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Sulfites + Food = Trouble

One of my best friends is getting married today. I was supposed to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, but the night before I was set to leave I had a delicious meal that just so happened to be full of sulfites.

I am severely allergic to sulfites. Every reaction is different, but this one was especially bad. I'm better, though. This, however, is the reason I don't eat out much. Sometimes it's nerves, but most often it's the fact that sulfites end up in so many foods nowadays, fresh or not, that it's extremely hard to predict, especially when in a restaurant, what will make me sick. Salads and seafood are the usual culprits, though in this recent case, it was basalmic vinegar. Admittedly, quite a lot of basalmic vinegar. Which, I discovered, is chock-full of sulfites.

It was worse in high school. I think there were fewer regulations ten or so years ago, so salad bars and fruit plates were often sprayed with sulfites in order to keep everything looking fresh. I learned the hard way what to avoid. Anymore, I usually ask the waiters and they'll go and check, but food is often treated with this particular preservative before it ever reaches the kitchen, treated unbeknownst to anyone at the restaurant, so I'm usually forced to play a game of Russian Roulette if I order certain things.

So when I go to conferences and have business lunches and/or dinners, I don't eat much. At all. People will say, "Aren't you hungry?" and the answer is, "Yes," but I would much rather nibble on a piece of dessert (which is almost always safe -- and, of course, delicious), than risk the chance of having to cut out on an editor or friend because, oops, I ordered the wrong thing for dinner. There's always room service. Because then, if I do have a reaction, it's in privacy and not in the middle of a crowd.

Everyone handles their allergies in different ways. I'm glad I don't have more of them to contend with. But it is awkward, sometimes. And in the case of today, when I would have loved to be with my friend and her family, it is very disappointing.

To my friend and her new husband, I wish you both much happiness and love. Good weather, too. :-)

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Sep. 9th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
Get better soon...
My son has allergies. Fortunately they are big enough to see and avoid -- cats and rabbits. Every once in a while he goes into a store or home where he doesn't see the critter but the hair and dander are in the air and he puffs up like a blow fish. Usually a quick trip home, a shower and a few hours away from the culprit and he's fine.

Having an invisible enemy would be disturbing...at least to me. I also love to eat out. I guess the silver lining is eating dessert?!! Take care and feel better soon.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 9th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
Get better soon...
My son has allergies. Fortunately they are big enough to see and avoid -- cats and rabbits. Every once in a while he goes into a store or home where he doesn't see the critter but the hair and dander are in the air and he puffs up like a blow fish. Usually a quick trip home, a shower and a few hours away from the culprit and he's fine.

Having an invisible enemy would be disturbing...at least to me. I also love to eat out. I guess the silver lining is eating dessert?!! Take care and feel better soon.
Rosie
jperceval
Sep. 9th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry you got sick!
felinewyvern
Sep. 10th, 2006 05:26 pm (UTC)
Poor you - hope it gets better soon and I am so sorry that you missed out on such a special day :(
As an asthmatic and heyfever sufferer I completely sympathize with your predicament. Luckily my only food allergy is oranges so I am always able to avoid any contact with them,it must be awful suffering from such an invisible undetectable food allergy. Can you not take anti-hystamines before going out to restaurants to avoid reactions? It might be worth investigating that option.
swamp_dragon
Sep. 11th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC)
Poor baby. It's like being at our house when we've had cheese. Or ice cream. Or pizza. Or anything else yummy.

Stoopid stomachs.
dr_phil_physics
Sep. 11th, 2006 03:47 pm (UTC)
Poor baby! They really ARE out to get you, aren't they? Very sorry your nice meal prevented you from getting to a wedding.

These days, for me, it's onions -- and I love onions.

Dr. Phil
jordansummers1
Sep. 12th, 2006 07:43 pm (UTC)
I tend to get heart palpitations from sulfites that last for hours. Luckily, it seems to mainly happen when I drink wine/beer. I do get them occasionally from food, depending on the quantity of sulfites. It's not pleasant. I can only imagine how awful an allergic reaction to them would be, considering they're in just about everything. :(
(Anonymous)
Sep. 12th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
If it is any consoliation, there are worse allergies. I am allergic to soybeans and EVERYTHING pretty much has soy in it. The majority of groceries and 98% of restaurant food. I have gotten to where i have to go to the organic food store to make sure there is food that i can eat without soy even though it means i am paying more money. The only good news is that i stay an ideal weight. The bad news is that i can get too skinny very easily and can score up doctor bills just from a well-meaning freind/family members who forgot about the soy allergy and insist i eat so i don't "starve". Ack!
Shar

P.S. I got another woman hooked on your series with DARK DREAMERS as she is a big gargoyle nut.
kimnik
Sep. 27th, 2006 11:43 pm (UTC)
Probably the mystery culprit at restaurants
is wine. That explains vinegar (basalmico, red and white wine vinegar as well as champagne. Wine is in a lot of stuff at European and American style restaurants and in a lot of food in general. Any kind of italian red sauce, for example, most sauteed chicken dishes, all french sauces that don't end with "aise" except for bernaise, which does contain wine. Rice wine and sake are unsulfited so japanese joints and asian restaurants in general are most likely okay, even though they employ the same wine-based cooking methods.

Oh, and avoid tiramisu usually contains sherry.
kimnik
Sep. 27th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
Oh and another thing
Sulfited products must, by law, be clearly labeled. The only way the cooks wouldn't know if something contained sulfa is if they couldn't read. Otherwise, reading a label is not that hard. I've done it thousands times, looking for rare and fantastical chemicals that make people puke. I think your waiters haven't been trying too hard to help you out.
webpetals
Sep. 28th, 2006 12:05 am (UTC)
Re: Oh and another thing
I totally think you're right.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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