Food allergies

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    The Freedom of Dietary Restrictions

    Part 1 of 2 Finding out that I was allergic or intolerant to certain food groups didn’t feel much like freedom. I first had to remove wheat from my diet about 12 years ago and free from food at the time was particularly awful. Sandwiches had once been a staple lunch for me, but suddenly the bread was small, odd looking and often crumbled before you could assemble the sandwich! Thankfully, free from foods have improved vastly over the years and there are now many wonderful, delicious options to choose from.

    No matter how you look at it, the reality of these allergies and intolerances is that I will always experience times when managing a meal is a bit harder or I may have to miss out on the birthday cake; free from options aren’t always provided. I’ve learned to pack snack bars or flapjacks in my handbag before going to someone’s house for dinner, partly in case I am hungry and can’t eat anything there, but also to ease the burden on others when they struggle to cater for my dietary requirements.

    It has been a strange experience for me that many people treat my dietary requirements as optional. They respond as though I’m being fussy and awkward, they plead with me to just indulge in these foods as a “one off” or to give up on being free from entirely. They treat my dietary restrictions as the problem; but for me, it’s a very different story.

    I was a healthy child, rarely getting sick. In my teens I began to face ill health, beginning with Tonsilitis when I was 13, Glandular Fever when I was 14, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at age 15, a diagnosis that was replaced by Fibromyalgia when that started at age 17. They told me #Fibromyalgia was lifelong with no known cure, lacking even in treatment. The various medications they tried me on all failed. Like many others with Fibromyalgia, I seemed to develop allergies to everything: medication allergies, respiratory allergies, allergies to I-don’t-know-what and #FoodAllergies.

    I first gave up wheat in the hope it would ease my irritable bowel syndrome (yet another illness, symptomatic of fibromyalgia). While my stomach did settle with the change, I also noticed a decrease in my pain levels. Over the years I discovered that when I ate wheat, my pain became so great that I was often confined to my bed, unable to move and struggling to stifle the screams of agony. I also seemed to have a weaker immune system and was forever getting sick with colds and flu-like illnesses, which hit me ten times harder than the average person.

    People don’t like to talk about it, but the suicide rate among people with Fibromyalgia is awfully high. Pushing through pain every minute of every day is exhausting, but when it becomes so debilitating that you can hardly live your life, it often begins to feel like life just isn’t worth it. I was missing out on my university classes, unable to hang out with friends, cancelling last minute on people’s birthdays and eventually out of sight became out of mind. It’s a sad fact of chronic illness that we often seem to fade away; nobody ever intends to forget us, but eventually the invites stop coming and we become quite forgotten.

    Giving up wheat didn’t fix my #Fibromyalgia, but it drastically reduced my pain levels. When I stopped eating wheat, I had less days confined to my bed and a greater ability to be present with my friends. Over time, various aspects of my chronic illness have fluctuated in intensity, largely improving as I have learned more about nutrition and worked to understand my body’s needs and respond accordingly.

    My wheat intolerance seemed to develop into more of an allergy as even skin contact seems to cause a rash. I’ve given up gluten entirely and dairy. I also work with including certain foods and supplements in my diet; using ginger or peppermint to treat nausea, apple cider vinegar for acid reflux and all manner of other natural remedies. I have grown to have a deep love for my body and I’m on a journey of discovery, learning to recognise what my body needs and regaining a vibrant life where I can live in harmony with my body, instead of feeling at war with it.

    Food restrictions and other dietary changes are not the whole answer, but they are a huge piece of the puzzle. I’ve spent much time working through alternative remedies and seeking lifestyle changes that support my health and somehow, the impossible seems to have happened: I am getting my life back.

    Other people see the missed pieces of birthday cake, they get annoyed when I don’t eat the “gluten free” food they prepared and then laid out touching the gluten containing foods, they moan that I’m just being awkward and plead with me to just eat regular food; th

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    Food Allergies And Mental Illnesses

    Why am I so allergic to everything: peanuts, cow's milk, mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato sauce, strawberries, cheese made with cow's milk, this is such a horrible way to live! Not including my Acid Reflux Disease. So what I have learned to do is to eat spaghetti with meat sauce, less acidic, I drink Oat Milk and I just avoid mushrooms and peanuts all together, but sometimes I eat walnuts. Studying yourself will help you learn to live a semi ok life and don't focus on your limitations

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    Dealing with the Dismissal of Our Needs as People with Chronic Illnesses

    Part 1 of 2 It was the summer of 2020, and I had managed about two hours of sleep the previous night. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was likely experiencing a gluten attack—having woken repeatedly with cold sweats and nausea.

    My housemates and I had a nice backyard where purple flowers bloomed from a wall of green leaves. A tall Tahoe-esque tree loomed, and our cat often sniffed at the cherry tomato bushes. Frequently, my housemate L would work back there, of her own volition.

    “Hey L,” I said to her that morning. “I didn’t sleep well last night, and I took the day off from work—so I was planning to nap for most of it. Is there any chance you might be able to take some of your calls outside today? Ia understand if you’d prefer not to, but wanted to ask in case it wouldn’t be an issue.”

    I phrased it in a way that left space for her to say no—as a request, rather than as a demand. That’s why what she said in response caught me so off guard:

    “E, I think it’s very selfish of you to ask something like that.”

    ~~

    Her response winded me. Though I hadn’t expected L to necessarily concede unequivocally to my request, I also hadn’t anticipated criticism and character attacks for simply asking (not demanding, or even expecting). A polite “no” would have gotten her point across just fine, but instead L went for the jugular. I noted as more hurt rushed in to join the pre-existing pain that had already been there.

    Incidents like these confirm my worst fears surrounding asking for help, making requests, or stating needs as a person with chronic illness. When I was first diagnosed with Celiac back in 2020, these fears briefly became even more pronounced. Extreme vigilance is necessary for Celiacs to ensure that we don’t ingest gluten. We often keep separate cutting boards and utensils, and eating out is a fraught process—one that continually comes with risk and the stress of possible gluten contamination.

    Because of all this, some see us as difficult, high-maintenance, and picky rather than simply humans just trying to protect our health against what science has proven to be a genuine threat for our bodies.

    “They think our demands and requirements are inconvenient and annoying. We are too much trouble. We are overreacting,” writes actress and author Jennifer Esposito in her memoir about living with #CeliacDisease.

    Even before I got my diagnosis, I’d written the following back in 2017: It’s become common to poke fun at people who request special food accommodations, or act like they’re a burden. They’re a common punchline in almost everything I’ve been watching or consuming lately.

    This feels unfair to me. People with food sensitivities aren’t making these requests to be difficult; they’re making them because they’re trying to take care of their health. Maybe they break out in hives when they eat gluten. Maybe they feel lethargic, low energy, and dizzy after consuming dairy. The more we make these jokes, the more we discourage people from asserting their valid, extremely important need to keep themselves healthy.

    It’s easy for those of us without food allergies or dietary restrictions to judge because we don’t suffer the consequences that they do. I think we should consider this a privilege.

    ~~

    As members of the #ChronicIllness community, how many of you have encountered dismissal when making requests that others either don’t understand, or downplay the importance of? Noise, light, and certain fragrances are common triggers for people with conditions that affect the nervous system and sensory processing. These are things that might not bother most people. But they negatively affects us.

    It’s a personal trigger for me when a person has just dismissed a need, or when I can feel them shutting down on me. There’s a unique type of panic and helplessness that sets in immediately after. Little else makes me feel more viscerally unimportant and helpless than when someone does this (which I’m working through in therapy).

    Some people respond to requests for reasonable accommodations as attacks, or as limits to their personal freedom. Maybe they think the person is just nit-picking. Or maybe they don’t realize just how profound an impact the, what’s in their eyes just a minor complaint, actually has on the asker’s well-being.

    Complaints of discomfort that is not visible unsettles some people, is I think what’s beneath a lot of these reactions. Sometimes the internal discomfort sparked by these requests pushes them to turn against the sufferer. They might think (or verbalize) things like, “It’s all in her head” or “it’s probably not that bad.”

    They don’t want to fully be

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    Tell us about a time when you successfully advocated for yourself.

    Today we’re reflecting on times when we have successfully advocated for ourselves. Do you have a moment that comes to mind? Maybe you confidently informed your waiter about your food allergies or were able to get the testing accommodations you needed at school. Perhaps you advocated for yourself at work (WFH, anyone?) or in front of your family members.

    This moment does not have to be health-related — any time you successfully advocated for yourself works for us. Let’s take this opportunity to learn from (and cheer on!) each other in the comments.

    #52SmallThings #Work #MentalHealth #Advocacy #CheckInWithMe #Selfcare #Parenting

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    Food Suggestions?

    Hi all! I have difficulty consuming enough calories each day. I don’t usually feel hungry but I notice on days when I eat a lot of calories, I have more energy the next day. Does anyone have any suggestions for increasing appetite/enjoyment from eating? In particular, do you know of any food kit suggestions like Hello Fresh that are allergy friendly? #Food #noappetite #Fibromyalgia #FoodAllergies

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    It’s Hard to Find Trustworthy Food Allergy Information!

    I shared the below on my blog, Food Allergy Buzz, but I think this short list is worth sharing here too.

    I’ve been active in the online food allergy community for about 16 years now. There are a lot of food allergy organizations and websites nowadays — a great many more than when my son was first diagnosed all those years ago — but there are only a small handful that provide information that is consistently accurate and objective.

    Which ones have the most reliable and objective information, and practical food allergy management tips?

    My current top picks are the following. These websites will help you empower yourself and not live in fear!

    Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)

    Allergy & Asthma Network

    Food Allergy Awareness Connection Team (FAACT)

    Kids with Food Allergies (KFA)

    The Zestfull

    #FoodAllergies #foodallergy

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    I’m new here!

    Hi, my name is andrea85_newyork. I'm here because I’ve been battling chronic fatigue for 3 years. I have recurring anemia, IBS, food allergies, insomnia, back pain and rosacea. I’m trying to find people who’d be willing to chat about what’s worked or hasn’t worked for them —- and general just speak to someone who understands what I’m going through :)

    #MightyTogether

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