A New Way of Being

A New Way of being


Look – this is not the worst thing that ever happened to anyone.  Don’t get me wrong – it is really, really difficult both practically and emotionally to have to deal with this.  But is it really so terrible to have developed a sensitivity that forces you to eat really healthy? Once you get your symptoms under control and stop making regular errors in food selection, you will feel better.  I feel way better than I did in my 20s – and I am an old broad!

Possible ways to increase tolerance

Some people have increased their sulfite tolerance by using supplements that have been linked to sulfite sensitivities. They are worth a shot – as long as you very carefully read the labels and do your research with the manufacturer to be sure that there are no added ingredients that contain sulfites – this is astonishingly difficult, as many supplements have ingredients that contain sulfites.

  • Molybdenum
  • B12
  • Chlorella algae

You can also try detoxing to clear your body of as many toxins as you can. I drink water with baking soda in it, which detoxes and restores the body to a more alkaline state. I also use bentonite clay taken internally. I am amused every time my boyfriend asks me what I am doing and I say – eating mud. Be careful as you detox, though – if you go too fast you will feel terrible and your symptoms may increase.

Cooking as a Lifestyle Choice

The one thing you are really going to have to face is – you need to cook. Almost all of the pre-prepared packaged foods that “save” you from cooking are going to make you sick. Some of the food that makes other people healthy will make you sick. You simply cannot do things in the way you used to and expect to be healthy. You may find strategies for not having to cook much – but your diet likely won’t be very diverse. This means you won’t really be getting the nutrients you need for robust health and you won’t be very interested in your diet in general. Which seems tragic to me – I LOVE to eat, and I love to have a great deal of variety – and I do. But I have faced the fact that a lot more of my time needs to be spent cooking. But hey – food is love, and you are in for a great treat. Cooking is a sensual, satisfying, loving, fun, funny adventure that can be enjoyed alone and with and for the people you care about. Eating well is a way of nurturing yourself – whether or not you have dietary restrictions. So, take the time to make delicious food no matter what your physical limitations – show the love!

Constant vigilance (and label reading)

In my personal experience, the best strategy for dealing with this sensitivity (and the quickest path to increased tolerance) is TOTAL AVOIDANCE of foods containing sulfites.  I know, Aargh! Total avoidance, like any pursuit of perfection, is nearly impossible. But, your best defense is a good offense. Look at EVERYTHING and avoid sulfites wherever you possibly can. In the short term total avoidance will reduce your symptoms. In the long term, there is a possibility your tolerance will increase because you won’t be putting such a toxic load on your body. Religious label checking can be difficult and frustrating but it gets quickly gets easier. Keep reading those lists of ingredients. Pay close attention to your symptoms and what you have been ingesting. Connect the dots between what you ate and how you feel. You will live better at the end of all that effort.

37 Responses to A New Way of Being

  1. sarah says:

    Hi Tracy please could you send me your e mail address? your website keeps disappearing and i need to stay in touch with you! many thanks sarah.jewels@virgin.net

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Sarah – sorry I have had some major technical difficulties, but am working to restore the site – it is only a technical glitch and it will be resurrected very soon (possibly minus the past comments 🙁 but it is not going away forever. I will send you my email in the meantime, though!!

  2. beastie says:

    are you managing the gremlins on web yet, missing u

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Beastie – I have pretty much gotten all my issues sorted out – did you see my new recipes for lotion and salt scrub? Glad you are still around!!


  3. Joëlle says:

    Hello Tracy,

    We have just found out by accident that my husband (aged 61) is sulphite intolerant — which explains why he has been battling with asthma and eyelid swelling for years now. We live in France, so bye-bye bread + wine + cheese ! Unfortunately, no doctor that we have seen has ever made the connection. So for the past month we have been left to gather information here and there on the net — and yours has proved very useful, thank you for this blog.

    Now I have a question: you mention coconut as a potential problem; does that mean only shredded coconut or coconut milk as well ? I have seen all natural coconut milk sold in organic food stores around here.

  4. beastie says:

    i am still try to add foods back into my diet with mixed results. may question today is re food wrapping for storage in fridge, ie cling film maybe called food wrap in USA, greaseproof paper, foil or plastic boxes, which may be contain corn. Any ideas

    • Tracy says:

      Hi beastie – I personally store almost everything in glass containers. Some do have plastic lids, but it seems to not cause a reaction for me. If you are worried about that plastic you could also store in glass mason jars, which have a metal lid. Just be careful storing those in the freezer, they could break. I have not had issues with tin foil, either.

      Hope this helps!


  5. beastie says:

    thanks, so i can take things on holiday in foil, does canned
    tuna in sunflower oil contain sulphites?

    • Tracy says:

      It might – it depends on what else is in there. I usually try to stay away from canned anything because of the BPAs, I get an organic one in water in a jar. I am awfully fond of some of the Cole’s Trout products, though and they come in tins – great for travel!


  6. Joëlle R says:


    My husband had a tuna sandwich not very long ago and didn’t seem to react. The tuna was canned with water and salt. I had added olive oil to it. Note: we live in France, so I don’t know if cans are made the same all around the planet !

    • Anna says:

      Hi,reading your comment on tuna fish, try wild planet tuna no salt added to to wild planet it’s vacuums pack I been eating it and I had sulfite allgeries and don’t have any reaction.

  7. beastie says:

    i too have eaten tuna in water, seemed ok. (UK)
    I recently checked with John West re tinned salmon also tuna
    their answer was no added sulphites. which i presume
    covers them in canning dept, not sure about before it
    gets to cannery.I was pleased i got a tepky, such a lot
    of companies do not.

  8. beastie says:

    Has anyone got a cookie (in UK) we call them biscuits
    maybe using rolled oats or almonds choc etc

  9. kay says:

    Hi Tracy,
    new to all of this and the stress / anxiety of having hives after ingesting sulfites is knocking me off my rocker. Need help!!!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Kay – it can be really hard at first when you don’t always know everything you react to and you are cutting out so many foods but still have reactions! It does get easier over time when you figure out what your body is doing (we all react a bit differently and to different things). Let me know what questions you have and I will try to answer them. I know it is a tough place to be, but you will get through it!


      • Kay says:

        Thank you Tracy!
        I get hives after ingesting sulfites – sometimes in varying doses. It’s frustrating – I had chronic hives back a few years ago, so if even a couple of hives creep up I get very anxious and stressed.
        I’ve looked into trying Milk Thistle and have read that sometimes supplementing with molybdenum can help sulfite sensitivities as the body needs molybdenum to process sulfites. Do you have any experience with this or have you had any success with a naturopath? Any input is greatly appreciated. Feel free to email me if its easier!

  10. Hi Tracy
    I have so many questions, first of all my doctors think I am crazy! How to you get them to understand and believe you? I get the chills, it feels like my heart is jumping around in my chest, my throat and chest get tight, I get shakey, and my chest burns like I have a terrible sun burn under my skin, my blood pressure goes way up. Each day I have no energy, I am so tired and shakey.
    I have been eliminating foods and shopping organic, and reading labels and do feels just a little bit better, but need to detox and do not know how. Also when cooking I am not having success with substituteing baking powder, my baked goods all have craters in them and are doughy, I have tried fresh squeezed lemon and baking soda in my muffins I just need a workable solution. Also getting food to taste flavorful without bullion (roasting meat, gravies, etc) and onion and garlic and soups and stocks, is very difficult, my food is tasting blah! I love to cook, but have always made very flavorful food’s now my food is disappointing.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Charlene – You are definitely not crazy – your symptoms are pretty common. Frankly – I shopped around until I found a holistic doctor that would believe me – she is awesome. Also, I go to alternative practitioners like acupuncturists and cranial sacral therapists. I am not much of a baker, but I typically use baking soda and buttermilk as my go to substitute for baking powder. I make my own bone broth for stock and use that for my base for soups and gravies. I tend to use a lot of herbs since I had to cut out the onions and garlic. I use a lot of thyme, savory, marjoram, lovage and oregano. Also – pure sea salt is your friend – I use PLENTY of that!

      As far as your symptoms – the worst symptoms I ever had was the first month in which I was detoxing. I truly thought I was going to die, so it may be that you are still going through your detox process and that is why you are having symptoms even though your diet is relatively clean. Either that, or you are still getting hidden sulfites somewhere. Check everything, even lotions and medications. Let me know if there is anything else I can share with you!


  11. One more question, in a previous post you said that you have a ranch dressing recipe, I would love to have it!

  12. Thank you for the information, what did you use to detox? I have read so many things and I do not know what is safe. Also could I please get your ranch dressing recipe? Whole food’s did not have lovage, where can I get it.You referred to using clay, how much do you eat and do you use it in any other way? Did you ever take peroxide baths? How much baking soda do you take each day? I am sorry to ask so many questions, a I am just so happy to have someone to talk to about this issue! I’m so very grateful for your kindness and help.
    Have a blessed day,
    Charlene Adams

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Charlene – Let me see if I can answer your questions. I have tried a lot of things to detox. I have used chlorella tablets, which I found pretty effective. I use the baking soda and epsom salt and baking soda baths. I also use the bentonite clay. I used about a tablespoon of the clay at first and upped it to two after about a week. I used it for about two weeks total (you will start to strip out vitamins and minerals you need if you do it for too long. You can also use the clay in the bath. I have not taken a peroxide bath. Typically I will use abotu 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 16 oz of water and sip that over about an hour and I repeat as often as I need to. More than that and you can get diarrhea. You can order lovage from Mountain Rose Herbs in Colorado.

      As far as the epsom salt baths, you are correct, it is magnesium sulfate. There are three different places along the sulfuration pathway that folks can react. When you eat high sulfur foods, they are converted into sulfites and then ultimately sulfates. If you eat high sulfite foods, they are converted to sulfates. Most people do not have an issue with sulfates, and mostly if they do it is presented as a skin irritation. There is no sulfate rich food so you really only get them from your body converting sulfites or through absorption. You need to determine if you have an issue with sulfates as well or just sulfites. We need sulfates for our body to function well, so if you only have an issue with sulfites, then an epsom salt bath is a great way to get the sulfates that your body isn’t making. Does that make sense?


  13. I forgot the most important question, how can you soak in Epsom salt in the tub, it is made up of magnesium sulfate? Wouldn’t you be risking having a huge reaction? I am confused!

  14. Tawney Peterson says:

    Hi! I was so disturbed when I found your website and really mad! (not at you, I like you) Your information so far has been really helpful. I am mad because some one at my Doctors office did an opps and changed my sulfite allergy to a sulfa drug allergy (one of many other sensitivities I have) and because I am not a doctor I assumed they knew something I didn’t. Mainly that perhaps sulfites were a subcategory under sulfa drugs. Well I then went to a new dentist who gave me lidocaine!! Unknowingly of course, I had put sulfa drugs down but not sulfites. I had an anxiety attack a vicious and sudden one right there in the office. Since then I have had several more. Well I have never thought that for me I had just a chemical imbalance in my brain and there was nothing I could do about it. A few years ago I started changing our diet and my anxiety has been almost not even there. Probably because I have gotten rid of processed foods, canola oil etc. A few flares here and there but I believe that with my system overloaded at the dentist office my body was having difficulty processing the sulfites, namely ones from a gluten free pizza with sulfites I am sure. This round of anxiety has been brutal. They come on always right after I eat something. (we just got back from vacation so I wasn’t always able to control everything I ate) But thanks to you I will be better prepared to avoid things that may cause problems. Thank you for the extensive list of food and drugs you have posted! This will go a long way to keeping me from further ingesting bad stuff. All this to ask what do you do to detox? I really really need to get this under control. Thank you so much!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Tawney – Welcome! I am so sorry that you had those reactions! Most doctors really don’t understand a sulfite sensitivity, so I am sadly unsurprised that they got it wrong. I detox in a couple ways, and I have heard of a couple more. I do epsom salt and baking soda baths which helps a lot. The empsom salts have the added benefit of having sulfates in them. Most people’s bodies convert sulfites to sulfates, which are neccesary and Epsom salt baths are the only way to get sulfates that your body isn’t manufacturing for itself. If you have a sulfate sensitivity as well, obviously this wouldn’t work for you. I also use baking soda in water to slow down a racy heart and that works really well for me. I have used bentonite clay (be sure to get the food grade). You can’t use that for too long, though, as it will leach out minerals as well. I know lots of people who swear by chlorella. Everyone’s body is different, so you have to find out what works for you – that is one of the maddening parts of this sensitivity. To truly get it under control, you likely need to go down the path of testing for vitamin and mineral deficiencies and possible do some genetic testing to determine what kinds of vitamins are right for you. For example, I have issues with my methylation pathways and I am also vitamin B deficient, so many forms of vitamin B won’t work for me, as they are methyl donors – talk about an anxiety attack!I hope this helps!

  15. Allison says:

    Hi Tracy,
    I am new to all of this. To start with, I am safe with anything organic or are organic items a problem too?

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Allison –

      Even organics can be a problem. There are some veggies with naturally occurring sulfites, such as onion and garlic. Pork is an issue as well as peanuts. Additionally, there are some sulfur based herbicides, which can be an issue. Some fruits and vegetables are coated with wax to help preserve them longer (cucumbers, citrus fruits) and this is a problem. There are some foods which have sulfites added in processing, such as coffee and tea, seafood and any bleached flour. There are lots of potential triggers, even in organic foods.

  16. Jon says:

    Hey Tracy…thanks for all the time and energy you have devoted towards your blog and helping educate people on this issue.

    I am sort of new to this whole thing, but not new to my chronic internal hemorrhoids which have been plaguing me for about 20 years.

    Only recently have I started to ponder whether a connection may exist between sulfites and my hemorrhoids. I am wondering if sulfites in my diet might be causing my internal hemorrhoids? Was wondering if you had any thoughts or advice on this?

    I have seen several doctors over the years. Been prescribed different creams and I haven’t made any progress. It’s debilitating to the point where I cannot walk around for much longer than 5 minutes without suffering. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi Jon,

      I am so sorry you are suffering like that. Sulfites certainly can wreak havoc on your intestines, so I would not be surprised in the least if your hemorrhoids are related. I would also check to see if you are having issues with salycilates as well – they can be hard on the intestines as well. Have you tried an elimination diet? It might help you determine when your symptoms flare the most and thus identify your triggers.

      I hope you find the source of your issues. My intestines used to hurt so bad I had trouble standing up straight – it used to take me several minutes to get into an upright position at times. It is so not fun.

      Let me know if you try an elimination diet and how it works for you!


  17. Laura says:

    Again confused, you list baking soda as having sulfites, yet you rinse with it here?

  18. Clare says:

    I have discovered a really helpful website – Whfoods – it has a whole section on molybdenum- turns out that you don’t need supplements – a bowl of oats every day will supply you with all that you need!! I had found that when I ate Bircher mussels made with cold oats – kept in the fridge soaked in water over night- my symptoms lessened and I didn’t know why! I have asthma , classified as severe and am taking lots of dugs as am also salicylate intolerant. I urge everyone to look at the website and give the molybdenum options a go, it may help you too!!! Still struggle day to day and find it hard to avoid that chocolate biscuit or that raspberry but the porridge definitely helps
    Clare x

  19. Linda Crockett says:

    I am a newbie and wishing to detox, safely, and start a new sulphate/gluten free diet for 2 wks to test. Anyone have suggestions – I need to simplify this as much as possible (no red meat or pork).

    Help me if you can I’m anxious to start, afraid of it being too much work, and desperate to make this change.

    Thank you

  20. Mona says:


    Is there still anyone in there?

    I really need support. I’ve been avoiding sulfits in all forms that i know since about 2 months because i had serious issue such as breathing, tachycardia and low pressure.

    I have read so much on this site, but still i face so discouragement states, such as i find no one to test for allergy possibility, and i feel like i have all my symptoms under the spot all the time, i make anxiety about it, i dont go out anymore, i feel like im spending all that i have (and even that i dont have) on food.

    I feel anxious every time i eat. Even if i really begin to understand what to avoid i feel like there is a risk anyway everywhere.

    i cannot figure out a life like this forever.

    I have to kids, and im alone with them, i have financial issues also, i cannot give up, but sometimes i feel like i will.

    I have very very discouraged about all this, even the epipen has sulfits, if i go to hospital if ever something happen to me, they will feed me with sulfits (medications and food).

    I feel like i’m not made to live in this world. How is it possible to be so sensitive to something that is everywhere!!!! Its like being allergic to breathing!!!

    I cannot stand it anymore.

    Tonight, i will have biologic home made pop corn for supper. Because i really missed me sulfite-free recipe. Like if i have money to throw to the garbage.


    • Tracy says:

      Hi Mona,

      Sorry it took so long to reply. I have had some personal things I needed to focus on. I am so sorry you are discouraged, but it does get better. I know it seems hopeless, but it Will get better. If you need to talk, let me know. I am here

  21. Mona says:

    OH , and let me tell you, i just burned my popcorn!!

  22. Mona says:

    Thanks Tracy for your answer. I’m not sure about the histamine intolerance and i wish it’s not the case for me because i feel like i wont be able to eat anything now.

    All this struggle me more and more everyday i feel like its unliveable.

    I really dont know what to eat for sure and i’m always on my gards about a possible reaction. I’m pretty sure i do a lot of anxiety overhead all this 🙁

  23. patsie lee says:

    all the comments i see here are two years old. i hope someone reads what i have to say and can benefit by it. i’ve had a sulfite intolerance that is beyond words. it’s been going on for at least 12 years only i didn’t realize until the past year what was causing the problems. without going into detail, i’ve gone into anaphylactic shock more than once, continual hives, and finally was down to eating only carrots, celery and apples from a farm that delivers produce to my home. no pesticides, no nothing. it’s all i’ve eaten for the past eight months. through tedious and relentless research i’ve found that i have a severe vitamin D deficiency. i’m on my 10th week of gigantic daily doses of liquid vitamin d and can now tolerate a few more things – omg! i am happy beyond belief. i think i’m on my way to living a normal life again. i still have a long way to go, LONG. i don’t care though, at least i have come across what seems to be the answer. if anyone who reads this cares to email me, please do. i am happy to hear from you.

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