HOUSTON — Chris Ryan never imagined he would one day experience the taste of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The U.S. Marine Corp rejected the 18-year-old because of his peanut allergy, specially due to concerns regarding potential health risks from peanuts present in military meal kits. Shortly after that, Ryan decided to take matters into his own hands.
"I came to see Dr. Tran because it's been a lifelong dream of mine to join the military, and he said 'OK, we'll get you on this treatment,'" Ryan said.
Dr. Dat Q. Tran of the Innovative Allergy Clinic has developed a treatment called Eat Freely, which helps patients slowly build a tolerance to foods they're normally allergic to. The program requires participants to consume their allergies in small dosages over time.
"This treatment isn't a cure for peanut allergies; the method is more of desensitization for the immune system," Tran said.
Following four months of treatment, Ryan is now able to eat a peanut and a half without any type of allergic reaction.
"The goal for me is to eat an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich, " Ryan said. "I've never had one before, but I was nervous about eating peanuts because I never had one."