Frequently Asked Questions
A lot of people believe that the truth about G6PD Deficiency should be withheld from people. They think that you aren’t able to handle the truth. They think that as long as you don’t know babies are dying from ignorance at the hand of doctors, everything will be swell. I’m not one of those people. Personally, I’m tired of the horror stories about babies dying because the doctors didn’t know they had G6PDD, or worse, didn’t know what to do if they did. So the following are very candid and straight forward answers to some of the more common questions I have received over the past seven or eight years.
Getting and Staying Healthy
This is a common question from people just learning about G6PDD. Many feel overwhelmed looking at the avoid list and think there is nothing left to eat. Nothing could be further from the truth. My family doesn’t like to eat out because they think my cooking is better. You should actually be happy that you have to avoid triggers because you and your family will be much healthier and will eat much better. All the kids in the neighborhood will want to eat at your house. So, here are some simple rules to follow.
1. Stay away from prepared foods. Almost all prepared foods have one or more things in them that are on the avoid list. It is amazing how unhealthy prepared foods are. They have preservatives in them so they won’t spoil. Soy and soy products are almost always added to them because they are cheap. Prepared foods are made from the cheapest ingredients the company can find, not the ingredients that are best for us.
2. Learn to read the ingredients on the label. You will be shocked at the things put into prepared foods. I read the ingredients on a package of cinnamon rolls recently. There were over 50 ingredients in them. If I make them, there are only flour, water or milk, yeast, egg, cinnamon, butter and sugar. That’s seven ingredients. What could they have possibly put in them besides these seven ingredients? The answer will surprise you. Go check for yourself. There are a lot of other surprises lurking in the ingredient list of prepared foods.
3. Find recipes that are simple to make from scratch. People think that it takes hours to prepare a meal from scratch. Wrong. Most of the meals I fix are prepared in 30 to 45 minutes. That is less time than it takes to order pizza. And if you’re smart, you will always fix more than you need and save the leftovers for lunch or another meal. You can even freeze the leftovers and make your own TV dinners for the times when cooking is inconvenient.
4. Learn to substitute other things for foods on the avoid list. Soy sauce substitute is easy to make. Almond or cashew butter replaces peanut butter. Etc.
5. Learn how to make fresh foods stay fresh. One part vinegar to 10 parts water is a great preservative. Wash your greens in it and they will stay fresh much longer.
6. Learn how to disguise veggies and other “less favorite” health foods in your favorite dishes. I have learned that I can add things like chopped up spinach and carrots in spaghetti sauce. I can add a little ground liver to meat loaf or other hamburger dishes. You can make your own juice from fruit and veggies. (You’d be surprised what you can hide in juice!)
When you stop thinking about what you can’t eat and start thinking about the wonderful things you can eat, your life will change. You will become very creative and your family will love your food and will eat so much better and be sick much less. My mother was great cook who fixed most everything from scratch. Sadly, I didn’t learn to cook until after she died. I realized that not only was I not eating as healthy, but the only way I could enjoy my favorite dishes was to learn to cook them myself. Between my G6PD Cookbook (Staying Healthy with G6PD Deficiency) and the member’s section on this site, there are hundreds of wonderful recipes you can fix for your family. They are G6PDD safe, include lots of foods that will help your body build red blood cells, and will give you ideas to make your favorite foods for your family and friends.
Vitamins are best obtained from good healthy food. This being said, there are a few vitamins that are difficult to keep at sufficient levels due to the demands of blood production, so doctors often recommend supplements for people who are low in these vitamins:
Vitamin B complex – the B vitamins are essential to producing red blood cells. Especially B6, B12 and Folic Acid. I recommend finding a good all natural B complex vitamin that has nothing else added (like vitamin C, iron or soy products). Take them according to the manufacturer’s recommandations.
NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) – This is a great supplement for those with G6PD deficiency. It helps keep the liver healthy and is a precursor to glutathione (a substance G6PD deficient people have difficulty producing and is essential for red blood cell health). Taking glutathione doesn’t seem to help the glutathione levels in our red blood cells, but NAC does.
We recommend that you read all labels and avoid taking any multi-vitamin supplement. Many man made vitamins are derived from soy or some other substance on the avoid lists. Most all of these formula include iron and ascorbic acid (see Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and The Good and Bad about Iron) Sometimes the oils are obtained by using hexane (a dangerous petrochemical that causes nerve damage as well as hemolysis).