life / nickel-free


this is going to be a fun post to write…
and long.  so i’m sorry in advance.

ever since i was 12, 
i have been very intuitive about what i put into my body.
i’ve driven both parents crazy with my “weekly diets,”
as they would call them.
if dad was grilling steak – it was steak or nothing.
so i chose nothing.
mom would make something for me to eat & eat it with me,
just so she knew i was eating.

fast forward 4 years.
sitting in high school i have itchy hives all over me.
the wheals would dissipate as soon as i rushed to the doctor.
three visits later, i finally got those suckers to stick around
only to be told that it was urticaria.
“we don’t know why you have it,” my PA said,
“too tight of clothes, stress, fragrances in laundry detergent…”
i wasn’t really sure how a t-shirt fit into the “too tight of clothes” column,
so i assumed it was the two later.
so all free clear was bought & that was that.

fast forward 10 hive-filled years and i go to the allergist
allergies to cats, grass, dustmites, cockroaches, pumpkin and maybe cinnamon.
fast forward 6 months later,
still have ’em.
and added to that, i have the worst case of “athlete’s foot”
i’ve ever seen.
i even decided to take it with me to africa,
where it spread to my hands.

i went to my dermatologist upon returning last july,
and she ran to get her book.
“did it look like this?” she asked,
after i described the nightmare i’d had three weeks earlier [itchy, painful,
embarrassing, debilitating blisters].
“YES!” I said
“that’s not athlete’s foot, that’s dyshidrotic eczema,” she said.

awesome.  makes sense.  i have eczema in the winter.
i have asthma, i have seasonal allergies.  i should also have that.
no cure, just creams.  avoid wet hands, avoid things that irritate it.

so three ago i welcomed it back [hooray!].
and yesterday it was exacerbated as i was frequently using 
the hand sanitizer at the hospital.
and last night, i did some fun research:
this site mentioned nickel.
i remember seeing that last year, and thinking “i’m not around a lot of nickel,
that can’t be it…”

well, haha joke’s on me.
what foods contain nickel?
apparently nickel is basically in everything that i eat.
since i have decided to be quite the health-nut & picky eater,
i consume an abundance of nickel. 
basically because it’s in the water, which is in the soil, which nourishes the foods that i eat.

i found this article that interviewed a super cute doctor in ohio:

symptoms: rash on palms of hands [check], elbows [check], fatigue [check], nausea [check], headaches [check], joint pain [idk]

so sistercat, when you say “you’re always nauseous and tired”, 

turns out that it makes sense for me to be, and i’m allowed to say that.

my mom two weeks ago: “do you think your skin allergies have anything to do with your diet?”
me: “NO mom! of course not!  what could i possibly be eating that would cause this?? i eat so healthy!!”
ok.  i’m glad i asked myself.
while i’ve found conflicting websites (high amounts on one site, low on another),
here they are:

[from the MELISA MEDICA Foundation – dedicated to the science of metal allergy & its diagnosis when treating so-called “incurable diseases, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or ME), Mutiple Sclerosis (MS), or other autoimmune and allergic diseases.”]

this list is from Sweden – so what’s high there could be low here & vice versa.

again – dependent upon the soil.
from america: huntersville, nc to be exact [my home state!]

other dietary nickel to avoid:
chocolate & cocoa powder [especially dark – the best for you]
all nuts [walnuts, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, soy nuts]
all seeds [sunflower seeds, linseed
licorice [nooo problem avoiding this]
baking powder [they have aluminum free…i wonder if i can get nickel free]
marzipan [almond paste, makes sense]
margarine [maybe because it’s made w/ soybean oil/plant sterols?]
commercial salad dressings
vitamins containing nickel
canned foods
stainless-steel cooking vessels used for cooking acidic foods 
[ex: cooking oranges/strawberries/apples in stainless steel pot will allow nickel to seep into foods – so either don’t do it or use non-stick pots/pans – caphalon, tefal, rachael ray, paula dean, etc.]
the first quart of tap water drawn from any faucet in the morning 
[hopefully water filter will help this, need to look into it more what it’s actually filtering out.]

ways to prevent your body from absorbing nickel from each meal:
eat vitamin C supplement with each meal
eat high-iron diet
vitamin C helps iron absorption

the vitamin C apparently binds to nickel,
preventing your body from absorbing it.

do i have a nickel allergy?
i don’t know. 
but i’m willing to avoid foods to give it a shot.
what will i eat?
um…good question.
still working that one out.
maybe just avocados, apples, oranges, salmon, coconut milk yogurt, celery, and salmon.
those are the only things i can think of that i currently have in my refrigerator 
that don’t show up on the second list.

the good news: i LOVE coconut milk more than almond milk.
i have the creamer, the yogurt, the milk, the kiefer.
the bad news:  no more almond butter, no more beans, no more
soy anything, no more hot buckwheat cereal, no more nuts, no more chocolate, [insert 
anything else yummy that love to eat and that’s healthy]

also, i need to avoid alcohol on my hands for work.
so i am investing in some more of this stuff: 
i’ve used it before.
it smells “earthy,”
but i guess it’s worth smelling like that
than getting blisters all over my hands. 

day 1 of food diary starts now.

more helpful websites:
national skin centre


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