Thursday, October 29, 2009

Caterers and cheese

I sent through my guidelines for caterers for an event I'm attending next week. Today the caterer rings me up.

"I've made inquiries," she says, "and I can't find out anything about this allergy. What can you eat?"

I stress the answer is plain food, maybe cheese sandwiches. We're doing a finger buffet and there will be cheese and onion somethings, she says. No, finger buffet is disastrous, I say. Plain cheese sandwich will be fine. After all, all I need is something to keep me going.

In fact I amended the instructions a little before sending them through. The trouble is I don't know what to say about cheese. Plain cheese is okay - but I've been eating plain, salicylate free food for a few days now and The Ring is back. As I write, it's even itching - so I need to take a pill.

I'll take another look at the revised instructions and post them again.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

The little things

A couple of weeks' silence here means a couple of weeks struggling with the little things. For instance I put some cashew nuts and a couple of bars of cheap Tesco chocolate into the pantry.

Although cashew nuts are meant to be near zero salicylate they are of course rich in omega-6 - which means they should only be eaten as part of a salicylate free diet. I don't believe chocolate is zero salicylate as it can be quite rich in caffeine - however my lists say cocoa is low salicylate. But a bar of chocolate is far too nice, especially when working. So a couple of squares soon becomes the whole bar - and that is too much chocolate and too much caffeine. I need to revert to not buying chocolate, even if the supermarket brands are incredibly cheap.

It all means flurries of disturbance and the occasional rush for a montelukast to calm down some itching or irritation.

Then there are the snacks that people provide. I dipped into a bowl of cashew nuts the other day - the trouble is they were coated in spice. So that was salicylate in the spice and omega 6 in the nuts. I took a montelukast when I got home. Then there was the beef sandwich. It looked plain but tasted far too nice. Was that mustard?

After one of these episodes I sat down in the evening and got up. My left knee was weak, the finger and thumb of my left hand ached and the old left eye felt sore. I took a montelukast and the problem faded away.

What about Jack Daniels? My illusions that it might be any better than Scotch whisky have been shaken. Somebody told me it's matured in hickory wood. I looked into this a little further and discovered that whisky's golden colour is acquired from the wood in which it matures. All I can say is that Jack Daniels never causes too much harm - but maybe I should keep it to the occasional tipple.

It's all little things that can suddenly build up into a big problem if they are not taken care of.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fish and rheumatism

I'm intrigued and encouraged by this recent analysis of allergy prevention, suggesting that eating fish is one of the best ways of dealing with problems.

There doesn't seem to be an explanation for this. In the case of salicylate hypersensitivity, there appears to be a very clear explanation as I discovered a couple of years ago. This is that the condition is caused by a reaction between omega -6, found in meat, and salicylate. So substituting fish, which has omega-3 fats, for meats can help prevent these reactions.

This is not necessarily what happens in classical IGe allergy (in truth, I don't know.) So are the benefits of fish thrown up because studies of diets include a number of people with salicylate problems? Or does it provide other benefits for allergy sufferers, eg in reducing inflammation?

Today I went for another Chinese buffet. I forgot to take a montelukast before going. A few days ago I wrenched my arm. I had picked up one of those cheap plastic containers full of papers and one end broke. The container slumped down, twisting my arm. It seemed to recover with some minor aching, but tonight my left hand aches like Hades, just about on the index finger. I thought I had a pretty safe meal at the Chinese - but if you eat anything remotely processed you cannot be sure what's in it. My feast today included cauliflower cheese, plain chicken in batter and biscuit pudding - plenty of opportunity for odd chemicals and components to creep in.

I really do not want to get rheumatism in my hand so I have now taken a montelukast.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Celery and beer

 I threw some red cabbage, leek and celery into the steamer tonight. Nothing new about that. I was surprised when the delicious aroma of curry came from it.

It can't have been the pans - you don't cook curry in a steamer and I don't think anyone in the household has eaten anything that spicy for ages.

I savoured the smell, which continued to fill the air after I served up. It seemed to come from the celery. There was no taste of curry in the food - but the smell gave some added spice to the meal.Memo to me: I must do something about making that home-made curry.

In contrast, I was listening to a report on beer on the radio the other day. I was never a great beer drinker but there have been moments in life when beer has been delicious, mainly on the European continent. I enjoyed chilled lager in the Italian heat and exotic strawberry-flavoured beers they serve in Belgium. There seems no possibility of enjoying those tastes and those moments again.