This post is a little out of the norm for me, but it’s high time I start being a little extra real here. Sure, it’s a little nerve-wracking, but it’s something I won’t shy away from anymore. So, expect a few more posts like this one + more in the future. Food allergies is something a lot of people face on the daily and isn’t talked about much.
So, I am changing that here and talking about mine. Now, while I don’t have any serious life-threatening disease, battling food allergies is still incredibly hard. A few years ago, I started noticing symptoms when I would consume dairy, and then later gluten. My stomach would be bloated and I’d be in pain, I’d have consistent breakouts, insane migraines, fatigue, and just feel plain awful. I started researching (read: Googling) my symptoms and discovered that food allergies could be a culprit. So, I started cutting out the things I thought were causing my issues and my symptoms went away. It doesn’t stop there though.
Do you know how incredibly difficult it is to stop eating food that you’ve been accustomed to and loved your whole life? It’s no walk in the park. I face the temptation every single day to splurge and eat food that I know I will regret later and reap the consequences of because it really messes my body up. Sometimes though, I still choose to eat it and later regret it.
Living with food allergies is sometimes depressing, because there’s so much good food out there that I can’t eat. And let’s be real: ya girl loves bread and pasta, and gluten free just isn’t the same. I hope one day I can overcome the temptation to eat the stuff that wreaks havoc on my insides, but for now it is something I still struggle with nearly five years after I first learned of it.
Sometimes I feel like one of those memes where someone is holding something in front of your face and you cry because you can’t have it. The hardest part for me, is that my husband doesn’t have food allergies and we have both gluten/dairy free items as well as gluten/dairy-full (as he calls it) inside the house and it’s hard for me to avoid eating it sometimes. Having food allergies is a constant mental battle for me usually, because I go between “Should I eat that and suffer later? or avoid it completely like I should?”
And although Pinterest and literally everywhere online is filled with delicious recipes for gluten and dairy free meals, meal prepping and planning is a literal challenge for me. Honestly, it’s so much easier to buy non-healthy ingredients than it is to eat clean and healthy. One of my goals for this year though, is to plan out meals and stick to a clean eating regimen. Some days it works, and other days it doesn’t, but progress!
Although living with food allergies is no fun task, it is manageable. I need to do what is best for my body instead of satisfying my taste buds. Are you someone who struggles with food allergies too? Know you aren’t alone in the fight. I may not have severe food allergies, but it is still a battle I face. I have a family member, my brother, that can’t consume any trace or form of dairy or gluten. Because if he does, his side effects could be life-threatening. So I know first hand how difficult it can be to find and shop for healthy foods to eat that won’t taste horrible and won’t cause side effects.
I know not a lot is said about living with food allergies, but I am here to say please be aware and be mindful. It’s not some fad or a joke, because there are those of us out there that have real issues with it. Gluten-free isn’t a “phase” on the market. It’s a real thing that a lot of people are facing. I have my own opinions as to why, but I won’t say that here.
Making lifestyle changes are difficult. I often hate going to the grocery store because I have to read every label of the food I buy to ensure that it doesn’t have anything I can’t eat in it. The worst part? Even if it doesn’t say it has “milk” in it, I have to read the ingredients to ensure items like casein–a derivative of milk which has dairy in it–is not in the product. It’s sad, and I miss the days of not having to read labels, but those days are gone. However, there is hope for the future. Once you learn what you CAN have instead of thinking about things you can’t, it becomes easier.
I share all of this with you to say, if you are someone who battles food allergies too, you are not alone. We are walking this road together! It’s difficult yes, but not impossible. It’s frustrating, but not unachievable. It’s a learning process, but one that will yield healthy results for my body and my mind and keep me being my best self. Not being able to have certain foods anymore isn’t the end of the world, even though it might feel like it. It just means we have to be a little smarter about how we eat.
What has your journey looked like in battling food allergies? Let’s support each other in this journey as we learn and grow together.