Thursday, June 11, 2009

Plain. Very Plain. Very plain with nothing on it.

I have food allergies. A lot of them. My sisters do as well and when my family gets invited to a friend’s house for dinner, our typical response is, “Are you sure? You might want to just invite us over for games or something.” As for eating out, we’ve learned which restaurants are allergy friendly, and which aren’t. Some places are great and will go out of their way to make sure there is tasty food we can eat. Some try to be helpful, but don’t realize to be careful about cross contamination and such (i.e. using utensils that have touched the allergen foods). Then there are the people who are just clueless.

“No, this gravy can’t have milk in it. Duh. It’s brown, not white.”

“You’re allergic to wheat? No problem, this isn’t wheat bread, it’s a white bread.”

These are the places that promise their meat is plain with no spices. Then they bring it out covered with marinade and spices. Turns out, they, themselves, personally didn’t add any spices. The manufacturer may have, but the cook himself didn’t. My sister and I have a rap: “Plain. Very plain. Very plain with nothing on it.” But you have to know what questions to ask to insure that it really, honestly is plain.

Right now my diet is even more restricted than normal because I am in a research study to see the effects on Fibromyalgia of avoiding excitotoxins (additives like MSG, which is often called natural flavors, or artificial flavors and artificial sugars), so I can’t have any processed foods.

Today I went to the doctor’s office to pick up barium packets for the CAT scan I’m having on my abdomen next week. They had told me there would be an ingredient list on the packets, but it only said, “Barium sulfate 2%.” The X-ray front desk lady told me that meant that was all that was in it.

Uh huh. Right. What’s the other 98%? So she agreed to call the electro imaging department. They, too, promised that there was only barium and water in the packets.

“So, there’s no flavorings?”

“Oh, it has a flavor.”

Yeah, last I checked, flavorings had to be made from something. Usually, from nasty stuff like excitotoxins. I finally gave up trying to get info from the doctor’s office (“It’s just barium, really. This is medical stuff. Of course it would never have MSG in it! Definitely not!”). I found a phone number of the manufacturer on the packets of barium. I left a message and they called me back promptly with a list of ingredients. A long list. A list full of natural flavors and artificial flavors and fake sugars. In other words, MSG.

The company worker said they do actually make a barium that is, honestly, just barium, but it has to be special ordered by the doctor’s office. I think I’m gonna go ahead and just drink the poison. By the time I get the CAT scan next week I will have had this weird abdominal pain for eight weeks. We need to find out what’s wrong. So next Wednesday I get to drink three glasses full. Yum!