When it’s not all natural

I’m still coughing my head off due to my cold, so decided yesterday to buy some cough syrup to try and calm things down being as though I can’t take drugs for inflammation or any kind of pain relief.  I liked the look of Buttercup cough syrup as it sounded so natural and innocuous – that was until I read the label and saw it contained chloroform which is used in refrigerants, solvents, as a precursor to Teflon and formerly as an anaesthetic, and was banned in consumer goods in the USA in 1976!

I always thought my diet was fairly healthy – I was pesco-vegetarian, didn’t eat ‘junk’ food or have sugary drinks and bought organically wherever possible.  However, being on a low histamine diet and really reading labels has shown me differently.  I had no idea that many of the ‘healthy’ drinks and foods I was consuming were still packed full of additives, preservatives and ingredients I’d never heard of.  Yeast, acids of various descriptions and vinegar seem to be added to just about everything, even foods and drinks where you’d think they would serve absolutely no purpose (no wonder people in the west suffer from candida and reflux!).  In fact, the most difficult part of the diet has been finding foods which are just as nature intended – food isn’t simply food any longer.

It would be lovely to hark back to the good old days where we all made our own bread, biscuits and lemonade, and spent hours cooking home-made fayre every day of the week, but 21st century women nearly all work and it is a physical impossibility to do this, raise a family and act like we’re still living in 1955.   And sick people who aren’t working are too ill to often get dressed or take a shower, let alone spend hours every day peeling, chopping and cooking.  It’s a dilemma, and not one I have an answer to.

I’m doing well on my low histamine diet.  After some initial ups and downs I seem to’ve stabilized and now hardly ever have a reaction after eating.  I can also ‘cheat’ now and again and eat foods which are on the ‘not allowed’ list as a one-off if I go out for a meal to celebrate a birthday for example without suffering too much.  I know I’m lucky and not everyone reading this is so fortunate.  Apart from my immediate reactions after eating, however, I can’t say that following a low histamine diet has made any difference to my over-all health: I’m still exhausted, have insomnia, hives, itching, random palpitations, migraines, reflux, nausea and a gazillion other symptoms, but not wanting to pass out every time food touches my lips is worth the effort involved in my new way of eating.

Being realistic, I have a genetic connective tissue disorder which food has absolutely no bearing on – not eating tomatoes isn’t going to cure my defective collagen.   And I also have ME & Dysautonomia and, again, not eating Cheddar cheese isn’t going to miraculously cure my central nervous system, damaged through having Meningitis.  But I have to be honest and say I did think lowering my histamine burden would help me sleep better and would lessen my hives, reflux and general immune reactions – sadly it’s not working out that way.

To cheer myself up I’ve added a lovely comforting recipe for Sunday brunch to the site.  Go to the lunch section of the Recipe page for details.

photo of brunch


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