Hello my loves, I was working on this post when I very suddenly had the very good news that my trip to India was on. So now I sit in a cafe on the Ganges, sipping a masala chai, feeling so blessed to be here, and particularly enlivened by a day spent in the company of the most revered (as they say in India) Dr. Vandana Shiva.
This quantum physicist turned ecological warrior has been declared an environmental hero by TIME magazine. She is powerful and brilliant, yet grounded, kind, and feminine as she passionately, clearly speaks of her mission to restore the world to its natural wholeness and integrity, starting literally from the ground up.
She is undoubtedly a Durga, informed by the Swaraj and Ahimsa concepts of Gandhi and Indian Vedic culture. It’s as if she is the Divine Mother herself, rising up to protect our earth, our water, our children, our individual health, our global health. “Life itself, in all its systems, is part of an inseparable whole,” she reminds us quoting Chief Seattle, “Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
Today Dr. Shiva spoke of seeds, soil and food. Everything she said resonated, resounded even. In particular and relevant to this post, since being told by my dermatologist that I may have a nickel allergy and therefore to avoid most of the foods that are my usual staple including leafy greens, many vegetables, most of my favorite fruits, as well as seeds, legumes, nuts and grains, I have been thinking quietly about how upside down it is to turn the earth inside out, digging up the ground of our own dear mother to extract metals. Treasure perhaps, useful of course, but ultimately, is it ours to take? Is it worth upsetting the integrity of life itself? Is the short term worth more than the long term? When we see the damage we are causing on a global scale, is this what we want to give our children and grandchildren?
Over and over, Dr. Vandana spoke of the health risks that are exponentially growing – autism, alzheimers, cancers – because of our food, and the toxins used to grow the genetically modified seeds it is grown from.
I know we need nickel, oil, energy, etc. Of course, it’s impractical to think we would turn back the clocks. Yet, the numbers speak for themselves – 1 in 10,000 children had autism 30 years ago. Now it’s 1 in 68 according to the CDC. At these rates, MIT Researchers warn that half of all American children will be autistic by 2025.
Staggering, isn’t it?
I guess what I love most about Dr. Vandana is that she asks us to remember that all life has the right to life, even the plants, soil, seeds, rivers, earth.
On a more practical front, the original purpose of this post was to share with you a list of foods to avoid if you have nickel allergy, as well as a list of helpful sites and references I’ve searched out as there is little on the web about it. Finally, since thankfully I can have sweet potato and coconut, I offer you a divine recipe for a hearty, warm lunch or dinner meal.
Here is the list of foods one can eat ~
1 T Ghee (or coconut oil)
1 Onion, chopped 2” piece fresh Ginger, thinly sliced and peeled
1 T Curry powder
2 cups Coconut Milk
3 cups Vegetable Broth (low sodium)
1/2 t pink (himalayan) salt, or to taste
1 T toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
If nickel allergy affects you, you will find more information and research with these links ~
* this chart of nickel and nickel-free foods is the one my doctor gave me as a printout.* these are more extensive lists of foods: nickel in foods and the nickel allergy diet. the lists are somewhat conflicting because it often depends on where the food is grown and what is in the air, water, soil.* these articles seem to be the most referenced: melisa.org and journal of indian medicine.* these blogs are helpful: nickel allergy mom and starting a low nickel diet.* finally, a bit more science on the subject.
Eat whole. Be whole.
I am going to try this tonight! Sounds wonderful. Thank yu o much for the wonderful post and update on your India trip!
Thank you, Divya. I hope you enjoy it. XO
Oh, Laura, I am so sorry to read this, simply because I know first-hand how difficult one of these restrictive diets is. You will help so many people, though, by being yourself and sharing what you are learning with others. I hope you can follow your diet easily in India. I would love to talk when you get home.
Yes, Stephanie, I have been thinking of you lots – but then I always do. I have so admired the way you learn and grow from your physical and dietary challenges, and always seek to turn those challenges into loving service to others. It has not been so bad for me. The list of what I can have is sufficient, and simplifying has it own advantages. Interestingly enough, I’ve been able to enjoy all the delicious foods of India this trip without any of the issues I find at home. Thank you for asking and thank you for your great recipe blog!
Laura, it sounds like you’re most definitely doing the best you can with this news. I’m sorry you’re having to change many of your staples, I know that can be tough. This soup looks divine. I love the herb and pumpkin seed topping. And thank you for sharing what you’ve learned about this allergy, I was not familiar with it. Enjoy your time in India!
Beautiful! Thank you!
Thank you, Katie. It is mostly only touch on a system so used to loads of plant fiber! But now that I am in India it seems less of an issue so perhaps it is our food/environment on the western coast of the US. Thank you for your great recipe blog, too!
I have to tell you how much I loved this soup! It was so delicious, scrumptious, satisfying that I was licking the bowl. Sort of… Used my finger since it did a better job than my spoon. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your love. Linda
As usual Laura, you take a challenging situation and find beauty in it. This soup looks amazing. I hope you are loving India and I am glad you are feeling well there!
Thanks Laura. Might you share the symptoms that lead you to know you had nickel allergy? How was it discovered for you?
Thanks for your wonderful sharing. I love the beauty of your posts, and the kindness and intelligence of your sharing.
Thank you, Mindy. I had a very extreme bout of eczema that caused my face to swell, turn red, itch and sting. The tips of my fingers get dry, cracked, peeled and sometimes cut when I use my computer for any length of time, and I have digestive issues that seem related. You will know you have it if the button on your jeans leaves a bit of a rash, or if jewelry ever bothers your skin, since both can contain nickel. Thank you for writing, and for your thoughtfulness.
What a exquisite, nourishing soup recipe! I am trying to balance my Vatta. Can’t wait to try this. I enjoyed reading about your trip to India. I just finished a wonderful book by Sara Kate Lynch called Heavenly Hirani’s School of Laughing Yoga, and it made me want to take a trip there. I have added it to my travel wish list!
Thank you. And I love your blog – it’s chock full of thoughtful, wonderful health info and recipes (oh, those blueberry tea cakes!). Blessings to you.