Ah-Sigh-EE and GO-jee
First there was my almost-deadly encounter with goji (GO-jee) berries. It was last December, I think, when I noticed that everyone was singing the praises of goji berries; celebrities, doctors and my health-conscious friends. I later even saw that goji berries were sold in pharmacies in Paris to relieve problems with diabetes, high blood pressure and fevers. The gourmet/organic market was flooded with goji berry teas and juices but people are also encouraged to eat them dried or fresh. They’re great antioxidants, people told me, they facilitate weight loss and are high in fiber. So, I jumped on the bandwagon and rushed to a small café in Kuwait city where I knew I could get some of this phenomenal nutriment. I bought several organic juice cartons, one of which was the hyped Goji berry juice.
The next morning I poured myself a large glass of go-jee berry juice and relished the tangy sweetness of this miracle juice. I immediately felt the power of the berries; I imagined the juice rushing through my body and flushing the oxidants. It could have been my overactive imagination. I was heading to work, stuck in the slow-moving traffic and listening to my favorite podcasts when I felt a funny prickle in my throat. The ‘prickle’ abruptly turned into an unbearable itch; my tongue was swelling! My throat was tightening. I tried not to panic but I had been stuck in traffic for over 45 minutes and nowhere near the office. I kept thinking that if I die (again with the melodrama!), the cause of death would be goji berries. I couldn’t decide how I felt about that. Anyway, I clearly didn’t die because my friend and colleague gave me an anti-histamine when I got to work. I felt feverish, nauseous and dizzy the rest of the day but at least the swelling subsided. I later researched goji berries and their side effects… Apparently, people with pollen allergies are supposed to avoid these berries. Ha. Why didn’t anyone tell me that?
So I survived the attack of the evil goji berries but then came my unpleasant experiment with acai berries. This time though, I was smart enough not to consume the berries, I put them on my face instead, in the form of Kiehl’s Açaí Damage-Correcting Moisturizer. Just to be sure this cream is the culprit, I used it three times over the course of six months. Yes, that was stupid. Because every single time I’ve used it, this moisturizer has led to an allergic inflammation. The skin around my eyes turns a bright shade of red, swells and stings. It’s horrible. I used this lotion yesterday (for the third and last time ever) and woke up looking like Frankenstein’s monster.
I am now stuck at home, hiding from innocent children who will run in terror should they see my swollen face. I keep applying a mild soothing cream in between pressing a cold compress to my face. This is not how I planned on spending my day! I’m going to miss an art event I’ve been looking forward to, but I guess it’s better than making an appearance looking the way I do and causing widespread misery.
I have finally learned my lesson and I hereby vow to stay away from berries with names I cannot pronounce.
In other news, I loved this NY Times interview with Eisenberg and Kazan.