Friday, February 12, 2010

Intolerance inspiration

So, actually, the allergy test results ended up making me feel inspired. I guess because there’s something I have to work on -- 60 foods to avoid, plus a bunch of other things, and maybe it will help, who knows. The allergies are divided into severe intolerance, moderate intolerance, and mild intolerance -- the two severe intolerances that came up are saccharine and fluoride. Now, saccharine will be no problem to avoid -- as a teenager, I used to swallow pack after pack of Trident, literally I could eat 18 pieces in under an hour, no problem. But I don’t think I’ve been around saccharine in years. Fluoride is a bigger challenge -- I always avoid fluoride whenever possible, since it’s an industrial toxin, but all the water in California is fluoridated due to that scam that it prevents cavities. And I drink so much water every day that it’s kind of stunning. But, I don’t know if I mentioned before that often the disastrous nighttime burping/bloating drama starts right after drinking water, could it be the fluoride? I was wondering that before. I think there’s only one kind of water filter that takes out fluoride, and that’s a reverse osmosis system, which is a bit complicated and very expensive, but I’m going to look into it.

Okay, now for the moderate intolerances -- rhizopus nigricans, which is a mold, but I’m not sure what kind exactly -- I’ll have to look that up. Then aspirin, gentamicin (an antibiotic), and naproxen (Alleve) -- those will be easy. And the foods on the moderate intolerance list: blueberries, which I just ate this morning, and oh were they delicious, bye blueberries! -- brussel sprouts, which I suspected might be an issue but I was also eating today, yum -- lemon, which I used to drink in my water all day but I cut it out about six months ago because I was suspicious -- malt -- millet, oh no, one of my favorite grains! -- soy, which I don’t eat much of anyway, but still it’s all over the place, especially for vegans -- summer squash, strawberry, swiss chard, tapioca, turnip -- and, get this one -- veal!

It’s interesting the associations that come up with some of these items. Because, while I certainly haven’t even veal in over 20 years, when I was a kid I loved to order it at restaurants because it was expensive and allegedly delicate and I thought it made me sophisticated. It took me a while to understand exactly what it was, and when I did understand I kept asking really, baby cows, really? Or is a calf a different kind of animal? It became the first meat that I eliminated. But still, 20 years later and I’m allergic -- fascinating!

Naproxen totally makes sense because I used to stuff it down my throat as a teenager when I always had these crazy headaches and the doctor told me it was the Maserati of painkillers, then it was prescription only, and then in the mild intolerance category are also ibuprofen, which I use to keep in bowls so I could stuff it down my throat, yay for more pills! I mean that’s what I used to think. Plus four other antibiotics-- antibiotics always make me sick, but they make a lot of people sick. The list includes tetracycline, which is what the dermatologist prescribed me for something like five years, oh no! Like it was nothing -- let me just poke you in the face and then give you pills that will destroy your intestinal bacteria, your liver, your digestion -- oh, do you need a stronger prescription? I didn’t even have any acne really, until I started taking those pills.

Okay, then in the mild intolerance category are also a bunch of food additives like blue #2 indigo carmine -- sounds beautiful -- and then there’s benzoic acid, aspartame, polysorbate 80, potassium nitrite, red #40 allura red, and sorbic acid -- I’ll have to figure all those out, but I don’t really eat foods with additives -- it might be harder in shampoo and conditioner and stuff like that. Then we’ve got a few more molds -- botrytis and epicoccum nigrum -- but everyone should stay away from mold, right? Remember: that’s one of the reasons I might be fleeing San Francisco. Oh, and some really scary environmental chemicals like benzene, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, nickel sulfate, and phenol. That doesn’t sound too mild. But, this is how tests are a bit crazy -- I’m not officially allergic to MSG, which makes me feel like I’m coming down from acid -- I guess maybe that’s what is supposed to feel like, or maybe I’ve successfully avoided it for so long that it doesn’t show up as reactive. Same thing with corn, which makes my eyes roll back in my head and my jaw lock, and wheat, which makes me feel like my whole face is bruised the next day.

Oh, and I love that I’m allergic to serotonin -- plus caffeic acid and coumarin -- I’m not sure what coumarin is exactly, but caffeic acid must relate to caffeine, right? I always stay away from her. Meanwhile, okay, get ready for a long list of foods in the mild intolerance category: anchovy, baker’s yeast, beef, broccoli, buckwheat, cabbage, caraway, catfish, cauliflower, cayenne pepper, celery, chamomile, chickpea, chicken, cinnamon, clove, codfish, coriander, egg yolk, fructose, garlic, herring, honeydew melon, hops, kidney bean, leek, lima bean, mango, mint, mustard, nutmeg, pecan, pheasant, pork, romaine lettuce, safflower, sesame, sheep’s milk, snapper, tomato, tuna, turmeric, walnut, white potato. Some of these makes sense because they’re foods I ate all the time as a kid, but not since, like white potato, romaine lettuce, safflower, herring, and all the meats -- but it’s also fascinating that chicken, beef, and pork show up now, the thing to do with these mild intolerances is to avoid them for a little while but you can only imagine what might happen if I started eating chicken, beef, or pork, if I’m already intolerant after avoiding them for 18 years, right? Not that I was thinking about chicken, beef, or pork -- it’s hard enough to try fish -- but it’s nice evidence to throw at the next healthcare practitioner who says meat meat meat.

I’ll certainly miss celery, which I put in my beans every day, and broccoli, one of my favorites -- I was just thinking how funny it is that in the morning I end up creating names for my broccoli: the brox, broxolandia, broxolini -- but shhh. Millet will be especially hard, since it’s on the moderate intolerance list, and also buckwheat, but anyway -- enough of this summary, now I have to get to work figuring it all out, yay I’m excited! Really.


DNA-boi said...

Oh no! That is a daunting list indeed!

I wanted to say that caffeic acid is actually not related to caffeine (different chemical groups) and is found in most plants (part of the lignin synthesis in all plants). Coumarin is a sweet smelling chemical (that fresh cut grass smell) that is found in most perfumes but I remember that you avoid those too.

Good luck with everything!

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thanks so much for the information!!!

But oh, no -- caffeic acid is found in most plants -- at least it is only a "mild intolerance" -- and oh, I always hate that fresh cut grass smell, so that makes sense...

Love --

Caroline said...

Unreal. This sounds so familiar! Our son was an infant when he began showing signs of food allergies and intolerance. He had such severe Eczema from the time he was a baby until he was almost three. We took him into so many doctors and homeopaths and did so many tests. The tests were so frustrating and always seemed to make things more confusing by contradicting the one before. We even did a food elimination diet which was horrible because every food we gave him made him break out worse. The only things he could eat with out being affected was chicken, peas and rice. We knew this was crazy and not nutritional at all. His allergist continued to insist on oral steroids as the only treatment and when he became sick and weak we knew he needed help. After a children's hospital got him off the steroids we began giving him Vidazorb probiotics and we never could have imagined the miracle that was about to come.

He got better! He got so much better very quickly and his skin started to clear up and he could even eat lots more foods. Here we are two years later and he has no Eczema and can eat tons and tons of foods. I highly recommend this to you as your situation sounds so much like ours. We are a green family now and we eat whole foods and natural foods and we only use natural things in our home. It has really opened our minds. I so hope this helps you! I just don't think food should be our enemy and that maybe some of us need help digesting and processing? Vidazorb has made all the difference for us - and a lot of prayers!

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Caroline, thanks for writing -- I'm don't think Vidazorb would be the solution for me (although probiotics are always a good idea), but I'm certainly glad it helped for your son...

The thing is so frustrating for me is how long I've focused on such a clear diet based on whole foods, and how it doesn't seem to help me in the ways that I want, oh no!

Love --