This week I ate a meal with Soya sauce that contained lactic acid. The meal was lovely and I checked the ingredients and thought, well it doesn’t say it contains dairy, it just says it contains soya and wheat, which I can eat in small amounts so things should be fine.
Blue Dragon light soya sauce ingredients: Ingredients: Water, Soy Sauce Extract (15%) (Water, Soya Beans, Wheat, Salt), Sugar, Salt, Colour: Ammonia Caramel; Lactic Acid, Preservative: Potassium Sorbate.
I’ve researched lactic acid before and suspected it might be causing me a problem, read more in another blog post, “What on earth is lactic acid?”.
Since writing this I’ve eaten things with lactic acid in them where it doesn’t say it’s from dairy. If it’s from dairy I’ll steer well clear. But, if it’s derived from corn, molasses, or other sources, I should be fine with it, right?
Well I’m not. EVERY time I’ve eaten something containing any lactic acid I have had a minor allergic skin reaction. I say minor, it’s still not nice. I wake the following day or sometimes the day after that, with raw, red skin on my face that feels hot, incredibly itchy and looks like bad and swollen sun burn. It can be deep purple like a bruise when it’s really bad and feels dry and crusty. As it heals it then progresses to the really dry and flakey stage and finally, new skin appears underneath.
Lactic acid can be found in so many processed foods including cooked meats, olives, processed ready meals, pickled foods etc.
So, is this because the lactic acid contained dairy which wasn’t labelled, or is it the acid itself that’s causing me a problem? I’m looking into acid and alkaline diets so will be blogging about this in future posts; could it be that acid itself is giving me this reaction? I’m pretty sure this is solely happening when I have lactic acid and lactic acid only.
What is lactic acid for anyway? How do they get corn, mollasses or potato starch to lactate? What funtion does lactic acid perform in food production? Is it really necessary? Is there a real unadulterated ingredient which could do the same thing? or could it be left out altogether? Not all products have it in so why do some need it?
Citric acid doesn’t cause me a problem. I can eat citrus fruits and cook with lemons quite a lot. So what’s going on here? It’s just another thing to avoid, not so hard really because I generally cook everything from scratch and on this occasion this week, I only had to say, no I can’t eat the Soya sauce because of the lactic acid and I’d have been fine. But I decided, in my very own, ‘not wanting to be a pain and make every meal someone cooks me bland and prevent them from using normal ingredients if I can’ way, that everything would be fine.
Well it is fine, really. Husband-who-can-eat-everything (I must point out here, he reads these blog posts and he too has an allergy to snails, which I tend to forget about, but hey, snails are easy to avoid… so really, he can eat pretty much everything. Thus proving I am right again, as always) persuaded me to go out cycling last night, despite the pain of sweat on my sore face and (in my own head only) the humiliation of eating a meal in our favourite pub where people know me and I can see the pity in their eyes…(oh do shut up Ruth) We had a lovely evening.
I enjoyed a very tasty ham, egg and chips and a few pints in the summer evening, enjoying the last rays and, actually, the sweating made my skin feel much better once I’d washed my face. I think exercise does help to flush out whatever nastiness is hurting you faster than it would work its way out normally. It also helps to take your mind off the pain and concentrate on moving and not falling off your bike, or whatever exercise you’re doing.
Sauna’s are also a great way to shift an allergy face, if you have access to one. We’re toying with the idea of building a proper, old fashioned, coal fired one in our back garden. Whenever I feel a reaction coming on I could whizz out, light the sauna, get icing the rash first of all while it warms up and then wham – sweat it out. It’s a pipe dream that we’ll probably never get around to but it would be great fun too. It’s on my long list of things to do.
If you’ve never had to pull yourself together and go out with an allergy face, eczema and visible psoriasis and battled comments from people about said skin health, you might not understand. It is far easier to mope, hide away and wait till it gets better, but that way leads to a depressing and lonely few days. Far better to get out there. Ignore the pain and do some exercise, if you can bear it, see people, if you can stomach that and generally move and be.
It never looks as bad as you think and most people will not comment on your skin. If they do, most of the time it’s out of genuine concern. The odd few ignorants don’t mean to hurt you really so just reply with the truth and change the subject. This generally works, makes them feel a little uncomfortable sometimes but it’s far more positive than getting upset, which I have done on many occasions in the past.
Here’s a few replies you could try out:
“Yes, I’ve caught the sun again… ha ha ha. It was pretty hot actually and burnt my hands. Won’t be trying that again. Hot potato that old sun.”
“Oh, no, this is a new make-up range I’m trying out, it’s called red and rosy. What do you think? Suit me?”
“What have I done to my skin? Oh, this is normal. Actually it’s really good at the moment thanks.”
“Have I been to the doctors? You know I might just try that. Thanks!”
“Do I moisturise enough? Well, there are never enough hours in the day, so please excuse me while I go and get in another moisturising session.”
So, to end this little blog post about avoiding lactic acid, next time you buy any sauces or someone is cooking for you, watch out for lactic acid in things where you least expect it. If you think a meal may contain any sauce or gravy when you’re eating out, ask for no sauce, unless you are able to speak to the chef and check the labelling with them. It’s very hard to communicate fully through waiting staff when you have a long list of allergies to relay.
My advice? Avoid lactic acid if you have a dairy allergy. It doesn’t sound very nice anyway.
Enjoy the sun and remember, don’t get sunburnt!