To eat, or not to eat?

Greetings, ninjas-in-training!

Sensei here.  At your request, I have updated “the list” to include a tutorial on what to do about foods that aren’t on “the list.” Please let me know if it is clear, or if I need to add anything! I shall also share the tutorial below, but first a bit more ninja business…

I have also smushed both lists onto one page, in hopes that it will be easier to navigate.  It’s entirely possible that I just made it more chaotic, so please let me know if the new format makes your brains explode.  I’m hoping that you find it shiny, because I think it’s shiny.

I’d also appreciate it if you let me know if you encounter any broken links on the site.  I may be a lemon ninja, but I am not a computer ninja, and I can’t figure out why this site seems to spontaneously eat links on occasion.

Maybe they just look tasty?  I guess WordPress does not suffer from any form of hyperlink sensitivity.

And now, the long awaited not-on-the-list tutorial!

Suppose one fine day you find yourself with a hankering for Chicken Maratha with a side of pomelo and pistachios.  These things would probably taste terrible together, but for the sake of variety in this tutorial, you just like to eat weird combinations of things.  You love the spicy goodness of turmeric, tart juiciness of pomelo, and the weird greenness of pistachios, but you haven’t had any since you started your ninja lifestyle.  Are they safe to eat?  You rush to your favorite website of all time but, to your partial joy and partial dismay, you don’t see them on “the list.”

This means one of two things: (1) the foods are safe, (2) the foods are not safe, but have not been evaluated by the food people of Australia, or (3) I’m really sorry, there isn’t a third thing, but I cannot make lists composed of only two things.  So, which is it?

Have no fear, ninja-in-training!  With a few minutes on the web, you can make a reasonably educated guess as to the safety of almost any food.  Let’s go through the steps, and decide whether or not turmeric, pomelo, and pistachios are ninja-safe:

    1. Use your intuition.  If it sounds dangerous, it probably is. 
      • If you’re out and about, don’t eat it! 
      • If you’re at home and have time to hit the web, proceed to step 2.
      • Why do half of the things I need to list only have two things? *sigh*
    2. Think about similar foods.
      • Pomelo is a fruit.  All fruits have citric acid in them, so pomelo must have citric acid.
        • If some fruits are within your tolerance level, you’re going to need to get more specific.
        • Think about smell, taste, and texture: what fruits does pomelo remind you of?  Oranges and limes come to mind here, which is probably a bad thing for any ninja.
        • No pomelo for you!
      • What about turmeric?  It’s not fruit, and it’s not really a vegetable either, it’s a… well it looks like a… thing.  It’s a thing.  Okay.  Not very helpful.  Looks like we’ll have to take this to step 3!
      • Pistachios are some kind of nut-ish thing.  Nuts and seeds are weird foods when it comes to categories, and a lot of things we think of as nuts and seeds actually aren’t, like peanuts.  You may have noticed that there are no actual nut or seed things on “the list” anyways, so, on to step 3!
    3. Get science-y. 
      • Look up turmeric on the web.  More specifically, look up its family classification.  This is typically easy to find on Wikipedia, in a little box that looks like this: Turmeric, om nom nom
        • As you can see, turmeric is in the family Zingiberaceae.  How informative, right?  Well, maybe if we try clicking on it…
        • We can look on this page for familiar foods.  Right away, we can see that ginger is closely related to turmeric.
        • Is ginger safe?  Check the list!
        • NOPE.  Ginger is not safe for ninjas with a tolerance of 0.1g or less!
      • And pistachios?  Try this one for yourself!  The answers will be at the end of this tutorial.
    4. Using this information, give yourself some room for error. 
      • Ginger and turmeric are related, so it’s likely that they have similar citric acid content.
      • BUT!  This does not mean they are exactly the same.  Turmeric could have 0.2g or 0.05g… we can’t be sure.
      • Turmeric may even have some outrageous amount of citric acid, like 1.0g.  Again, we can’t be sure.
    5. Make a decision!
      • ALWAYS err on the side of caution.
      • Use the information you’ve found as an aide to your intuition, NOT as an absolute determinant.
      • Use your knowledge of your body and how it reacts to things.
      • Take other things into consideration, like how much citric acid exposure you’ve had lately, how much stress you’re under, and whether you’ve been invited to a gala with British Royalty within the next week or so.
      • If a sounds like a bad idea, it is.  Don’t eat it.  Listen to your body, sometimes it’s smart!
    6. Eat, or don’t eat.
      • If you don’t eat it, pat yourself on the back for your awesome research skillz.  Reward yourself with a delicious, safe treat of choice.
      • If you do eat it, do so S L O W L Y.
        • Take a little taste, and wait.
        • If you generally have fast reactions, wait however long your reactions usually take to show up.  If nothing happens, try a wee bit more.  Don’t go overboard!
        • If you generally have delayed reactions, eat the smallest amount that you feel could cause a reaction.  If nothing happens, try a little more the next time.  Again, don’t go overboard!
      • Congratulations, you have either eaten, or not eaten, a different food!  Great job, ninja!

      (Did you figure out the ninja-safety level of pistachios? They are a member of the family Anacardiaceae, also known as the cashew family.  If you don’t know anything about cashews, that’s cool, but you should have seen the word “mango” on their family tree and whipped out your nunchucks.  Now, the scariest part of mangos is the fleshy fruit part, and we don’t eat that part of pistachios… just the seeds… but we also don’t know what’s in those mango seeds.  So, what to do?  The choice is yours: choose responsibly!)

That’s all for now.  Until next time, when life gives you lemons, RUN!!!
The Lemon Ninja

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2 thoughts on “To eat, or not to eat?

  1. I get painful canker soars in my mouth from citric acid-even small amounts of it. Just to let you know, I got canker soars from chocolate oreo cookies. I assume it is from the white
    frosting in the middle. There was no mention of citric acid on the cookie box. So I called the company phone number on the box and the lady gave me a case number and said the company is only responsible for the cookie part, not the frosting in the middle. She sounded nervous. Are there enough Ninjas out there that we should make an issue of this with the Oreo people? I think the frosting in the middle is clearly part of the cookie!

    • Hey Ninja Dianne!
      First of all, that is really weird that she’d claim they are only respsonsible for the cookie. At the very least, she should have been able to put you in touch with whoever is responsible for the cream! Then again, I’ve heard companies claim equally dumb things in order to avoid giving me information.
      Oreos have different ingredients depending on where they are manufactured- I know some have soy and some do not. Do you have trouble with soy in other products, and was there soy in the Oreos you ate? If not, it is entirely possible that there is citric acid in there that they aren’t telling you about. It may be helpful to talk to a doctor about writing the company to ask for the information for medical purposes.

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