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Author Topic: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly  (Read 1969 times)

Description: Trying to figure out hidden label ingredients

Offline mzcat

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The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
« on: December 28, 2012, 09:23:51 PM »
 :insane:  Hi!  My name is Cat, and I wanted to formally introduce myself to the group.  I just left the allergist AGAIN with sore arms.   I have known for a good 20 years I had allergies to what I thought was unusual things.  I have multi-chemical sensitivities to petro chemicals and pesticides.  I am allergic to perfumes and have been carefully avoiding all those types of irritants for the past 20 years.  I went through through testing at the University of Texas Health Science Center after I had worked in greenhouses for the past 15 years and was having symptoms of pesticide exposure.   I also have fibromyalgia and a connective tissue disorder.

For the past two years I have had trouble breathing when I would eat out.  I was having trouble figuring out what caused it but it would happen about 10 minutes into the meal.   It would also happen at other times, for no obvious reason.  It would go away after about 30 minutes.  But it  had started to get worse. 

I woke up the day after Thanksgiving and my face was numb, I could not breathe through my nose at all and my face felt swollen.  My new doctor thought I was having an allergic reaction to something.  Maybe the wine I drank a bit too much of at Thanksgiving dinner :)...  Maybe the chocolate/cranberry cake drenched in cranberry liquor a chef friend made for dinner.  Maybe the spicy stuffing he made that we devoured.

I have been in for allergy testing three times in the past month.   Now I can breathe easily which is a BIG improvement.  Also the colitis I have had for 20 years is SO much better.  It seems I was allergic to wheat and rice.  A week after cutting out all gluten, I could suddenly stop searching for a rest room every time I left the house.   

They also told me I was allergic to cranberries and oranges.   The oranges I can understand because they always made my mouth and lips break out.  Often my face developed a rash right after eating them.   What was suspicious was that we had just started using Orange Oil with Beeswax as a sealer on the furniture we were working on.  My nose didn't like it and when we brought in a bed we had made into the house, I had to close the door to that bedroom because I found the smell overpowering.

I have had severely chapped and sore lips for about 2 years and found out that the lip balms I had been using contained mint and often orange.   << sensitive to, but not allergic to mint.

Now I am reading labels on everything...  I am trying to identify hidden ingredients.

I am trying to figure out why 7-up and Sprite burn my mouth but Dr. Pepper does not.   Does anyone know if citric acid is made with oranges?   

I also just started trying to cook with almond flour and oat flour.   I seem to be tolerating both fine.  However, my wonderful cooking skills  can't seem to make a decent loaf of bread or a cracker that my taste buds find appealing.  And my almond flour pie crust was terrible.   I need help figuring out how to use alternative flours in the same way I used to use white/wheat flour.   I need recipes!

And does anyone know anything about lip balms that don't contain sunscreen, parabens, jojoba, orange oil or mint?   I have spent hours in drug stores reading labels and I am getting weary.

Any suggestions on sites or ideas would be greatly appreciated!


Online rebekahc

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Re: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 11:49:53 AM »
Hi and welcome!  I'm glad you found us, but sorry your suffering is why you needed to!

It sounds like you may have two separate things going on - (1) chemical sensitivities due to environmental exposure and (2) allergies.  I don't know too much about the first, but I suspect we have a few members who might have knowledge of chemical exposure/sensitivities through their lines of work. Hopefully they'll be able to offer you some insight in that area.

Are you eating the same thing each time you go out to eat or at the same restaurant?  If not, I would suspect that it's not a food allergy giving you breathing trouble, but perhaps something environmental - maybe the cleaning products used or off-gassing from the carpets/furniture or even latex gloves worn during food prep. The fact it always starts about 10 minutes in and goes away on its own after about 30 minutes seems to support that theory.

To answer your question about citric acid - it's grown on a corn base and is not derived from citrus fruit.  I'd bet the natural flavors in lemon/lime drinks are citrus, though.

My suggestions for a lip balm would be either pure Shea butter or lanolin.  L'Occitaine sells a small tin of pure Shea butter that is perfectly sized to use a a lip balm (0.26 oz.).,82,1,29430,261650.htm

We have several members who cook wheat and gluten free, so you should be able to find threads with cooking tips and suggestions. Check both the recipe section as well as the wheat/gluten allergy section. If you can't find what you need, just feel free to start a thread in one of those sections so it catches the attention of those who can best help you.

You might find that if you can better avoid your chemical sensitivities and oranges, that many things that seem to bother you right now may be fine. It's pretty common to find that once ones system is primed to react and in a constant state of high alert due to continued exposure, reactions seem to occur to many things.  But once the real triggers are successfully avoided and your system calms down you may be able to tolerate many of the things you thought you couldn't.
DS - peanut, tree nut, milk, eggs, corn, soy, several meds, many environmentals. Finally back on Xolair!
DD - mystery anaphylaxis, shellfish.
DH - banana/avocado, aspirin.  Asthma.
Me - peanut, tree nut, shellfish, banana/avocado/latex,  some meds.

Offline mzcat

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Re: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 03:51:41 PM »
Thanks for the link.  I will try that next.    And I will have a look around for older posts for recipe ideas.   

Offline CMdeux

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Re: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2012, 07:35:24 PM »
Yes to avoiding certain soft drinks-- the ones that have REAL citrus in them include:

Squirt, 7-Up, Sprite.

Oddly, I can drink Sierra Mist. 

I also have a citrus allergy.  :bye: 

Other things to watch for with that one in particular is water in restaurant settings-- it's often got a slice of lemon or orange tucked into the pitcher(s) at the nearest service station in nicer places.

I usually ask if I'm at one of those places, and I always give my water the sniff test before I try it.  (One anniversary dinner, I forgot,  and a single sip later, I wound up with nicely puffy lips.)

Citric acid is no problem though. 
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

Offline YouKnowWho

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Re: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 07:42:04 AM »
Be careful of oat flour when dealing with a gluten/wheat allergy.  Oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat so they are often off limits. 

Since you are avoiding rice, I am not much help in the baking department.  Though to be honest, given that I have two kids with polar different allergies, I tend not to "bake" at home and rely moreso on ready to serve items like bread, waffles, cookies, etc. 

If you are not avoiding nuts, Bob's Red Mill has a great selection of gf flours (you may want to avoid health food stores with open bins of flours as they are often cross contaminated).  One thing I have learned in this journey is that you cannot replicate the light wheatiness of bread with just single selections of gf flour.  There are several combos out there if you google "gluten wheat rice free" bread recipes.

This is entirely doable in the advent of the internet age :)
DS1 - Wheat, rye, barley and egg
DS2 - peanuts
DD -  tree nuts, soy and sunflower
Me - bananas, eggplant, many drugs
Southeast USA


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Re: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2012, 09:23:22 AM »
What made OP suspect rice? I hope it wasn't due to the terminology glutinous rice because gluten is only one type of protein and not all glutens are structured the same. Botanically oats are more closely related to wheat than rice is, though rice is stil distantly related to both.

This is what I call a stew, I know because I've Joel Stein'd myself on far too many out-there allergens to discredit anything but there needs to be some sort of starting point to make order out of chaos.

IgE-mediated allergies. That one can be sorted out quickly.
Digestive issues regarding wheat would require a different branch of medicine and a different level of avoidance than nominal gluten avoidance due to "silent" reactions of celiac. But again that requires a GI specialist not an allergist.

The decision tree here will help sort out consuming in patterns to improve health OR to avoid completely to not die of anaphylaxis. I'm perfectly happy to advise either or both but I need to know the consequences which affects my advice.

Also, if you're dealing with undiagnosed or not properly diagnosed celiac I'm not a good person to advise even though I have a child anaphylactic to wheat, barley. Different condition.

If this is a case of generally improving health I'd have some very specific lifestyle recs.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 10:48:43 AM by twinturbo »

Offline krasota

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Re: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 10:38:58 AM »
With the gut reactions, I'd be seeking a gastroenterologist and asking about celiac disease.  The bad news--you have to go back to eating gluten for testing.  Of course, if you do have an additional IgE mediated wheat allergy, that can be next to impossible. Still, it's good to work with a good GI specialist. 

I have celiac disease with probable gluten ataxia.  (I also have an IgE mediated wheat allergy--it's a double whammy.) My MCS is significantly improved after going gluten-free (since 2004).  I still have issues around fragrances and pesticides, but I can go grocery shopping again and even walk quickly down the detergents aisle (if it's not a bad asthma day).
DS (04/07) eggs (baked okay now!)
DD (03/12) eggs (small dose baked), stevia
DH histamine intolerance
Me?  Some days it seems like everything.