Blast these allergies. I cannot deny them. My reactions to peanut butter have driven me away from the stuff for good. A former favorite, but no more. I began to commiserate this past week as I realized that my favorite foods actually caused the issues I found in elementary school. Constant upset stomach? Yes. Feeling overfull all of the time? Yes. I could not tell when hunger was supposed to happen. Everything made me feel the same expanded, slightly painful belly. After a few years, I learned to ignore the symptoms. I stopped going to the nurse’s office because I felt stupid. I could not explain my problem and I thought I must be just wrong about my feelings somehow.
You realize, of course, that I must have had a reason to look into food allergies since that time. This reason came as a swift surprise. My joints started aching painfully this time last year. I thought my physical activity might be to blame or a number of other logical reasons might explain the pain. After three months, I realized the persistence of the issue. Only a few months later did I bother to get it checked out, because honestly, who has the time? It was then I found I had rheumatoid arthritis and that my joints really were in a bad place.
Following the appointment, I learned that the cause of rheumatoid arthritis might be related to food allergies. I completely disbelieved the argument from the start. How could one explain joint pain with food as the cause? Doubting heavily, I still took the advice to go on an Elimination Diet to identify my possible allergens. I think I was more willing to test for food allergies because my brother was diagnosed with celiac’s disease, and only by accident. I did not want to be a celiac and not know it.
Well, I had to quit the diet without complete results. Midterm week early on in the semester turned me in. My willpower broke. However, while on the diet, my joint pain disappeared. Completely. I obviously converted to the food allergy cause after that, as you might imagine. While following the diet, I also came to the realization that I could not handle gluten or strawberries. What I failed to realize was that, having successfully rid my body of inflaming foods, if I reintroduced them, I would feel every reaction more pronounced. This is where you find me now. Waiting for the right time to complete the diet process, and knowing I will not ignore my feelings. I will help myself by removing their cause.
On that note, I think the best way to overcome some lifelong diet changes is to admit the losses and celebrate the gains. Particularly in pictures. Particularly because this is a food blog.
So I admit to myself that I cannot eat the truffles drenched in milk chocolate or filled with a strawberry center…
However, I resolve to divulge in a dark chocolate truffle, au bon moment, and embrace the luscious notion of raspberry sauce!
I also admit that gluten-laden crusty breads are out of the picture. Lovely delights that these are.
However, I resolve to embrace a whole new world of nontraditional options. No neglect in flavor, no neglect in texture. Like exotic rice breads and oat flour graham crackers!
As for Arizona’s restaurants and food trucks and local eats, I am up for a challenge. I will find delicious foods which locals love and where allergies have no presence. In fact, I have my first location already picked out, and I am rather excited to go.
Perhaps you know someone, or many people, who happen to have dietary restrictions. I hope that you benefit from my personal adventures as I learn how to navigate local venues and allergen awareness. Who knows, I may throw in a few product reviews as well. Smores seem like a great place to start, now that I have a gluten-free graham cracker to work with… November weather calls!
Q&A: Would you ever consider testing yourself for food allergies? Have you ever tried gluten free stuff or been curious about it?