Ordered Eating, Sublingual Testing, and Traffic Fumes

Last Thursday week (of JANUARY this year!), I went to see my treating Immunologist and Allergist, Dr Colin Little. It’s a 3 and a half hour arduously long drive from this new-ish property up near the Surf Coast of Victoria, Australia; I was lucky enough to have a friend drive the hour and half it takes just to get to my house so that he could then drive me to the appointment. I can no longer do this for myself. For, even though my car has a Foust, 160AN Auto/RV, Air Purifier running in it and we always pump up the air-conditioning (no matter the temperature outside), and I wear a mask, it’s a truly sickening journey:

Foust 160 AN

Foust 160 AN Car Air Purifier

First, we have the freeway going into and past the city of Melbourne, now, if I plan my appointments, leave early or travel only at certain times, I can navigate this without my health getting too adversely impacted on (if not, and I get stuck in peak hour traffic, bottle-neck like traffic jams, or behind too many trucks I can be sick for days); did I mention the trucks? Diesel is not my friend and likes to eat my health for breakfast, causing intense sickness (this was the reason for a trip to see Dr Little, to have sublingual testing and try and find a safe dose to help me with symptoms caused by inhalation of diesel fumes, that and another diet check-up.); then we have the Westgate Bridge and by then, a massive throbbing headache, swollen glands, which causes pain when turning my head, followed by breathing that becomes painful (this can last for days, also): this makes for one dangerous driver, but usualIy, in an anxious kind of way, I’m overly careful and still drive okay; but after this we have the part that just makes driving here impossible: the Burnley Tunnel:

Burnley Tunnel and Pollution

Burnley Tunnel (source: Wikipedia)

this is an underground tunnel that goes under a part of Melbourne, and a few of her suburbs, then under a river: this tunnel is a diesel gas chamber for people like me and it’s not safe to navigate my way through because the symptoms are just too intense. I can only liken it to what I imagine it would be like to be slammed over the head with a hammer while drunk, then trying to drive with a mask over one’s face and a screaming need for oxygen); after that, we have the Eastern freeway, by now the car is full of diesel fumes and I’m just a shadow of my former self: besides being chronically ill, my ability to make decisions is gone, I can’t make sense of my thoughts, nor can I remember them, but worse, I can’t remember how to get to the doctors, I start to mumble, obviously a danger to myself and others, so I have to pull over. Hence, my request for a friend to drive me this time.


Another Melfie: This time wearing a heavy-duty silicone mask

Another Melfie: This time wearing a heavy-duty silicone mask

is how I handled the drive this time. (The mask, a Sundstrom, is made from silicone, it’s 9 years old, and has (finally) outgassed enough for me to use it. It’s something I keep around for emergencies like bushfires—or building a house, perhaps—or any other type of possibly catastrophic event. However, I’ve always been too fearful to wear this type of mask in public because of the reaction I might get from people. Although, wearing it in the car is hardly wearing it in public: I can’t hear any rude comments, teasing or other people’s non-filtred loud speculations as to why I’m wearing it. Plus, after my last post (which really was so long ago. February to be precise), I felt such an incredible wave of support from fellow mask wearers around the world that my perspective on wearing a mask has evolved to a whole new level of bravery and pro-activeness that leans in even further to helping me protect my health, by wearing this, err.. contraption just to travel through the Burnley Tunnel. Thank you, lovelies xx (Ergo, I don’t plan on wearing this type of mask into a shopping centre anytime soon! Rather send my friends to the shops for me, yeh?)) I sat in the passenger seat, almost symptom free: traffic fumes, unbelievably, still made their way in (the filter on this thing is as old as the mask itself). And I made it to the doctors, still able to cope with testing that needed to be done.

This doctor’s rooms are fragrance free, air-conditioned and contain private rooms for those who need to be away from others when being tested. (I mean, let’s face it, how does someone get tested for fragrance (or anything), or try to find a dose that can help with symptoms when you have a face full of washing powder fumes? Most of the people who go there do their best to be FF but, for some of us, it’s still a cornucopia of shampoos, hair gels and laundry products: all tests would render positive and all clearing drops would render negative results!) By the time I get there, I’m in need of fresh air and with all the air purifiers, air conditioners and non volatile building materials in the building this particular allegist’s rooms are a haven!

Dr Little: 324 Stephensons Rd Mount Waverley, VIC 3149

Dr Little’s Rooms: 324 Stephensons Rd
Mount Waverley, VIC 3149, Australia!

In the past, by the time I leave, I’ve usually recovered from getting there. On this day we were there for 5 hours. Not so long, considering we’ve had days where we’ve stayed all day. One lot of testing and finding clearing drops can last an hour, or so. If you get really sick, like I did for perfume the first time, you’re gonna be there for a while. My daughter underwent testing for chemicals and moulds; thankfully, thankfully, she was negative on all those. However, she’s also got the food intolerances to deal with so underwent her own diet review. For this lucky duck, everything is fine…

I underwent testing for chlorine and petrochemicals. The chlorine suprised me because it bought up symptoms i suffered in the old house. Symptoms I thought were mould related! They were part airway related and part something else–to do with how I feel…

What I love about this doctor is he’s proactive on every level. He’s a wealth of information. He’s covered by Medicare (if you’re in the US, think Obamacare), which makes him a real doctor. (I say that in jest, please, any doctor who helps someone is a real doctor, it’s just doctors who are on the Medicare system have more power to change the world because the government listens to them; this one also publishes peer reviewed studies and is in the process of developing a blood test that could really help people like us.) He has access to the latest information; does thorough testing; approaches issues logically rather than basing his advice on the latest ‘new’ treatment or ‘latest’ superfood or ‘trendy’ new pharmaceutical. He has had lots of practice with people who are allergic to many allergens and/or sensitive to chemicals, which makes him an expert. (I’m sure his wife actually says: “I knew I married Mr Right but I didn’t know I married Mr Always Right!”) Oh, and, you know? He’s mostly right about things. With me anyway:

Our battle with food has been going on near on 3 years. For the first 7.9 of this illness, I didn’t have any food allergies or intolerances. My gut was made of iron, I’m telling you. But when these food issues rolled in, they snowballed; and even after I moved to cleaner air, made more changes to my living environment, they persisted, burping their indigestion into my life after every meal. It sucked. Without this doctor’s help, I couldn’t tell the difference between physical symptoms caused by chemical exposures or food intolerances. They were all starting to blur into one big problem.

Last May, we started an elimination diet. It was torture. Then it bought freedom; but it was still total utter torturous, because I’m an emotional eater. I’m a spiritual eater. I’m a totally mental eater. I eat when I worry, when I over-think, when I write, when I’m sad, happy, everything. Milk chocolate and coffee have always, since I became a non-smoker (quite sometime now), bought me intense pleasure. Then there was the comfort I found in having the same foods everyday. Then. They. Were. Gone. (Who was not my favourite doctor then, hey?)

I’m not very good at taking instructions about what to eat and what not to eat; it makes me want to rebel and just eat whatever it is I bloody like. When that backfired, I towed the line and, once I had a good idea of what the right foods were, I ran with ‘this special diet’ thing. So this has taken a while (7 months and 40 milk chocolate bars longer than what it should have). But what I did find was that once I had a list of decent tasty foods, I was happy with that because my stomach was feeling so much better, my skin and scalp stopped itching (thanks to kissing sugar, pears, pineapple and mango goodbye). I can happily eat the same foods everyday with just a little variation, I’m like that. Deprivation is self-torture, emotional comfort is self-love!

This is what my comfortably safe food list looked like when I went in:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Chicken (only a little, or I have indigestion)
  • Porterhouse (only a little, or same thing)
  • Salmon
  • Prawns
  • Zucchini
  • Carrot
  • Pumkin
  • Spagetti Squash
  • Sweet Potato
  • Lady Finger Bananas
  • Apples (practically a staple)
  • *Spelt Toast (one piece only, two give me chronic indigestion)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Nut Butters (Almond, Hazelnut, Cashew)
  • Walnuts (from the Shell only)
  • Almonds (however, I keep getting mould effected)
  • *Miso Soup (Organic, fermented)
  • Organic Tofu
  • Bonsoy Milk
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • *Garlic
  • Tumeric
  • Ginger
  • Coconut Cream
  • Coconut Water
  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Green Tea
  • Raw Cacao
  • Raw Honey
  • Dark Chocolate (85% cocoa, no milk and only a little sugar)
  • Pureu Water

Not a bad list of foods. I had adapted to this. Had. The Miso is fermented so I have to give that miss for a while. The Spelt bread is off the list because, for someone whose immune system is bucking up, and their digestive system is failing to function properly, it behaves the same as wheat. (If you want to frustrate an allergist, try telling them you are fine with only a little bit but if you eat a lot you feel unwell… But, you think you are fine with that food if you stick to eating just a little?!) The garlic has to be retested. And on it goes… I really thought that I’d be well by now; and it’s frustrating (and that’s just the least of it) that I haven’t recovered like I thought I would when I first moved out here, nearly two years ago.

I have some clearing drops that I can try using for diesel exposure. There is a build happening this year, and guess who’s project manager? I’m busy going through the motions leading up to having a contract drawn up so that people who work on the house understand what they can and can’t do. It’s a scary ride because I’ve not been well, and I can’t fathom how I am going to cope physically with this. Just day to day life has all these issues that need constant forward planning, attention to detail and energy. Energy is something I’ve been running out of. I’m hoping that those couple of *foods I’ve now eliminated are the answer to that problem.

PS: coffee is back on the menu! It’s real coffee… beans we crush ourselves and put into a percolator. Just like the good doc recommended. Whew! Life is still worth living; I kid you not.


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Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

About Michellina van Loder


  1. Hi Michellina, I have been reading your journey and the life challenges you have, i am admiring your bravery and applaud you for sharing them .I have found your post after googling to see if anyone had posted a picture of Dr Colin Littles basic elimination diet. I went to see him some time ago and i also did the 7 day Elimin diet, although my ‘ticked’ food list looked completely different to yours! I started to do challenges the Doc listed for me but then I had to suddenly move overseas. My problem is I want to start again and I’ve lost the 2nd page of the list, veggies etc. I wonder if you still have your list you could email me a pic of it, once i look at the list I’m sure i will be able to remember the foods that he ticked for me. can you possibly help? best wishes, many thanks Suzanne.

    • Michellina van Loder says:

      Hi, I’ll post them online to the bottom of this post as an update. That way if anyone googles, looking for it, it will be here :) *Note: it’s all likely possible that he has changed it since I received it. These are only suitable for the advice given to me, personally, by my treating physician.) By the way, once you get the first part of the elimination and testing out the way, it’s all easier. You may need to see him for extra advice? Anyway, up to you.

      Thank you for reading :)

      PS: it’s easy for me to share if I know it will help others. And, brings me great joy that my trials and tribulations can help/entertain/enlighten others; therefore, making my illness bearable when it is unbearable.

  2. Miche! You’re posting!

    *pulls out the streamers* Go you, girl! Go you!

    Now update your blog with your amazing digital book accomplishments, please, because they deserve to be here, IMO. (Oh, and I’ve found another venue for selling books on – I mean to try it out with my stuff this weekend and bring it all in to show you on Thursday.) I hope your talk went all right (I’m sorry, but mental illness stuff meant shit was not happening this week), but I’m absolutely sure it did. 😀

    • Michellina van Loder says:

      Hey! Thank you. Streamers duly appreciated :) I just happen to be working on a widget that pops down and displays the book at the top of the page. Cause I know people just want to read about rabbits so much! Oh cool; another venue to flog books. Been busy taking photos of bonsais, and homemade ice-cream (not together). I love the view of my world when looking through a camera! Umm, I didn’t do my talk. Drove to school, felt unwell, drove home. Big fat waste of time. Luckily, Christine let me do my last test from home–whew. Stuff still happens, even when we don’t!

      Thank you for assistance and your support. You are awesome M x

  3. Nice to see you writing here again!
    I was wondering if you’d experienced a miraculous healing and decided to put all this behind you!
    I hope the diesel drops work their magic, and that your food issues clear up too.
    I’m having weird food issues recently that I really am frustrated with as it’s not clear to me what the underlying problem is (or are), or how much of a problem the little irritants are for me if i keep consuming them, and I don’t want to go back to eliminating so many things again after having had such a limited diet for so many years.
    Dental problems, access to foods, and contamination issues play a big part in this too.
    I am rather tired of these kinds of mysteries, especially when some of them seem to be from cross-contamination issues and not actually from what things seem to be…
    Not having access to a doctor (for a cascading amount of reasons) means I have to sort it out on my own too (possibly with some help from my internet friends).
    But I CAN have coffee!
    Even though I can access only one of the 3 types of beans I am ok with, I CAN have coffee when I get up (and fair trade organic cocoa powder with a bit of maple syrup and tahini)
    Are you going to let us know more about your building project soon?

    • Michellina van Loder says:

      Oh hello, Linda! It’s lovely to be back, thank you. I wish I’d been miraculously cured. Kinda the opposite, actually, but I’m back on track now: stronger and more determined than ever! Yes, we are lucky we can have coffee.

      I will blog about the building project soon; and some other building projects that are going up over here in AU, too.

      :) Missed you x

    • Michellina van Loder says:

      PS: you just gave me the idea to try tahini in my cocoa, and maybe my coffee too. Interesting idea. :)

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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