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I too followed an elimination diet as suggested in a handbook I purchased from a medical bookstore at the suggestion of my doctor. I had completed 6 weeks with little or no wheat and was starting dairy elimination when my symptoms cleared up. In the end I narrowed the problem to Yellow Dye No. 5 (coal tar) used to color snack foods, cheese and cheese flavored products, candy, ice cream, cake, etc. I've read that some green products like peas are a mix of Yellow Dye No. 5 and Blue Dye. Yellow Dye No. 5 is often found in detergent, soap, shampoo, as coloring on oranges and lemons, in fruit drinks, etc.

To me it is not so much an allergy as it is a chemical burn. My fingertips look like I have athlete's foot. My fingertips can become dried, cracked, have tiny blisters, and will eventually crack open like a paper cut and bleed. I know two woman who lost fingernails when the condition became bad enough. Somehow Tinactin spray for athlete's foot seems to help control the blistering and bleeding.

The next worst side effect is mouth sores. Sometimes I have as many as 7 or 8 tiny open sores in my mouth, on my tongue, and in my throat. It's from contact with the Yellow Dye. It shows up within a day or so of eating the yellow dyed product. This time it was a pumpkin flavored doughnut (orange).

Another side effect is that I become sluggish, tired, and cranky. Sometimes I get headaches. I suspect there's some blurring of my vision although it's subtle. These side effects can linger for several days.

I find it easier to simply buy fresh fruits and vegetables, eat wholesome meats, whole grain breads, and "real" cheeses. The snack foods and candy are probably of no genuine benefit anyway and I don't miss them. Sadly I cannot peel and orange and I remove lemon wedges from my iced tea with a fork when I eat out. I think it's odd that restaurants stick lemon wedges on my tea that has poison (to me) on it.

My research suggests that large vats (perhaps entire cargo ships) of coal tar are shipped from India to the USA for food coloring. A little bit goes a long way. My theory is that sometime in the past 20 years the source of coal tar into this country changed. I did not have a problem with Yellow Dye No 5 twenty years ago. Of course I know lots of people who developed allergies to things they'd eaten without incident for years.

God help you if you're trying to read the labels for dyes. The FDA apparently believes that if it only bothers 1 in 10,000 then it's not a problem. I guess we could say the same for murder and arson? Well, if you're the ONE then IT'S A PROBLEM! Like I said, it's easier to eat healthy and the folks who mismark their packages can go bankrupt for all I care.

Hope this little bit of info helps one of you identify your protagonist.


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