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The passage below comes from a book, Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich: -

I could take my chances with “alternative” treatments, of course, like punk novelist Kathy Acker, who succumbed to breast cancer in 1997 after a course of alternative therapies in Mexico, or actress and ThighMaster promoter Suzanne Somers, who made tabloid headlines by injecting herself with mistletoe brew. But I have never admired the “natural” or believed in the “wisdom of the body.” Death is as “natural” as anything gets, and the body has always seemed to me like a retarded Siamese twin dragging along behind me, a hysteric really, dangerously overreacting, in my case, to everyday allergens and minute ingestions of sugar.

What does the italicized part mean?

Since the author was ever conscious of the existence of death, perceived death to be natural and the body seemed something negative. I believe the part I have asked about is a statement of the negative sense of the body.

(Am I right?)

But the italicized phrase was so figurative I can't understand what the author meant.

I think the author means in the previous part of the passage that:- The body is like a retarded Siamese twin, and it is like a hysteric overacting to everything that doesn't suit his taste.

Am I correct in my line of thought so far?

What does everyday allergens and minute ingestions of sugar exactly mean in this context?

closed as off-topic by Drew, Dan Bron, Glorfindel, tchrist Mar 26 '17 at 15:12

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    It means "allergens one encounters on an everyday basis, i.e. unavoidable, ubiquitous allergens" and "minute ingestions" means "consuming small amounts". – Dan Bron Mar 24 '17 at 15:13
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    And they are just examples of what the author is sensitive to. Nothing figurative about it. – Mr Lister Mar 24 '17 at 15:24
  • Also, she means that death is natural in a bad way: "Yes, both mistletoe and death are natural, but keep them away. However, little things in daily life are pulling me to death little by little, and I hate it." – Yosef Baskin Mar 24 '17 at 15:43
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    Just to support the earlier comments, yes there is nothing figurative with the bolded italic part of your passage. The figurative language is used for the description of the body. – Gary Mar 24 '17 at 15:53
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As we age above 35 years old we can develop allergies as our immune system becomes less efficient, and we have to watch how much sugar and/or nice food we eat to avoid diabetes, hyperglycemia, high cholesterol ect, stopping us from doing what we want.

This takes us back to where the narrator separates herself from her body, which she mentions is dragging behind her like it can't keep up. Mentally she is younger and healthier than her body actually is physically, that's what i'm getting from it.

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The body has always seemed to me like a retarded Siamese twin dragging along behind me, a hysteric really, dangerously overreacting, in my case, to everyday allergens and minute ingestions of sugar.

The author states that she feels as though there were two versions of her. One is her normal self, and the other is hypersensitive to common substances in her environment and extremely small amounts of sugar in her food.

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