Monday, November 23, 2009

Frying fish?

I'm not sure what to make of this report, which says that frying fish reduces its omega-3 content. As it appears to have been conducted in Hawaii, it may depend on what fish is fried in. What do they use in Hawaii? Palm oil?

Tonight, in fact, I had baked trout. It turned out to be the only fish we had left in the freezer. The report says baked or boiled fish is the best - although to my mind boiled fish is awful and a sure way to kill any taste that is there.

Usually I sort of stir fry fish. Perhaps my fish sauces are only partially fried and partially boiled as I stir fry first and then add juices. So maybe that is also boiling it. In addition I'm using rapeseed oil, which is rich in omega-3, although maybe not the best kind.

This may put a dampener on my tuna con chips concoction - possibly. Again I'm not really frying the tuna in much more than its own oils.

As for good old English fish and chips. It's nice to buy occasionally, although increasingly expensive. And nobody ever said it was an especially healthy meal.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Genetically engineered soy

I'm no fan of the idea of genetically engineered food but this release from the American Heart Association about soya is interesting.

I use a lot of soy sauce for cooking as it's not meant to contain salicylate. Although it contains omega-3, I've noted in the past it also contains omega-6 oil, which aggravates the reaction to salicylate. There's no indication whether this genetic engineering would reduce omega-6 levels in soy sauce. Apparently, the aim is to make the omega-3 content even "healthier" and a substitute for fish.

In truth it's probably not much of a solution if fish stocks run out. I need to eat fish as a substitute for meat. Is soy an acceptable vegetarian alternative to meat? Maybe it's time to find out.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Revised caterer guidelines

This is the revised version of the guidelines I sent through to last week's caterers.

"It's salicylate hypersensitivity, which you may not be familiar with.

In general:
no pepper, spices or herbs. Most fruit is out and quite a few vegetables.

Banana and golden delicious apple are okay as are chips, baked potato, cabbage, peas, sprouts, lettuce, leek and celery.

All meat, dairy, plain cheese and fish is fine, although fish is especially good. Not sausages.

Small amounts of chocolate as in cake or pudding are fine. No nuts, except cashew nuts if necessary.

Only drinks are water or decaffeinated coffee. Nothing else.

The general principle I work to is that sauces and pies are dodgy. Plain meats, battered fish etc are okay."

Looking at this I suppose I could add:
"the only herb or spice that is okay is parsley and the only sauce is soy sauce, provided it has no additives."

And also:
"For cooking rapeseed oil is the best choice."


Caterer does well

They really made an effort at the event I was at last week.

At lunch there was a single plate of cheese and lettuce sandwich. It was not marked but I assumed it was for me. Unfortunately others also took a shine to them so I also had to try a plain cheese and onion sandwich. I removed the onion but the bread and cheese was stained with juice and I suffered for the rest of the day. My lip got quite thick - odd really, as onion is not suppose to be that packed with salicylate.

This was unfortunate as they had marked a plate for vegetarian and a plate for gluten free. This had celery and carrot sticks on it and as nobody seemed to be eating them I pinched some.

The evening meal was terrific. Not very tasty but they had tried ever so hard. The starter was cabbage, lettuce and cheese cubes. Main course was white fish and baked potato and the pudding was a plate with a golden delicious apple and a banana. It wasn't a great meal but was the first time someone had actually prepared a full meal according to the guidelines.

I'll post the revised guidelines that I sent shortly. The main thing is that they worked - far better than sending a list of dos and don'ts or simply assuming they can get their hands on salicylate avoidance guidance independently.


Friday, November 06, 2009

UK petition

Sometimes I speak to friends and realise I'm incredibly lucky. My original symptoms were clear enough to get me referred to a specialist. I had a miserable nine months, doped up with anti-histamines and forever hungry. But I got a diagnosis and a prescription that work most of the time.
I've spoken to people who live with asthma and allergy together - taking multiple anti-histamines and montelukast with little effect because they cannot identify the allergy. In these circumstances you may be managed by, say, a chest physician and a dermatologist, if you're lucky. Or else just a GP. It's not just the disease - living with the pills is dreadful too.
On the specialist web-sites, salicylate hypersensitivy - my problem - is usually mentioned as a possibility. But GPs, caterers, the wider world knows little about it.
So I'm happy to urge support for this petition that's been posted on the website of 10 Downing Street, the British prime minister. So far fewer than 200 people have signed - it needs more!
It reads: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to take action to improve NHS allergy services and the inadequate care received by millions of patients living with allergic disease; and call for action to implement the recommendations of independent national reviews including the House of Commons Health Select Committee, that more allergy consultant and trainee posts be created, priority be given to commissioning of allergy services and for improved knowledge of allergy in primary care. "
Mandy East of National Allergy Strategy Group writes: "Around a third of the population have a condition where allergy may be involved and about 7 million have allergy severe enough to require specialist care. This creates a large burden for the patient and the NHS. There is a lack of expertise in allergy right across the NHS.Most doctors just don’t know, or know little, about allergy; there is a lack of expertise in hospitals and a lack of knowledge or understanding of allergy in primary care. This means that very large numbers of patients are being seen by a doctor who has little understanding of their disease; and things are made worst by there being a small number of full specialists in allergy."