att’n basketball fans: start reading this guy, he KNOWS basketball. #nbabasketballpredictions

Mike Herold's Road to Anywhere

Well, the NBA season is only 22 days away (refer to my post about hating the Internet in regards to why this isn’t 30, which made so much more sense), so it’s time for me to do what I’ve been wanting to for years: Predict what’s going to happen!

You see, Basketball is my sport. The NBA in particular. I love it, I obsess over it, I can talk about it for way too long, and I get way too excited about it during playoff games. So predicting just how each individual team will fare during the coming year is something I’ve been doing for years…and now I have a place to share everything I think will happen!

So here’s how this will work: Over the next four weeks (3 now), I’m going to put up posts covering each individual division, and how the teams in that division will end…

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A Fruit, by any other name, is still a…


Yep, these are the only “fruits” I can eat and lemme tell ya, it’s pretty annoying.

I mean, c’mon, it’s summer for gawd’s sake. Juicy strawberries…peaches…watermelon! Blueberry-flavored vodka…mojitos…Bay Breezes….all off the list!

I can’t eat Corn-on-the-cob!

My research on my new enemy — salicylates — has led  me to understand, at least, what they are and why I am having so much trouble.

First of all, they (it?) are/is a substance produced by fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds — well, all healthy things that grow, basically — to keep them healthy. It provides protection from bacteria and bugs. And as discussed in previous posts, it’s everywhere.

I learned that it is present in coffee beans but only caffeinated ones, decaf is okay. Thank God.

The other night I had a few friends over for cocktails. I made what we ended up calling a Patti Party drink: vodka, pineapple juice (which is supposed to be okay, as long as it’s not fresh pinapple), sparkling cranberry (I wasn’t sure about that) and lime, which is also supposed to be okay.


Went to bed itchy, woke up itchy, with a swollen lip and a huge hive on my back! So much for the Patti Party ;-p

What it’s come to is this: I can eat crap, but anything healthy makes me sick. True story.

A few years ago, I became, for the second time, a vegetarian. Then I started buying organic milk, veggies, etc. I got more and more organic as time went on. And guess what? Organic stuff has MORE salicylates, duh, b/c it has less pesticides, right????

In other words, the healthier I was eating, the sicker I was getting. When I first went to the ayervedic doc, she said my liver was “hot.” But why? I asked. Who knows? she answered, could be anything.

Well, I think I know why now. My poor liver was having to battle these salicylates day after day and I think it finally gave out, so to speak. The doc originally took me off gluten and dairy, and that gave my liver a little break, but it was still having to deal with all this healthy food!’

This is so fucking weird, isn’t it?

So, the less healthy I eat, the less hives/itching/back pain/etc. I get!

Which may sound great to some guys, I guess, who only want meat and potatoes, but I’m a salad girl! I miss my fruits and veggies 😦

I’ve had to go back to dairy, b/c there’s only so much chicken I can eat, which is to say, not a lot. Gluten, too, is making a comeback to an extent. Because seriously, I have to eat something!

See This:

THIS is Wegman’s Red, White and Blue bread. It is my favorite. It is bread with sugar on top for gawd’s sake — I could live on this forever! But I had given it up b/c of the gluten. Now, I’m reintroducing it, even though it has blueberries and cranberries and soy stuff and other stuff I’m allergic to. Why go there? Because I WANT TO EAT IT.

That’s how you get when everything seems to be off limits. This morning, I had asiago cheese melted on top for breakfast and even though I did have a few hives, I survived. I’m wondering, though, if I go through the whole loaf (so easy, I’m telling you, this is the best bread EVER), it’ll get worse.

For the sake of research, however, I’m willing to try.

And now that I think of it, I think Wegman’s should pay me for pushing their wares. I wonder who I talk to about that…

My Honeydew’s a Cantaloupe!



Imagine my surprise…

I saw on one of the many sites I’ve been looking at to learn about my newly sensitive (itchy, hivey, ouchy, swollen) bod, that melon is one of the only ‘safe’ fruits for the salicylate sensitive, so of course, I went right out and bought one.  Honeydew melon was my Dad’s favorite, so I went with that; cantaloupe can be tricky and I’d just had watermelon on a night when I reacted worse than most nights.

So, I let the melon sit on the counter just long enough so that spot on top was nice and soft, but not too soft. Checking the ripeness is kinda like poking a baby’s head for that soft spot, but I digress.

I get out the ‘good’ knife, slice right through and voila! Orange where it should be honeydew-melon green. I was taken aback, to say the least and a little scared. I mean, what? Do melons have sex? Was this some type of weird hybrid that would make me break out in spots? ORANGE spots?? Hell, I have enough trouble with regular old hives; I do NOT need new, more colorful ones.

Afraid but determined, I seeded, cut and tasted. Hmmmm, honeydew. Or maybe a little cantaloupy, I couldn’t decide. I ate it anyway, orange spots be damned, ’cause it was really, really good. Juicy and perfectly ripened. Delicious.

But still a mystery, until I asked around at Wegman’s today and was shown a sign that had previously not been posted. Apparently, I had gotten a peach fleshed honeydew. Who knew?

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. Mystery solved. In retrospect, it was just a funny little afternoon, wondering what magical fruit this be…but I think I’ll stick to my green honeydews. Tradition, I guess.

My research on salicylates has taught me much in these last few weeks, most of which centers on this: I can no longer enjoy fruit, veggies, nuts or seeds without problem. Nor anything with artificial coloring or flavors, like soda and gum. Couple this new, highly restricted diet with my ayervedic doc’s orders to get off gluten and dairy and my allergies to shellfish, peanut butter, yada, yada, yada, and I end up with this:


True story.And the trouble with that?

I’m a vegetarian.



No, No Nutella!

(sigh)…It’s taken me awhile — and several jars of my beloved Nutella — to realize


What the What??? as Tina Fey’s daughter would say.  Now, I didn’t get it at first because, as with all allergies, you don’t eat just one thing all day, and you never really know which thing caused the reaction. But tonight it was clear.

I bought some gluten-free lady fingers to dip into my jar…and as I dipped, I got a lot of it on my fingers/hand, but I didn’t care as I just licked it off (I really do love this stuff!). It was only after I put it away and washed my hands that they started to itch…and hive up. Ugh. Another tasty treat bites the dust.

Just WHAT am I supposed to eat for dessert? I thought Nutella would be okay b/c I’m allergic to peanuts, not hazelnuts; or so I thought. Seems Nutella contains peanut oil! AND, they say that if you have a problem with peanuts, it’s a good guess you’ll have trouble with hazelnuts.

Who knew? According to one site, hazelnuts are the worst even! How did I not know that??? Effin tree nuts.

So here I sit, typing with hived-up fingers and palms — and the palms and fingers are the worst for itching. I have to keep stopping to scratch.

Spring is over, for gawd’s sake. So why are these allergies persisting? To I really have a hot, itchy summer to look forward to?

Thank goodness I found a new vodka drink (vodka being the only alcohol I can have). It’s vodka/club soda/

cranberry and lime. Yummy!


Gluten-Free and Going-Broke

Alright. Now this whole Organic-healthy-gluten-salicylate-free thing is getting to me. First, for the obvious reasons: I am tired of breaking out in hives every time I eat something I don’t even realize is bad; I can’t keep track of everything that’s in everything; my eye swelled up so badly last week that I stayed in for two days. I mean seriously, it looked like someone punched me in the eye.

But there’s something else that’s making me the only kind of nuts I can eat: walnuts! Every time I go to the store, I spend at least $100 on 3 bags of food. Three. And though I will admit there’s more than healthy food in there, this healthy stuff is expensive!

Take Organic milk, for example: Wegman’s $5.69 a gallon. And I don’t even drink milk! It’s for the kid. I have to buy watery, weird coconut milk and although I previously blogged about it being better for us all, I don’t like it so much. It makes my cafe mochas made with Ghirardelli’s powdered mix taste weird. And I love this stuff. Not healthy but oh so good.

At $6.99, it’s a bargain compared to outside mochas. But with the coconut milk, not so hot. But I digress.

Organic fruit and veggies are, of course, way more expensive than regular, supposedly dirty, filthy, ecoli-laden ones, but that’s okay. I got 2 lbs. of blueberries today for $6.99 but since they are like the ONLY fruit that’s not covered in salicylates (or has them inside, I still can’t understand what these suckers are, actually) I need them. The pound of strawberries I got for my son was only $1.99. Whatever.

My ayervedic doc told me that zucchini is great for the liver, so I got two organic ones today, $3.98. And two sweet potatoes b/c they’re also good for us, $3.58. Organic celery hearts $2.69; Organic spinach/spring greens mix $3.99. A head of regular broccoli was only 69 cents and a big bag of regular green beans was $1.21.

I did find a sort-of bargain today, though. Schar (with two dots over the a), the makers of those yummy cheese bites I mentioned before, has a little package of pretty good hazelnut wafers for $1.99 (1.8 ounces)>>>>>

And Van’s gluten-free apple-cinnamon frozen waffles, which I have yet to try, was only $2.99. I’ll let you know.

So, it’s getting expensive.  And last week, I ate a sandwich (which was a treat in itself) made with Organic Turkey and I broke out like crazy. The salicylate list says all luncheon meats are no-nos, so I guess even organic ones can’t make the grade.

What’s funny is that sometimes I’ll just say the hell with it and eat something shitty and I don’t react at all! Although I have had to give up McDonald’s Mochas; I dont’ know what’s in them, but my lip swells up every time I have one. Took me a loooong time to put two and two together, though.

Thank God I have not yet reacted to my most favorite drink on earth! And if I ever do, I will ignore it. There are some things we just can’t live without >>>

Bravo Brio!

With a world of allergies and food sensitivities cramping my style, you can imagine how boring going out to dinner can be! Tonight, I went to the Italian restaurant Brio and there was not one dish that didn’t include something on my No-No list!

I also had to find a drink. Since the ONLY alcohol allowed on my ever decreasing list of safe food and drink is vodka, I’ve been searching for a new signature drink. The bartender, cute and smiley, suggested the Basil Pear Fizz. Basil?? Really?? In a drink?? Really??

It’s made with Absolut Pear, Angostura, fresh muddled Basil and fresh lemon juice, served on the rocks. Seven Bucks. Looked good, really refreshing. Like a Mojito (which I also dislike, but which also looks good) >>>>>


But just as we thought, basil does not belong in a drink. End of story.

I ended up with the Flirtation, raspberry vodka, pink and pretty. But that’s not what gets Brio the Bravo! That’s for the new Gluten Free menu they have!

Now, it’s not extensive, but it was significant. Even had a few pasta dishes, which would have been great if I wasn’t currently having an awful lot of trouble with all things tomato! Still, I’m sure many diners will love the new additions and I applaud Brio for offering them.

For me, I went with my staple: salmon. I “unordered” the tomato and potato side dishes, doubled up on the grilled veggies, gave away the peppers.  When you think about it, it was a pretty healthy dinner for anyone, not just someone who is trying not to break out in hives 😉

No Advil? No Way!!

Salicylates. Ever heard of ’em? I guess I had, but didn’t really know what they were until the allergy doc said he thinks I’m allergic to them. He thinks it’s what’s causing my lip and facial swelling.

You take Advil? he asks, knowingly. Well yes, doctor, yes I do. I take Advil. Every day. Sometimes every four hours. I live on Advil. LIVE ON IT!

Well then, he says, leaning back in his chair the way men do when they’ve just been validated. Stop the Advil.

Oh sure, no prob– WHAT?!!! But I LIVE on…oh. I get it.

Since I have been covered in hives for months, my lip often looking like botox gone bad, it stands to reason that something I am doing ALL THE TIME is causing all these problems. But Advil? Oh my, this just got ugly. er.

So, what is a salicylate anyway? It’s “a salt of salicylic acid;” that enough for ya? No? Yeah, me neither, but it’s all we got. It’s like aspirin and it’s everywhere! So, the first thing to go was aspirin and all things aspirin-like: Advil, Alka-Seltzer, Midol and Pepto-Bismol, for instance. But that’s just the beginning.

Here I was, trying to eat healthier, and all I was doing, apparently, was making things worse b/c salicylates are in: almonds, apples, apricots, black-goose-rasp and strawberries, cherries, currants, grapes, nectarines and peaches, oranges, plums. Beware of raisins, prunes, cucumbers, pickles and tomatoes, too.

WHY? Beats me, but there’s more: they are in soda, tea, gum, antiseptics, cider, vinegar, and in anything containing artificial flavors and coloring: ice cream, cake mixes, jams, hot dogs, all luncheon meats…J-E-LL-O, for goodness sakes!

But it gets worse. Salicylates are in WINE, BEER AND ALL DISTILLED DRINKS except Vodka.

Well, bring on the Cosmos! But don’t let me drink too many b/c, you know, I can’t take an Advil when I get home. Oh, and I also can’t brush my teeth with toothpaste or swish with a nice, minty mouthwash. Brush your teeth with baking soda and salt, they say. No thanks, I say…I’ll take my chances.

Actually, after a few days of no toothpaste (the brushing action is what really cleans your teeth anyway, according to research), I decided that was something I couldn’t do without. I use it sparingly and rinse really, really well. So far, my lip has maintained its normal shape and size, which is great, b/c for awhile I was afraid it was my morning McD’s mocha and THAT I really can’t live without.

SO, if you’re having trouble, ask yourself if you’ve reacted to perfume (yep), felt itchy after eating cloves (yep) or started to swell from a lozenge (yep). If you have, you might have a salicylate allergy and I’ve just saved you $500 in allergy testing. Don’t go in and try to get shots, you don’t need them. Just cut out the offending foods for awhile and see if your symptoms abate. Then, to test the theory, re-introduce them, one at a time, to see if you swell up/hive up/itch yourself silly.

Another thing to remember is that these type of food sensitivities tend to flare up during bad allergy seasons, as this spring has been. In the dead of winter, you just may  be able to chug-a-lug to your heart’s content and remedy a hangover with your favorite anti-inflammatory. That is my fervent wish for us all.

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