Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Eating Blues

Let me start this blog by saying I don't diet. Ever. I hate the word, and I hate what it stands for--deprivation. I love food far too much to ever deprive myself of it. Which is laughable, because I have so many food allergies and intolerances, my body has decided to deprive me of enjoying them instead.

I'm allergic to gluten. That's a big one. It's in every processed food you can imagine, and many you wouldn't think about--soda, dressings, anything in a box, chicken, latte syrup, medication and even body products like lotions and makeup. I'm a real drag to go out with because there are very few places I can eat. No beer (which is okay, because I hated it before I knew I was allergic to it), no pizza, no pasta, no fresh-baked breads. Those things I miss.

I also have an intolerance to dairy, broccoli, kiwi, and most other grains. The latest is corn. When your body won't tolerate most grains--including the ones normally used as a gluten substitute--guess what you're left with? Lean protein, nuts and seeds, veggies, fruit, and water. Everything nutritionists say we're supposed to eat.

I crave a cinnamon rolls and ice cream desperately. Corn chowder or pizza. I'd love to go out to dinner with my husband, or enjoy a pastry at a coffee shop. Instead I have to spend hours each week getting creative with modifying recipes. I have to make excuses to well meaning friends and family who want to help, but just don't have a clue how or what I can eat. Some days I don't either. I'd love to eat their cookies/pasta/bread/homemade ice cream, but I can't.

To make matters worse, two of my three kids have the same food issues along with a few of their own. School is a nightmare. I've made more than one teacher mad after blowing a gasket because they gave my child a treat that made her sick. Birthday parties and family get togethers are horribly stressful. Some relatives even try to sneak food to my kids when I'm not looking. It's a tough thing to live with. And let me also say we're very thankful to not be deathly allergic to these foods. My heart goes out to families who deal with the threat of anaphylactic shock.

I love eating healthy. This isn't much different than how I was eating before. But I miss the occasional treat. A lot. I'd love to have the luxury of cheating on a cookie or scone. Or half a pizza. When I hear someone complain about their current diet, I have to bite my tongue. Hard. I wish I could savor a cheat meal without getting sick.

Ah, well... I can't change it, so I roll with it. I'm currently in love with my crock pot. I throw in a bunch of stuff I can eat, add my fave herbs and spices, and I can trick myself into believing it's a cheat meal. Sure it's a far cry from Chinese take out or a juicy burger, but I'll take what I can get. My next goal is to find someone to do the dishes. *winks*

What's your biggest food complaint?


Sarah Gilman said...

Hi Jess!
Allergies are so frustrating--I can't imagine having one to nearly an entire food group. People like the teacher you mentioned who don't take the condition seriously must be one of the worst parts!

I don't have food allergies, but I have a chronic migraine condition that needs to be carefully controlled. Migraine triggers are a royal pain to manage because there is a lot of guess work involved, so I need to tiptoe around many foods. These foods are particularly frustrating because the chemicals in question are not on food labels and the amount can vary from seemingly identical item to the next. The worst chemical forms as protein breaks down, to a food's age is a huge consideration. There's nothing like the glare you get when you ask if the chicken is fresh and you have to insist: "really, *really* fresh??" Sigh.

Good luck!

Christa said...

I believe dark chocolate is allowed in these restrictions, yes? You have to be grateful for the little things.

WildAboutBones said...

I feel for you!! Having had food allergies for 20 yrs myself, I know what a problem they can be. While I'm not allergic to gluten or dairy products, I do have serious allergic reactions (i.e. I stop breathing) to onions (which are in everything!) and a list of several other things. I've had to become a serious label reader. For the longest time, I'd tell people I'd give up chocolate if I could have onions again. Chocolate is easy to stay away from, onions are not. Onions, shallots, onion salt, onion powder, diced onions, etc. are in most foods.

Eating out became a horror. When I'd tell the wait staff, no onions, I always had to add, "or I will stop breathing" for them to take me seriously.

To make it worse, not only did I have food allergies but environmental ones as well. I can honestly say I am allergic to cleaning - can't be in a room with a vacuum running - stop breathing, nor when people are dusting.

And unlike most people who have normal food allergies, I've never been able to take the shots because I'm not only not allergic to families of foods but to medications as well.

So I definitely feel your pain.

{sigh} But life goes on. Hang in there kiddo.

Jess Macallan said...

I'm always amazed at the types of food sensitivities out there. And how much they can affect us. But knowing is half the battle, right? :)

And yes Christa, chocolate gets the all-clear (if it's made in a facility that doesn't process gluten). I can't do Godiva, but I can go for the imported stuff. *grins*

Meaghan said...

I am right there with you on everything you said Jess, because I also have a gluten intolerance. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease about about 4 years ago but was sick for about 8 before the doctors figured out what was wrong with me. I was a miserable college student since beer and pizza is a staple during those years. The thing I miss the most is BREAD! I know there is gluten free bread out there, but it is just not the same! I want to walk into a bakery and pick up a fresh baked loaf of bread and just eat it all! Or Krispy Kreme donuts, I would be okay with that too, lol. Going out to eat is very difficult and I am lucky enough to have a husband who is so patient and an excellent cook, but I do miss just being spontaneous and going out to eat anywhere without having to worry about what I will eat there. Luckily, they are coming out with more gluten free items everyday, but it is still a struggle. If you ever want to commiserate just let me know, I feel your gluten blues! :)

Oh, btw, did you see that Chex is now gluten free? The cinnamon kind is my favorite. ;)