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It's OK to Cry Over a Donut When the Ease of Eating Is Gone

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A couple of weeks ago I was visiting my girlfriend’s dad, and her grandmother and dad decided to take us out to eat to a seafood restaurant that had received rave reviews. Before going I looked over their menu and drooled at the possibilities. I was excited and ready to devour platefuls of flaky fish, a food I only recently started eating, but have taken a real liking to. And then…we arrived and the dreaded question had to be asked, “Do any of your sauces contain dairy products?” Our delightful server with the sky blue nails that matched her apron came back from the kitchen with pity in her eyes as she told me every single sauce, including the teriyaki, contained milk.

Since I didn’t want a plate of plain fish, I was left with the only two options remaining – french fries and a side salad. The fries were good and the salad was fresh, but as my girlfriend, her dad, and her grandmother enjoyed their fish lunches and I dunked hunks of potato in ketchup, I just felt sad. I excused myself to the bathroom to sit in a stall and just feel that feeling for a little.

Since I developed an allergy to dairy nearly two years ago, I’ve learned that it’s OK to feel sad and frustrated. It’s OK to wallow for a little in the fact that I can’t eat that donut, that piece of cake or that delicious fish dish. Adult onset allergies are not common, but they do happen, and when you suddenly can’t eat the foods you loved it can hit like a brick. I know the dangers consuming such foods can bring, and hours in the emergency room are not worth a bite of that great looking food. But the frustrated feelings can still take over. My girlfriend reminds me that there are many alternatives available and that we can bake foods at home. My mom sends me recipes for brownies, cookies and easy dishes. And I love the support, but some days it hits my heart that I can’t run over to the corner store at 10 p.m. and find a cheap snack to fix a craving. The ease of eating has gone.

Recently, I’ve developed an intolerance towards gluten. Luckily it was found to not be celiac disease, but consuming gluten-filled foods still causes my stomach to cramp, my head to pound, and my body to drag. So, I’ve given up all gluten-filled foods, and the list of safe foods has shrunken. Now going out to eat is even harder and finding snacks I can enjoy with ease is tough. I’ve watched in envy as my girlfriend buys cookies and cupcakes at local eateries, and I know I won’t be able to also enjoy a sugary treat. I’m getting better at cooking and bringing along snacks, but, again, I miss the ease of eating.

I’m learning to adapt, as those with food intolerances and allergies do, learning to enjoy making treats at home, learning the best places to find treats I can enjoy. And that bounce back attitude and go with the flowness is important. It’s how we keep ourselves from getting totally overwhelmed and sad.

But, I’ve also learned it’s OK to be a little sad sometimes. It’s OK to miss certain foods and to feel overcome with a craving you can’t satisfy. It’s OK to be peeved that your other chronic illnesses have made you too tired to cook one night, but you have to because you can no longer buy easy microwavable meals. It’s OK to excuse yourself from a social gathering for a little bit, because there’s nothing for you at the table – although the company matters more than the food, but you still feel awkward and upset just sitting there with a limp salad. It’s OK to not always be OK with all of the changes. Many days I pack my homemade lunches and allergy friendly treats and head off into the day, ready to take it on another day with this unpredictable body. And some days I cry in the bathroom because I’m craving a donut and I know I can’t get one. And that’s OK!

It’s OK to cry over a donut.

Getty Image by greenaperture

Originally published: July 12, 2018
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