Ding 47!

By Shamus Posted Friday Aug 24, 2018

Filed under: Landmarks 83 comments

It really does sneak up on you. One minute you’re in your thirties, having fun adventures and raising adorable little kids. Then you glance at your watch and suddenly you’ve got grey hair, your kids have turned into adults, and people are giving you strange looks because you’re wearing a watch and it’s 2018.

I’m uncomfortably close to 50 at this point. I’m pretty apprehensive about that number. It has all sorts of alarming old-man implications I’m not ready to accept. I guess I’ve got three years before I have to face that moment. The problem is that at this age, three years is nothing.

So what did I accomplish with this, my 47th year on this planet?

Earlier in the week I said it was “Birthday Week”. I was forgetting that it’s actually birthday and anniversary week. As of this week, Bay – my oldest – has been married a year. She’s since moved to Texas with her wife. My middle kid – now named Peter – came out as trans and went with Bay. Peter took his first name from Peter Parker, since Spider-Man is his favorite hero. He took Telemachus for his middle name, which is also my middle name. So that’s cool.

This means it’s been a bit of an empty nest year for Heather and I.

I began a book just a few days before my last birthday. In the year since then I managed to finish it, but now I’m having trouble getting it out the door. Of all the projects I have going, this is the one without a hard deadline. Which means that it’s the most habitually neglected of my projects, even though it’s the one I’m most excited about. I really like this book. I don’t even care if it sellsAlthough, if it DOES sell that would be super-helpful.. I just want it to be done so people can read it. Hopefully we’ll get it out the door in the next couple of months.

In more encouraging news: Next week you’ll be getting two columns from me: One here, and one at the Escapist. Yes, this is really happening. I’m pretty happy. Also, we’ll resume the GTA series by starting in on GTA V. That should be fun.

For Tomorrow We May Diet

Why does this stuff taste so good, and veggies taste so dull? Someone's going to pay for this.
Why does this stuff taste so good, and veggies taste so dull? Someone's going to pay for this.

I’ve had to give up nearly all starches in my diet. If I eat a starch, I get a rash and a bunch of other problems. Starch is basically the only food I care about, so this totally sucks. Salt in the wound: When I explain my problem to people, everyone is 100% certain they understand my condition and that the explanation for it is simple. You have gluten intolerance! You’ve got a food allergy! You have leaky gut syndrome! It’s all caused by the pesticides they use these days! You just need to eat more [semi-obscure fruit or veggie you can only find at Whole Foods] to balance out your diet! The more people I talk to, the more I’m convinced that nobody has any idea what they’re talking about. This is all folk knowledge with a glossy coat of quasi-scientific language.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the one thing I can never eat is corn. Corn makes me sick to the point where I break out in sores. In the United States, everything has corn in it. Whole grain wheat bread? Corn syrup. Potato products? Corn starch. A can of tuna? Yes, some idiot felt they needed to add corn to that for some reason. The result of all this nonsense is that I have a hard time finding things I can safely eat. And then once I do find it, I generally hate it. On top of this, I’m constantly solving mysteries about what made me sick this week. Ah! I didn’t think to check this processed meat for corn!

When I was young, I wanted the powers of Spider-Man. These days if a genie offered me any super-ability I wanted, I think I’d choose the ability to eat bread.

I don’t want to end this on a down note, so here’s something positive: I mentioned last year that I’d begun strength training in an effort to keep the weight off. I’ve pretty much stuck with it. About 10 months ago I hit a plateau. I haven’t gained more strength or muscle mass, but I also haven’t gained back the weight. That’s fine. The whole point was to break the cycle of gaining and losing weight, and it seems to have workedAlthough I guess being allergic to everything that tastes good is also helping keep my weight down..

Anyway. That’s the year. Despite my whining, it was a pretty good one. To celebrate, I’m going to go scroll through pictures of birthday cake and mope. It’s been a while since I got to enjoy a really good mope, and I think I’ve earned it.



[1] Although, if it DOES sell that would be super-helpful.

[2] Although I guess being allergic to everything that tastes good is also helping keep my weight down.

From The Archives:

83 thoughts on “Ding 47!

  1. MelfinatheBlue says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May you have many more, all happy and healthy ones!

    1. Galad says:

      Happy Birthday, Shamus!

      I am repyling to the top comment, because for some reason I cannot post a top level comment, and can only reply to one. Is that intentional? Guess not, good that at least edit is here

      You should mention your great-sounding ancient Greek middle name more often.

      I have colleagues that are close to 45, and they still feel young, so dont worry too much about 50. So long as you feel, and are healthy, all is well. I am younger, but currently suffering from some relatively mild injuries from a biking accident two days ago.

      Grats on the weight lifting persistence. Also, will love to hear some New Escapist impressions from you.

  2. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    Happy birthday Shamus! And don’t worry about the big 50, you have your own brand of cool, one that doesn’t expire!

  3. Joerg Mosthaf says:

    Happy birthday! May you find something tasty you can eat.

  4. Tohron says:

    Sounds like you could solve your empty nest syndrome by learning some home cooking. There are lots of delicious breads and pastries you can make that don’t have corn, and speaking as someone who learned how, it’s definitely worth it.

    1. ElementalAlchemist says:

      Per the article, corn is a problem, not the problem. Bread still has starch. No doubt someone will pipe in about starch-free “bread”, but I’m sure of two things. That Shamus has probably already tried it/is aware of it, and it sure as hell is nothing like actual bread.

      1. Jennifer Snow says:

        The closest I’ve found is Fat Head Pizza Crust, which is . . . sorta like pizza crust. It can do most of what actual pizza crust does, which is a.) hold pizza toppings so that you can actually eat them the way you’d eat a pizza and b.) be pretty tasty. And you can make sorta crackers and sorta breadsticks the same way. It’s not BREAD, but it kinda makes you feel happier with your lot when you’re down about it. It has that quality of “treating yourself” but not in a way that’s going to make you miserable the next day/week/month.

        I’ve found that I don’t really care much about bread qua food, it’s just that occasionally I’d like to eat something that is soft and chewy and NOT WATERY. And, of course, sweet. Weirdly, the times in the past year when I gave in and ate a cake or brownies or whatever, they totally weren’t what I was actually looking for and it wasn’t very satisfying at all. So, there’s that, at least–you can say “it only looks amazing”.

        Lately I’ve been finding that dullness works in my favor. I just eat the same salad and same plate of chick peas with cheese every day. I’m full and there’s no question of “treating myself”, so I’m able to ignore it. At least my stomach has stopped hurting.

    2. Kdansky says:

      Yep. Bread baking is very easy after a bit of practise, and starch content in flour is usually very obviously labelled, because depending on how much starch there’s in it, the bread will come out quite differently.

      Are you sure it’s starch, and not corn? Because you can be damn sure that 99% of US bread has corn-starch in it, but if you buy your own flour, it (usually) won’t come premixed with corn.

      Without wanting to go deeply into politics: The reason everything in the US has corn in it is because of (incredibly high) subsidies.

      1. Zak McKracken says:

        Well, no matter what flour you use, it consists mostly of starch. So unless the problem is just with corn starch and not other types, it wont help. Unless maybe you move to things like cricket flour, or lentil-based stuff, but I’m not sure if you could bake bread from those, or what it would taste like.

        BTW: Most (>90%) people who believe themselves to be “gluten intolerant” have actually a FODMAP problem, meaning that many grains are a problem, but not all. Spelt is fine, for example. High FODMAP content correlates reasonably well with gluten, so to first approximation using gluten-free food can help those people, but only to first approximation. Not claiming that that’s what Shamus has, obviously.
        I know someone who needs to avoid FODMAP, but also yeast (sourdough is low FODMAP but has yeast…), and even lactose-free milk products. Good solutions are rice, fish, almond or soy milk, and lentil-based pasta. The pasta is actually not bad at all. And spelt bread/biscuits/cake is yummy.

  5. Solicism says:

    Happy birthday from a Mozambican living in Japan!!! Age is all in the mind!

  6. Tonich says:

    Happy birthday and best wishes from me and my whole family (they don’t really follow you per se, but since I pretty often retell your write-ups to them, they’ve come to love you too, haha)! :)

  7. OldOak says:

    Happy Birthday!
    How about spirits and beer? At least that could attenuate the lack of enjoyment…

    1. Jennifer Snow says:

      Alcoholic beverages are literally made from fermented starches.

      1. Ardis Meade says:

        Most, not all. Rum, for example, is made from molasses.

        1. Viktor says:

          Mead, of course, is made from honey.

  8. Karma The Alligator says:

    Happy birthday.

    And, what, you’re saying you didn’t get your first grey hairs in your thirties?

    1. Jennifer Snow says:

      I’m 38 and I haven’t got gray hair yet. :)

      1. Zaxares says:

        Lucky you. ;) I first started getting grey hair in my late twenties, just a few odd strands here and there. Practically unnoticeable unless you were really looking. Now I’m 37 and I’m noticing about 1 grey hair in my beard for every 20 or so dark ones. :( I figure in another decade I’ll have the full salt and pepper look and my Asian genes can no longer pass me off as looking like a young man.

        1. baud says:

          I’m pretty sure my dad didn’t had any gray hair before he was well into his 50s, so I’m hoping I’ve inherited the right genes :)

          1. My mom also took a while to go noticeably gray.

        2. Redrock says:

          Heh, I started noticing grey hair in my early twenties. But, I still occasionally get asked for my ID when buying booze, so there’s that.

  9. Lee says:

    Wow… All starches, huh? I would have expected corn syrup to not be as big a problem as kernel corn, but as you said, no one really knows these things. And tuna? Was this flavored tuna? You’re scaring me. ;)

    In any case, happy birthday to you and your wife, and hoping for a happier and more productive next year.

    1. evilmrhenry says:

      Nearly all starches, according to the article. This is less worrying than all starches, because starches should be broken down into glucose, and if you get a rash from glucose, something’s really gone screwy. Nearly all starches mean that it’s just an allergy to an extremely common additive instead.

      Wild guess: the additive is some form of corn, and it’s not on the ingredient statement because it’s not directly used as an ingredient. Either it’s contamination from a different product made on the same equipment, or it’s used in the manufacture in a non-ingredient manner.

      1. Jennifer Snow says:

        It could be a billion things. My brother is allergic (if that’s the right word) to bovine growth hormone. If he eats ANYTHING from a cow that was given BGH, he breaks out in zits. Even JELLO. (Gelatin is made from animal products). It’s bizarre but also very pronounced.

  10. lol, that rant on corn reminded me of the beginning of the movie The Informant

    “You know that orange juice you have every morning? You know what’s in that? Corn. And you know what’s in the maple syrup you put on your pancakes? You know what makes it taste so good? Corn.”

  11. DanMan says:

    I’m currently trying to drop weight as well. Your mileage may vary, but I honestly find it soothing to watch Matt Stonie eat until he feels sick. Professional Eater with a YouTube channel. I understand this isn’t for everyone, but it helps when I’m going to bed still feeling the desire to shove unnecessary calories into my face.


    1. Jennifer Snow says:

      I play Skyrim and have my character eat all the stuff I can’t.

  12. Droid says:

    Hey, I know it’s probably no help, but I think a lot of EU products don’t have any corn in them. Afaik, that’s because while the US started subsidising corn like crazy, the EU went with sugar beets and potatoes instead. So while there are things with cornstarch in them, most of them are US brands; European brands overwhelmingly use potato starch, refined (beet) sugar or even wheat starch instead.

    Maybe someone in your city offers EU-style foods for non-ridiculous prices?

    1. Viktor says:

      I was going to point this out. Corn subsidies are big in the US, since they basically keep the agribusiness giants profitable, and that leads to corn being a cheap filler in EVERYTHING. Stuff imported from Mexico or Canada has potential to be a viable option, too.

      And the closer you get to the raw ingredients, the better. Orange juice might have corn, but oranges that you juice yourself won’t. Same with meat, though keep an eye on that. I know someone who actually can react to allergens that were in the feed of the animals, which really seems unfair.

      1. Jennifer Snow says:

        Yep, I know people who can have problems with animal feed, too.

  13. Rich says:

    Happy Birthday. 50 is nothing. Wait until you’re looking down the barrel at 60. :)

  14. C__ says:

    You are 3 years short from the big 5.0 and play videogames for living (among many, many other stuff, i know). You are pretty much living the dream, man.

  15. Soldierhawk says:

    Happy birthday Shamus! And many more to come <3

  16. Ester says:

    Can you eat sugar? If so, here’s a recipe of a starch-free cake for you!

    5 egg whites
    1/4 cup of white sugar
    1 tsp vinegar
    1 cup of cream
    Ev. sugar for the cream
    1-2 kiwi fruits

    Beat the egg whites until they stay in the bowl, even if you turn it upside-down. (Takes forever, unless you use an electric mixer.) Mix in the sugar and vinegar. Form two big round foam plates on an oven plate. Dry them in the oven at 220 F for 60-90 min, until hard. Let cool.

    Whip the cream, add sugar to taste. Cut the kiwis into slices. Assemble the cake as follows: meringue plate – whipped cream – kiwi slices – meringue plate – whipped cream – kiwi slices.

    Enjoy :)

    It’s possible to buy ready-made meringue plates, at least around here, but finding them without corn syrup could be difficult, so I figured it might be easier for you to make your own.

    Anyway, whether you feel like trying the recipe or not – happy birthday to you!

    1. Peter says:

      I was going to jump in with a suggestion for a pavlova—basically what you suggested here. Flourless chocolate cakes are also relatively straightforward to make, and super tasty.

      In general, my rule of thumbs for food is if it’s labelled “$INGREDIENT-free”, $INGREDIENT is actually the thing that makes that food good (fat-free milk, gluten-free bread, etc, are all poor replacements in my mind for the originals), whereas if it’s “$INGREDIENT-less”, then it’s probably actually a step up. A flourless chocolate cake is a chocolatey punch in the mouth, rather than chocolate-flavored sweet bread, and a meatless pasta sauce really gets to focus on great tomatoes.

      1. DaveMc says:

        This is an incredibly helpful rule of thumb that I will start applying immediately, thank you!

      2. melted says:

        Ditto on flourless chocolate cake–although if it calls for powdered sugar you do have to watch out for that, since powdered sugar has cornstarch in it to stop it from clumping.

        You could also check out nut-based pie crusts. It’s not the same as flour-based pie crust, obviously–it’s dense rather than flaky–but it’s tasty in its own right.

      3. Tizzy says:

        The only exception I can think of to your rule of thumb: lactose-free milk. You’d think that with a name like lactose, it’d be a pretty essential ingredient of milk. But not taste-wise, and things would be a lot easier if milk could be naturally without it.

  17. Dormin111 says:

    What about your youngest kid? And what unspeakable act did he or she commit to not get a mention?

    1. Droid says:

      Editing the Diecast every week, including the last one which might have been awkward for him.

      Hurrah for Issac!

  18. SKD says:

    Happy Birthday Shamus, may you celebrate many more in good health.

    That really sucks about starches and especially corn products. While I love corn itself I really wish the government would stop subsidizing it. If it weren’t for the subsidies there wouldn’t be as much grown and used in American food products. I can only assume the hell you and Heather must go through finding corn free food products as well as trying to avoid the starches you can’t handle. I can’t think of the last time I was able to pick any random product (excluding the obvious like fresh vegetables and fruits) off a grocery shelf and not find corn somewhere in the ingredients.

    Lucky me I’ve only ever suffered from hay fever and a sensitivity to petroleum fuels, fumes and exhaust. The number of migraines I suffered went down drastically when I was discharged from the Navy.

  19. neolith says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus!

  20. Vlad says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus! You have a shot at surviving until the singularity – then you’ll be able to eat all the (simulated) bread you want!

  21. Bubble181 says:

    Happy birthday Shamus! And good luck with the food situation…

  22. Shamus, aren’t you baking your own bread?
    And if you want to burn some extra calories you could make the dough fully by hand.

  23. Wiseman says:

    Happy birthday and anniversary.
    Shamus, I lack the folk wisdom to help your food situation. Oh mai. From the end of last year to the beginning of this one I lost some 20 kilos just quitting most of my daily sugar consumption. I’m in my late 20’s so it perhaps helps losing weight, and I’m sure you already do this, so not very valuable advice. I remember you drink tea to avoid the sugar in other drinks. That’s another thing that really doesn’t help people trying to keep healthy, everything has sugar, especially drinks.

  24. John says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus.

    When I explain my problem to people, everyone is 100% certain they understand my condition and that the explanation for it is simple.

    This is a depressingly common phenomenon. As an infant, my daughter was an very, very light sleeper. She was nearly two before she slept through the night on a regular basis. My wife and I went a little crazy. When I talked about it with relations or co-workers, I’d often get told “Oh, you just need to do X. That always works.” When I explained that, thank you, but we had tried doing X and it hadn’t worked, they’d insist that we must have been doing X wrong somehow. Sometimes people got defensive. A few people were even offended. Now, it’s just possible that it was my attitude that offended them. I was so sleep deprived back then that I may have unintentionally come off as angry or hostile. But it seems to me that people are oddly and strongly attached to their casual diagnoses of other people’s problems.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Ah, yes. The ‘I was just trying to help!’ trap.
      They mean well, they really do. And yet often they don’t realise just how patronising they’re being*.

      it seems to me that people are oddly and strongly attached to their casual diagnoses of other people’s problems.

      I think it’s tied up with a) the flimsiness/changeability of some of the science often on offer and b) underlying personal issues.
      Someone I know has jumped on every fad diet since the Atkins back in the 2000s. It never lasts and she’s still overweight, but she’ll talk your ears off about the theory behind the latest – and why everyone ever should join her in doing it – if you let her.
      And, inevitability, she’s touchy when [insert diet here] is challenged in any way.

      *’Yes, I know what quinoa is. I also know it how to spell it, so don’t need you to write it down for me. And no, I did not buy rice instead by accident!

      In other news: Happy Birthday, Shamus. Looking forward to the book.

      1. Jennifer Snow says:

        There’s a BIG difference between the people who will tell you “well, X worked for me” and the people who tell you “X WILL work for you”.

        I have no problem with telling the latter that they’re being a jerk and they should buzz off. Even if they really are a so-called “expert”.

        There was a meme floating around a while back where some woman was at the doctor’s office talking about how she doesn’t really trust doctors because they don’t know everything and the doctor was like “really? Where’s your pancreas.”

        If any so-called expert tries to pull that on you, give them a jaundiced look and say “oh, so that’s how it is, huh? Tell me, Oh Expert, what part of my body hurts?”

        NOBODY knows EVERYTHING.

        1. Tizzy says:

          I challenge other people for a living. It is literally in my job description. And every day I am alarmed at how little people are used to being challenged, even when you show them evidence.

          So I’m not surprised that people take it badly when their “helpful” advice is challenged.

  25. Gavin says:

    I enjoyed your last book immensely, and I am super looking forward to the next one.

  26. melted says:

    Happy birthday, and congrats to Bay and congrats to Peter!

    I began a book just a few days before my last birthday. […] even though it’s the one I’m most excited about. I really like this book.

    Alright, I know you’ve very probably mentioned this before, most likely several times, but boy do I want to know what this book is now. I really liked The Witch Watch.

  27. MerryVulture says:

    Hey, have a great and happy birthday!

  28. MichaelG says:

    Happy birthday! My typo-sensitive eyes noticed “Whole gain wheat bread”. Grain, I assume.

    Can you at least eat the other food groups — fat and sugar? Ice cream for you, if cake won’t do. If you really mean starch, not wheat and corn, I guess rice is out for you too?

    I honestly can’t think of another food that doesn’t contain starch. What do you eat?

    1. Shamus says:

      I pretty much just eat meat and veggies.

      1. djw says:

        You may or may not enjoy that diet, but it does at least sound reasonably healthy.

        1. baud says:

          it does at least sound reasonably healthy.

          It depends on how you cook your veggies and your meat. I mean, when I’m cooking veggies with a lot of oil, I’m pretty sure it’s not the most healthy, but at least it’s good.

  29. Arstan says:

    Happy birthday mr. Young! )

  30. Ravens Cry says:

    Happy Birthday, Shamus, and congrats to your son Peter! I’m glad he’s got at least one parent like you, and I’m sure one more as well. Happy Anniversary to your daughter as well!
    I took as my middle name the name my mum would have given me if I’d been born with different parts. She was very touched when I told her.

  31. Aanok says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus!

  32. Duoae says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus! That really sucks about the starch allergy… Just wondering, do you enjoy cooking/baking? That’s really the only way I could imagine surviving with such a health complication like that.

  33. Ed Weatherup says:

    Happy Birthday. 50 isn’t so bad :)

  34. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Happy birthday,old man Shamus.

    The more people I talk to, the more I’m convinced that nobody has any idea what they’re talking about.

    Some do.The problem is,you cant talk to them online* if you want actual tangible good advice,you have to physically go to a doctor to do your blood work and tell you exactly what to eat and when.I did that once,and it really works.As long as I keep to that diet,tailor made for me personally,Im fine.If I deviate,I get fat.Simple as that.And while I COULD have deduced these things myself,it wouldve taken me a lot longer than a short two day wait for my blood to get analyzed.

    *Though,I guess these days you could draw your own blood and send it via snail mail and get a result in that fashion.

  35. Zaxares says:

    Happy Birthday, Shamus! :) Your birthday is really close to mine, so I always look forward to seeing your birthday updates as a sort of mutual commiseration (“Dammit! We’re both growing old!”) I’m almost a decade younger than you, but I feel a lot of the same angst as you about reaching those milestones. XD

  36. MadHiro says:

    I work at a grocery store (Trader Joe’s) and the beliefs people have about food are mystical; trying to talk to someone about their food taboos isn’t something that usually yields any positive results. My personal favorite is people’s obsession with sulfites in wine. When people swear that red wines give them headaches because of the sulfites, and then pick up a bottle of white wine with twice as much in the way of sulfite content and insist they can drink it without any consequences, I have to count backwards from 100.

    Oh, yeah. Also, happy birthday.

    1. Joe Cool says:

      My wife insists that sulfites give her headaches. She can’t drink even the slightest bit of white wine without getting a massive migraine, but can have a red, in moderation.

    2. baud says:

      The mom of the bride at the last wedding I was has a pretty strong allergy to sulfites, so she has to cut a lot of thing from her diet, like vinegar, mustard, ketchup in addition to wine.

  37. Heey Happy Birthday!
    I’m glad you started writing for the Escapist again. They have a second chance to learn from the past and live up to the potential that the site had back when it was just starting out. And I believe that can happen if they have more people like you working with them.

    At the very least we’ll have another column to look forward to. :)

  38. Happy Birthday Shamus! Here’s to many more! :)

    Absolutely NO wisdom, folk or otherwise, on the allergy stuff, just going to say that it sounds like it sucks a LOT. :(

  39. Mephane says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus! Yeah, that 50 is a daunting number, but think of it this way: you’re almost halfway to a century! ;)

    I just want it to be done so people can read it.

    I am really looking forward to it!

    Next week you’ll be getting two columns from me: One here, and one at the Escapist.

    Please be so kind and put up a short post with a link to it here each time then. Many of us here would love to read the column at the Escapist but don’t visit that site regularly, or at all.

  40. Drathnoxis says:

    Are you sure? It feels like we just had a birthday post. I can’t believe it’s been a year already!

  41. Joe Cool says:

    Happy birthday!

    My niece has a corn AND soy allergy. On the extremely rare occasion that the manufacturer forgets to include corn in the product, guess what they use as a substitute?

    My wife is on your “meat and veggies” diet. She’s been unable to do gluten and dairy for a while, but recently “fodmaps” (which I swear are some 3D rendering technical jargon) give her issues, so no beans, garlic, onions, and soy. She even has to be careful about how she seasons the meat and what vegetables she eats.

  42. RCN says:

    Man, being allergic to corn in the States must be like the curse of an evil genie.

    I’m well aware that the US has a really bad corn monoculture. They do corn not because they need corn but just because it is traditional to do corn and they’ve created a whole system around doing corn (that involves politics and the good old maintenance of wealth much more than any real demand for corn. If there’s one place in the world that doesn’t need more corn it is the US. And yet, it is the one thing it is always excited to do more of.)

    Join that the fact that the US has basically traded sugar for corn syrup in everything for protectionism reasons.

    You should probably take a gastronomical vacation to somewhere. Anywhere. Outside the US. I hear other countries barely eat any corn at all.

  43. Nick Pitino says:

    Happy birthday man.

    I’ve been reading you since you were in your 30’s so I sympathize with the whole passage of time thing.

    Sorry about the whole being allergic to corn nonsense. It must be frustrating because not only is it in a great many things in this country it’s also the basis of a lot of very tasty things in of itself. I would personally be very sad if I could no longer enjoy a tortilla, tamale, or Frito.

    I don’t have any magic diet advice and like you said it would be inappropriate to charge in and be all like, “LOL, HAVE YOU TRIED FREE RANGE HOMEOPATHIC FAIR TRADE CRYSTAL HEALING!?!” But I will say that I really wish that along with things like the massive effort to understand and treat cancer in all its myriad forms that there was also a massive research effort to understand and control the auto immune system.

    This current situation we have where because of the interplay of genetics, environmental conditions, ill timed exposure to something and plain bad luck means that your immune system decides, “Hey! Guess what! I’m going to sensitize to this common and innocuous thing and try to kill you or make you miserable every time you come too close to it because FUCK YOU!” is some total bullshit.

  44. Cuthalion says:

    Happy Birthday! Yikes, I’ve been reading this blog awhile. D:

  45. baud says:

    Happy Birthday Shamus

  46. tarlen says:

    Happy Birthday Shamus.

    I feel for you in regards to your corn/starch issues. My youngest was allergic to corn when she was a toddler, and it was quite the process working that out. Once we’d identified the primary culprit an allergy specialist suggested it was probably salicylates, which are in a LOT of food including corn, brocolli, strawberries and so on. He seemed to be right in her case, but it sounds like yours is probably different.

    Thankfully, living in NZ isn’t too bad for finding food without corn as it would be in the US. You guys put corn syrup in so many things!

    Also, my eldest was allergic to dairy, eggs, cats, and dogs. So at one point we were buying dairy free food for one child, and corn free for the other. Fun times.

  47. ObsidianNebula says:

    Peter Telemachus Young? That is a seriously awesome name! I commend you, Peter, on your excellent taste.

    And happy belated birthday to you, Shamus!

  48. default_ex says:

    A little late to say it but Happy Birthday Shamus, here’s to hoping I’ll be reading your wild rants and listening to your random musings on the podcast for many more years. You have a bit over a decade on me but I do know that feeling of dread when you realize how old you have become. Turned 33 this month and it hit me like a sack of bricks. Was already a little depressed going into my birthday then I had a whole birthday entirely too myself to reflect upon my life thus far and it was a mistake to do so. Sunk a bit deeper to the point where I just haven’t been able to eat very well, Ramen Noodles seems to be all I can get to go down without forcing myself to eat. Had to pick up some multi-vitamins because I know I am definitely going low on the water soluble vitamins with how much fluids I drink and how little food I’ve taken in.

    That’s one thing that pops to mind given your problem with corn. Recently Derek from Veritasium released a documentary called Vitamania. Well worth watching for picky eaters (regardless of medical or personal reasons). He interviews experts in the field of vitamins to ask the questions we normally just make bad assumptions about. A lot of very interesting information is presented that might scare the pants off ya but at the same time really helps to know. Thanks to watching that found a few very small modifications I can make to my diet to bring vitamin intake up to ideal ranges. They aren’t even bad ones, was able to find the vitamins my diet lacked in fruits I actually like to eat and surprisingly low portions.

  49. Rob Lundeen says:

    Happy birthday Shamus! Thank you for sharing your journey with me!

  50. Redrock says:

    Late to the party, as always. Still, Happy Birthday!

  51. LCF says:

    I belatedly wish you a happy aging and a merry rest of your life until next time-passing event.
    Unformally formally yours.

  52. ThaneofFife says:

    Happy belated birthday, Shamus!

    I wanted to ask if you’d tried seeing an allergist. Last year, my primary care doctor suddenly developed a life-threatening allergy to cats (and consequently had to temporarily drop all patients who had cats), but after 9 months of allergy shots, she was able to see patients with cats again. She said she has almost no symptoms at all now. So, getting allergy shots might be something worth looking into!

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