Jul 19, 2008

Allergic reaction to grapefruit: Scleroderma

[REMINDER TO FIRST-TIME VISITORS: Be sure to read the oldest posts first. They describe the "-itis" problems I have faced and the main solution. The later posts deal with details.]

About five years ago, I was in my worst condition. All the inflammatory problems were in full bloom. In addition to the arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, iritis, and colitis, I had a bouquet of skin problems (dermatitis). Over the years, the eczema and the rosacea have faded away, almost completely. As they disappeared, another problem came to the forefront: In the caliper region between the nose and mouth, on each side, a thick, red section of skin appeared. The top layer of that area was very dry and cracked like a tiny mosaic. These symptoms came and went on their own schedule, and I could not find any correlation between this condition and my other skin problems.

Provisionally, I now know that the condition was scleroderma. The cause appears to have been a plain allergic reaction (possibly independent of the leaky-gut problem) to grapefruit. I was eating a lot of grapefruit (inexpensive, tastes good, easy to prepare and store). As soon as I stopped eating grapefruit, the problem began to fade. Now, two weeks after beginning this new experiment, the thickness has diminished by half, the redness is fading steadily, and the cracking is almost gone. I have hope that the condition, now requiring little attention from me, might go away completely.

My skin, all over my face and neck, still remains extremely sensitive to abrasion. I never wear a hat, I must frequently adjust the position of my eyeglasses on my nose so that the skin underneath the support pads will not thicken, and I must be very careful not to let a blanket rub against my face when I am sleeping. Still, I would say my skin problems are more than 99% gone, in terms of how much attention they require.

Working on the possibility that my allergic reaction might arise from all citrus fruit, I am now avoiding oranges and tangerines as well as grapefruit. Perhaps in a month or so, I will test oranges and tangerines individually, using the standard test Dr. McDougall has described for his Elimination Diet.

So, now my general rule of foods that I can eat is: Any root, any vegetable, and any fruit (including gourds) except citrus fruit and those fruits, like figs and tomatoes, which contain a lot of seeds. (I eat no animal products, except honey; and no foods made from seeds.)

Burgess Laughlin
Author of The Power and the Glory: The Key Ideas and Crusading Lives of Eight Debaters of Reason vs. Faith, www.reasonversusmysticism.com/