Thursday, October 3, 2013

Furlough day 3: A saucy day

Today's decluttering was again food-allergy related. When I saw my allergist last week I got the final list of everything I'm allergic to. It took this long because I had some unusual tests done. Boy does it explain some things though. 

I already mentioned that I was allergic to my anti-depressant. I've known for decades about the cinnamon allergy. But what I didn't realize was that a common preservative, sodium benzoate, produces an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to cinnamon. But here was the big shocker: I'm genuinely allergic to aspartame. 

It explains a lot about the issues I've had with my eating disorder and artificial sweeteners. My stomach was always very irritated because the t-cell reaction I get can produce inflammatory symptoms for up to 96 hours after exposure. I don't think I've gone 96 hours without diet soda in the last decade. I wonder if it's part of why I inevitably binge within 48 hours of drinking diet soda. 

So anyways, I've gone a week without diet soda. I got rid of everything in the fridge with sodium benzoate. I also tossed the last few things that contained "natural flavors" or "spices,"  at my doctor's suggestion. Cinnamon and its derivatives don't have to be labeled explicitly in the US, they can just be lumped under one of those two term. I also gave the box of fig newtons I had to the homeless man by the grocery store. Apparently they have cinnamon in them. 

The rashes have been around for years. I usually walked around looking like the picture on the left. When I didn't look like that it was because I was wearing foundation. Once I made the dietary changes, voila, one week later, I look normal.


I celebrated by doing some re-cluttering, though. I found six cruets for a total of $14 and today I had enough time courtesy of my furlough days that made my own salad dressings. I am a salad addict and most dressings contain spices, natural flavors, or sodium benzoate. Ketchup apparently contains cinnamon. Recipes are linked below. 
From L-R: italian, ranch, ketchup, balsamic vinaigrette, Colonial Williamsburg's malt vinaigrette, honey mustard
making ketchup
I used to buy expensive salad dressings, like $3-4 per bottle and I go through a couple bottles a month. This should end up saving quite a bit of money over the long term. Not to mention, now I don't have to take all of these pills for my allergies and the stress caused by them!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

More reasons to spend money on security and not stuff

Guess what? I just got furloughed!

The "company" I work for gave me notice this morning, so here I am at home, waiting for Congress to figure things out. In the meantime, time to declutter my life a little bit!

I've disappeared from the interwebs in the last month courtesy of some little health problems. It turns out I was allergic to my antidepressant. We took me off that and I tried a new one. I turned into a zombie on that one, so we went back to the one I was on before, just a different formulation. Surprise, surprise, the rash and itching came back. I got a fourth antidepressant, which actually works! I feel like the last month has disappeared into a fog of itching, drowsiness, and unfortunately, a shocking amount of bingeing. Turns out those meds really did help keep my eating disorder under control.

Happily, things are calmer now.  I get the added bonus of a few vacation days! Time to catch up on all of your wonderful comments that I've ignored in the last month.

Unfortunately it does mean that until Congress gets its act together, I don't have a paycheck.  For that reason I am very, very glad that we have an emergency fund. I'm really not worried about being on unpaid leave for three weeks or three months if that's what it takes. The amount of money we've been spending each month on crap has been slowly declining. Not only has that meant more savings, but it's meant that we need less income to get by. Hopefully this month we can live entirely on the Chief Engineer's salary.

Now -- to learn to cope with the stress of a furlough without turning to any bad habits -- collecting free stuff, buying things, or eating myself into an oblivion. I'm planning on posting some more things on ebay and craigslist, maybe going and playing my guitar on the street, reading some more, making some gifts I owe people. How do you keep occupied when you suddenly have a ton of free time?