Sunday, September 03, 2006

What to eat?

Antibiotics are your friends...Except when you're on them constantly to fight off ridiculous re-occurring bugs that seem to have an unexplained monopoly over your excretory organs' real-estate.
When western-medicine type doctors (and their blood tests, ultra sounds and sticking-cameras-up-tiny-orifices) can't seem to provide any concrete answers, it's time to talk to the quacks. Or, as I like to call them, Practitioners of Alternative Medicine - most of whom are actually real medically-trained doctors, by the way. Who knew?

Just a couple of weeks ago, spurred by recurrent infections and my open-minded western-medicine doctor, I went to both a Nutritionist and Naturopath specializing in allergies and, compiling the information received from those sources, I concluded that a change of diet is in order. That's right. No more eating half a tub of cream cheese. Even with crackers. Especially with crackers!

I learned that I am sensitive to many types of foods. Although I may not have violent allergic reactions to most of these, they can cause digestive and skin problems and can also compromise my immune system. A taxed immune system is, of course, way less efficient in fighting off nasty bugglies.

Here is the huge and daunting list of things I responded negatively to:
- milk protein, which is present in most dairy products (including cheese)
- egg yolks (whites are disgusting, but fine to eat)
- pork and all pig-type products (awww... No more weenies!)
- tomatoes and any tomato-related things
- all nuts and any nut-related things (especially peanuts)
- all oils except canola oil
- grapes and any grape-related things (includes wine)
- anything with caffeine in it (includes chocolate)
- acidic fruits such as orange, lemon, pineapple...
- some veggies, including asparagus, cauliflower and peppers of all colours
- pungent herbs and spices including garlic, chili powder, curry and cayenne
- shellfish including prawns, shrimp, mussels and crabs (probably lobster, too)
- White flour (but whole wheat seems fine)
- Aspartame
- Nasty additives including: sulfites, sulfates, nitrites, nitrates, dyes (especially red) BHA, BHT, MSG, Sulfur Dioxide, Benzoic Acid and HVP.
- Mold, Tobacco smoke, Grass and Carpet.

But, most importantly...
Yes, that's right. Now I officially have a reason to hate potatoes! For some reason, all members of the nightshade family (including eggplant) seem to be my enemies! So I say "Ha!" to my very persistent parents (and many so-called friends) who constantly badgered me to consume those vile tubers... "Potatoes are bad for me!"

So, with all of this hanging over my head, I have had to gradually adjust my eating habits. I am phasing out most dairy products, except mozzarella cheese and yogurt. I will later post my results of my Soy Beverage taste tests.
I'm eating only whole wheat breads and pastas. I'm making my own salad dressings and avoiding nuts and all fruits and veggies that I can't have. Pasta sauces have been a challenge... Particularly since I LOOOOVE tomato sauce.

The trickiest things are the additives. They're in practically EVERYTHING: dried fruit, cereals, deli meats, any pre-packaged foods. Trying to find a can of condensed soup without MSG in it was impossible! A warning to the curious: food labels can be scary!

I think that I will miss cheese, tomatoes, peanut butter and prawns the most. Oh wait. Chocolate too.

But hopefully, if all goes well, I won't miss the antibiotics...
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