Dublin Brothers Limit Diet Because of Rare Disease

Chocolate, chips, steak. These are a few of our favorite things, but for Dublin brothers Mark and Peter Lavery, they are forbidden

It doesn’t stop there. Cheese, eggs, beans and tofu are among other foods they are unable to eat because of their extremely rare disease called phenylketonuria (PKU). Mark was diagnosed shortly after his birth, after doctors administered a heel prick test which checks for six medical conditions, including PKU. This genetic disorder targets the metabolism and makes it difficult for a person to break down an essential amino acid. To learn more about PKU, click here.

As a result of PKU’s affect on proteins, a wide range of food becomes dangerous to consume. In the case of Mark and Peter, they have been prescribed low-protein medical foods, but admit that the availability and amount of the foods is “abysmal.” Insurance companies make it difficult to acquire them, and there simply aren’t enough at their disposal.

They’ve faced challenges at school, since they’re unable to eat what’s provided in the cafeteria and have had to bring bags of their own food. Mark, an actor, had to pack his own food into his suitcase when traveling to America with the Dublin Institute of Technology Conservatory of Music and Drama.

Mark had attended the William Esper Studio in New York and had brought his own low-protein pasta from home. Mark’s acting chops can be seen on the award-winning film “Handsome Devil” and in the original series “Vikings.”

Peter uses these dietary restrictions to his own benefit by incorporating their diet into dishes to bake with his mother. These hobbies resulted in Peter’s career as a manager at the Tropica Cafe and Restaurant. Through food restrictions, he found new and fun ways to make food and simultaneously found his calling in life.

“All the food at Tropica is home-made,” Peter said in an interview with the independent. “And that comes from baking cookies, special breads and cakes when I was a child. We home-baked rather than bought ready-made.”

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