Monday, February 26, 2007


Oddly enough, the best summary of the problem I have come across is on Wikipedia where there are brief but excellent articles on salicylate hypersensitivity and salicylate.

These seem to confirm that the substance is used widely in toothpaste, cosmetics and food preservatives.

Also a decent attempt to explain what the allergy is.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Redbush tea

The dietician wants me to start reintroducing some very low-salicylate foods, such as carrots, mushrooms, mangoes and maybe even onions.

She's also unable to say whether redbush tea is any good. Most herbal teas are dangerous but caffeine-free tea is okay.

Redbush is a caffeine-free, low tannin strain of real tea so should be okay. So yesterday I had a cup of redbush and a raw carrot, followed by carrots for lunch today.

One or other does not work, almost certainly the redbush tea. By yesterday evening my vision was blurred and print was out of focus. Today I have had to apply Anthisan cream to my midriff as large itchy red spots emerged. And I have a tummy ache.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"May contain nuts"

...has been revealed as an issue in Britain this week after Cadbury's was forced to withdraw a host of chocolate products for failing to include this statement.

This is becoming a growing problem because food manufacturers are apparently utterly scared of being sued if they fail to declare a nut risk and somebody suffers a reaction.

Sources tell me that schools are having problems finding food suppliers because only a few will declare their products are uncontaminated with nuts.

Something needs to be done because this is limiting the amount of foods people with food allergies can eat. The food industry had better pray that salicylate allergy does not become fashionable - because contamination with pepper, tomato and other herbs is also a major problem for those of us who occasionally have to eat processed food.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Chocolates and sour cream

It started with Rose's chocolates. We were travelling and I was peckish - having watched the rest of them scoffing doughnuts and other goodies. "Go on", she said. "This one is just plain toffee". I bit on it and bit into a solid nut. Whatever it was, it was not a cashew nut. To be fair, I too had a feeling that Rose's had some plain chocolates - clearly not. That was Saturday.

On Tuesday we decided to beat the Valentine's Day rush and went to a steakhouse. That should be as plain food as you can get commercially. I have never had a 16oz steak before and enjoyed it enormously even though it seemed undercooked. It may have been the sour cream with the cheese and bacon starter - or the fact it was on potatoes in their skins - that caused a problem. The cream had some kind of herb in it - which I tried unsuccessfully to pick out.

So by the middle of the week I had a thick throat, a sore eye and spots returning on my tummy. And other symptoms. They did not feel like big breaches and I had been hoping to tell the dietician that I was coping with small breaches of the diet. That seems unlikely so I now fear she will put me on a weighing and measuring diet as she threatened.

I've had a stiff neck for a couple of weeks and just hope this is not some vitamin deficiency.

So for a couple of nights I have cooked for myself. I also started on the last of the pomegranates, which spurted out red juice, making the shirt I was wearing unwearable. I turned some frozen prawns into a white spaghetti sauce - mixed with cabbage - one night and I'm unsure about the effects of that. I am finding a use for my remaining gluten-free flour as it makes a good substitute for cornflour in making sauces. It seems very absorbent and not very lumpy.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Papaya and fish pie

Papaya is proving a disappointment. The first papayas I had were delicious but every single one we have purchased since then has been tough and unripe.

I bought three for a pound in a local greengrocers and saved the third to see if it would ripen. It has started to go off but has not ripened.

My wife insisted on serving a supermarket fish pie the other day. It must have contained various herbs and pepper as well as carrots and sweetcorn. As with other recent breaches of the diet, the reactions have been mild but real.

I've also got another appointment with the dietician so the NHS is keeping an eye on me. She wrote recently with some answers to outstanding queries and that means that:
redbush tea is still out but she thinks yeast extract is okay. Rapeseed oil is also okay, as I thought, since I cook everything in it.