Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 4

This is getting much more complicated than I expected. Let me summarize the past few days.
Day 0: got rid of 3 grocery bags of toiletries and 3 trash bags of food. restocked with "safe" stuffDay 1: made homemade applesauce, roasted some garlic, and bravely attempted making mayonnaise (which turned out rather successful!)Day 2: finally mastered a good bowl of black beans! Unfortunately, I had rice tortillas with vegetable cellulose in them (the xantham gum). I got violently ill.Day 3: I spent the day recovering. Moderately better by evening.Day 4 (today): i'm sensitive to amines too. FUCK!
Ok, so i suspected I was sensitive to amines when I started the salicylate-free diet. I was hoping that the salicylate thing would be all that was necessary. My list of "safe" food is about 50 items long (and that includes the salt). Amines only cuts out about a half dozen more things and means I can only eat FRESH meat and fruit and veggie. I mean absolutely killed/picked this morning fresh. I knew I should have stayed in the country.
So.... on goes the experiment. I am terrified to go to my naturopath and tell her that I stopped taking all the meds she gave me. Terrified because I'm not looking forward to trying to substantiate myself about this sensitivity, and terrified because if she actually believes me, what kind of meds/drugs/herbs would she actually be able to give me? (almost) ALL plants have salicylates in them. This is making my stress levels high. ... it doesn't help that I'm having roommate problems again. *sigh* i'm feeling like I am about to have a heart attack and/or dying.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 3

Something went seriously wrong. I think it was the tortillas I ate last night. I got a stomach ache, then severe anxiety, a bit of mania, a killer headache, weakness in my right half of body, pain in all of my joints, gut pain & bloating, ringing in my ear, and thirsty as hell and needing to pee every hour (even when I didn't drink water).

I don't think that any of the severity levels were worse than normal....but it felt HORRIBLE because I have been virtually symptom free for a few days. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn't sleep well. I was having nightmares about being poisoned and trying to figure out the culprit. I seriously feel like I am falling apart. I'm a mess.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 2 of Salicylate-Free Diet

Day 2 of my salicylate free diet. My anxiety levels are way down, pain is the lowest it has been in months, digestion problems are not as bad as usual, and my emotions and mental clarity are much more stable! This might be worth it! I'm going to keep going for a week and then reevaluate to see whether I should stay on the diet and keep going, modify it so that it isn't as strict, or go back to what I was doing.
I wrote down all of my food options and they fit neatly in two columns on one sheet of paper. It makes me immensely happy to say that "this is what I can eat, nothing else, and I will be happy and healthy". I am actually rather impressed with myself and my ability to be creative with the limited list. I made myself homemade applesauce, chicken broth, and mayonnaise last night, along with a crumb crusted haddock fillet. I even managed to make coleslaw and I roasted an elephant garlic that I mixed up into some green beans. I made up a decent salad dressing with tahini and lime juice and plan on trying to make rutabega chips and frenchfries. I will need to make some pear jam soon and invest in some cashew butter.
Interestingly, my new diet has also brought up a lot of old memories of my food habits from when I was very small. It feels nostalgic, as if I am going back to my roots. My goal is to do everything I can to not feel restricted, rather feel like I am in abundance. I realized this morning that my Parmesan cheese recipe is still safe for me. I can still eat my meager sandwiches and I still have some room to make pies (with a cashew nut crust and apple and pear filling?). I can eat almost any meat (except processed, seasoned ones) and I still have ALL of my gluten free grains and starches (yay?... I haven't been excited about them yet, maybe this is my chance!) and most of my baking supplies are safe. I still have most of my favorite veggies and any kind of split pea, lentil or bean. And can have rice vinegars (there are several kinds too!) and limes and bean sprouts and tamari. It looks like I will be eating more indian/paki food and stir-fries and thai and such. And that is my favorite food anyway! (I'm trying to cheer myself up here, bear with me) So... a small investment into a few cookbooks I have been putting off on getting and a new hope that I am FINALLY eating food that makes me feel good, and I may end up all right in the end.
In order to do this right, I have decided to put off taking my math class until summer. This has been a very rough semester and I feel like I need a bit more breathing room. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Old enemies

I have some pretty bad memories growing up of trying to get rid of my acne. My mom would pin me when I was little to squeeze out a blackhead. When I was older, she made me wear makeup to cover it all up and bought me all sorts of medicated face washes. I would often wake up in the morning having felt like I didn't sleep, my face swollen and puffy, and in tears with pain. I eventually determined that I was sensitive to Salicylates. They are in aspirin, acne medications, and anything mint. So, I did my best to avoid the obvious culprits. But I regularly got guilted into using my acne facewashes, would wake up before school in tears and pain, and get shamed, yelled at, or occasionally thrown out of bed and across the room to motivate me to "get my ass to school".
At this time, I also simply stopped eating. I was too sick in the mornings to eat, would eat what I could tolerate at lunch, be half-starved by afternoon snack, and then devour whatever was given to me at dinner even if I hated it. I rarely felt good after dinner. I would get extremely tired for about a half hour, then anxious and jittery and incapable of sleeping for HOURS later. It worked out ok for me though, because it meant that I could stay up later doing homework. I never could concentrate on my homework while my mother was awake and in the house. Thankfully she went to bed early most nights. I had to get up at 6am though for school, so I rarely slept more than 6 hours.
We also had a "bread drawer" where we kept all the bread, cookies, chips, etc. By the time I was in High School, I had long ago refused to eat sandwiches or anything out of the drawer. I also refused to eat cereal and pretty much any fruit that was in the house (usually only grapes and apples). I had either oatmeal, a waffle, or nothing in the morning. I tried convincing my parents to let me go vegetarian at one point because I hoped that would make me feel better. Their response to that was to prepare ONLY pasta and meat dishes for a month. My mom refused to even prepare our normal veggie side dishes.
I was wild, unpredictable, moody and emotional as a child and teen. I had poor concentration, was easily provoked into a screaming rage, and would go days spinning out of control in a manic whirlwind followed by weeks and months of depression so deep, I didn't even have the motivation to try and kill myself. I knew something was wrong. But the doctors said I had a clean bill of health. I apparently wasn't "crazy" enough to be allowed to see a therapist. If I tried to utilize the school therapists or go to the nurse, my mother would guaranteed find out (she worked at the school) and would harass me until she found out my "reason" for going and then would yell at me that I was just fine. Needless to say, I don't have fond memories of growing up.
Since then, I have been searching for the answer to what was causing me to feel so bad and act so out of control. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and that answered a lot of questions. I've found many more food intolerances since then too. I've always avoided salicylates outright (like aspirin and face wash) but never more than that (except a brief time in college when I only used salicylate free soaps, shampoo, toothpaste, etc). The problem is, and I've said this over an over.... the healthier food I eat, the sicker I get.
Guess what?!?! Salicylates are found in MOST fruits and vegetables. Growing up, I didn't eat a whole lot of flavorful foods that have natural salicylates in them. We had a pretty crappy diet of nothing but pasta and meat and salt and pepper. We didn't eat veggies or fruit or have nuts and seeds and spices, teas or condiments. But as I have searched for "safe" food in my gluten free, dairy free, soy free, yeast free, oat free, and corn free diet.... I have started to eat a lot more veggies and oils and vinegars and spices and all sorts of things. But I still stay up late wracked in pain (and there are no "safe" pain meds for me to take) and wake up feeling like shit. I go through the day in a stupor and my 6 years of chronic diarrhea is only getting worse. Granted, I'm a hell of a lot healthier and more functional (at least cognitively) than I was growing up. But you know what!?, I just want to have a good solid crap and a restful night's sleep. Is that really too much to ask???
I'm not happy about trying an elimination diet to see if salicylates really are my problem. There is a pretty good likelihood they are though. This is going to be really tough. Its kinda crappy to realize this on Thanksgiving and going into the holiday season. I finally thought I had figured out something so that this year I can FINALLY partake in the festivities and not just stand around starved watching everyone else pig out. As much as I don't like it, I also don't have the luxury of throwing out all the food in my house and restocking with "safe" salicylate free food because I am beyond poor. Its going to be a tough journey of negotiation and gradual replacement of the most troubling culprits to start with. The salicylate diet is much more complicated than a gluten free diet. Wish me luck! I am going to need it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


This is a great (and easy) pancake recipe. they also make good leftovers.

1 cup buckwheat four
1/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 T maple syrup
~1 cup rice milk (give or take a 1/4c)
butter or ghee
1 egg

1. Whisk dry ingredients together.

2. Whisk wet ingredients together (except egg and butter)

3.. Separate egg white and yolk. Add egg yolk to other liquids and whisk. Beat egg white (with an electric mixer) until firm set and forms solid peaks. Do not over beat.

4. Add liquids to dry ingredients and mix together. It should be liquid enough to flow relatively slowly from a spoon. Add more milk if needed.

5. Fold in egg whites. Don't mix too much, or you will negate the egg white power!

6. Drop by 1/4-1/3 cupfuls in a hot, oiled/buttered skillet. Flip when entire pancake is bubbly. Remove and top with butter.

7. Enjoy! (these are great with more syrup, with jam/jelly, or warmed up in the toaster as leftovers. They make a great bread for a PB&J sandwhich too!)

You can make a less healthy version with rice flour too. Use 2/3 cup rice flour, and 1/3 cup starch (tapioca, arrowroot, corn, potato), plus 1/2 tsp guar gum or xantham gum. Reduce liquid to get the right consistency (about 3/4 c milk instead of 1 cup)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chickpea Bread & Homemade Roast Beef

1 cup chickpea flour
1 1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 T oil
onions/chives/aromatic spices

1) Stir flour and water together. Add salt. Let sit for several hours, covered with a towel. Skim off foam on top.

2) Pan fry onions, spices, flavorings with a little oil in a small 10inch cast iron skillet.

3) Add 1-2T more oil and swirl in pan. Pour half of flour/water mix in (mix well before pouring). It should make a medium to thin layer in the pan.

4) Bake at 450F for 20-25 minutes or until crisp on the edges. Flip if necessary and cook on the other side until entirely cooked through. Cooking longer will make a crispy cracker like bread.

5) Remove and cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

Roast Beef

1 lean roast (fresh meats graded for raw consumption best)

1) Place meat on a rack or spear it on a spit. Lightly salt.

2) Cook on a slow, low heat in the oven (~250-300F) until cooked through. Make sure you look up cooking times. I recommend cooking it until rare because it cooks further when you let it cool.

3) Slice thin and refrigerate 1 day before eating. (It should appear bloody after refrigeration, but this is not raw blood. It is a byproduct of the roasting and makes for a sweet flavor. Blood is NOT sweet tasting. It is salty.)

4) Serve with chickpea bread. Eat within 3 days of roasting.