Food & Cooking Kids Medical

It’s Annoying

Some of the finer points of the thing with Henry are, that is. Tonight Last night he ate summer squash for the first time. A lot of it. With relish. He thought it was one of the Best Things Ever.

It was crookneck, to be exact.

The main list I always consult for relative levels of salicylates mentions butternut and pumpkin. Pumpkin is, from what I understood from having read about it in the past couple years, very closely related to zucchini. And the summer squashes are kind of related, right? So if pumpkin was reasonable, probably summer squash was fine. I also know crookneck was rather distinct from straight yellow summer squash.

Anyway, he ate a pile of crookneck squash, loved it, and later this evening last night got a little itchier than we might expect or prefer, if not full blown bad. Could be the heat. Could be the levels in the squash. Could be something else. All complicated by Valerie being sweet and wanting to share a cashew. However, he’d started itching before that, cashews are super low in salicylates, and a full-fledged allergy would presumably show a more spectacular result. So he got to eat maybe half of a cashew and thought it was the best thing he’d ever had. In fact, the itching could have been heightened simply by his level of sadness over cashew being removed from his mouth and the bowl being empty when he looked in it after following Val around until she set it down.

Still, the itching and slight redness above the usual made me go poking around, and I found a better site for salicylate levels, except it’s laid out badly.

That says “summer squash” is in the very lowest levels. Except… by “summer squash” they mean something also known as chayote, which is completely unfamiliar. Scientifically it is Sechium edule.

That same site says zucchini is one of the worst handful of veggies. It’s grouped with things like peppers, radishes and concentrated tomato products. In fact, the only things that aren’t herbs, spices and miscellany that fall higher are raisins, prunes and raspberries. Seems odd, but I guess he will not be trying the zucchini that’s in the fridge.

But… what about other summer squashes, including crookneck?

Zucchini is apparently part of Cucurbita pepo, along with some types of pumpkin, yellow summer and crookneck squashes, acorn, pattypan and spaghetti squashes.

So why would it be so high? And the others not? They’re not, right?

The site places pumpkin (but which variant?) and marrow squash into the second lowest category.

In the third it places “squash.” Just squash.

So helpful. So descriptive.

A bit more looking things up and I learn that “marrow” is simply a word for squash, in some countries. So saying “marrow squash” is like saying “squash squash.”

I also learn that, in the strictest sense, “marrow squash” is a large, straight green squash that resembles a zucchini, but is often grown to huge sizes and stuffed. I think I’ve seen marrow squash. I think we’ve always called it zucchini and it’s just been that zucchini don’t all look exactly the same.

But wait! If it’s a straight squash, why do I find pictures online of it looking like a green crookneck? Along with southern recipes.

Bottom line, apparently if you seen a reference to marrow squashes, it’s more likely to mean the various summer squashes as to mean the big green or crookneck green ones. Which leads me to that original salicylates list, the one I usually use for handy reference.

Voila! There’s “marrow,” in the moderate column for vegetables, along with pumpkin, parsnips, fresh tomato, carrots, and some other stuff. That fits.

What’s missing from both is a specific reference to butternut squash. I believe we may have developed the impression of butternut as okay by direct experimentation, or by seeing it elsewhere, since we’ve looked at many of these lists or sets of recommendations. They do mostly agree, fortunately.

That leaves me thinking that the reference to “squash” without any further distinction covers butternut and the general winter squashes. Then again, butternut is Cucurbita moschata, which also includes some pumpkin varieties, including one used for commercial canned pumpkin. What I think of as the main winter squash is Cucurbita maxima, which includes hubbard and buttercup.

You have to become an expert just to feed the kid safely. Well, it’s not unsafe for him to get a bit itchy, just uncomfortable. I’d say he clearly reacted mildly to summer squash or to something else, but there was a lack of “something else.” Maybe the charring on the steak? Bottom line, besides that this is confusing, and beware of naming conventions, is moderate amounts rule.

The other day, I gave him peach. No peal, just the inner part, after it had sat on the counter to ripen a few days. I meant only to give him a sliver, but he ate several. Thought it was awesome. And didn’t react at all. Check off peaches as a food he “can have.” But… not in large amounts. Or maybe not so much? I see the lists disagree. The new one has peaches in the second lowest class, along with things like lemon. And apple juice, which he can’t have, at least very much. And light grape joice, which he can’t have. At least not much. The other list has peaches in the second highest class. Along with some of the other stuff the alternate list has in the second lowest class. Wild.

This is why he becomes a science experiment. It’s the only way we learn for sure what he can have without becoming an itch factory or breaking out.

5 replies on “It’s Annoying”

Came across your site while googling “salicylate levels in canned pumpkin”. Would love to know your reference sites–my 24 month old daughter was diagnosed a couple of months ago, and we’re having a hard time keeping things under control (and I hate her having such a limited diet). Thanks for any info!

Amy, let me get back to you, as I am not finding them right offhand. I used to have a couple of them right on my bookmarks toolbar. Henry grew out of the problem with salicylates and azo dyes, but did turn out to have allergies to egg whites and yolks, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, and bananas (though no indication of problems with latex, which can be a crossover allergy) (he also used to be contact sensitive to something in screen printing ink on many of my T-shirts). I sometimes wonder if the things were related – like one sensitivity ensuring the other, or vice-versa. In retrospect, it was as if feeding him real food, after breast feeding, made his system go crazy. It didn’t happen with his sisters, who followed exactly the same path. Anyway, I know I have or can find the site or 2 I referenced most. Watch your e-mail!

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