I Will Never Eat Pine Nuts Again

This past Friday and Saturday, August 14-15, I had the pleasure of attending the 1st ever “Healthy Living Summit,” sponsored by Stonyfield Organic, among others, at the Radisson in Boston. The event was beautiful; planned by six outstanding food bloggers who poured months of effort into planning and preparation. I attended the event with my mother, and we both had a superb time. Hey, whose heart isn’t won by free samples?

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Anyway, there was a full agenda on Saturday, including speakers and presentations lasting from 8:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. At about noon, there was a wonderful lunch buffet available for the 125 attendees to enjoy. I picked whole grain oat bread with turkey (a rare occasion for a wannabe-vegan), roasted peppers, and greens. At the last minute, I noticed a vat of pine nuts sitting on the table. Considering it a rare find, I took a handful on my plate “for later.” I subsequently ate half of them in my hotel room upon the close of the event.

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Well, let me tell you. That half-handful turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life (obviously, dramatic, but it sure feels like it at the moment!), because , now — Monday (two days later) — I find myself with a dreadful problem for a foodie like me. It began a little something like this: this morning, I came downstairs starving and scarfed half a homemade vegan brownie I had frozen and forgotten about. Yikes — it was a little bitter. Eh, I had baked it a while ago; it was probably turning. Later that morning, I was offered some freshly-washed strawberries. YUCK! The metallic-tasting bitterness in my mouth was overwhelming. This trend continued with 90% of what I put in my mouth. O, woe! Horrid!

Now, I remember hearing not to long ago about a metallic taste in the mouth being indicative of a vitamin deficiency or overdose. I got to Google and did some searching only to discover “Pine Mouth,” now officially public enemy #1.

DON’T EAT ME!

Apparently, researchers have — fairly recently — come to understand a link between the consumption of certain pine nuts and an awful taste in the mouth that manifests 1-3 days later. There are quite a few links about this odd phenomenon, which still isn’t totally understood, with the most scientific result found appearing in the European Journal of Emergency Medicine. Here is an excerpt:

Taste disturbances after pine nut ingestion

M. Mostin Poisons Centre, Brussels, Belgium Case report:

A colleague anaesthesiologist experienced two episodes of taste disturbances after pine nut ingestion. At the first time, he just consumed a handful of pine nuts. Two days later, he developed an episode of taste disturbances (bitter, metallic taste). The disturbances lasted a few days. He made a link between pine nuts and the taste disturbances after the second episode when his wife and friends who shared with him a dish prepared with the same pine nuts complained of a persisting bitter taste sensation 2 days after the meal. Examination of the pine nuts revealed they were oxidized and not fit for consumption. No fungal contamination was found. No explanation was found for the taste disturbances. In the following months, six similar cases were reported to the Poisons Centre. The pine nuts involved in those cases were imported from China. The pine species remain unidentified. Analysis on pesticide residues and heavy metal did not reveal any contamination. One member of the medical team of the Poisons Centre tested on himself several brands of pine nuts and experienced two separate episodes of taste disturbances with the pine nuts imported from China. …

Not surprisingly, I also found forum upon forum of fellow sad souls lamenting the minute(s) they put those innocent looking corn-kernel-shaped nuts to their lips. Days of not being able to enjoy food is torturous and a clearly necessitates commiseration. Moral? I will never eat pine nuts again! For the health and sanity of the public, I advise you to do the same. Of course, nuts are mighty nutritious, but there are better; it’s a pseudo-sacrifice you must make. If you can’t live without our pine-y devils (though we won’t bother imagining why), avoid those rancid, oxidized little buggers from China like the plague.

Days of not being able to enjoy food is torturous!
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9 responses to “I Will Never Eat Pine Nuts Again

  1. Wow – that is crazy, but really interesting! (I linked to your blog from your comment on KERF today.)

  2. Hey thanks for stopping by my blog! Cool looking blog you’ve got! I look forward to reading more from you.

  3. hahahah very cute :)

    yay for the HLS!!!

  4. I had pine mouth too! For about a week…

  5. Eeek! This is def something I never knew before now! Thanks for sharing and I’m very glad that pine nuts are not a fave of mine!

  6. Thank you for posting on this ~ I had never heard of it. You mention it’s only certain pine nuts ~ does this mean the bigger ones from Italy should be fine? I sure hope so :)

  7. Pingback: Gastroenteritic Product Reviews « Mastering Public Health

  8. Here is a late and faraway comment from Sweden. I just did the same misstake and during the day I’ve discovered I’m (unfortunately) not alone with this experience. Mabye the nuts had turn rancid? I couldn’t tell. Just had a little amount and was saving the rest in order to roast them.
    Now they are thrown away in the garbage bin.

    I hope you’ve got your tastes back again!

    Regards,
    åsa

  9. masteringpublichealth

    Åsa, I’m so sorry to hear about your bad experience! Don’t worry, it does go away in a few (2-3) days. Everything has been normal since, but I have succeeded in scaring my acquaintances from eating pine nuts. :)

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