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Here are some links to the websites which have great information.

G6PD Deficiency.

Dale Baker’s informative site about G6PD and everything around it.

G6PD Deficiency website by Dale Baker

High Sulfur Foods: One of the best sites to check if certain food is considered as a low thiols/sulfur or high thiols/sulfur food.

High sulfur/thiol foods

All the nutritional information you want to know about certain foods can be found here.

Nutrition Data

Facebook groups for Sulfite Issues:

Genetic Sulfite group:

Sulfur, Sulfites, Sulfates – Genetic Sulfite Intolerance SUOX/CBS Support

General Sulfite groups:

sulfitesnomore · For the sulfite sensitive or allergic

Sulfite & Sulfate Sensitivities Support Group

Sulfites ABC Facebook page:

Sulfites ABC


Gluten Free Baking with Sulfite Intolerance Part II

Gluten free baking with sulfite intolerance part II

I cut out the gluten from my diet in 2000, and back then it was really hard to find gluten free baked products. There were some, but the taste was terrible, so I was left with two options: eat those weird tasting foods or start to create some gluten free recipes. I chose the last one, mainly because the gluten free products were still making me sick, back then I didn’t know anything about the sulfites, and the gluten free products were also so much more expensive comparing to regular baked products. But I did ate some ready made muffins from the freezer section and some of the bread alternatives, mainly when I was traveling.

Searching for the ingredients wasn’t easy either, and my first experiments with the gluten free ingredients tasted so weird, that not even my goats were eating those. If the goats won’t eat some bread/cookies that means that the taste is really awful. For my first experiments I used  a few different types of rice flours, potato starch (sulfites here), soy flour, sugar-beet fiber, psyllium seeds, xanthan gum etc. And normal cane sugar!  You do can use these for gluten free baking, but I didn’t know back then that all of these ingredients except certain types of rice flour were just giving me more issues.

I will spare you with my experiments of the gluten free baking prior my sulfite diagnosis, since that covers more than 11 years, and I will jump right away to those ingredients I use today and which I have found to be safe for those who have sulfite intolerance, so no ingredients with added sulfites.  But since I have also other enzyme related food issues, allergies and intolerances, my ingredient list is more limited than for those who only have sulfite – and gluten intolerance. G6PD enzyme issues means that I don’t use any soy, peanuts or other legumes or legume derived ingredients. No corn derived ingredients either. No yeasts. No sugars derived from beet-sugar or cane-sugar. I don’t use any pre-mixed gluten free flours nor vegetable gums. Also no baking powder since it contains starch, often corn derived. But if you are fine with legumes for instance, do experiment with various type of legume derived flours. Legumes are high in Molybdenum and that trace mineral is important to us.

Let’s start first with the possible natural unrefined sugars to use in the gluten free baking which are left, when you cut out the inflammatory producing beet- and cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup. There are some other natural sugars like agave syrup, but there is a reason for it, if a natural sugar substitute is not on my safe list. Just to let you know, it took for me more than 2 years to completely get rid of the sugar. I admit, I was addicted to the sugar, and that addiction was really hard to break. But it can be done. When I have done my candida diet in the past, a couple of times, I have been avoiding all forms of sugars for months. All sugars means also no fruits, no honey, no stevia and I said no to even certain gluten free cereals since those become sugars really fast in the digestion process. The natural unrefined sugars I am using now don’t affect on your blood sugar levels like the beet- and cane sugar, or the *high fructose corn syrup, at least not for my blood sugar levels or those of my nieces and nephews, who have been my precious little guinea pigs for years. And I think you all know how kids can behave when they have been eating too much refined sugars. Unrefined natural sugars don’t create cravings, and I can easily go one week or more without even thinking of anything sweet if I want. Both beet- and cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup are cheap so that’s the one reason why you see those in many products, also in the products you didn’t thought you will find sugar like various meat products. And since those sugars can create addiction, that is just one nasty marketing trick to create more loyal customers, and no one is thinking about your health.

Here is the list of the unrefined natural sugars I currently use for different purposes. All are organic and unrefined. Of course the price is much higher than for regular sugars, but since sugar shouldn’t be the main ingredient in your food anyway, a treat made with a  good quality ingredients won’t hurt neither your health or wallet. I have checked with the manufacturer that no sulfites are used in processing the products I use, so do take note that there might be differences with different brands/products, and always when you are unsure check with the manufacturer. If the answer your get back is not satisfying, skip that product.

  • Coconut sugar
  • Coconut nectar (liquid)
  • Palm sugar
  • Stevia
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Maple sugar
  • Date syrup
  • Date sugar
  • Apple syrup
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Birch xylitol

For different purposes, I use different unrefined natural sugars. Almost all of these unrefined natural sugars can be manufactured using sulfites, so again, you really need to do your detective work before adding any new food into your diet. With the honey the issue is that it is often altered with high fructose corn syrup so the the best places to buy your honey are Farmers Markets or from the Bee Farmers directly. Skip the honey which is sold in the supermarket.  I used to use sugarcane molasses as well. Molasses are made from the sugarcane or beet sugar and the quality of these molasses varies a lot. But then one food intolerance test showed an intolerance to cane sugar, and that was the reason why I cut it out, and never re-tested it. Good quality molasses are made from unsulfured juice of sugarcane, so those are safe sulfite-wise. And since most of the nutrients like iron, potassium and some vitamins are still left in the end product, the molasses can actually be useful when treating some nutritional deficiencies, like mild iron deficiency. And did you know that horses are fed with molasses as well?

But I do need to warn you! Coconut sugar will color all your creations with a brown tone so you are not going to be able to create for instance a ‘white meringue’ and your butter frosting won’t be white. The special sponge cake I wanted to make after I was able to eat eggs again a few years ago had a bit weird brown color, but since the taste was amazing I didn’t care. I was just happy that I was able to bake ‘real cakes’ again and eat them. So this will just mean that you will be creating more personalized desserts, cakes and muffins and you can be sure that you are not eating any added sulfites.

*High fructose corn syrup is used in many products even more often than beet- or cane sugar, because it is so cheap. It contains sulfites and you can read the processing of corn from the previous post here.


My Detective Work

“Detective” work in Europe and the results are amazing!

This is going to be a long post so let’s see how many of you will read it all.

I spent the last 4 months in Europe, mainly in Italy, and since I am now back in Singapore it is a good time to analyze those days.
I arrived to the cold Europe at the end of the November and I honestly don’t remember much about the first week. Terrible brain fog all the time, and those of you who have some experience with it, know how it can be. Of course I had the jet lag which also seemed to bother me a lot, but was that the only reason why I was sleeping 12 hours a night? I don’t think so.
When I had managed to get my energy levels a little bit up, it was time to book some appointments and see doctors.  I needed to know why I was feeling so ‘sick’ all the time. Light fever, brain fog, shortness of the breath all the time, cough, painful eyes, headaches, diarrhea, dizziness, various pains etc. and absolutely no energy. I had counted that I had about 2-3 hours a day so called ‘active time’ when I managed to do something before I crashed.
First doctor I saw dropped my changes of getting the diagnosis fast. ” Ok, listening to your symptoms and reading the list, it could be anything from leukemia to rheumatoid arthritis, so let’s start doing some testing”. And so I did. Well, I am going to save you with the details what I did, but I just say that I did all together 4 ultrasounds, and a lot of blood tests. Including some genetic tests (blood) as well, which came back negative for JAK2 V617F and other genes related to some leukemia. And the only thing which was worrying in the blood tests was high platelets, (platelets had been high for years, but I was always told that it is because of my ulcerative colitis) and there were some minor issues with red and white blood cells and these values were chancing all the time during the next 4 months. The last blood tests I did before coming to Singapore were good, except the high platelets count. So everything was pointing to some kind of blood – related issue, but nothing was found. We have some hereditary blood diseases in the family, but all my tests for these were negative.
I also visited a new Dermatologist. Those who know me well, know that I have had some serious skin issues during the past couple of years, and I have spent thousands of euros for trying to resolve my issues. 5 minutes at the doctor’s office and I got a diagnosis with 95 % accuracy for Rosacea. And after a long googling we found an antibiotic I agreed to test. Well the antibiotic of course gave me almost immediate side effects and I managed to take only two doses, but surprise surprise it seemed to have an effect on my skin, and after that I haven’t had any skin issues; meaning no terrible pus filling nodules growing in my face. Sorry, but there is no way to say that nicer. I am not posting the pictures here, so you don’t need to see those weird pimples. So, one huge issue resolved. ( since this was in Europe I am still waiting to see if something in Singapore is a trigger for my skin issues, but so far everything is good) The antibiotics left me with even more diarrhea, stomach bloating and pains, but I knew that this might happen.
Christmas present for myself was a Genetic Sulfite Intolerance Panel. The test kit was similar than those which are used in CSI and other crime series, so I felt really excited while doing it. I have done the 23andme test and from that I know that I have mutations in those SUOX and CBS genes which are under the Sulfite Intolerance profile, but as most of you have noticed I am a bit obsessed about sulfites and I NEED to know everything about them so of course I couldn’t skip this test either. And the test just confirmed my Sulfite Intolerance. When I showed the report from the genetic lab to my family doctor, he was like oh damn, this really is a serious thing. Well, it was he who gave me the details about this test already 4 years ago, when I saw him for the first time after the anaphylaxis from the New Year’s kiss with sparkling wine. So this moment was also kind of closing for this sulfite stuff what comes to testing. My doctor just said me: ” I know that you know better than I how to handle those issues, and use the cortisone only for the really serious symptoms.”
I had spent the Christmas with the terrible brain fog. I fainted during the Christmas day, and luckily I understood that it was a time for a cortisone shot. My energy levels were really low and I was thinking of going to the ER, but then I was also thinking that what they are going to do for me there ? Anyway, I can’t take any medicines and even the smell of the antiseptics at the hospital would make me feel worse.  The days went by and I didn’t get any better. I had like million of different symptoms all the time and I prefer to stay at home. It was kind of survival game. I did only those things during the days which I felt were necessary to do and the rest of the time I spent in the bed or outside with the goats.  I had planned so much writing during my stay in Europe but I didn’t manage to do much. I wasn’t doing anything I had planned and I felt terrible also because of that. Then I had a terrible shock when I found our goats killed by the wolves- the confirmation about the fact that the wolves had done it came only when I saw four wolves myself. That was too much to handle for me and I decided to spend the next month in Finland, hoping to clear some of my brain fog.
Again, it was awesome to spend some time with my family and see some of my friends, but the damn brain fog didn’t leave my brain and all the other symptoms were mostly the same than what I had when in Italy. I did have more urinary track related symptoms though and I thought in one point that I need to see a doctor, but luckily some supplements seemed to resolve the issue.  I often joke with my little sister that we can easily know how well I am from the toilet paper consumption. Or how many times per night I need to run to toilet.

My health was quite stable the whole time, but I did got a weird stomach bug, which kept me 6 hours in the toilet. Luckily my sister and my brother in law have built a big house so they have three bathrooms. The kids were checking on me all the time: knocking on the door and asking if I am still alive. No one else got any symptoms, so I blamed the bottled water for it, since I was only one who drank that. After that I switched to the boiled water and didn’t got any symptoms from the water anymore.
The Finland trip confirmed the fact that I still react when certain type of wood is burnt. I have also a wood burning stove in Italy and I found that burning the wood made me feel feel sicker sometimes. So the sulfur from some type of burning wood was still an issue but since my sister was also getting some symptoms I thought that this was pure sulfur thing. Since our parents are heterozygous for the CBS SNPs we kids have gotten various mixes of those genes.

Food wise it was a pretty interesting trip, but luckily no bad reactions. Most vegetables tasted funny and weird, like tomatoes tasted just like fish. The potatoes my father grows are something I can eat without reactions, so it is always a potato-feast for me when I am there. Of course I am also helping my sisters and mum to empty their freezers by eating all the berries. My sister gets raw milk directly from the farm and we had a lot of fish my father had caught and game meat hunted by my father and brother in law. So even though I had super healthy diet, I wasn’t symptom free. Oh, and the mold. Mold is a big issue for me in Italy, but it is also a huge issue in Finland, and it is almost impossible to avoid it. And I was smelling mold in various places and persons and every time the exposure made me feel sicker for the next couple of days. (of course there is mold also in Singapore, but that’s an other story)
I was back in Italy and had some more doctor’s visits. Again nothing new. The platelets had decided to stay up and the other blood cells had decided to play around and go up and down as they liked. I de-wormed myself, because I was starting to think that maybe I had gotten AGAIN some parasites. I was also taking an online course about the parasites at the same time so I was comparing my symptoms to the parasites which were taught during the course. (no match by the way, if you are interested to know).
I was also starting to spend more time outdoors, the fear of wolves had kind of disappeared while I was in Finland, and I was enjoying the beautiful countryside.  I had gained some of my energy back while in Finland ( which of course made me think what was the difference between the Italy and Finland, if it is not the mold so what it could be ? ) and I managed to do some work around the house and that involved also cutting the trees and it was from here when I started to get some more serious symptoms again. I couldn’t believe that it was happening again, just when I had thought that now I was getting my energy levels a bit better and again I am starting to feel sicker. Why ?  I was using a lot a wood burning stove and I was burning different types of wood in it and every evening I didn’t need to wait much to fell a sleep, it was like a knock in the head every time, and again I was sleeping 10-12 hours a night.

Then in one Sunday afternoon I was about one meter from a FRESHLY cut small Acacia tree ( I didn’t cut it myself) and my abdomen started to grow in front of my eyes. It was an immediate reaction, like one nano second and boom. A few more minutes and I had various pains everywhere in my body and I started to feel this smoky cloud entering into my brain and filling it fast.

I know that I should stay away from all legumes and many plants like Acacia tree or Mimosa flowers, since these are also from the Fabaceae/Leguminosae plant family, because I have reacted to most legumes my whole life, but sometimes you just forget these things . And I had just imprinted it deeply into my mind that I was just allergic to them in really weird way. G6PD deficiency is something I have been tested for more than 10 years ago, but since the test came back negative I was told that I don’t have it, or I don’t have so called Favism. My brain was trying to make sense of all these things and I knew that I need to know more. But in the following days I managed to do only a little bit research about G6PD deficiency. I run the Livewello report for G6PD deficiency and I saw that I do have some homozygous mutations, and even though my symptoms weren’t matching exactly on those for G6PD deficiency,  I was still thinking that I am on the right track.
And the next week was a pure nightmare. It was colder and I needed to burn more wood during the next days. I was again really low in energy and the brain fog was really bad. I spent the week wandering around like a ghost, I took a lot of activated charcoal hoping it would help me clear the brain fog. Nothing- nada. The cortisone shot was nicely placed on the table. I knew that I was going to need that soon. Cortisone seemed to be the only thing which made me a human, at least for a couple of hours. I am a Ski jumping judge and I had an assignment in Norway in a couple of days and I knew that the trip wouldn’t be possible unless I take some cortisone.
Sunday 8th was the International Women’s Day, and I posted in my FB group that this is a day when I need to be aware of sulfite -loaded sparkling wine and Mimosa flowers so better stay home. Both are traditions in Italy for celebrating this day.  And so I stayed at home. The next day I needed to do the shopping, and between running from one shop to an other one I needed a coffee. Big mistake. Immediately after I had entered to the coffee shop I started to feel my abdomen grow bigger and bigger and weird enough, the pain started at the same time, normally it takes at least 10 minutes to the pain to appear. I turned around and saw a vase full of Mimosa flowers. Damn, not again. But since I know that coffee somehow helps with the reactions I got my coffee outside. Of course the girl in the coffee shop was feeling bad, (I am regular in that coffee shop so they know me) but I told her that it is not her fault, this is just how my life is. I was feeling again really sick. I looked like I was pregnant with my big belly. I still had a few more places to go, and of course also one of these places had some Mimosa flowers, so I needed to ask the things from the door. In the super market the person before me at the cashier had some shrimps and that smell made me even more nauseous. What the heck was going on because I was super sensitive again?  Somehow I managed to go home and finish the packing for my trip.
For me traveling, specially when I am taking the plane, means a lot of good planning and organizing. I do travel a lot so I am also used to it, but this time the new challenge was that I was flying for the first time with KLM and I had a transit at the airport where I have never been before. For someone else this is not an issue, but for me it is. Of course I had checked with the airline that there are no peanuts on the board, but that obviously doesn’t mean that there is not something else I might react. The airports can also be tricky, due to their air conditioning, if and when they circulate the restaurant’s air  in common places like it used to be in the Munich (GER) airport where I have had one anaphylactic shock reaction.
Unfortunately that trip didn’t started too good. Already at the airport I was hit by an other reaction, this time it was the naphthalane in the fellow passenger’s clothes and luggage. ( those things were kept in mothballs for sure)  And this reaction should have made the bells ring in my head but it didn’t. Then in the airplane, the person on the other side of the aisle was smelling really musty and moldy, and I needed to use my face mask. I was getting curious looks from other passengers, but I am so used to it that I don’t care anymore. The airplane was old, so was the air conditioning and the air was really dusty and what I think also moldy, since I got blood shot eyes in about one hour time, and that happens often with the mold. I was chewing terrible tasting cortisone tablet and thinking that this is going to be an interesting trip. The cortisone shot I had taken in the morning wasn’t enough.
Next morning I woke up with a light fever and terrible headache. More cortisone and pain killers and I survived that day, even the evening in a place were wine was served. But I did stayed away from the people who were drinking, and I was happy that I was able to spend some time with my friends. Luckily the hotel was excellent and the rooms were clean and nice and the food choices were amazing, even for me with my allergies and intolerances.  Next day was full of events and after a huge breakfast and an other cortisone shot and more painkillers I was ready to work.  We spent the next 12 hours at the Ski Jumping Stadium and I have no idea from where I got the energy to stay in my feet the whole day. Probably the fresh air was helping and the fact that I managed to get a nap in the Judge’s room during a break, and I can’t also forget the magical powers of cortisone. Back at the hotel and and I had some dinner and my head was hurting so much that I was hardly able to speak. It was a few hours of sleep for me and I was back on my way to home. The flights were quite awful, my headache was so bad, that I wasn’t able to move my head and I was afraid that maybe I had caught some infection. I have no idea how I managed to drive home from the airport.

At home I ate a little, crashed to the bed and slept 3 hours. I woke up, ate again and went back to the bed and slept other 15 hours. Next days were pretty similar. I got up, mostly because I needed to go to the bathroom, I ate some breakfast, I spent some time in the internet then I needed already a nap. I woke up for lunch and browsed through Facebook, after that it was an other long nap before dinner and then it was time to go to the bed for night. First I thought that this was a flu, I felt so terrible and since I had a feeling of sore throat I took some licorice.  I think I was totally two weeks in bed, and I had only a few clear moments during those days. I did took some cortisone and it gave me energy to do some things around the house, but nothing else helped me like previously, and when I say nothing else, it means my supplements which I use and which have helped me so many times before. The headache lasted for almost 10 days and even though that wasn’t even the record those were really terrible days. Only after the headache episodes were over I was able to concentrate more to the research around the G6PD. And what I started to find out left me without the words. Even though symptom wise my symptoms don’t match exactly, ALL the things from food to medicine and other substances which were on the NO list were those I was reacting. Every single one of them. And with most of them only the smell would give me violent reactions and knock me out for days. Of course I haven’t been taking all of the medicines which are on that list, but those which I have used have made me feel worse not better. First there was the ibuprofen. I had been taking ibuprofen based painkillers for my headaches all the time. Also during the last 10 days. And when I saw the mesalazine on the list, I was in shock. Mesalazine is the active ingredient in Asacol (there are many other brand names as well) which is used for ulcerative colitis and I had taken that for years in the 1990’s after my diagnosis. It never made me feel better, actually much worse and the doctors told me that if I don’t take it I will get the cancer. Luckily I had stopped taking it in one point, but now I was starting to understand why I have been so sick all the time.

Food wise everything was making sense. I had taken licorice for my sore throat, and that’s also a legume. I am Finnish so I guess I got the taste for licorice and salmiakki when I was still in my mum’s belly, and it has been always the one thing from the legume family I was tolerating, or I thought I was. Soy. Even though I do avoid soy, I know that there are some traces of soy in some of my supplements, and those should be allergen free= proteins are removed, but this is not an allergy this is an enzyme deficiency. And I had been taking these fish oil capsules daily, which did contain traces of soy. So I read all the label’s of my supplements and checked any beauty products if I had missed previously some soy based ingredients. This wasn’t an intolerance issue anymore, now I was fighting for my life, or at least it felt like that at that moment. Ascorbic acid, artificial, made in the lab. This was one of the things I was taking daily, and huge amounts in some days! I had found GMO free, non corn source of vitamin C, and I was so happy back then, because I was able to take it and I thought that I was helping my histamine issues this way. No more ascorbic acid obviously.

Part of the wood I had burnt in the stove was acacia, so after this I burnt only the other type of woods. So practically I had been poisoning myself daily with the acacia wood, no wonder I always felt worse on the days when I used the stove most.
Then I saw the Henna on the NO list. I had bought a high quality organic henna, just that I hadn’t find a moment to do it, I had been so sick all the time. Lucky me, in this case because I have no idea what it could have done to me. ( And yes Anna, I thought about you right away- you were right!)
But could avoiding these things, change my health? My whole life?  I am still trying to figure that out. And I am hoping that this was the last missing piece in my health puzzle. I am feeling so much better and different that I can’t believe it. Every morning I wake up, I am like hello head, your are not fogged right? I have noticed that I need less sleep and I still feel great in the morning. I don’t need to go to the bed with the sun, I can easily stay up later and still wake up energized in the morning. The weird fever is gone and no more headaches, not even during the flight, which used to be the norm for me. I didn’t noticed any nasty jet lag symptoms either, which is good of course.
No pains, no diarrhea, no bloating, no other food reactions, even my eyes are feeling better, and I had constant pain more than a year in my eyes and most of the time my eyes were also red. I can concentrate better and I have energy to do things. Honestly, this feels a bit weird, in the funny way.
Added sulfites, like those labeled E220-228, E150b and d are also on the No list for G6PD deficiency. I have been avoiding sulfites since 2011, but if I look back to my reactions before that, the worst reactions have been when there has been a combination of these two: legumes and sulfites. Probably the worst reaction to the legumes was about 10 years ago when I happened to check what was boiling on the stove and that was a legume soup. Just the cooking smells gave me the reaction. I slept for three days.
Now I have started to do more research regarding the G6PD deficiency and I am hoping to figure out if there is a connection with my high platelets as well. From Wikipedia: “Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency is an inherited, X-linked, recessive genetic condition. It affects mainly red blood cells, and a defect in the G6PD enzyme causes red blood cells to break down prematurely. This is called hemolysis. Red blood cells are those which carry oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. And some of the symptoms are fatigue, paleness, jaundice, shortness of breath, rapid heart beat, dark urine.”

Curious fact is that NAC-N-acetyl cysteine is helpful for the G6PD deficiency, but it is also on the list to avoid or limit with SUOX/CBS mutations. At the moment I seem to be just fine with NAC, but I am taking all the SUOX/CBS supplements as well and of course I am counting my weekly sulfur intake, which seem to be a key thing for me to keep those pathways working.

Enzyme deficiencies are much bigger thing than we actually think. For sulfite and histamine issues I have found helpful amylase and pancreatin enzymes. Good digestion is one key element as we all know and the health begins in the gut, so if you have done all the possible repair work in your gut and you are still not seeing any results, have you tried adding any digestive enzymes? Just wondering how many people are suffering from different digestive enzyme deficiencies like not producing enough amylase, protease or lipase and blaming all the possible foods for their symptoms, when it is not actually the food’s fault but it is the body which can’t produce the needed enzymes to break down and digest the food.
Then there are the food enzymes which are present in all raw foods: animal and plant products. For instance raw milk has living raw enzymes in it, thanks to lactase, lipase and phosphatase you are able to digest it better than the pasteurized and homogenized milk. I think this is also why I can drink all the raw milk I want without getting any symptoms.
Then we have the metabolic enzymes which have some important tasks like purifying the blood, and helping the body to absorb oxygen from the blood. (how big part the G6PD enzyme has here ?) The metabolic enzymes also aid in the production of the energy and they are needed for various chemical reactions in the body. Enzymes also break down toxins, help with detoxification etc. Metabolic enzymes are needed to various biochemical reactions, without these enzymes the body wouldn’t be able to function. Those with sulfite issues know how important it is to take the right supplements to the SUOX/CBS combo to keep these enzymes/genes working. Now I need to figure out what I need more for the G6PD enzyme.
So, since the enzymes are so important to a healthy human body, even minor changes in those enzymatic pathways can make a huge change in overall health.
I am interested to hear how many of you have got help from various types of digestive enzymes/raw food?

Gluten Free Baking with Sulfite Intolerance Part I

Gluten free baking with sulfite intolerance

You have finally realized that your health issues, or some of them were due to the added sulfites and you have cut those out from your diet. But you have also noticed that you get some reactions from gluten containing grains and you want to try if going gluten free would be helpful in your case. Be aware ! First of all you are going to notice that most ready made gluten free products contain added sulfites and/or hidden sulfites, actually a lot of them and many gluten free products have more added sulfites than regular organic products.

Really? Yes. This was one of the hard lessons I learnt pretty early when I thought that I had figured out my own personal food issues, but no I wasn’t even close of that.

Starches are used in the gluten free baking much more often than in regular baking, and since every starch can actually contain sulfites, you really need to check with the manufacturer how the starches are made. Corn starch is one the starches which is used widely around the world and it is made pretty cheaply. Sulfites get into the processing of the corn when sulfur dioxide is added to the soaked corn to improve fermentation and at the same time to suppress the growth of harmful bacteria, mold, fungi and yeast. This phase of the production can last up to 48 hours. The corn starch as a final product can contain easily more than 50 ppm of sulfites, and the corn starch can also be used to make some other products like various corn based sugars and citric acid. So the soaking of the corn cobs is where the sulfites will get into the various corn-derived ingredients. Most of us who are sensitive to sulfites, react to the processed corn products, but those who are not allergic to corn,  can eat organic corn without issues. So remember than when any food item, like a vegetable is processed it can contain sulfites. Same goes with potatoes. Organic potatoes (not treated with anything) are safe even for me, but potato starch even just inhaled can give me a reaction. Various starches are also added into the supplements so be careful when choosing the right supplements for you.

So when you buy a ready made gluten free muffins from a freezer sections, you might not find the word sulfites in the label, but if you start to look closely the ingredients you might find a lot of common ingredients which are known to contain added sulfites, in this case hidden sulfites. Let’s imagine we are reading the ingredient list of a gluten free Lemon-muffins:

White sugar- yes, more sulfites if it is beet sugar, but even certain cane sugars will always have sulfites if those are bleached.
EGGS- these are safe sulfite-wise, just that those are high in organic sulfur so could be also an issue.
Rice flour- yes, if white in color and refined. Might contain sulfites.
Potato starch-yes almost always.
Vegetable oil- it should say which oil, but in many cases you can assume that it is a mix of different vegetable oils , which will create the right texture. Sulfite wise should be safe, but you should know the whole processing method.
Lemon juice concentrate- yes. Hard to find lemon juice concentrate without added sulfites.
Baking powder – yes, in most cases contain trace amounts of added sulfites in the starch, which in most case is corn derived.
Xanthan gum – yes, corn-derived product in most cases, so yes hidden sulfites.
Natural flavors- yes. Funny when they use a word natural which make you think that this is something healthy and good when in the end this can be just a chemically mixed flavor which comes directly out from the lab.
So can you see now what I am trying to tell you? Hidden sulfites are hiding in the gluten free baked products in most cases. You could easily make these muffins at home also with all oragnic, good quality ingredients where you subsitute these ingredients with sulfite safe ingredients. When you add up all these ingredients and the amounts of hidden sulfites they might contain you can be sure that if you react to added sulfites you will react to these muffins. It is then a different thing when an adult who weights around 60 kg eats one of these muffins than a kid who weights around 10 kg.
The worst offenders in gluten free baking in my option are the starches and sugar. There are many food starches used in baking today: arrowroot corn-maize, potato, rice, sweet potato, tapioca, wheat etc. Luckily you can find some of the starches without no added sulfites used during the processing, or in the end product, but unfortunately not many companies will label the products which contain sulfites or which are safe sulfite wise. Many companies keep the sulfite levels below 10 ppm in the final product, and as we all know those amounts are enough to give serious symptoms. So unfortunately the only way to know for sure is to contact to the manufacturer.

Sugar then. Sugar is a highly inflammatory and might just be an other trigger for various allergic symptoms and it does not have any nutrients if it is highly processed like the sugars which are often used in commercially baked goods. Beet sugar is often also GMO and even though brown sugar might sound like a healthy alternative it is often just white sugar which is colored and some molasses might have been added to it. There are many good unrefined sugar alternatives available today, and I am not talking about artificial sweeteners. Various coconut based sugars, sulfite free maple syrup and molasses, stevia, various fruit syrups, real honey etc.

If you go gluten free learn to look for healthier options and read always the labels. Learn to bake as well ! You might need to do initially a lot of research to find the safe sulfite free ingredients. But your body will thank you eventually!


If you know that you react to added sulfites you also need to know exactly in which foods and drinks you might find those. Unfortunately sulfites are labeled in most cases only when the limits are over 10 ppm, which is considered safe amount for most people but not for you, if you have genetic Sulfite intolerance and your SUOX and CBS are mutated. Even trace amounts of added sulfites can make you react and sulfites will accumulate in the body if there are blocked metabolic pathways for SUOX/CBS.

Why sulfites are used in food and drinks? You can read more here.

This list might miss some of the foods/drinks which have added sulfites, but I try to keep this updated. I have also added the foods which only contain trace amounts of sulfites. These items with just trace amounts of sulfites seem to give a lot of issues for sulfite intolerant people, like citric acid and various other corn derived products.

Foods and drinks which might contain added sulfites:

  • Appenzeller Cheese (Swiss made- cured in white wine)
  • Baby formulas: with many ingredients which all can contain trace amounts of sulfites
  • Baked products (this is extremely difficult category, since most commercially baked products might contain added sulfites, but when the amounts are under 10 ppm those are not labeled, so practically all baked goods: breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, pizza crusts, pie crusts etc. might contain added sulfites specially frozen baked goods. Gluten free products are an other category of baked goods where the use of hidden sulfites is high due to the use of various food starches.)
  • Baking powder
  • Beer
  • Beet sugar (bleached with sulfites)
  • Berries (dried)
  • Cake mixes
  • Cane sugar (when bleached)
  • Candies with many ingredients which have trace amounts of sulfites
  • Caramel color 150b, 150d
  • Cereals
  • Chinese herbs (also medical herbs)
  • Ciders
  • Coconut flakes, shredded coconut, (dried, white in color)
  • Cocktail mixes, drink mixes
  • Corned beef
  • Corn flour, starch, sugars etc. Any corn-derived product can contain sulfites, since most corn is processed with sulfuric acid. Starches are bleached with sulfites etc. There are a lot of various sugars which can be made from processed corn; dextrin, maltodextrin, sorbitol, xylitol. Citric acid is one of the trigger ingredients for many sulfite sensitive people. It is made often from GMO corn with a specific mold.
  • Crab meat (canned, fresh, frozen)
  • Cream of tartar
  • Fish (dried; COD, Asian dried fish, fresh fish when kept in sulfited ice, frozen fish fillets)
  • Fish paste
  • Food starches (arrowroot, corn-maize, potato, rice, tapioca, sweet potato, wheat etc)
  • Fruit juices, made from all possible fruits and berries (concentrate, frozen)
  • Fruits ( when canned,dehydrated, dried, frozen, glazed)
  • Fruit sugar concentrates; Date syrup, Apple syrup, Pear syrup etc.
  • Gelatin
  • Glucomannan – various pasta items like noodles, spaghetti
  • Granola bars
  • Grape juice
  • Grapes (fresh, glazed)
  • Gravies
  • Ground meat- also in some countries called as mince meat ( it is illegal to add sulfites to the fresh meat products, but this still happens)
  • Guacamole
  • Herbs  (dried, fresh)
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Horseradish, paste
  • Hot dogs
  • Invert sugar
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Ketchup
  • Lemon/Lime juice (concentrate, frozen)
  • Lobster  (canned, fresh, frozen)
  • Malt extract
  • Malt syrups
  • Maple syrup
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Marmalade
  • Mincemeat (here as chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices- used in some countries)
  • Molasses
  • Muesli
  • Mushrooms (canned, dried, fresh, frozen)
  • Mustard
  • Noodles (canned, dried, instant)
  • Olives (canned, pickled)
  • Onions (pickled)
  • Pectin
  • Peppers (canned, dried, pickled)
  • Pickles vegetables, pickled anything
  • Potatoes (dehydrated, frozen french fries, mashed, peeled, pre-cut)
  • Potato products: chips, starch
  • Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine)
  • Raisins
  • Ready made mixes to anything: cakes, puddings, soups etc.
  • Relish
  • Rice mixes
  • Salt, with additives
  • Sauces
  • Sauerkraut
  • Sausages
  • Scallops (canned, fresh, frozen)
  • Shellfish (canned, fresh, frozen)
  • Shrimps (canned, fresh, frozen)
  • Snack foods
  • Sodas, soft drinks
  • Soups, soup mixes ( canned, frozen, vacuum packed)
  • Soy products
  • Sparkling fruit juices, non alcoholic
  • Sparkling wine
  • Spices, spice mixes
  • Sugar syrups made from fruits, grains etc. Brown rice syrup
  • Tamarind paste
  • Teas: instant, tea mixes ( tea bags might be also bleached with sulfites)
  • Tomatoes (canned, dehydrated, dried, frozen, paste/pulp/puree, sun dried)
  • Tortillas,  made with various flours: corn, wheat etc.
  • Trail mixes
  • Vegetable juices
  • Vegetables (frozen- sulfites are added to the water which is sprayed to the vegetables prior freezing- this prevents them sticking into each others)
  • Vinegar: wine vinegar, malt vinegar, rice vinegar etc.
  • Waffles (frozen, mixes)
  • Wasabi, paste (fresh Wasabi is safe and also rare- most cheap Japanese restaurants have only wasabi paste and that is made often with high fructose corn syrup and horseradish powder, and green colouring)
  • Wine (red, white, dessert)
  • Xanthan gum (corn-derived)
  • Yeast extracts, yeast flakes