On the 30th of December, I started testing out my hypothesis about my food issues.
Things I removed from my diet:
- annatto (orange cheeses, some other cheeses, some butters/margarines)
- yellow #5 & #6 (Sunny D, Nature Valley products, caramel colour [brown sodas, Brisk iced tea, most sodas, balsamic vinegar, vanilla extract, VH soy sauce, store bought bread, some chocolates, BBQ sauces, honey garlic sauce]
- other colours (sports drinks, energy drinks, most candy)
In the summer, I thought it was oats and milk. I've had intermittent reactions to milk for decades. The last one was while I was having lactose free products. I had been doing so without issue for a long time. Until I bought lactose free marble string cheese, which is coloured.
What led me to figuring this out in part was my reactions to medication over the years. I was tested for some and the medication itself did not cause any kind of reaction. That said to me that my issues have to be caused by a non-medicinal ingredient. I noticed that the medications I reacted to the worst were yellow.
The difficulty with this all has partly been that sometimes the dyes are hidden in the process. Like caramel colouring doesn't always have yellow dye in it, but sometimes it does. The same goes for some of the sugars like glucose-fructose.
I had Quaker chocolate chip chewy granola bars, a mushroom risotto with milk in it, ginger ale*, and white cheddar cheese on Day 1 of my test.
I spent the rest of Day 1 just waiting to see if I would have symptoms. I tend to have issues a couple hours later. And it's usually a rash and/or breathing difficulty. No symptoms. I just felt good.
A second day with milk on cereal, pasta with white cheddar & mushrooms, and Smartfood popcorn white cheddar flavour also gave me no reactions.
Another day with a Quaker granola bar, a 1/2 cup of milk,
Some natural flavours can be problematic too, but I figured I would focus on dyes first. I don't need my food to be coloured beyond its natural look. It doesn't actually make it better.
Anyway, I had an instant reduction in gut pain.
*Canada Dry has some caramel colour in it, so I will be searching for one without. It has less than colas do at least.
As an athlete, I do need to replenish my electrolytes. Back when I did roller derby, I used to make my own electrolyte drink. I'll be going back to that. I can't remember the exact recipe, but it was orange juice, lemon juice, salt, water, and maple syrup. Coconut water also works well as an electrolyte drink though I get tired of the taste of it.
Fun fact that I learned, oranges often have their peels dyed to make them look better. Orange juice isn't allowed to be made from those oranges. They also add caramel colour to bread at times to make it look nicer.
Red dyes are sometimes added to sauces for pizza to make it redder too. It would be nice if they would stop screwing with the food supply. It's one thing to have it in candies, sodas, energy drinks, etc, and quite another to have it in products that are supposed to be healthier choices.
Other foods with dyes added can be found here.
Anyway, after a week or so, I occasionally get briefly itchy, but I'm no longer choking regularly on foods or drinks and I have more energy and focus. It's wonderful to get a lot of foods back that I was avoiding. It's still odd to not be struggling to swallow. My salivary glands are working a bit better too.
It's likely there's still something I'm occasionally getting irritated by from 7 UP or Sprite, but things are a lot better. I have lots of teas I can drink at home instead.