Thanks for Nothing!

So lately I’ve been enjoying a morning iced Americano from Whole Foods.  It’s a nice ritual that I have with a friend I work with… I come to work about 90 min before her, I get my morning stuff done and then she arrives and we walk over to the café together, have a little visit and get our coffees.  The reason I started going back to coffee was because I discovered that Whole Foods has coconut milk that doesn’t have any sugar in it.  My iced coffee with coconut milk in it sometimes just made my morning!  It’s tasty and creamy and a nice distraction.

Back up about a month and a half… that’s when I started partaking in the above, which my friend and I refer to as ‘Coffee Walkies’.  It was about that time that I started wearing my jewellery again because as I’ve lost weight, some of it has started fitting again.  I used to be allergic to nickel in jewellery so the stuff I have that is starting to fit again is all either stainless steel or sterling silver.  I was so excited to be able to wear my old favorite watch and a bracelet again that I wore them every day.  Then all of a sudden I got a bit of a rash on my wrist that was reminiscent of my old allergy. Knowing that the change in my diet means I’m no longer allergic, I figured maybe I got a little sweaty under my watch and that’s what it was from… I stopped wearing my watch and bracelet but the rash stayed… got bigger and really really itchy… it’s been weeks since I’ve worn my watch and bracelet and the rash continues. 

Then when I gave blood two weeks ago my sister ripped my Band-Aid off for me and the spot where the tape was developed into a similar rash… that still hasn’t gone away.

About a week ago I noticed some weird bumps on my forearm… they were itchy but didn’t seem to grow into a rash… and then last weekend I went completely off the Paleo wagon and ate and drank some stuff that was, for lack of a better word, garbage.  My dermatitis on my hands came back, I got a huge rash on the inside of my other elbow, and the rash on my wrist and blood donation spot got worse.  Thinking it was from partaking in some questionable ‘food’ choices, I am now on day three of eating Whole30 with nothing that isn’t prepared by me, in my kitchen.  I know there’s Whole30 food out there in restaurants but I figured I should just give my body a break and not take any chances.  Well, three days in to clean eating, my rash is still all over my arms and wrist, my dermatitis on my hands is not really getting any better and then it occurred to me.

The only common denominator in the last month and a half is the coffee and coconut milk.  So I checked the ingredients on the box online this morning (with my lovely iced coffee sitting on my desk).  Contains Carrageenan.  Well eff me!  Carrageenan is one of the preservatives specifically disallowed on Whole30 because of its inflammatory properties. So I googled ‘Carrageenan’ and ‘rash’ and lo and behold, one of the side effects of an allergic reaction to Carrageenan is skin rash and hives.  

My poor body has been trying to tell me for almost two months that something I’m putting in it is not welcome.  There is no other reason why these rashes won’t get better.  I haven’t gone more than two days without putting this poison in my system in almost two months, so my wonderful coffee with coconut milk is going to have to go away.  Maybe it’s the coconut milk and it’s poisonous ingredients.  Maybe it’s the acidity of the coffee that I’m not used to.  Either way, it stands to reason that cutting out that morning ritual for a couple weeks is a good investment in hopefully helping my skin clear back up. 

In case you’re curious about Carrageenan, here’s some additional information: 

A shopping list of food products containing and then not containing Carrageenan  

Other domestic non-food uses (from Wiki)

Fire fighting foam: thickener to cause foam to become sticky

Shampoo and cosmetic creams: thickener

Air freshener gels

Marbling: the ancient art of paper and fabric marbling uses a carrageenan mixture on which to float paints or inks; the paper or fabric is then laid on it, absorbing the colours

Shoe polish: gel to increase viscosity

Biotechnology: gel to immobilize cells/enzymes

Pharmaceuticals: used as an inactive excipient in pills/tablets

Pet food

Personal lubricants

Now, why WOULDN’T you want to eat something in your food that they also use in FIRE FIGHTING FOAM!  Seriously!

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4 thoughts on “Thanks for Nothing!

  1. What a great personal discovery. I have had skin issues that surface in much the same way, and I have been unable to pinpoint the cause. I’m going to keep a lookout for carrageenan. Also, I noticed that my can of Thai Kitchen organic coconut milk (unsweetened) has no carrageenan, so maybe you can treat yourself to some Cafe Americano at home. 🙂

    • I usually drink the canned coconut milk in my tea… this was just easier because they had it there and they keep it cold in their fridge. After I’m done my two weeks off coffee and the poison, I’ll try adding back coffee and putting canned coco milk in…

  2. Isn’t it great to be able to hear what your body is saying to you and to be able to pinpoint the offending food fairly easily? I love that about Whole30/Paleo eating. Good for you for figuring it out and doing something about it!

    • It is a lot easier to figure out that the cause is a specific food… whereas before I would have been in the dark about whether it was food or skin products etc… now that all that stuff is clean for me, a rash or a tummy ache is an acute indication that ‘something’ is wrong… Some UV therapy (sunbathing) and removal of carageenan seems to have resolved the issue 🙂

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