A few days ago I got a panic-stricken email from a lady who had just been diagnosed with a salicylate intolerance. She had been looking at a clutch of websites that listed all the foods that contained salicylates. There was nothing left that she could eat!
A salicylate intolerance is particulary trying as salicylates are very common, especially in all those wonderfully healthy fruits and veg – but the reaction will be recognised by anyone who has been told, all of a sudden, to cut out all gluten or all dairy from their diet. Omigod! What am I going to eat?….. And, even more depressing – will I ever be able to eat anything nice again?….
But, as all of you who have got beyond that stage will know, once you get your head around a restricted diet, it ceases really to be that restrictive. As Ruth Holroyd who writes the What Allergy? blog and who is allergic to dairy, nuts, soya, tomatoes, celery and coriander and intolerant to wheat, too many eggs and herbs points out, if only people would ask her what she can eat rather than what she can’t they would realised that, even if you cut that lot out, there is an awful lot of food left out there to eat.
So, how about approaching a restricted diet from the other end – not what you can’t eat, but what you can? The glass half full?
I therefore suggested to my panic-stricken salicylate intolerant that she print herself out comprehensive tables of each type of food – you can find lists all over the web. Then that she take a nice new green highlighter and a nice new red or pink one and, using the list of foods she had been given that she had to avoid, highlight them in red or pink – but then, far more important, highlight all the other foods that she can eat in green.
She would be amazed how much green she would end up with on her list – and how cheering an effect that would have on her general mood. I know this seems as bit like going back to kindergarten but, not only does it help to dispel the gloom about how many foods you are not allowed but it alerts you to how many you are allowed, how many of them might be really delicious and how, actually, eating this new diet could be quite exciting….
Good luck – and happy highlighting!!
Incidentally, for those who do have a salicylate intolerance, the Salicylate Sensitivity website has excellent lists of foods rated as ‘negligible, low, moderate, high and very high’ which are also rather encouraging as, with the exception of the fruits and the condiments/sauces lists, the ‘negligible’ and ‘low’ columns are usually as long, if not longer than the ‘high’ and ‘very high’!