Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's not easy eating green...

I'm very glad this week that I have carnivorous tendencies. It's exciting to be able to have something on your plate that is not white or green. I'm having steak tonight.

I've gone on an elimination diet to try to get rid of the itchy spots I've battled for the best part of ten years. Previous doctors have prescribed various anti-fungal, anti-tinea and anti-roundworm treatments that don't work.

I went lately to a new doctor at my usual surgery, who took one look at them and said that they were more likely allergy related because they are raised (I'm not certain I'd ever managed to make it to a doctor when the spots were in full flight). When I asked for a script for my asthma drugs she was even more convinced. I'd need to go back to get them checked out further - I don't like to hold up doctors with long-winded discussions during 'flu season.

The thing is I've never been able to pin down the biggest outbreaks to specific events. They can happen when it's hot or cold; when I'm stressed or not stressed; whether I've changed my washing powder, deodorant, soap or not; when I am eating well or badly. The only vague difference I've noticed is that major outbreaks seem more likely to occur when I'm trying to eat well.

I decided that I'd do an elimination diet when I got back from my time away (impossible to control food when you're away). I was incredibly blessed that I mentioned this to a friend I was staying with who has had some simliar problems. She has lent a book to me all about "Friendly Food" by doctors at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit.

Within the first couple of pages it all made sense to me. There are allergies to particular foods, but these are not as common. There are also intolerences to naturally occurring food chemicals (the ones that make food taste great!!) that build up in the body and that it is quite likely if you have an intolerance to those particular natural chemicals that a different food can send you into an outbreak in each case. I've never been able to pin it down to one type of food, itchy-spot outbreaks have always seemed fairly arbitrary - which is why I didn't seriously consider Allergies/Intolerances earlier.

This also makes sense due to the fact that when I'm trying to eat well I eat more fruit/vegetables like Avocado, Kiwi Fruit, Citrus, Passionfruit, Tomatoes, Grapes/Sultanas, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Mushrooms which are all in the Very High range for the chemicals that sensitive people have trouble with. There's also the High List which includes Olive oil, Onion, Corn, Cucumber, Zucchini, Granny Smith Apples, Rockmelon and Strawberries. These are all things I have heaps of when I try to eat properly. I also have tomato paste based savoury mince often even when I'm not eating particularly well, so that could explain why the spots never entirely disappear.

So my lunch salad of lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese (Very High) and some ham (High) - maybe topped with an olive oil and vinegar (high) dressing - is now reduced to lettuce. Thankfully the book includes recipes. I've been making a salad of cabbage, celery, shallots, green beans and chicken. With a Canola Oil and Pear Juice Dressing. It is very green and white.

I'd like to share my list of available foods with you all for commiseration purposes.

Vegetables that are Low, that I can get access to (and also like enough to eat)
Green beans
Potato (thank goodness there is one non-green vegetable on the list - I could have red cabbage if I can find it at my supermarket)

Spices and condiments:
Sea Salt

Nuts & Snacks:
Plain potato crisps

My favourite list is Fruit

(wait for it, wait for it....)

Pears. Peeled, ripe pears. Tinned pears. Pear juice. Not dried.

I can have fresh meat (other than pork). I can make chicken stock to flavour things with. I can have refined sugar (just what I need for Skinny Cow purposes!). And if the spots go away I can try out the egg, dairy, and glutenous grain options just to make certain that I'm fine with them from an allergy perspective - they are mainly in the Low range for intolerances.

At that point I can make Caramel Fudge. I am looking forward to the Caramel Fudge. Skinny Cow be blowed.

But first steps first, I need to get rid of the current spots (possibly aggravated by Chinese food - onion, broccoli, capsicum, soy). We'll see if this is effective.

The compounding factor is that yesterday I had a tummy bug. In my efforts to rehydrate myself I drank lots of water and also supplimented it with some mixed soda water and pear juice (as the only non-water alternative until the spots have gone). I had some tinned pears as my fruit at lunch-time.

The thing I couldn't work out is that by lunchtime the tummy pains had gone, but after eating it seemed that the squirts would hit anyway.

It wasn't until the very early hours of this morning that I remembered that when my Beloved's Dad was dying with cancer and the morphine had him a bit stuck up, I'm fairly sure the doctor recommended pear juice. Maybe I overdid it a bit. Believe me - lesson learned!

How excited am I that Chocolate and Cocoa are in the Very High category?

... Approximately Not At All!!


Aleta said...

Woah. That's a short list of recommended food. Hmmm. I have roscia and it's definitely food related, in the sense that if it's hot, my face turns bright red. I can't handle spicy foods. Wondering if I should try a food experiment too. Thanks for the info and hmmm, I didn't know that about peaches!

Swift Jan said...

Gee I am glad that I dont need to go on an elimination diet.
And pears the only fruit!! I wouldn't cope. I dislike pears.
As for pears working as an intestinal evacuant. Yep. Works a treat on my kids when they are backed up!! LOL

Lilly's Life said...

I found your post incredibly interesting. I so totally agree that a lot of foods we consume cause allergies. I come from a family with asthma and this seems to manifest itself in skin issues as well. I have done allergy testing in the past and of course was allergic to all the foods I generally craved. I elminated all of these foods. I am going to follow your progress. Hats off to you for doing this and I hope you find the answers. It will be worth it. Must get the book too!

Givinya De Elba said...

I hope you work out which food/s specifically are a problem to you, and that it's a shrot list! I hope I didn't cause you any grief with the vegetarian lasagne I cooked for you ...?

No, don't answer that. I'm sure I did. Sorry, my dear scratchy friend.

Hippomanic Jen said...

At the time I wolfed down your vegetarian lasagne I didn't know that tomatoes, onion, cheese, mushrooms etc were potentially itchy-spot causing. I still don't know and won't know unless these spots clear up. At the moment they're driving me nuts! I hope it goes soon.

Dee from Downunder said...

This is really interesting, might have to get that book.