Ramblings

Another Hello!

I wanted to say “Hi” and “Thanks” to everyone who has followed Deadly Nightshade since it started up. Your interest and support is much appreciated.

I’ve been on the road this past week, helping my aunt and uncle get ready to move into a brand new home they will be sharing with other family members. They are in their 80s now, so it was quite a process, packing to move from a two bedroom house into a spacious granny flat.  But we did it!

I’m on my way home today, so I’ll have the weekend to get get back to work on the blog. I’m planning to tackle wheat next and I can see it turning into more than one post.

I’ll definitely be looking forward to your comments!

Beth

Meals

How We Prevented Food Sensitivities

When I was pregnant with our daughter in 1990, it was the heyday of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  No more Dr. Spock, thank heavens.  While I had had a big hand in raising my younger siblings, I had no idea about having a baby and only my mother’s horror stories to listen to.

Organic food was just starting to make a wider appearance in the markets where we lived and I jumped on the bandwagon.  I went through the whole time with no caffeine, which meant giving up my beloved black tea. I went without bacon, because there wasn’t any available at that time which was nitrate free and, because there was a salmonella scare where I lived, I ate only scrambled eggs. I avoided onions, garlic and chili.  Incredibly boring.

What I did know is that I intended to breast feed, no matter what it took and I joined La Leche League long before she was born.  I did, indeed. have the same problems as my mother, but with the members’ help, we managed.

Due to the food sensitivities that ran rampant in my family, I was determined to breastfeed solely for the first year. And although I had to fight my in-laws and I did end up supplementing with the occasional bottle of formula (my daughter weighed over ten pounds and was 20.5 inches long at birth), we pulled it off.  In case she had the same metabolic disorder that plagued my family, I wanted to give her the best and easiest start in life possible.

She thrived.

When we began to introduce solid foods, we at first followed traditional suggestions.  Hot cereals first, but no wheat.  We started with oats, because oats are a huge part of both of our ancestral heritages.  We followed up with rice cereal and then moved to fruits.

Traditional methods of introducing solids follow this pattern:

  • Cereals
  • Fruit
  • Orange Vegetables
  • Green Vegetables

Except for the cereals, we totally reversed this pattern.  The initial introduction of fruit led to immediate diaper rash.  So we tried yellow vegetables, carrots first.  Same thing. We went on to green vegetables and, lo and behold, no rash.

We gave it several weeks before we re-introduced yellow vegetables and even longer before we tried fruits again.  With fruits, we started with blueberries, which again are an ancestral fruit for our family.  All went well with this plan, until we hit strawberries and tomatoes.

When I was little, strawberries gave me hives.  This was one thing I passed on to my daughter.  Eventually, we grow out of it.

Every time she ate anything with tomato sauce, she broke out in a rash wherever it touched her skin.  Babies are messy, so you can imagine. All I could think about was, if it’s doing this to her skin, what is it doing internally? So no tomatoes until she was quite a bit older.

For the first few months, I made my own baby food, then Earth’s Best Organic Baby Foods came on the market and we had a wider choice available to us.  Easier to travel too.

Our daughter weaned herself at eighteen months and moved right on to forty ounces of organic whole milk a day from a bottle.  I really tried to get her to use a cup, but she threw it across the room after the first taste and I just didn’t have the energy for that.

She later told me it was because it tasted different coming from the cup than from the bottle.  Given that she can name different types of pasta solely by taste today, I believe it.

In the long term, she has had very little difficulty with food sensitivities as an adult and I believe it was our approach to feeding which accomplished that.

As a nurse in the teaching hospital we were stuck in for several days after she was born said to a group of her students, “Listen to and respect the mother. She knows her child best.”

Don’t hesitate to switch things up, if it suits your child better.  As long as they are eating nutritious food, they will be fine.  Track nutrition over the period of a week, not day by day and you’ll find yourself more relaxed about their food intake.

The best lesson I learned from the women of La Leche League was that you will have enough battles with your children. Don’t make one of them about food.

Meals, Recipes

Simple Italian Sauce

2 jars Mediterranean Organic fire roasted red peppers

2 cloves garlic

1 tlbs. minced onion

Basil

Oregano

Olive oil

Drain, rinse and de-seed the fire roasted red peppers.  Puree in a food processor to the texture of your choice.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet or saucepan just until you can smell the fragrance of the oil.  Add the onion and stir for 2 minutes.  Peel the garlic, put it through a garlic press and add, along with basil, oregano and other herbs of your choice. Stir briefly before adding pepper puree.

Let the sauce simmer until the flavors have blended to your taste. Use as you would a tomato based sauce. We love it on homemade pizza and lasagna.

 

 

 

 

Chemical Sensitivities, Environmental Illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

Polysorbates

Warning:  Most baked goods in America now contain Polysorbates.  You will find this listed as Polysorbate 80, 60 or 40 most often.  You will also find it in many commercially available ice creams.

Most often, it seems to cause a gastric reaction.  However, in my case, it causes my heart to race out of control.  When I finally put two and two together, I headed to the local cardiologist, verified that there was nothing the matter with my heart and started cutting more things out of my diet.

Warning:  Polysorbate use is rampant in the cosmetic industry as well.  There went my lotions, because even absorbing it through the skin was enough to bring on the problem.

Fortunately, with a switch of medications, I’m no longer at risk for an attack, if I accidentally ingest something containing Polysorbates.

Polysorbate is an emulsifier.  So where in the past it was necessary to beat batters and lotions for some time to make the ingredients stay together, now they just throw in a “harmless” chemical compound and Voila!, time is saved.

The consumer falls ever farther down the rabbit hole into poor health.

Since I can’t tolerate scents, the hunt was on to find a lotion I could use. I finally settled on Desert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Hand and Body Lotion.

If I decide I want baked goods, I make my own and luckily most premium ice cream brands do not contain Polysorbates.

Food Sensitivities, Meals, Recipes

Chili Con Carne

Due to their high sulfur and acid content, I’m extremely sensitive to tomatoes.  But I still love my late mother’s recipe for Chili Con Carne, so I developed a work around.

While red peppers, garlic and onions all contain sulfur, I find that this works for me on occasion, since the load is less than if I used tomatoes as the recipe calls for.

Some chili aficionados will blanch, because yes, I do thicken this dish.  Traditionally, it is thickened with flour, but I often use potato starch to avoid the wheat.  I also use as many organic ingredients as I can, but I still haven’t found organic spiced chili beans.

I cook this dish and other soups and stews in my Le Creuset cookware, but any type of heavy pan will do.

Serve it up with your favorite grated cheese, chopped onions, sour cream or condiments of your choice.

In our house this dish  is usually accompanied by saltines.  When I was a child, I would slather them with butter and marmelade.  Today, I just skip them.

Chili Con Carne

1 lb. ground beef

1 Spanish onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

1 16 oz. jar Mediterranean Organic Fire Roasted Red Peppers, drained

2 15 oz. cans Chili Beans

20 oz. water

Salt and Pepper

1/4 c. organic  white flour or Bob’s Red Mill potato starch

5 tsps. ground chili powder

Saute the ground beef in a large heavy saucepan, dutch oven or enameled cast iron pan. When it is brown, add the chopped onions and saute until soft.  Add the garlic clove and saute for 1 minute.

While the meat is browning, drain and rinse the peppers and process in a food processor until liquid.

Add the peppers, water, beans, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 1 hour.

Combine the flour or potato starch with 5 tsps. powered chili and add to the dish, stirring well until combined.  Simmer for a further 15 minutes and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

Food Sensitivities, Meals, Ramblings

The Nightshades We Eat or… Not

While the actual Deadly Nightshade plant has purple flowers, it’s less toxic relatives have a mix of colors including white, blue, yellow and purple.

The following plants which produce food we eat are:

Eggplant, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Pimentos, all Peppers, including Bell, Chili, Cayenne and Paprika, and all varieties of Potato. (Sweet potatoes and yams are not true potatoes).

The last surprising plant in this family is Tobacco.

All nightshades contain toxic compounds called glycoalkaloids.  These compounds act as natural pesticides, protecting the plants from a wide range of insects and other disease bearing micro-organisms.

Sensitive individuals may experience various forms of gastric distress after ingesting these foods.

My experience has been that potatoes do not bother me at all.  Tomatoes, which are also high in sulphur, are a problem, as are raw peppers.  I tend to suffer heartburn and indigestion.  I dislike eggplant and pimentos, so no problems there for me.  I use a lot of paprika in my cooking and it has never been a problem.

When I started working on eliminating tomatoes from my diet, I substituted Mediterranean Organic Organic Fire Roasted Red Peppers in my chili con carne recipe and it turned out delicious.

 

 

 

Food Sensitivities, Meals, Ramblings

Welcome

Welcome to Deadly Nightshade:  Living with Serious Food Sensitivities.

After years of battling health problems caused by the food I was eating and being told repeatedly that I wasn’t allergic to anything, I finally decided to approach things from another perspective.  Nutritionists and other medical personnel were just starting to talk about food sensitivities as opposed to allergies.  If you are truly allergic to something you have a respiratory reaction.  That was never my problem.  Constant gastric distress?  Yes.

I get extremely ill when given sulfa drugs (it runs in the family) and one day it dawned on me. I wasn’t truly allergic to them, but I definitely was sensitive to them.  They made me extremely nauseous, followed by extreme hyperactivity.

And, if sulfa drugs are made from sulfur, then what about the sulfur found in so many foods?  It was the early days of the internet and I ran across an article by a woman who was suffering from an extreme auto-immune disease.  In her research, she discovered that the common denominator was sulfur rich foods. When she eliminated them from her diet, her illness went into remission.

Luckily, I’ve found that sulfur sensitivity is usually a saturation issue.  You can be fine for years, then it hits you.  The good news is, you can detox. I was so ill by this time that I chose to follow her recommendations.  I spent two months eating only carrots, celery, pork, potatoes, white meat poultry and organic melons.  I lost weight, because I was no longer bloating and all my gastric problems went away.

This detox made it possible for me to eat again normally for awhile, but the problems kept coming back as my saturation levels rose again.  And I’m no saint.  It’s hard to avoid everything you enjoy.

Eventually, I started to develop work arounds.  Substituting different vegetables for those that caused me the most problems.  Fortunately, a lot of things are ok if they are organic, because they are not picking up sulfur and sulfites from non-organic fertilizers.

So, while I don’t expect anyone to actually poison themselves with Deadly Nightshade, I did decide to use it as a title for my blog, because there are so many foods in the nightshade family that we eat on a regular basis and tomatoes are the bane of my existence.

As I continue writing this blog, I will be including my work around ideas and recipes that my family and I enjoy.  We will also have guest bloggers from time to time, contributing their recipes and stories of their food sensitivities.