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Do you suffer from food allergies?
Raise of hands, please.
Food allergies can be very unpleasant and can feel frustrating at times. If you are someone recently diagnosed, you may be running through your mind all the ways this will inconvenience you.
I’m here to let you know that you are not alone. You will be able to navigate this new world with a little help and some support.
My experience with food allergies started at a young age. I would randomly break out in hives and as a child of the 1980s, the way they handled it was by process of elimination.
Eventually, my parents figured out that milk was the culprit. Back then there were not the plethora of alternatives that there are today. I made faces every time I had cereal with rice milk (I hated the taste of rice milk.)
If my memory serves me right, I think I was the only kid in my class with a milk allergy. I remember every time it was snack time in elementary school, everyone got milk and I got the sugary orange drink in that cute little cartoon.
Fast forward to preadolescent years when the doctor said,
“Let’s reintroduce milk and see how she does.”
This time I didn’t break out in hives so the doctor said, “you can give her milk now.” Guess what?
I still got sick.
Not hives but GI sick and would get a weird rash. So my parents mentioned it to the doctor, and he said, “she’s just lactose intolerant.”
After that, my parents gave me milk products and I would get sick. Throughout college and into young adulthood I was still eating milk products and still getting sick at every meal. I did not have a good relationship at all with food.
Who wants to eat when they feel sick after every meal? NOT ME.
I was 30 years old when my twins were born. My husband and I said, “Let’s try for one and see how that goes.” We were blessed with the two for one special.
Our twins came three months early. Much to our surprise, they could not digest milk either. I knew I would not be able to take care of twins with medical needs and be sick every time I ate.
At this point, I was also suspecting that there were other foods wreaking havoc at each meal. Finally, I found someone willing to do delayed food allergy testing. The results came back. I was a plus three on the charts for milk, casein and egg whites, and I was sensitive to gluten as well.
I cut it all out of my diet.
It wasn’t easy. Going to the grocery store felt like it took forever. I was reading every label thinking I should be able to eat this and then realizing I can’t.
Finding products gluten and dairy free but it had eggs in it. Basic taco seasonings were containing wheat. I felt doomed and was seriously wondering what I was going to eat.
How did I overcome all of this? With sheer DETERMINATION.
I started making a note of all the brands that were allergen friendly. I shopped mostly in the organic section and produce section. I began to eat clean. I prepared more of my foods.
I got on websites of my favorite restaurants and looked at their allergen menu to see if I could still eat there. If there were foods I could eat, I made a list. When I finished my research, I had a list of places I could eat at and what I could eat.
Holiday dinners consist of verbalizing my food allergies and working with the host to ensure I have something to eat. Many times I make food I can take along.
If I have friends who want to eat out, I communicate where I can go. If they are going to a place I cannot eat at, I eat before. Going on vacation involves a little more preplanning and preparation.
I’ve learned how to adapt. Is it still frustrating at times? ABSOLUTELY.
Seven years ago I decided to no longer feel terrible every time I ate. I decided to listen and take care of my digestion system and give it foods it can digest.
Most importantly I made the decision not to allow food allergies to get in the way of my social life and my day to day living.
Favorite Places to Shop Allergen Friendly Foods Online
Whole Foods Market is one of my favorite grocery stores for allergen friendly foods. As a prime member, I receive extra savings on sale items and prime deals.