We’ve lost some more foods.
A couple months ago I took Martin to Connecticut see a naturopath-allergist, who used a metal rod and a fancy computer set-up to test Martin for sensitivities to different phenols. This testing was at the recommendation of Martin’s homotoxicologist, who also referred us to this naturopath. The panels came back and said Martin is sensitive to a lot of foods he currently doesn’t eat anyway (soy, corn, milk protein, potatoes, berries, etc.) and also some foods he does eat—a lot. Foods like garlic, onion, eggplant, peppers, and egg whites. That allergist said we must avoid all those foods. Then he gave me some drops that I was supposed to add twice daily to Martin’s routine, diluted forms of the phenols that would help Martin overcome his sensitivities.
After that appointment I made the mistake (or not?) of getting on the phone with my older brother Rudy, who suffers from numerous allergies. Rudy said he’d been to a naturopath who used a similar metal-rod testing method, then later found out that “the whole thing was bunk.” The drops he was prescribed were too diluted to have any effect. Moreover, he’d read that the tests themselves don’t work, that you can be tested on different days and get totally different results. A waste of money, Rudy said. He even backed up his opinion by sending me a handful of links to people making the same complaints about this testing method.
In truth, I had not liked the naturopath. He had said dismissive things about other facets of Martin’s treatment—“You can’t starve out yeast from the gut. That’s just ridiculous to try”—and blown off the questions I raised about food sensitivities. He had talked down to me, which is hard for me to countenance. This general distaste for the naturopath combined with Rudy’s warnings and left me with a negative impression about the whole experience. I kept garlic and onions and eggs in my cooking. I never did start the prescribed drops with Martin. I was supposed to pull out Martin’s lower lip and let each drop sit on the lip for three seconds. For crying out loud, what three-year-old would let a parent do that?
The next time we visited the homotoxicologist I voiced these concerns and told her I hadn’t liked the recommended naturopath one bit. She said, however, that she believes in the testing method, and that if the first naturopath wasn’t a good fit, she could recommend another, one better at taking the time to address my concerns. I pondered. I did some more research on-line—here’s a good time to point out the unreliability of on-line research—and found some additional testimonials about the allergy testing method (it’s called the Orion® system, and I did not have an easy time finding information about it). Finally I fell back on my mantra: If I can’t find any evidence that a treatment will hurt Martin, I’ll give it a try.
And so Martin and I spent Saturday morning in the office of a second naturopath-allergist, Darin Ingels, ND. Indeed, Dr. Ingels was a better fit for me than the first allergist. He listened patiently to my concerns and did a lot of explaining. We clashed over the issue of vegetarianism (a subject for another post), but he seemed to respect my opinions. He said nice things about Martin. Most importantly, he also used the Orion® system, and the results came back exactly the same as the first allergist’s. (I did not mention that I’d seen another allergist previously.) This put to rest a lot of my Rudy-generated fears about inaccurate testing or different results from day to day. Finally, this allergist allowed that I could put the prescribed drops onto Martin’s wrists and rub them in. I can live with that.
Based on this second set of tests, I am admitting that maybe we do need to lose garlic, onion, tomatoes (were limited anyway), peppers, eggplant, nightshades, and eggs from Martin’s diet for six months or so, further narrowing his universe of allowable foods. Garlic and onion will be tough; they are mainstays of my cooking. But eggs will be worse still. Since adding eggs to Martin’s diet several months ago, I’ve become quite dependent on them for breakfasts and baking, and my mother uses them in her baking for Martin, too.
No problem, the allergist said. Try duck eggs, or quail. You can bake just as well with those, and they are a totally different protein than what Martin is sensitive to.
That was Saturday. Today is Wednesday. In between I’ve visited two Whole Foods Markets and two natural-foods stores, to no avail. I may have found the one item in desperately short supply in New York City: duck eggs. Next up, the farmers market. If I don’t find duck eggs (or quail!) there, I guess it’s on to . . . an actual farm?