Whatever happened to my cast iron stomach?

photo by Susan Kauffmann

photo by Susan Kauffmann

I like lobster, but don’t have the courage to kill them, so I only eat it out.

I like lobster, but don't have the courage to kill one

I like lobster, but don’t have the courage to kill one

Years ago, after reacting badly to lobster dinners three times in a row, a friend suggested an allergy. I said I had a cast iron stomach, but finally accepted her idea. I’ve since learned it wasn’t the lobster. Now that I know more about our food supply and the many chemicals added to what we eat, it isn’t surprising that more of us are becoming ill as a result – including me.

Later, I began experiencing sensitivity to fish too — usually after eating it out. I decided my allergy had expanded to anything that lived in water. I consumed no fish or seafood for 15 years, but still often became ill after eating. Things were getting out of control — and scary. I asked to see an allergist.

Tests showed I’m not allergic to fish or shellfish at all, but to sulphites, the preservative seafood is often bathed in when frozen or shipped. It also keeps potatoes white, maintains the color and texture of frozen foods, and is used so often today, it would be impossible to give you a list of foods to avoid. (The allergist warned it was a ‘minefield’ out there.)

It isn’t easy to eat out and have a sulphite-free meal. I ask bewildered servers about preservatives and they look at me with blank expressions. They work in an industry where foods are laden with chemicals and have no training or understanding of what I’m talking about. As for fast food outlets, forget it.

As for fast foods, forget it.

As for fast foods, forget it.

It is almost impossible to find unadulterated foods in our grocery stores either. I read labels when provided, however often the listing of ingredients is not required and there’s no way to know what’s in foods we buy. One chemical or pesticide by itself may be safe enough, but a cocktail of more than one can be deadly.

You can tell when chickens are dizzy, they only have two legs like we do

You can tell when chickens are dizzy, they only have two legs like we do

Hens react to chemicals much as we do. Studies have shown when hens were fed two chemicals in their food, they lost weight, developed diarrhea, shortness of breath, weakness, stumbling and tremors. Exposure to combinations of three caused even more illness, paralysis and death. Tests showed nervous system damage in those birds. (Discover Magazine, August, 1997 — and we’ve done nothing to stop it yet.)

I am concerned by the long list of additives and chemicals I see listed on the food labels I read so carefully — and they don’t even tell us which pesticides were sprayed on the wheat used to make the flour or to keep down bug infestations while the flour is being stored, nor what bakeries are using in their environment. If we add all the pesticides, additives and preservatives we consume in foods we place on our plates, we come up with a potentially harmful or even deadly combination we were never meant to ingest.

These are added to make a longer shelf life possible. Manufacturers and food processors make more money — and we get sick. Is it any wonder we have an epidemic of children suffering with Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, Asthma and Allergies? That so many people are now suffering with Vestibular Disorders? And I, of the ‘cast-iron stomach’, now struggle with allergies?

I remember when bread got moldy if it wasn’t consumed quickly. Cookies got stale, didn’t taste right

The cookies my generation gave our babies now contains preservatives

The cookies my generation gave our babies now contain preservatives

and had to be tossed. The same cookies my generation fed our babies now have preservatives in them. (I checked.) They can stay ‘fresh’ forever. Read the labels……

Do we value money more than our own children?

**Check labels for sulphites as: sodium metabisulphite, potassium metabisulphite, sodium bisulphite, potassium bisulphite, sodium sulphite, sodium dithionite, sulphurous acid, and Sulphur dioxide – and this is only part of the story……

My grandson Remy when he was little. More treasured than any amount of money

My grandson Remy when he was little. More treasured than any amount of money

12 thoughts on “Whatever happened to my cast iron stomach?

  1. Yes, its really frustrating isn’t it, Muriel! I’ve been “battling” chronic diarrhea and I’m now cutting out all fats, including meat. Unlike your stomach, I’m looking at fish as a replacement.
    I have huge sympathy for those people whose diets are forced to be extremely narrow.
    And of course I have for you now too, Muriel.

    I lament that I am becoming one of those old people that young servers will roll their eyes at and dismiss, not understanding the torture that people with illness go through. Well (as they say), “welcome to the club, you young, eager beaver!”

    Maybe you should get a wheelchair. That changes people’s expectations. They then expect you to have problems. Or maybe we get a badge like the new drivers’ rear-window letter “N”, to indicate disability or illness. 😀

  2. This comment is for Chris: Be careful of eating too much fish. Actor Jeremy Pivens suffered severe mercury poisoning because he was eating fish very frequently. Such a sad world we have created!

    • Unfortunately you’re right Susan: I remember deciding to have our family all eat vegetarian only because I was expecting a child and was concerned about the dangers of eating anything else other than organic veggies and fruits.

  3. Although I have many a physical ailment, my stomach seems to be made of iron. Nothing phases it, even in my advancing years. So, I sympathize but can’t fully empathize. sulfites can however trigger an allergic reaction that manifests in difficult breathing. The problem is that so many people are allergic or have stomach issues with so much of our food, today processed more than ever. I don’t blame servers for not knowing every trigger for all our health issues but your post is a good start. Hopefully, the scourge of sulfites, MSG etc will eventually become common knowledge. Wine is the biggest sinner. Thank god I prefer beer!

  4. Thanks Susan… ANOTHER thing I’ll have to research! Though its super nice that we have all this info available. 🙂

    Hopefully this is just temporary.

  5. Hi Muriel,
    Just a short note. Have not eaton pork or pork products for many years because of digestive problems. Since my heart attack I am taking 7 medications during the day and am finding out just what they are all about. I wonder what additives are in medications?

  6. Hi Bobbi:
    I do know there are sulphites in some liquid medications, and since they don’t seem to know which, I don’t get any flu shots.
    When I had ear surgery I was asked about allergies. They put a hospital band on my wrist indicating sulphites. A nurse was about to give me a shot before surgery. She didn’t look at the bracelet at all. I asked her if there were sulphites in the shot. She didn’t know, didn’t check, and just decided not to give it to me.
    All I can say is good luck….

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