Salicylates Suck

Fair warning, this is a rant.

Today I had a green smoothie. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever had. I’m trying to eat healthier but I have this picky thing. There are a lot of foods I won’t eat. Some of them I can’t eat, due to allergies. Most of them is because I flat-out don’t like them. A few I have refused to try for reasons I could never fathom. Today I finally understand, but I’ll explain that later.

I decided to try this smoothie thing so I could actually get the benefits of healthy foods without having to taste their inherent grossness. The thought of eating kale makes my poor taste buds shrivel and long to hide, but the good stuff from it can’t be denied. The smoothie I made today had water, kale, pineapple, an orange, a few blueberries, a few blackberries and a single strawberry.

I drank it, all of it and I didn’t die of yuck, so I started looking up recipes. I figured, hey, let’s throw in some veggies since I won’t be able to taste them anyway. About eight minutes into my new obsession my bottom lip started burning. This didn’t really surprise me because I’ve had that reaction before from strawberry seeds. It was minor and my own fault so no biggie. It’s important to know at this point that this was not the first smoothie I have made that had a strawberry in it. I made one last week and had only the minor weirdness in my bottom lip.

A few minutes later my face started feeling strange. First in one cheek then moving to the whole thing. Even my scalp was tingly. I thought some potent curse words and promptly took a Benadryl. This is not a good thing for me because I’m sensitive to Benadryl and it always makes me loopy and I had an enforced hour-long nap because of it. I’m sure it’s helping but I still feel odd.

My entire body turned red, especially my face. I imagine I look a lot like a female Hellboy. If my lips decide to swell, which is likely, I’ll look like Hellboy after a fight. After deciding that it had to be the blueberries and/or blackberries that I reacted to I turned to the internet to look up everything about allergies to berries. Turns out it’s a much broader allergy. Salicylates. I found several lists of things that have salicylates in them. Those lists explained my life! I would estimate ninety percent of the foods that I don’t like (mostly vegetables) and actively avoid are on the list. There are foods that I like but I can never eat much of too. For example. I love oranges but I never can eat a whole one. The lip thing starts happening so I generally steal a few pieces when my husband eats one. Same with apples. Those little round peppermints and my nemesis –broccoli, is on it. There were always some foods that I thought I should like but didn’t. Like peaches. I never understood why I couldn’t eat them. They tasted good but after eating one I was always disgusted. Go natural defenses!

I have this hate/hate relationship with baked fruit. I thought it was a texture thing but the only baked fruit I’ve eaten was in cobblers and pies. The fruits and berries in all of those contain salicylates so that was probably the real problem.

It’s not just foods. There are certain cosmetics that I can’t use because their burn: Lip stains and lip butters. Some mouthwashes I have to avoid. Herbal Essences shampoos feel like they are trying to dissolve my scalp. Oh and aspirin.

So this whole mess boils down to a few facts.

  1. I will never eat another berry for as long as I live.
  2. I will have to avoid some other fruits as well, but I’ll probably push the boundaries a bit from time to time.
  3. I’ve decided that I was never all that picky, my body was merely protecting me. (Who am I kidding, I’m too picky for it to be only because of this)
  4. My brother, who hates all fruits, may not be as weird as I thought he was.
  5. I won’t be embarrassed at having to refuse to eat something I don’t want to eat.
  6. My family will benefit greatly from all the smoothie making stuff I have in the fridge.
  7. My husband gets bonus points because he didn’t laugh once at how I look. He did when I mentioned Hellboy but that’s perfectly reasonable.
  8. Most importantly, I am thankful it wasn’t worse. I never had trouble breathing and didn’t end up in the hospital. Plus now I know what to avoid so it doesn’t happen again.

So we’re going to call this my “Now I feel justified for being weird about food” moment.


  1. Dude. If pineapples don’t mess you up, grab some frozen mangos and do a pineapple/mango/kale with a few swirls of agave syrup. They have all that stuff at Costco, except for the Kale, we got that from natural grocers. I think you said you don’t have a card, so if you like you’re welcome to follow us there next sunday after group, I’m sure we’ll be going.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My sister’s are picky eaters but because we all have food intolerance/sensitivities it’s hard to tell whether they are just being picky or are actually having a reaction. By not being a picky eater I actually narrowed the list down to lactose, egg, yeast, sulfates, tannums and unfermented soy products (Fine with tofu, but soy sauce makes my lips burn). This is still a hard lot to avoid but it’s great being able to eat out (if I pick carefully) again. I would hate not be able to eat fruit and vege. ;.;

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sad story. Always lame to have constraints which are not set by yourself.
    But most important point: #8
    It’s bad when it happens. But it’s worse, when you don’t know why. :\
    Knowledge is power!
    Cheers and to your health.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your post reminded me of when I first worked out my lactose intolerance. It was such a relief to finally know what was upsetting my stomach and making me feel so awful. I now know what to avoid and it makes my life a whole lost easier.

    Hope you’re feeling better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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