I have written quite a bit about my physical health and psychological health. Today, I want to talk about my struggle to get control of my tummy issues. Have you ever felt bloated? Have you ever felt like, no matter what you ate, you felt like you were going to lose your breakfast/Lunch/dinner soon after completing the meal? At the same time, have you had uncontrollable cravings for certain foods, to the point where that is all you seem to be eating? That was me. For years.
In fact, I was in denial for so long, that when I finally did see a doctor, I could not even remember when the symptoms started. I ended up doing a number of tests over the years, and the only test that resulted in anything was my allergy test. 26 food allergies. Slowly, I am taking these allergens out of my diet, and have been relieved just a little more each time. Right now, I’m free of Wheat, Casein (all dairy), Cow’s milk, coffee, soy, eggs, pork, tuna, white potatoes, pumpkin, plum, salmon, clam, cauliflower, artichoke, crab, cola nut (in many energy drinks), and peaches. I still have eight more allergens to go. The next one is Oregano, then cucumbers, and after that Spinach. When I do this, there won’t even be turkey sausage on my plate.
Over time, my bloating has gone down, as well as pain and exhaustion. I still am tired and sleep an additional 2 to 3 hours a day because of my inflammation; but overall I am doing so much better! I have also cut out sugar from my diet, because in the allergy test they tested for Candida overgrowth as a 2+ rating (4 is hospitalization). Besides, we all know sugar isn’t that great for you! So what have I learned through and in this journey?
Honesty. Honesty is more than just telling others the truth. It’s about looking yourself in the mirror, and seeing you for who you really are. Many with eating disorders have a distorted view of themselves. Well, this is the same way with those living in denial. I had to come to grips with myself, and realize that I was not healthy. I had to see that continuing on this path would be detrimental to my longevity, which is not something anyone would wish for.
This is not a pep talk. Too often, people think they need to be “brutally honest” and end up exaggerating the story a bit to get the message across. We are not giving ourselves a pep talk. That is what you do when you are about to grab that cookie, even though it has about four to five things in it that you are allergic too, and is extremely unhealthy nonetheless.
Another thing I have learned, is to be strong and true to my beliefs. Too many times, we get caught up in the flattery and nicety that others give, or even the disbelief or doubt of your loved ones. For instance, my husband still can’t grasp why I am allergic to peaches. They are so good for you! And one of the next things on my list to cut out is chicken, tomatoes, and bell peppers. How in the world can you eat without all of those things? I tell him that it is an experiment based off specific lab results that indicated my allergies. If I don’t feel bad after eating this item after a 2 week abstinence, then it likely does not make me sick. This is just an elimination process to determine which foods are making me sick. So far, every single item has given me a reaction when re-entered into my body. Sometimes even anaphylaxis, and other times simply gas.
Don’t make a big deal about it. Be okay with making your own meals, so that family doesn’t have to try to figure out your diet. They likely will get something wrong, and then will feel bad if they made you sick. Just tell them that you know what you eat, and it’s just because you want to feel good during the gathering. Along with this, when you go out, always bring a healthy snack. Worst case scenario, you can snack until you get home. There is usually salads without dressings, or plainly grilled meat to eat. After all, you won’t die of hunger if you miss one meal; therefore, simply snacking is going to be fine. You’re there to be with the other people, not for the food.
Lastly, one of the most helpful benefits of taking allergens out of my system? Food doesn’t hold the same gripping imprisonment as it once had. I used to love to eat, and could never say no to anything that was tasty. Sometimes even gorged on food that wasn’t the best in flavor! Now? Food has become a sustenance. It’s like drinking water. I do it to nourish my body, and that’s it. If you are truly hungry, there is likely at least one thing that you can have. Maybe it’s a bowl of fresh fruit, or some fresh vegetables. Perhaps you can make some air-popped popcorn for yourself, and maybe you will just have to cook some ground meat to put on your salad. Either way, there is usually a way around every allergy, and most hosts are respectful enough to let you make your own plate.