Baker’s Yeast

Occasionally, just occasionally, I become aware of how restricted my life has really become. Sure, intellectually I know it is restricted, and as a rule I just get on with things. But I seldom feel it. I seldom know it in my bones, in my cells.

My allergy is a game changer. It reaches into every single aspect of my existence. Every bite that I eat, every sip that I take, every pill that I pop, or injection that I allow, may put my life at risk, or even worse, cause brain damage.

This morning Attila and I discussed preparing a dish that we both love, on the weekend (which is one day, Sunday, at our house). One of the ingredients we will need is baker’s yeast. Luckily we have enough to prepare the dish, but it is the last of our supply.

I use either Fermipan or SAF baker’s yeast. These yeasts are not easy to find. The last time I drove eight hours to and from the flour mill, I bought four, one pound packages, and kept them in the freezer. They lasted for years! But now we are running out. The drive to the flour mill is daunting, and expensive. Shipping might be cheaper than travelling to shop in person. I looked at their web site, and they do not ship yeast.

I spent the whole of the afternoon searching for a place to buy that yeast. I found retailers in Canada who wanted more for shipping that the yeast was worth. I found retailers who would ship it from the USA for more than the yeast was worth. I did not find a retail outlet near the country house, or the little house in the city, where I might easily drive to pick up the yeast myself.

At last though, in one of the food forums I scoured, someone suggested an online retailer in Toronto who sells this baker’s yeast.

I called the retailer, and found that their shipping charges were quite reasonable. They have a flat rate shipping charge, so it was in my best interest to purchase all of the items I thought I might need from them at one go.

The retailer was keen to check with their manufacturers, to ensure that the items on my list were allergen free. We corresponded by email through the afternoon, until we had determined which items on my list were safe, and which items were not. I was just sending off my order, and payment, when Attila arrived home from work. The items should arrive in the next week or so. I was exhausted; this type of activity requires great care.

All of that effort, to purchase baker’s yeast, and one other baking ingredient, the rest were unsafe. A great deal of my time is spent trying to find food that will not harm me. It is getting harder and harder, as more and more manufacturers use preservatives to extend the shelf life of food, to increase profits.

Honestly, I think people with anaphylaxis should be eligible for disability pensions with a food/medication allowance, to allow them adequate time and resources to find safe, affordable food to eat, beverages to drink, and medications to take. So many day-to-day decisions are of life-or-death gravity for a person with anaphylaxis. That could only happen in a kinder, gentler society than the one I live in.

Luckily Attila is on my side. He is respectful of the danger I face, and diligent in screening every bit of food/beverage/medication that comes in the door, to ensure that it is safe. I am not easy to live with, but Attila thinks I am worth it.

One year ago today at Luna’s house. Uncle Lares with his niece Tink, and nephew Elf, at the dining room table, working together on a Lego construction kit. Elf is fascinated with building things!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 PM EDT Thursday 23 October 2014
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 6.1°C
Dewpoint: 4.5°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: NW 8 km/h


“Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you is determinism; the way you play it is free will.”
Jawaharlal Nehru
1889 – 1964

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I think your notion that people with your degree of sensitivity should receive disability assistance or support is meritorious, especially for those of you who live far from immediate medical treatment, where “too late” is the only result from the introduction of your allergen into your system. I know it wouldn’t happen in my country, but perhaps someday it might in yours.

By the same token, I think it might be far better for all of us if there were fewer adulterants in what we consume. I think that somewhere we crossed the line from preservatives which made things safer into the land where many are only added for convenience or profit. The world lacks balance.

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

Sorry you had to go through all that! Have you looked at I notice that they have SAF bakers yeast, though I’m not sure if it’s the right one for you. is starting to have a lot more foods listed, so it might be a good idea to always have a look there for hard to find foods.

Love the pic of Lares, Tink and Elf!



Wow, I had no idea you had anaphylaxis and how intense that is. It must be like you are on guard 24/7. Have you always had this? I feel like I should never complain about anything ever again because what you face daily is far beyond what I could handle. Bless you Maggie. x0x0x0x0x0


Wow. Life is mysterious. And not fair! I would opt to just say “I’m allergic to almost everything, end of story” and just move on to another topic. I agree, there should be some kind of health care assistance for people with your situation. I can’t imagine having to go to all that expense and due-diligence just to survive another day! xxxx

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

What exactly are you allergic to, Maggie?

I have some sensitivities to foods that have made me ill but thankfully the only truly dangerous reactions I’ve had have been to insect stings/bites and CATscan contrast dye.

Irene Bean

“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”

Maggie, you must have nodded your head with understanding when you read my post that started with that quote. And this post, so sadly illustrates the point of it.

As tiny as my observations may seem, they’re huge with questions: Do you live with a certain element of fear each day? Has the fear diminished over the years? Is there any such thing as a small reaction? (I confess that I had to consult Dr. Google about anaphylaxis.) Over the many years, have you a long list of dependable store bought products? Because you eat with purity, I would imagine you do eat well? Is this condition genetic? Did another illness trigger it? Am I asking too many questions?

But back to the quote above. My IPF is a horrible disease. My lungs are hardening, I’m slowly suffocating. Yet… to read about anaphylaxis, I’d grab my problem back in one breath. You are very brave. So much braver than me. Nothing is going to jump out and *get* me. I know my arc.

I always so appreciate your sense of fair play. Though I will on occasion pitch a fit about medical care – like my displeasure with the transplant evaluation process at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, TN… I WAS given an evaluation. When the doctors saw my records they fast-tracked me into an evaluation. The VERY day they declined to list me, my records were sent to Cleveland Clinic… that very day! In most countries in the world, transplant isn’t even in the medical lexicon. In countries that do offer transplant, I’d be waiting for an evaluation for months. Is medicine perfect in the USA? Of course not! But I really become weary of chronic complainers.

I have a worldwide network with other IPF patients. I’m in the best possible country in the world to have this disease. I rarely go to the IPF pages because the stories are so heartbreaking in Great Britain, Chile, Mexico, India. There are, of course, many heartbreaking stories in the USA, but not for lack of medical care. IPF pays no mind to international borders.

After my second hip replacement the doctor erred and didn’t send me home with a brief prescription of Coumadin. I ended up with 3 pulmonary embolisms. Nearly died. I’m a walking miracle. My mother died because her doctor prescribed the wrong medicine. My grieving was intense. But one morning I awoke and reviewed the scenario: my mother was suffering horribly, and though not intended, the doctor’s mistake was merciful euthanasia. Like so many others, I guess I have lots to complain about, but I try not too. We all have some stinky stories, but I try to remember to walk in gratitude.

Sorry to yak on and on. If my comments are too confrontational, I won’t be offended if you delete them. I only offer my gratitude per my perspective. My medical insurance is the same as anyone’s in the USA with Medicare. I do pay for an affordable supplement, but basic Medicare opens doors to nearly every facility in the USA for the finest affordable health care in the world.

Importantly, thanks for sharing. I will think of you every day – your ordinary days with extraordinary challenges and courage.

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

“Teri, it is a chemical used in most processed foods to prolong shelf life and in many medications. The details are of no use to anyone but me, and since someone I worked with tried to experiment to see if I was just attention seeking, by adding a food that contained it to food I was about to eat, after I had checked it for safety (I caught her), I am inspired not to talk details. People with vulnerabilities get to see how low the species can actually go…”

That made me ill, reading that. I’m so sorry you’ve ever been given reason to have to think that way. 🙁

Irene Bean

Let me get the last word in our dialog: you are amazing! 🙂


Attila is a great man, and you are a great woman. I’m so lucky to have had you in my life for 27 years. Stay healthy!


Maggie, Thank you for helping me understand this condition more fully. This is quite a thread. The thing that stands out so much for me is that it came from out of no where. You are brave. Yes, you are. x0x0x0x


Very interesting to read, and the comments as well. I’m so sad some mean idiot tried to ‘test’ you by putting the ingredient in your food. No one should have to deal with hassles like that. We all should be able to know what’s in our food, even if only to eat healthier, let alone life threatening allergies.