Jumat, 04 November 2011

May contain nuts...

May contain traces of egg, fish, lactose, fructose, mustard, soy, peanuts, celery and sesame
Salads are good for you, right? This is the salad that I have virtually every time I go to the gym. As it comes in a packet I am naturally wary of its contents but, short of bringing a packed lunch (which isn't going to happen), this is the price I pay for spending my lunch hour running when I should be eating freshly prepared food. The other day my salad was nowhere to be seen because, apparently, someone had suffered a toxic shock from something that it contained but that was not listed on the label. The salad has now come back with a new, updated label which now states that it "may contain traces of egg, fish, lactose, fructose, mustard, soy, peanuts, celery and sesame". I think that pretty much covers their arses. I mean, why would a chicken pasta salad contain traces of fish for God's sake? Unfortunately, the (justified) complaint of the poor guy who suffered an allergic reaction has just lead to it not only being unsuitable for him to eat (which we already knew) but also for anyone else with any imaginable food allergy or intolerance. I think the bottom line is that salads are good for you if you mix them yourselves but, when they come in a packet, they are the equivalent of an urban concrete jungle: a perfect place to commit all kinds of food crime.

I'm quite aware of these issues because my youngest son is currently on a six food exclusion diet: no wheat, no soy, no egg, no milk, no nuts and no fish (nor any derivatives of the aforementioned). Oh, and we've added potatoes to that list so that's a seven food exclusion diet. So he certainly wouldn't be able to eat this salad on at least 6 counts (there is no requirement to state that it may contain traces of potato - if there were, I'm sure they would have included it). The reason we are putting the poor little blighter through this dietry hell is because he has reflux. The fact his food comes back up into his mouth is bad enough but it has been aggravating his asthma and, what is far worse, he has not been putting on any weight and lately he has been quite lethargic, even though he eats insatiably. I hadn't previously appreciated the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance: an allergy is when your anti-bodies attack a foreign body that they shouldn't whereas an intolerance could be due to lacking a particular enzyme needed to be able to digest a certain protein or break down a type of sugar. The skin patch test didn't show up any allergy but an endoscope did find that he has a fairly rare condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE). The good news is that he has started to put on weight, has more energy and is not regurgitating his food. He even seems to be eating less - it's as if he wasn't able to get the nutrients he needed out of his food before. Every cloud has a silver lining and he is happy that he can at least eat tomatoes, which we previously didn't let him eat when we thought that he had Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Apart from eating fresh fruit, meat, vegetables and rice, luckily there are lot's of (very expensive) food substitutes available which don't contain any of the banned list. I can't help feeling that this is all just a product of our heavily processed food culture and that it is the food industry that stands to gain from selling specialized foods for people with food allergies or intolerances when it is, most likely, of their doing in the first place. The funny thing is that his diet seems very similar to the Paleo diet, a diet based on how the Paleolithic Man ate - a period which determined to a great extent how our organism has evolved - and one followed by many triathletes.

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