Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas!

As I'm a devout person, time for a sober, spiritual message for Christmas Day.

I am someone who likes to take time over Christmas for reflection, testing my life against the Christmas message. So I've just taken a couple of days out, partly for this purpose.

In respect of food and drink my life has been stripped to the barest bones. I can no longer enjoy fine wine, a strong balti or a herbaceous pasta dish. Now, it is the simple pleasures of omelette, cabbage and a glass of water - actually very similar to the diet adopted by the prophet Daniel in the Old Testament.

Despite the fripperies that we enjoy today, Christmas is about remembering the very simple and impoverished birth of a special baby.

My affliction can be attributed to all the baggage of food and drink I have accumulated over the last 30 years. And the spiritual challenge for me has been to examine all the other baggage in my life and strip it away, searching for the essentials.

So whatever food I may eat and whatever discomfort I suffer, I look forward to a truly joyful season. May you share it too!

Sesame seeds

A simple bread and cheese lunch today as it's Christmas Eve. But we bought some special breads and cheese.

I tasted the poppy seeds on the bread and thought "these are rather sweet". They were sesame seed, of course, and that is forbidden.

Now I'm itching all over and have had to use anthisan cream as well as taking an anti-histamine.

Oh well, fingers crossed for Christmas Day! We've got a papaya starter and I imagine quite a lot of cabbage.


My list says Ovaltine is okay so I got it into my head that Horlicks is too.

As I wanted to get an early night last night and I was staying away from home, I had a cup of hot Horlicks. Not very successful at all. I woke at 3.30am am and spent much of the rest of the night running to and from the bathroom. It seemed to have an effect on the bladder.

Looking at the ingredients there is no obvious reason. It is barley malt which should be okay. However it does contain an unspecified vegetable oil.

I had a letter from the dietician saying she is still researching outstanding issues. These include rapeseed oil and redbush tea. From following some of the links that have been posted on this site, I discover there may well have been only one systematic scientific study of salicylate levels. As they can apparently vary quite a lot, depending on the soil - so the dietician said, this would seem inadequate.

I am guessing that rapeseed oil is okay but never asked about sunflower oil which is not on the list either.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Yesterday my wife proudly produced a leek and bacon cuiche. It was delicious.

Leek is okay so I blamed the slight burning sensation in my mouth on something I ate over the weekend.

Then, today, I had the rest cold for lunch and the reaction was a little more acute - and in fact has got worse all day.

"Did you put any pepper in this or herbs?" I asked. No, she assured me.

What about the base? What was that made from? Oh, I bought it. What, the base or the whole cuiche? The whole cuiche, leek and bacon, must be okay.

Well the contents have been thrown away and we can't find them. But if it was commercial, the chances are it had pepper, herbs and maybe yeast extract in it.

I've taken my first anti-histamine for weeks tonight.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas and shampoo

We have been testing out Christmas menus, ie red cabbage, green cabbage and leak.

Yesterday for lunch I had plain chicken, nicely cooked cabbage, red and green, leak and roast potato. I was surprised then to get a mild reaction in the mouth - then I discovered someone had added a little bit of black pepper.

Shampoos and shower creams have become a problem. I have been coming out in streaks of red. This started with an Imperial Leather shower gel. When I studied the ingredients I found they included benzyl salicylate.

Then the same problem occured with Head and Shoulders. It's not easy to read the ingredients of these substances but when I did it was there - benzyl salicylate. This means I am going to have to check everything for salicylate. I'll probably end up going round the supermarket peering at all the ingredients - and they are in even smaller type on shampoos than on food.

This should have been the point at which I was salicylate free - about two weeks after seeing the dietician and about six weeks after the consultant identified the problem. It seems the closer I get to the goal, the more likely I am to suffer reactions.

The dietician's advice was that once I was free of salicylate I could start reintroducing food stuffs, maybe even in time for a glass of wine at Christmas. I still seem to be a long way from this. If I want a drink at a mealtime it has to be whisky and water.


I have discovered that papaya does not keep.

The second papaya I bought was rotting by the time I started it and although most of it looked okay, the flavour had gone somewhat funny.

They should clearly only be bought one at a time.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Junk food

A trip out today so I drank Sprite, ate maltesers and had a double bacon cheeseburger. I have never had quite such an "unhealthy" burger meal before. Nonetheless, by the end my tongue was tingling. There may possibly be some real lemon in Sprite or maybe something in the burger.


I started the papaya. I cut one in half and it looked like a melon. So I quartered it and ate it like a melon, removing the little round seeds from the middle.

It tastes a bit like a cross between a mango and a melon, a good substitute for both. Maybe we should try making some papaya juice.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Salicylate free, taste free

A totally salicylate free diet is proving hard.

I have twice been out for turkey dinners. Even by avoiding stuffing and picking and choosing vegetables it seems hard to avoid the herbs that get into the cooking. Tonight's of turkey slices, brussels sprouts and roast potatoes was not particularly pleasant nor did me any good.

Sunday lunch was possibly the worst I've had in my life, consisting of hard, dry chicken pieces, undercooked cabbage and roast potatoes.

By Christmas Day I think we will have worked out how to make herb and pepper free gravy.

Last night I ended up having a sort of Chinese-Italian meal. Spaghetti topped with mince stir fried with soy sauce, cabbage, celery and potato slices. Not bad if I could work out how to make it a little juicier.

I have purchased two papayas but have no idea how to eat them. I don't dare cut one open for fear it will need hours of preparation. My latest purchase of bananas is nearly gone. Also obtained some cashew nuts which were excessively salty and pretty tasteless once the salt was washed off.