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Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Hardest email in a while

Before I start I would like to say I will not put up anyone’s private issues without first asking permission, so I have asked to put this up before I published.
I got an email the other day from a person who had suffered from anaphylactic shock due to eating a nut coated cereal & as a result had lost the ability to produce saliva & a host of new allergies. They had been through the medical system, trying doctors & nutritionists with no success. They had been forced to eat liquidised food & chocolate (which they sucked), their weight had plummeted due to lack of calories & limited nutrition. One nutritionist suggested they add cream to their liquidised cream, but when informed they had developed an allergy to all dairy products was told they couldn’t help them & to go away! (I was personally shocked that anyone calling themselves a nutritionist was so limited they couldn’t devise a liquid based eating plan without the option of dairy!).
So, our emailer was left with nowhere to turn for help by the medical system so they turned to the internet.
Anyway, I’m not sure how many people they approached before they found our pages, but hopefully we could offer some help. As it happens the ‘bodybuilding’ side of came in very useful for this. When you get a dieting bodybuilder they often ingest a fare amount of calories as liquid, so we have a range of liquid options in place for people to ingest. Also knowing & working with those in the raw food market we also have a keen eye on ‘super foods’ available on the market like algae’s & wholefood powders that would work in a liquid diet.
Obviously living on a liquid diet wasn’t a long term solution, but our first job had to be to get their immediate nutrition sorted out. This is also a time I suggested keeping IN an animal product as they could eat liquidised chicken soup & I had real concerns that if they dropped the chicken out of the soup they might die! If they decided they didn’t need the chicken later, then they could remove it at a later date, but until they were on the mend I suggested they keep it in.
They also believed that artificial sweeteners had made the illness much worse. I’m not sure if the research is out there to back up that particular claim, but I certainly advice against the use artificial sweeteners where possible as they have been implied in quite a few conditions & it appears only the power of the companies backing these products that keeps them from being investigated thoroughly, if not banned.
So, we have a person here with no saliva & on an inadequate liquidised diet, suffering dangerous weightloss & multiple allergies, so here’s what I offered in the way of advice. Hopefully if anyone else out there is suffering related problems this might help you too:
As you suggested I can't actually diagnose. I am a qualified sports
nutritionist & personal trainer & I am taking a nutritional
consultancy course, which, when completed would allow me to recommend
food stuffs for you directly, but to recommend what you could do at
the moment could lead to barring as both a trainer & failing my course
(for diagnosing without a qualification). However, what I can do is
suggest what I could do. The first thing I would do is look towards
the raw food market & natural body building fields as they've brought
out some interesting stuff:
Vega by Brenden Brazier is a protein powder
plus it contains quite a few other nutrients
Raw power is another product you might want to look into
Here's a few others from vegan essentials to look at

OK there's a couple of complete food replacements. Let's look at what
else I'd need if I had your condition:

For just protein/calories I would consider a simple protein powder.
There are many out there. Like Soya protein, pea protein, rice
protein, hemp protein I've got a list of supplement sellers on this
page many of whom sell various protein powders ). To those I would add
certain things:

EFA's - these are essential fatty acids. One of the reasons you
probably aren't thinking too well is lack of calories, but also lack of
EFA's. The brain is predominantly made of fat, cutting off this fat
makes thinking pretty hard (as you imagine), so you will need to find a
source you can tolerate. Udo's blend is available in most places
around the world in the fridge of your local health food store. It
can be mixed with a shake or taken off the spoon, but you do need this
daily. I would aim at a couple of tablespoons a day, that could be
split over several meals if necessary.

B-complex (containing B12) - I would find a capsule that contains this
(I think vegan essentials sells some? ) &
either add these to your shakes, or open the capsule & swill the
powder around in your mouth for 1 minute before swallowing.

Spirulina or algae - I would consider investing in some form of algae
that can be added to your food. These foods have loads of nutrients
for the amount you take, so it may cost a bit, but you'll probably
Again I'll give you a vegan essentials link, but if you look around
there are many companies selling these sorts of things, so look around
& try out a few, then I'd find things I like

The soups are a good idea. I would stick with those, but I would also
invest in a juicer. I wouldn't so much juice the sweet fruits, but
things like green leafy vegetables, carrots, etc - basically all the
vegetables you have on the side of a plate in a normal meal. I would
need to buy more than the average consumer as there will be a lot of
waste (you throw away a good deal when you juice), but it will get
some nutrition into me. I would have as at least one juice with every
meal. I would have one sweet juiced drink per day only, the others
all savoury type juices based around leafy vegetables.

I'm not sure how often you eat right now, but I would be planning on
upping your eating to around 6-8 times a day. You wouldn't need to
eat much, a soup with juice, a shake with juice, but basically every 2
hours I would plan on getting nutrition down me. It is possible to
pre-prepare juices, by juicing a lot of stuff AM & putting a days
worth of juice in the fridge, then drinking as its needed, shakes take
about 5 minutes to put together, get a stick mixer & a large container
(like a shaker they sell to mix protein drinks in your health food
store) & just whiz them up with the added oil &/ algae etc if they are
required that day.

Simple things you can add to shakes that bump up the calories. I
assume you had your problems with PEANUTS? but there are other nuts
out there. In your health food store there are nut butters, tahini &
I would invest in those & consider adding some of those to a shake,
also wheatgerm oil is a cheap oil you might want to add, debittered
brewers yeast is packed with nutrients.

If a person isn't producing saliva they are also not producing the
enzyme that first works on food on the way down to the stomach, so I
would invest in some digestive enzymes. Yes, they are a tablet, so no
good for you, but you can whiz then up in the food, so they completely
break up (something that could also be done with vitamin/mineral
pills by the way).

I would plan on only eating chocolate after a meal. I would get what
I NEED first, before I have what I want. The shakes, soups & juices
would be my nutritional safety net. Next the chocolate will add some
calories, but little else really. You can buy dairy-free chocolate
that gives you more antioxidants & without the bad effects of the milk
(milk is an allergen & some nutritionists say it heightens any allergic
response), most supermarkets & healthfood stores now sell a variety of
dark chocolate that is nutritionally far superior to the dairy bars
out there. Chicken probably isn't an allergen, so won't make the
problem any worse. There are other options like adding beans, tofu,
tempeh etc, but I wouldn't like to shrink your food intake anymore
than it already is at the moment, so I would consider adding those in
as other options, rather than just having chicken soup all the time.
You can always lose the chicken once you've got your eating sorted

Once I was up to eating 6-8 times a day. My next course would be to
begin introducing solid food. Basically I would follow a weaning
plan, just like you do with a baby. Start with things like mashed
banana & steamed mashed carrot etc & work up, just like you do with a
small child. There is no reason your body cannot, given time re-learn
to produce saliva. Everything is there, it's just shut down.
Anaphylactic shock cannot destroy the salivary ducts or production
centres, just close them down, so it should be possible to get them to
switch back on given time & patience.
The EFA's will help remove damaging chemicals, heavy metals etc & the
extra nutrition by eating regularly would help a lot. After all that
was in place & I was comfortable with that eating plan I would begin
weaning. One meal would start with a little mashed banana or steamed
mashed carrot before the meal & slowly increase from there. I would
swill it around my mouth for a bit, try & remind the saliva glands to
do their thing :-) It will probably take time, but hopefully things
would slowly return to normal.

That would be my basic plan that I'd use towards recovery. My aim
would be to reactivate my saliva glands & get back to solid food. I
wouldn't rush the process, but I would head in that direction over
Once I felt I was on track for recovery I would also consider some
weight training as I would have lost a lot of muscle mass & strength.
Obviously I wouldn't be lifting massive weights, but most people male
or female in show-business or modelling use weights these days to keep
in shape & the fat low. Obviously I'd have to get the nutrition in
place first & feel ready before I started that though, at the moment,
in your position, I would focus on getting the nutrition in place

Hopefully looking at what I would do in your position has given you a
few ideas of your own & anything else just let me know.

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