Check out my website, launched in May 2020. I'm hoping to provide valuable resources to those who struggle with salicylate sensitivity like I do. It provides food lists, research articles, and recipes. As things build out, it will include a directory that will be rated by others for shopping.
If you're going - jump all in! This channel focuses on research articles, DIYs, and food prep when living a low-salicylate life. While I don't expect the channel to go viral, I do hope it helps a few people out there in the same situation as me.
Living Life with Salicylate Sensitivity
I spent many, many years (decades, really) battling food sensitivities and never being able to put my finger on what it was until 2018. I have tried all the elimination diets: gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, egg-free, nut-free, grain-free, whole 30, FODMAPS, and plenty of the random cleanses and detoxes. Only on gluten-free did I find reprieve from migraines, to find out it was the folic acid in most wheat products that was my trigger. On all the elimination diets, I always felt worse - usually because I'd end up eating more fruits and veggies, and at that time, I didn't realize those were making me sick. Who is sensitive to fruits, veggies, and "healthy fats"??!!!
Turns out, I am sensitive to salicylates, a chemical produced naturally by almost all plants, or produced synthetically in cleaners, perfumes, and medicines. Having a biology major, I understand how food sensitivities work - in order to have an allergy, there should be a protein. In this case, I had completely overlooked the idea that the body can freak out when exposed to a chemical. And in my case, it still creates a histamine reaction, what we consider an allergic reaction.
For some people, they can be sensitive to salicylates only when they eat it. For others, like myself, I am affected if I eat it, absorb it through my skin, or inhale it. Inhaling salicylates creates the worst reaction for me.
What foods are low in salicylates?
Almost all animal products are negligible in salicylates. I totally understand why Carnivore Diet is popular and why people are getting healthy doing it! But in my case, I know that I'm sensitive to a chemical, so I can open up my diet even more. Many grains like wheat and white rice are ok. Most dry beans are safe; nuts like pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds are ok in small quantities. For veggies, I can eat: cabbage, iceberg lettuce, celery, and green onions. For spices: salt and saffron. Oils: canola, sunflower, and safflower. Oh, thankfully, decaf coffee and chocolate are ok too!
What is high in salicylates?
Anything that has color in it or is spicy - you should probably just avoid: dark leafy greens, bell peppers, corn, oranges, watermelon, etc. Almost all spices are out. Healthy veggie oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are almost pure poison! Peppermint is very high. Regular coffee, tea, matcha, chai, yerba mate, beer, or wine are also out.
For cosmetics, many perfumes and lotions are high in salicyates including aloe vera. Aspirin is pure salicylic acid, and icy hot patches are a menthol-salicylic acid combo, probably the highest salicylate item available! Don't forget that mint and cinnamon toothpaste, gum and breath mints are out too!
How healthy am I now?
I've always had stomach problems and migraines. In my mid-twenties, I started a muscle disorder called Levodopa-responsive Dystonia. It was a crippling muscle disorder that caused repetitive or very strong muscle spasms in my eyes, face, jaw, shoulders, back and thighs. I was unable to live life without pain or medicine. Three days after going salicylate-free, my muscles relaxed and my pain went away; my dystonia went away after a month. The ringing in my ears was gone including the whooshy-feeling in my head. I can breathe through my nose again. I don't spend countless hours in the bathroom with stomach pain. I found out my adult acne was salicylate induced. I have energy. I am finally happy and healthy again!
Check out my low-sal-life.com website that I am building.