So, what CAN you eat?


At every single public meal, I am invariably asked … so, what CAN you eat?  As there are only 30ish ingredients that we have identified so far in all the world, it is actually much easier to answer THAT question than, “what are you allergic to/intolerant of”?

If you are new to the sulphite/salicylate intolerance world, I hope you will find this list helpful.  Please note that everyone’s tolerance levels are different (mine seem to be pretty extreme), so this is just a list of what I personally have been able to tolerate.  I hope you will find some items here that you can tolerate as well!

Grains/Starch: Homemade Eggless Bread (See “Grandma Van Doren’s Bread”), Chick Peas/Garbanzo Beans, Black Beans, White Navy Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Lentils, Quinoa, Rolled Oats, Rice, Pasta (have to check the boxes very carefully), Homemade Granola (see Becky’s Recipe), OLD PEELED white potatoes, NAME BRAND RICE KRISPIE CEREAL

Fruit: PEELED Golden Delicious Apples.   Also, for most SSF people bananas are a great option, but I seem to react to them, which probably indicates an amine intolerance as well.  The apples must be eaten sparingly, as they can still cause a reaction.  So I can do an apple every other day or so.  We are actively researching how to raise my fruit quotient.  Lime may also be on this list, but requires more experimentation.

Vegetables: Celery, iceburg lettuce, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, chayote, leek (?)

Protein: Chicken, turkey, fish (must make sure it has not been preserved with sulphites!!!!), beef

Dairy: Milk, cream, unsalted butter, condensed milk (from the can), Plain Greek Yogurt (read labels carefully — and plain, NOT vanilla), fresh mozerella cheese, MAYBE Lake Cheese (made from Sheep’s Milk) from Costco, Babybel cheese, Kraft Ricotta (may be a problem)

Fat and Oil: Unsalted butter, safflower oil

Seasonings/Other: From-scratch-caramel, Sea salt, white sugar, baking soda, malt vinegar (use sparingly as corn malt is mixed with barley malt), golden syrup, low-sodium soy sauce, decaf coffee, cocoa powder.  I also often survive on Lay’s Kettle Cooked Original Potato Chips (made with sea salt), which I douse in malt vinegar.

Alcohol: Vodka and bourbon (BUT HAVE TO CHECK IF THEY ARE DISTILLED FROM CORN — IF SO, NO GO).  I think Grey Goose Vodka seems to work pretty well.  Smirnoff will crush you (because it is corn distilled).

Beverages: Bottled/tap water (need to check ingredients as sometimes things are added), milk (in the winter I heat mine up and put some sugar in it so it is kind of like tea), decaf coffee, greek yogurt smoothies that you make yourself, Perrier, San Pellegrino.

Be careful of: Bottled/tap water, toothpaste, vitamin supplements, shampoo, lotion.  Read your labels carefully.  I use a baking soda based toothpaste that still has some issues, but DO NOT USE A MINT BASED TOOTHPASTE!

EATING OUT: I have found that I can eat Dunkin’ Donuts Chocolate Frosted donuts in moderation.  I will still get a sore throat sometimes, but my reaction is small (1-3 donuts per day).  I also seem to be doing OK with Starbucks Decaf Mocha Frappacinos.  In a restaurant, I order buttered pasta noodles and season with sea salt.  Or I ask for a chicken breast/fish seasoned only with butter/safflower oil and sea salt.  Unseasoned hamburger patties wrapped in iceburg lettuce are another possibility, although I don’t do really well with that (possibly a problem with the amines).  I will occasionally try my luck with a baked potato with butter and sea salt (avoiding the skin, of course).  Chocolate mousse or whipped cream (from scratch) is usually ok as a dessert option, but a rare find.  Homemade flour tortillas (from scratch at the restaurant) can work as well, but you have to be careful about what kind of oil they use (if any) when they make them.  Thankfully, most restaurants (non-fast food) can accommodate a request for buttered pasta or a plain chicken breast or fish filet.

Here are some other great websites so that you can start to test your tolerance levels for yourself.


3 thoughts on “So, what CAN you eat?

  1. Hello. I was just discharged from hospital after 6 weeks with brittle asthma. My consultant has advised me that he thinks sulphites are a bit exacerbator for me. I’m coping with what not to eat, but for me the problem is what to drink? I am bored of tap water, don’t want to overdo homemade juices, craving Pepsi Max (sorry!), squash, fizzy water. Any advice please? Thanks!

    • I know!!!! I used to be a Vanilla Coke addict. It is soo hard. I found in the wintertime I missed tea. I drink hot milk with sugar instead. Not the same, but satisfies the need for something warm to sip on. For water, (I HATE tap) I treat myself to Aquafina. And this summer I have also started to drink a crisp, cool Perrier a day. I used to hate the taste, but when you are desperate for something fizzy — well, what can you do! Also zero calories. 🙂 Decaf coffee is safe, so once a week I have a Decaf Mocha Frappucino from Starbucks. You can also do decaf coffee if you are looking for something warm.

      For alcoholic beverages, vodka and bourbon are safe. I found that if I mixed Vodka and selzter on the rocks, it helped give it a more smooth taste and was better to sip (while everyone else nursed their beverages of choice).

      So, in summary — decaf, milk, water — Perrier or Peligrino if you are feeling fancy. Be careful of bottled waters, though — read the labels carefully as some contain additives for taste that are on the naughty list. Hope that helps — and at least just know that there is someone else in the universe who struggles like you!

      It’s all a big experiment, so please don’t hold me responsible if any of these options don’t work for you! 🙂

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