I've alternated between working on my history paper and researching my apparent food sensitivities for the last few days. Researching my food sensitivities is a bittersweet experience. I'm learning that I actually don't just have "food sensitivity." I have a sensitivity to a chemical found in a number of plants, which means that it is a chemical found in a number of synthetic cleaners, fragrances, flavorings, dyes, preservatives, etc, as well as natural foods. I now understand a great number of things about myself. I understand why I can eat some sweets with fairly tolerable impact or no reaction at all but cannot eat a salad unless I have made it and loaded on the meat and onions and trace amounts of lettuce. I understand why I actually love cabbage over lettuce. I understand why milk does not cause me to become congested but many other things do. I understand why being around cigareet smoke or paint makes me feel like I'm going to suffocate. I understand why I have been linking my seizures to foods since 1996. I understand why medications are not helping me: there is only so much that meds can do when I am loaded with toxins...
I'm going to the store this evening to buy allowable veggies. I'm going to try an elimination diet--or as close to one as I can tolerate without going insane. I can probably count the number of cups of coffee I've had since January 1 on two hands, which is very unusual for me. Coffee is supposed to be on the "no-no" list unless it's decaffeinated. The same is true of herbal tea. There are some things I'm just not sure I can completely eliminate. I drink coffee at times when I'm out and about, and I like a cup of tea once in a while when I'm sick. However, If I can "detox," these might make decent challenge foods since I haven't noticed that I react to them as I do to other things. Generally I tend to have my reactions within 15 to 30 minutes--I have had food allergy testing and reacted to an inordinate number of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Unfortunately, I also reacted to shellfish, which explains my utter dislike of seafood. The salicylate/amine connection likely finishes out the explanation of my various food intolerances and aversions.
Mom looked at my new guidelines--broken down into avoidances, best foods, and small and moderate amount guidelines--and said, "How are you going to live?" I guess it's a good thing I love beans, onions, peas, and meats. I'll be taking a lot of vitamin supplements--it's a good thing I started those as well. My primary disappointment is the spices it seems I will have to give up. I'll have to live bland for a while and then challenge; but it seems likely that I will have to give up many of the things I really love: vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, basil, oregano, sage, coriander, cumin, turmeric, peppers... I'll feel much better physically and probably emotionally--some of the articles I was reading talked about long-term studies demonstrating trementoud changes emotionally with the elimination of offending foods. But this is at a great cost personally: I really enjoy food, and I love to creat yummy dishes!
And to think all of this came about because of a reaction to an anti-inflamatory medication... It makes me think back to my time in the hospital for the five-day EEG... If I had told them that I was aspirin sensitive, would it have meant anything to them in terms of my diet? If I said that I was salicylate-sensitive, would they know what that means?