On food allergies

Let me preface this by explaining that I am allergic to everything and I have eczema. The combination of these two things is no fun at all. I recently went to the doctor’s office because after about a month of trying to figure out why there were hives on my face, I finally gave in and went for a conventional medicine approach. And when I say hives on my face, I mean that below my eyes there were huge bumps that became more exasperated the more I tried to cover them up with make up. The doctor did what I thought she would do and prescribed some steroids. Ugh. I hate taking steroids. My heart breaks for people who have to take prescriptions like that constantly. I felt so off kilter and I was only taking them for ten days. Complaining aside, the steroids only sort of helped, I started doing some research and decided that I need to just go get a food allergy disease test and a Celiac disease test. According to the test, I do not have Celiac disease. I am, however, still allergic to wheat (just not the gluten), along with a list of about 10 other things including soy, peanuts, walnuts, shellfish, and corn. The positive part of not being Celiac disease is that even though I still cannot have wheat, I am not as limited as so many others with celiac. From what I’ve gathered, those that are sensitive to gluten (which is a protein that does not like to be digested) also tend to have an issue with similar proteins. Those proteins include eggs (egg whites technically), coffee, chocolate, milk and tons of other things. If you are interested in the technical language, please check out this The Paleo Mom article. I had already given up so much. I did not want to get rid of my recent herdshare milk and my fiance and I had just bought 12 chicks and built a chicken coop.

In other words, the results from the allergy test, although seemingly having negative results actually turned out to be a positive thing. The way I was looking at it is that even though I am incredibly restricted, I am not allergic to what I think are the healthiest things. I am not allergic to milk, well, I am lactose intolerant. I choose to drink raw, hormone free, non-factory farm raised cow’s milk and that does  not bother my lactose intolerance. I’m pretty convinced that full fat dairy (from safe sources) is incredibly good for you. And eggs. Eggs are almost super foods. They contain protein, fat, good cholesterol, choline, and naturally occurring Vitamin D. And codfish. Fermented codfish oil is amazing for you. Second only to grass fed liver for great sources of vitamins like Vitamin A and healthy omega-3s. And I can have all three of those things. That’s awesome. I am a huge fan of Weston A. Price and the diet and lifestyle that they advocate and all three of those items are at the top of their list for healthiest foods. So that’s good, right? I can continue living almost the same as usual, minus a few more things that I used to think I could have.

Then came today. I went to the health food store, which I like to call the Hippy Store. And the awesome thing about this hippy store is that they have amazing gluten free options. They carry the natural teas that I like to drink. They sell goat cheese and ice cream made from coconut milk. It’s awesome. So I went today and told myself that I was going to get myself a gluten free cupcake or cookie. It had been a long time since I treated myself to something like that and I was really excited. So I looked at every single gluten free baked good and just became more and more frustrated. Every single item had either corn, soy, or sunflower oil in it. Oh, did I not mention that I am also allergic to sunflowers. All I kept saying to myself as I read yet another ingredient label that disappointed me was that I can’t have anything. Anything. And I’m getting married in 42 days, there is no way I am going to risk having another reaction. I felt the tears of frustration welling up and I had to fight the urge not to take my frustration out on the soy eating vegan with long hair working at the counter.

It’s so easy to think “Why me? Why do I constantly have to work so hard to eat?” Most people can have all their food on the go. They can stop at a fast food restaurant and get some french fries to go. They can say “Gosh, I don’t have time to cook tonight”, or even “I don’t feel like cooking tonight” and they can order pizza. Or just stop by the frozen section at their closest grocery store, grab a box and pop it in their oven when they get home. I’m incredibly jealous of those people and sometimes I feel very negative and aggressive toward those people. I have to work very hard at being positive about my restrictions.

Sometimes people ask me how I do it. How do I keep from eating the three most common ingredients in the Standard American Diet (wheat, corn, and soy)? Sometimes this question bothers me. Sometimes I want to scream “Well, I don’t really have a choice, now do I?” But I do have a choice. We all have choices and I had to choose what would be the healthiest for me, and the healthiest for my future children.

So where am I going with this? I am trying to say in my own rambling way that although, health and food choices can be incredibly frustrating, you have to be positive. The most important thing is that you are healthy. And health makes you happy. So what if you can’t eat a cupcake when you feel energetic and good enough to go for a 5 mile hike with your awesome dogs.

Some of the good things that have come out of hives on my face:

  • I finally made the move to using baking soda instead of shampoo
  • I started using homemade cleaning and household products
  • I stopped wearing make up confidently (that’s a huge thing for me)
  • I started fermenting my own sauerkraut (that’s to help gut health, which can have a direct affect on allergy symptoms)

These seem like small things but it feels good to feel good about yourself. It feels good to make good choices about what you put into the environment. No, I can’t have beer anymore but I can still have cider and wine. No, I can’t have store bought pickles but I can make my own and they are delicious. Make the choice to always view things in a good light.

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our
circumstances.” – Martha Washington