Monday, 17 October 2011

Surviving in a Chemical World (Part 1)

Allow me to share in detail how I survive everyday.

  1. As you know, I cannot eat anything from the restaurants, delis, cafes or even the bread vendor. Anything that contains preservatives, flavourings, colourings, additives, sauces and MSG is definitely forbidden for me. Now which food outlet sells food without any of the above? Even the organic shops use sauces. And these sauces could contain a small amount of salicylate in it. And yes, I have reacted to the food from organic stores. Even vegetables and fruits contain salicylate naturally. 
  2. Everything that I cook, bake, steam, roast, fry, deep fry, grill or boil has only salt and sometimes a teeny-weeny bit of pepper in them. I do not use sugar in my cooking UNLESS I have a severe sugar craving that cause me light-headedness, then yes. If not it's only salt and sometimes pepper. Of course when it comes to pastries or desserts, yes I use sugar. I use only organic brown sugar. The salt that I use is sea salt and the Himalayan rock salt. And I use sunflower oil for my cooking. 30 months back I could only use the Clearspring organic sunflower oil. But as I grew stronger, I could use other brands of sunflower oil. 
  3. In order for the dishes to be 'edible', I had to crack my brains on how to 'flavour' my dishes. I could not use any spice or herbs or flavourings or sauces. Someone once remarked, 'How awful it must be to be eating bland food everyday for the rest of your life.' I refused to accept that! I guess that's how I am. I am a very strong willed person. Now that is an understatement. Let me rephrase that. I am an EXCEEDINGLY strong willed person. I guess in this situation it's good as I won't give up without a fight. Thus, I had to come up with new ways to cook my food. During the first few months where my condition was very volatile and dangerous, I only ate a handful of dishes, day in and day out. Even before the next meal came, my system would revolt at the thought of eating the same food again! It was steamed salt chicken, fried rice with minced pork (pork - which I am unable to tolerate today) and lettuce iceberg, steamed white pomfret, lettuce iceberg, AND steamed salt chicken AND lettuce iceberg. You get my drift. I was sick from being sick. So I willed myself and set my mind to be stronger and then when I was indeed stronger, I tried out new types of vegetables, fruits, cooking in a different style, and mixing different types of fresh ingredients. Of course it's still strictly no sauces, colourings, additives, MSG or flavourings, spices and herbs. There was a point I could tolerate a certain brand of white sauce. But today, I am intolerant towards it again. It's ok. I'll build myself back up again and TRY again. Hey, maybe one day I might create a new and unique sauce which is salicylate free and chemical free that is totally yummy-licious! What we can do is limitless. Someone once said the sky is the limit. I say the galaxy is the limit!!! To quote from my son's favourite cartoon at the moment, 'Nothing's impossible for Animal Mechanicals! Animal Mechanicals can do ANYTHING!' Well, we too can do anything if we set our heart, will, mind and soul to it. And saying a little prayer too helps sometimes. 
  4. And so my journey for this 30 months where food is concerned, has been like a roller coaster ride. Sometimes it's just sheer adrenaline rush. Sometimes I get paralysed with fear. What if my experimentation goes wrong and trigger another anaphylactic attack and I drop dead from it and no one is at home? So my experiments are usually done when my family is around. Especially my hubby. And yes, my family members have been taught to use the Epi-Pen. Hopefully in the state of panic they'll remember how to inject me! (This one is for your mom and dad!) Haha!!
  5. My body has developed a way on how to alert me when the components of a fragrance, a dish, vegetables or even fruits has something that would trigger a reaction. The smells or taste would 'transform' into a 'chlorine smell/taste/ that will burn my mouth, throat or sinus. I would then either spit it out and run to the bathroom and rinse my mouth till nothing is left in it or leave the scene immediately. Sometimes the smell is so overpowering that even a face-mask cannot block it. So you'll see me fleeing from the restaurants or washrooms or from someone whose over-powering perfume is like walking through the fogging done at dawn or dusk to kill the aedes mosquitoes. And if the reaction is exceedingly bad, I'll swallow a double dose of medication on the spot.
  6. I am currently practicing a rotation diet today, This means that whatever I eat today, I do not eat the same thing in the next 3 to 4 days or even a week. This is to prevent the accumulation of salicylates in my system from building up that could cause another major anaphylactic attack. I have had many near-anaphylaxis attacks in the months of August and September 2011. I did not practice the rotation diet then. And I guess the salicylates had build-up to a very potent level. For more than a week, it was just simple chicken soup with rice and simple stir-fried vegetables to bring the salicylate levels down. And when I was stronger, I tried new foods again. 
  7. My only form of supplement is the LactoGG probiotics.
  8. To understand more on salicylate, you can click on the link below:

I will share more on what I use in my daily products, household detergents and how I build my immune system up. I am not a doctor or a person in the medical line. I'm just sharing my experience. See an immunologist/allergist to get a better view of your ailment. And never give up. Of course it's easier said than done. But that's the only way to live. Have a great week.

The Epi-Pen on the LEFT has been used. The one on the RIGHT  has not been used. 
Another of my homemade dishes:
Chicken noodle soup with homemade dumplings, prawns and baby pak choy vege.


  1. Another great article. Hurry up......can't wait to read part 2, 3, 4 & so on. Keep up the good job.

  2. Steamed chicken is one of my favorite food, tastes good and healthy! Thanks for sharing, it makes me understand more about your condition :-) i

  3. Thanks Lily. Steamed chicken is nice that is if you do not eat it EVERYDAY! :) *Hugs*

  4. hey there girl!
    maybe can raise your own chickens too? organic, free-range salicylate-free broilers. yummy yummy

  5. @ Anonymous: Oooooohhh! That would be nice! Definitely yummy to the tummy. I can imagine how excited the little one would be! :)

  6. I'm enjoying reading your post! It's interesting reading about salicylates and how they can affect a person. I've never heard of this before reading your blog. Thank you for the education.

    Questions (forgive my ignorance as I try to understand the details): Herbs and spices - are you using the fresh plants or bottled/processed? Do you have the same problems with either form? I just read yesterday that gluten is in many of our seasonings as an anti-caking agent. Do you have a gluten intolerance? I have a gluten-intolerant friend who has serious reactions to gluten and recently read most people are gluten intolerant yet are unaware. It's in almost everything. I'm currently attempting a grain-free diet.

    Also, I've found we are "addicted" to seasonings and salt and conditioned to believe food tastes "bland" or tasteless without these things. I've read a lot of websites and blogs that promote healthy living that living without added salts and seasonings is an acquired taste and after we get used to it, the taste of the real food is much preferred. I know I have a hard time with salt - salted foods taste too salty to me. What about unrefined sea salt? Do you use that?

    In my opinion, sugar is evil. I have found in the short time I have been totally gluten-free, I'm not craving sugar. I've read gluten makes you crave sugar. I didn't believe it, but now I do.

  7. Another question: Have you looked into leaky gut issues? Again, this is prevalent with gluten-intolerant people.

  8. @ Rumraisinful: Hi again! :) I don't use herbs or spices. I cannot take the smell. They cause a reaction as in allergy-migraines and burning sensation in nose/nasal/sinus/mouth/throat. I do not use any seasoning AT ALL. I use the sea salt or the Himalayan rock salt which are sold at the organic shops. Even the sugar that I use in my bakings are organic brown sugar. Living an organic life costs a bomb!!!

    I don't react to food with gluten. It's the food with salicylates or overnight food or sauces, chemicals that cause me to react. But I will be reading more on gluten. Thanks!