Sunday, November 23, 2008

Salmon and spinach

 I seem to have been eating combinations of salmon and spinach recently, mostly concocted by kind people making an effort to find palatable recipes for me.

First there was salmon and spinach cuiche. That can be made using tinned salmon. Nice!

Next somebody made a spinach sauce and served it with fresh salmon. Delicious. Essentially a white sauce with spinach added.

Finally last week a friend served up an amazing lasagne, made from smoked salmon and spinach. I don't think he'd asked me beforehand - just guessed. Mouth-watering!

Spinach is low in salicylate and salmon is of course low in omega 6. Both are rich in healthy nutrients although if you read wikipedia it might put you off eating too much spinach.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Giving up chocolate - and decaf

Not completely, but I have cut down on chocolate big time since seeing last week's analyses of how much caffeine contains.

I used to snack on dark chocolate on the grounds it was "healthy". Also because of its bitter taste you eat less of it than if you start on dairy milk chocolate. So I'm not going to start snacking on milk chocolate. I'll still eat chocolate products, chocolate cake and gateaux which seem to be pure chocolate, cream and flour.

I cannot say it has made much improvement to me. However I'm managing to avoid taking pills.

I also think I need to stop drinking decaf filter coffee - the sort that comes out of machines. Most salicylate lists say decaffeinated coffee is okay - but they may be referring to instant coffee, which is very bland. It is interesting to see how much caffeine "decaf" tea has - almost as much as instant coffee.

The machine decaf tends to be very strong and the effect is "instant". It goes straight to my left eye, which starts blurring and aching just as it did before this whole problem was identified. And I feel it causes digestive problems. Perhaps I'll start carrying instant decaf around in a jar.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More research needed on salicylates

 Our last poll collected the grand total of 11 votes and this time they were unanimous:

"More research is needed on salicylate levels in food and other products."

That includes chocolate, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, suntan oil, even textiles perhaps?

What should I poll on next? Any ideas?


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Shampoo frustration

 I threatened to shave my head today after total failure in getting hold of a decent shampoo or conditioner. The supermarket (Asda this time) only seems to sell shower gels. Tesco, as I've mentioned before, doesn't seem to stock the wheat and cornflour shampoo and conditioner that it used to sell. So now I've just squeezed the last drop out of the last bottle in the bathroom.

I popped into a branch of Boots to get the Simple shampoo and conditioner that I bought before. Not there. Eventually I bought a Derm shower gel for sensitive skin. I tried it. It's no good for the hair and when I smeared some on my arm it left two red blotches. I need to go through the ingredients in detail. I didn't spot salicylate.

My hairdresser suggested Johnson's baby shampoo. I said I hadn't seen that on sale. She said you have to look in the baby corner. The other problem is it stinks.

Of course when you are told there is no simple test for salicylate hypersensitivity it's not necessarily true. There may well be - it's called Imperial Leather shampoo. Along with one or two other commercial shampoos, it's rich in salicylate. That's the secret ingredient - aspirin! Before I was diagnosed I used it - and always came out of the shower bright red. The flare-up never seemed to last and I always put it down to having slightly "sensitive" skin. I didn't realise it was contributing to my eye-ache and other things. So there's a possible test - a salicylate shower!


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Caffeinated chocolate

Alarming news today from British regulators who say there's substantial amounts of caffeine in all chocolate. Sometime ago I reassured myself there was hardly any in chocolate - and that I could continue snacking on otherwise healthy dark chocolate.

Not so, according to the Food Standards Agency. It's not they are taking any interest in salicylates; far more serious is that they have linked caffeine to the health of new-born babies and urged pregnant women to cut down.

Now the FSA says four 50g bars of plain chocolate a day is equivalent to two mugs of caffeinated instant coffee. Those are small bars and that's quite a lot of coffee. I buy chocolate in 200mg bars and probably get through one bar in three or four days - so that's the equivalent half a mug of caffeinated coffee a day. That could explain some of the minor salicylate reactions I suffer now and again.

The full FSA list is interesting as it tells you the caffeine contained in each item:
* 2 mugs of instant coffee (100mg each)
* 1 mug of filter coffee (140mg each)
* 2 mugs of tea (75mg each)
* 5 cans of cola (up to 40mg each)
* 2 cans of 'energy' drink (up to 80mg each)
* 4 (50g) bars of plain chocolate (up to 50 mg each). Caffeine in milk chocolate is about half that of plain chocolate
So what about decaf coffee? I googled "decaf chocolate" and came up with a some interesting links. I don't think anyone has made decaf chocolate.

But US chocolate maker Hershey doesn't seem to think it is necessary. If you follow the link it's worth noting that their dark chocolate bar contains more than three times as much caffeine as their ordinary bar. It could be their chocolate doesn't contain much caffeine because it does not contain much chocolate.

Now I don't know what to do. I've relied on chocolate to keep me going - chocolate desserts, chocolate snacks, chocolate drinks. I'll have to cut down!


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Whisky fever

Woke up today with hay fever, a runny nose, a thick head and thick throat. I'm away for the weekend and left all my pills behind too.

I can only think it was the Scotch whisky I drank last night - Famous Grouse. As I've commented before there seems to be a difference between Scotch, distilled in oak vats, and the American bourbon whiskies, such as Jack Daniels, which so far as I can tell are distilled in metal vats.

I did have some sandwiches yesterday lunchtime. There was a scrambled egg and lettuce sandwich which seemed okay and then a sliced meat, which tasted as if it had some herbs in it. Also some mayonnaise. So that may not have helped. I've had two meals cooked with loving care by my hosts, plain chicken and vegetables such as leek, carrot and spinach. All beneficial rather than harmless.

Although winter has arrived, this is definitely not a cold, although I've almost forgotten what having a cold is like. There is no fever.