eat and not eat is situational.  If I’m educated about what and why I can or can not eat certain foods, and I throw in some common sense, I should be fine.   All of these choices comes down to quality of life.  Precious little gives me joy and enthusiasm these days.

When you have a minute, read cleaning for those who are immunosuppressed.  It gives informative guidelines about food hygiene.

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