I want to tell you about my experience with food additives. But first, I want to tell you where I stand. I am very much against the additives that are put in our food.
They are not food. If they ever were food, they are so far removed from the initial product, it doesn’t matter.
For instance, Carrageenan is found in nature. It is extracted from red, edible seaweed. Carrageenan is one of the food ingredients that affect me badly.
I don’t want you to think that I just read some article in some blog and came to this decision. This is based on personal knowledge. You see…I have the (mis)fortune to react quickly to something if I am going to be affected by it. That way, it is much easier to identify what made me feel like crap (whichever version of crap it was).
Below, I will talk about my various ‘issues’ and its history.
What Started the Whole Process
When we finally began figuring out and identifying all of my issues, it all started with going out to eat. I realized that I after eating at the restaurant, that it was urgent that I go straight home. We had just made it a habit. The restaurant was the last stop before home, because we knew what would happen. That was just the way things were.
My roommate had watched a show on PBS about Celiac Disease and it occurred to her that maybe it was gluten. When your stomach hurts like that and it’s predictable, it is time that you do something about it, so we immediately removed gluten from what I ate.
The effect was immediate, although, I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t notice that it was better, until I accidentally ate something with wheat maltodextrin. But, in between dry heaving into the toilet, I figured out that I had been feeling much better, until then.
There are tests for Celiac Disease, and I that test was administered twice. The results were negative, which meant that I do not have celiac disease. I believe, what I suffer from is an intolerance. As long as I keep my gluten exposure to a minimum, I am ok with it. But removing the restaurant visits (temporarily), also reduced my exposure to all of the other food(s) that were the problem and allowed me to start out while feeling well. What that allowed me to do was identify some of the ingredients that were bothering me.
EDTA is used in various types of dressings. It is used to give it a longer shelf life. It is also used to treat mercury and lead poisoning, as well as many other things.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a product that originally comes from a natural process. It is a type of salt which is what allows it to be a preservative. What exposure to MSG does to me is give me pimple like bumps on my neck. They are uncomfortable and impossible for me to ignore. If I get a lot of it, I will feel sick and dizzy. No fun, but one of the lesser ingredients that I worry about. At a restaurant, the MSG could be in all of the foods. It is used as a seasoning and a preservative.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Wow. I fought long and hard against this one. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is in EVERYTHING (well, darn near everything.) After I began suspecting HFCS, I just quit having it in the food. This was before I developed any type of protocol. However, when someone bought me a Vitamin Water, I thought I would try it out.
I didn’t even drink half of it, and I was in the bathroom. My stomach roils (or gurgles), and while it isn’t quite diarrhea, it is close enough to be really uncomfortable. And it is everywhere (at least it seems like it).
Sodium Nitrites (Nitrates)
Sodium nitrates are another one that you really need to watch out for. They are preservatives that you will find in most meat products. They use it to prevent it from spoilage and is added during the process of fast freezing, presumably to help preserve it. They make me react differently than with just about everything else. The only thing that has come even close was the wheat maltodextrin.
Whatever is in these ingredients causes a more immediate and violent reaction. I will either start vomiting, almost immediately, or within an hour.
For a long time, I just thought it was the caffeine that was in carbonated beverages. I had constant ‘intestinal distress’ and I couldn’t nail it down. Through the years, I just slowly quit with most carbonated beverages, and none with caffeine. I finally figured it out one time, when we were moving and my BFF made me some tea. Before the cup was finished, I was in the bathroom hating life.
I have a type of ‘protocol’ when I think something is affecting me. I make sure that I am sufficiently recovered and that I feel as good as can be expected at the moment (in no intestinal distress). Then I do it again, and see if I react.
I did this when I suspected the tea, and it was confirmed. Now that I knew it was the tea, I had to figure out what about the tea. With my history of not being able to drink caffeinated beverages, once I knew that there was caffeine in the tea, the caffeine as an additive that makes me sick was definitely verified.
What Does This Mean to You
I really do consider myself very lucky that I react so quickly to these ingredients. If I were not seeing it for myself how sick it makes me, I don’t know that I would believe it, or be as healthy as I am. Maybe you are having reactions that you weren’t aware of.
Is your stomach always giving you problems? Does it swell up for, seemingly, no reason? Do you find yourself in the bathroom a lot, in pain? Is diarrhea (or constipation) a constant in your life? There may just be a reason for it.
Long ago, I was given an IBS diagnosis. That is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It didn’t seem like an answer to me then, and it still doesn’t. To be honest, once I figured out that they didn’t really know what the problem was, I started with the ‘detective’ work. What am I eating that is making me so sick?
As it turned out, it was a lot of somethings that I was eating that was making me so sick. It was the hamburgers, mayo, cheese, carbonated beverages, french fries, salad, dressing, etc. As you can imagine, it is very difficult to find a place that I can eat without paying some kind of price.
What kind of issues are you facing, and have you gotten a diagnosis that you doubt? Comment below.