Friday, April 29, 2011

Avoid Benzoates and Citric Acid

Web research uncovered that I should also be avoiding benzoates and citric acid while trying to eliminate BOP from my diet because of their close relationship to Balsam of Peru. Do you know how many millions of products out there use these ingredients?! Salad dressings, frozen fruits, jams, frozen meals, yogurts, pasta dishes, baked goods, etc., etc.- you name it, it's got either BOP, benzoates or citric acid in it!


Here is a good fact sheet that I found while surfing the web for more information on BOP allergy.

Now What Do I Eat?!

After a quick perusal of my pantry, I deemed 85% of it's contents as unfit to eat because it either contained chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, citrus, tomatoes, etc., etc. all related to Balsam of Peru (BOP) allergy.

I did a quick web search to see if there are others out there with this condition and it appears to be that there are many BOP sufferers out there. While most of the web hits listed the things that you CAN'T eat while trying to avoid BOP, none of them listed what you COULD eat while trying to eliminate BOP from your diet. So, my intent with creating this blog, is to be a (albeit small) voice out there in cyber-land giving hope and encouragement to those out there searching for BOP-free foods to incorporate into their diet. I love to cook and eat, so I'm determined to find edible, safe foods to eat on a regular basis.

So, at first glance, here is a quick list of things that I found in my fridge/pantry and are safe to eat:

-Kidney/Garbanzo beans
-Ricotta Cheese
-String Cheese
-Plain, non-fat yogurt (regular and Greek)
-Sweet Peppers
-Pesto Sauce
-Olive Oil
-Natural Peanut Butter

Hmm... there has got to be more foods than that!

Balsam of Peru Allergy- Definition

After years of dealing with severe eczema on my face, neck and hands, I was recently was diagnosed by my dermatologist with a Balsam of Peru allergy. What exactly is this said allergy? Well, according to a quick web search and confirmed by my doctor, Balsam of Peru is defined as, "Balsam of Peru is a sticky aromatic liquid that comes from cutting the bark of the tree Myroxolon balsamum, a tree that is native to El Salvador."

Basically, Balsam of Peru is a flavoring/fragrance added to foods, cleaning supplies, scented candles, oils, etc. to give it it's flavoring and scent. Balsam of Peru is sneaky because it goes by many different names and can be found in just about EVERYTHING! Balsam of Peru can be listed in the ingredients column as follows:

Eugenol and isoeugenol
Component of essential oils obtained from spices including cloves and cinnamon leaf. It smells and tastes like cloves. It is also found in pimento, nutmeg, camphor, roses, carnations, hyacinths and violets.
Benzoin, benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol
Rosin (colophony)
Citrus fruit peel
Tiger balm (Chinese proprietary ointment)
Balsam of Tolu

On the no-no list of things to eat while trying to eliminate Balsam of Peru from one's diet:

-Products containing citrus (including oranges, grapefruit, mandarin oranges, jams, juices and bakery goods)
-Flavoring agents such as those found in Danish pastries or other bakery goods, candy and chewing gm.
-Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, curry, allspice, anise and ginger.
-Spicy condiments such as ketchup, chili sauce, BBQ sauce.
-Pickles and pickled veggies
-Wine, beer, gin and vermouth
-Perfumed or flavored tea
-Cough medicines and lozenges
-Ice cream
-Chili, pizza, Italian and Mexican foods with red sauces
-Tomatoes and tomato-containing products.

In addition to topical medicines, I must cut out any Balsam of Peru containing food and severely limit my contact with any product containing Balsam of Peru in order to get my skin back to feeling normal. Living with severe eczema like mine gives a whole new meaning to not being comfortable in one's own skin!

It's hard to eat when EVERYTHING seems to be off limits! So, all of that being said, what is left for a girl to eat??!