• Sophie Ward

Oil Intolerance - Real or Fake

Many when you say you can’t have oil in your foods look and stare at you. Believing you are being fussy because look- you are skinny and could do with a bit of oil.

People know little about the make up of oil and why for someone who has a surpressed and weak immnue system, oil can be so detrimental.

Oil, like sugar is heavily refined. To the point that when it reaches the shop’s shelves there are barely any natural nutrients to it. This is what causes the main problem and why so many with auto immune diseases have to be so careful because the more refined products are full of toxins that the body simply can’t break down and rejects.

Don’t get me wrong, I state no oil in my food etc but yes I am naughty from time to time and indulge in chips and crisps - I am human. I pay the price for it though.

I am not being fussy because I love the foods that good contain a lot of oil but I can’t control the reactions they give me.

I will share with you a few bad episodes caused my oil that I didn’t even realise until after the event had occurred and hopefully you will realise, when we state no oil it’s important to recognise this and take it into account.

1. Las Vegas; I went with my friend Matthew to a vegan restaurant. It had five star and we booked and picked it on the drive into Vegas, I had spoken to the chef and explained my intolerances. As we have been driving all day and sight seeing. We wanted to grab food, enjoy a cocktail or two then hit the casino. Well that never happened. I couldn't even finish my plate, which wasn't like me. I felt sick and so told Matthew I was going to the toilet. I came out and I wanted to be sick, I was dizzy and hot. My vision was blurred. I felt like I was looking at the world through a glass screen. I couldn't drink or anything in fear of throwing up. We got sat down but I knew that I needed to lie down as my stomach began cramping and I now couldn't walk. Matthew had to hold me up and practically carry me 20 minutes back to the hotel. Where I collapsed onto the bathroom floor. He undressed me and got me into bed. I told him to go to the casino and gave him 20 dollars which he didn't accept to go and enjoy because I had ruined his night. I blacked out, waking up three hours later feeling just as bad. The following day we were walking around the museums. Matthew was upset at what had happened the night before and I literally had zero energy. My whole body ached and was weak. It took me a good day to recover. I simply felt awful but never put it down to the oil'y sauce dish had been served with. I don't think I ever explained this experience to my Mum and Dad at the time because I was ashamed, embarrassed and didn't realise what had caused it, to explain. I had blacked out parts of the experience and was one of the time I thought my time was up.

2. Marbella: At the time, I had come back from America - food had been hard, like the example above and the virus I had the first week prior to jetting off state side had REALLY knocked me. Now we were in Marbella on a family holiday. My parents, like myself not fully realising the full extent of my health problems and not living with me so didn't see the day to day. Began questioning my health. I was served grilled vegetables, dripping in oil and thin fries that were more oil than potato. I remembered I just cried and I was questioned why I had a problem with the food and if I had a problem. Once again, I ate the food. Blacked out and then almost fainted over my breakfast. I slept most of the day, unable to function and feeling so very sick.

3. Croatia: We had joined up with the group, ready to start the study tour, we enjoyed a cocktail and then went for dinner. Once again, I got a salad drowned in oil. I was told it was fine, so began eating it...

I blacked out, I remember crying because I felt sick and poorly. Next thing I knew I was in bed, alone. I then woke up when my family came back from their night out. Everything hurt and I felt so very sick yet hungry. I ate some nuts and tried to drink some soy milk to get me to sleep.

4. Venice: It was the final day of the study tour and we enjoyed our last meal in Venice. I ordered fries and a salad - the normal. I felt quite sick and tired on the boat back to the hotel but thought it was just exhaustion catching up to me. We had been manic busy for two weeks straight. I went to sleep. I couldn't sleep well, my throat hurt and felt tight. I got up in middle of the night unable to use my voice and with massive lumps on my throat. I could barely swallow, barely breath and talk. I thought this is definitely it... I can't can' breathe. I managed to make it through the night and went to breakfast to show my parents. They were shocked, but I couldn't 'fake' this - the evidence was right in front of them. I had eaten all I could throughout the summer but I couldn't help the symptoms I was getting. I was going to have to cut out oils. I cried on the plane home, wondering how I had managed to stay calm through this situation and mourned. I knew my life was becoming more complex, less normal and straight forward.

Now we go out for dinner, go on holiday and everything I mean EVERYTHING is stored, prepared, cooked or /and drizzled with oil. I can't catch a break. I have to eat so I am left dealing with the symptoms.

- burning tongue

- lumps on throat

-can't swallow

-air hunger

-pain and so throat


It isn't fun, its SCARY. I don't do it to be picky or fussy. Some day I can handle some oil and not be affected to badly depending on my immune system but some days it tips me over the edge and the consequences are AWFUL.

I hope this helps explain a little better why often people with auto-immune diseases have to be 'picky' eaters BECAUSE refined foods are so toxic and our suppressed immune systems are already so truly over-whelmed. We don't do it to be picky, believe me! On holiday there was SO much I wish I could have eaten, the rice, more chips, more hummus, grilled eggplant, broccoli with nuts and so on. Yet everything had a ten tonne of oil, and I don't understand the obsession or need to use so much. EVEN FRUIT dishes had oil in them!

I was already dealing with symptoms flares from the climate - heat and sun on top of all symptoms from naughty food choices. I think the judgements hurt more because we simply try to LIVE and its never straight forward for us.

In the end - oil intolerance is VERY real. It isn't a joke. I have had many more bad experiences with oil, too many to explain all of them. I don't see the issue or major problem with serving fresh, UNDRESSED FOODS. I am not being fussy, I am asking for SIMPLE products. Only a little water, fresh veggies, potatoes and rice. I am not asking for a steak or a lamb dish that needs three hours worth of cooking time.

When you next eat out, or go away on holiday where you are in an all inclusive - see how much oil is in your foods and how many options are oil free. I bet you find very little and see that even things you wouldn't think would contain oil - has oil in it.

This is quite a serious issue that I do believe needs recognition. I am always been fobbed off by restaurants and chefs. They look at me, judge and carry on with how THEY make the dish...

Not knowing the true consequences because I don't drop dead in front of them. Never knowing that at some point it may be too much for my body to take and it may cause death.

Maybe one day they will take oil intolerance seriously.

Until then:

-Find restaurants and holiday destinations who understand and can cater for you.

- Ring and book in advance.

-Take food with you, potatoes and rice that can be cooked in water.

- Stand up and be strong, they don't know the full scale of your problems.

- Have support and go out with family and friends who understand and can help you.

Remember, you know you - don't allow judges to pull you down. The important people will understand, support and stand up for you. That's all the that matters, we need to watch our health and live but take care of ourselves too.




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