I spent much of yesterday afternoon itching and scratching. I think I was being punished for having fast food for lunch.
I couldn’t help it. My chicken dinner on Saturay – my sodium- and fat-laden dinner – was so good that I was craving it yesterday afternoon. So I stopped for lunch.
I’d been itching on Monday night, but nothing like yesterday. I’m pretty sure the fast food was the culprit.
Several years ago I had to see an allergist because I was having problems with rashes and itching and possible allergic reactions to food and medicine. After being tested for food allergies, my doctor said I had a sensitive system and while I’m not allergic to any foods my tolerance for allergens was pretty low. That means that if I expose myself to too many common allergens at one time I have a reaction.
In other words, I itch.
The doctor told me to avoid artificial colors and flavors, preservatives like sodium benzoate, BHT, and TBHQ, and a variety of other things known to be irritating. I could add them in slowly or occasionally later but I needed to see if I felt better without all of the artificial stuff.
You’re darn right I felt better.
And after reading food labels, I made some permanent changes to my diet. Whenever possible, I try to avoid artificial colors and preservatives, sodium benzoate, BHT, BHA, and TBHQ. Which of course are in almost all processed foods, or what Michael Pollen calls “food-like substances.”
Please understand that I’m not saying that the fast food I ate was necessarily a food-like substance. But if I had to take a guess, there’s a spice or a preservative in there that I don’t normally eat, so ingesting it twice in 72 hours may have just overdosed me.
I don’t feel cheated because I can’t eat much processed, prepackaged or convenience foods. In fact, I think it was a gift, because once I started doing a little research into what I was eating, I realized that I was doing more harm than good every time I lifted my fork.
Just for kicks, take this challenges: commit for 24 hours not to eat anything with artificial colors or flavors, sodium benzoate, BHT, BHA, TBHQ, or anything else on a food label that you don’t have in your kitchen cabintet or that you can’t pronounce or define. If you don’t know what’s in the food, don’t eat it.
Just for 24 hours. And then let me know how it goes.