When you can’t eat EVERYTHING

One of the most common things that people say to me (or that I have said to some of my other friends previous to this experience) when you say you have to cut something out of your diet, or that you can’t eat something (ie: sugar) is:

“But cutting out SUGAR?? That’s in EVERYTHING!!”

You know what my new answer is:

“Yes but I don’t eat EVERYTHING. I eat SOMEthings, and SOMEthings don’t have Sugar.”

When you are told to cut out:

Wheat, milk, cheese, preservative 220 (it’s in wine – among other things – but wine was one of my favourite food groups, I almost cried,) mushrooms (it’s a mould), the “night-shades” (think tomato, chilli, eggplant, white potato), sugar (including honey and other various syrups), yeast (goodbye beer and many breads – probably a good thing anyway…), caffeine, tap water, vinegar, CHOCOLATE (including organic cacao), ALL ALCOHOL, several fruits such as pineapple, berries and apples, BACON (for the love of all that is good and holy WHY?????) peanuts and pistachios, tomato sauce and pickles…..

Please give me a moment while a cry into a pillow and compose myself…it always hurts at first when I see this list….

You think… “WHAT IS LEFT???? LETTUCE WITH A CAULIFLOWER CRUST??? BUT I DON’T WANT TO LIVE ON LETTUCE!!!”

Being the food lover that I am, I HAD to find better options. Spending hours in the local organic health food store (if you are in Queensland, you really can’t get better than Flannery’s. Everywhere else – I’m sorry you don’t have Flannery’s, but I highly recommend you find your biggest and best health food store. Dear Awesome Readers- please feel free to give ideas in the comments section and I can post them all in a “Links” page [TBA]).

Organic markets are also a great place to get ideas on additive and preservative free cooking, as well as alternatives in skin care and house-maintenance products.

SUBSTITUTION accounts for a hell of a lot when it comes to cooking and baking. Learning what your alternatives are is the quickest and easiest way to get more excited about meal times.

I especially understand for those who haven’t encountered allergies and intolerances personally throughout their lives until they have a child who has these issues. It is hard (I know it was for my mum) in many ways – finding someone who will listen, understand, give advice that actually is relevant and comes from people who know, even more so when you don’t like the idea of putting your child on a medication that you don’t know will work or what it may do to them in the long run.

Sifting through the assortment of information on the net can be time consuming and frustrating when you just can’t seem to get a link to somewhere that really meets your needs – both dietary and emotional support.

I also understand that being different when it comes to the things you can eat, or the skin conditions you have, or the medications you have to take, can make some people feel alienated. Sometimes limit the places you can go socially, the things you can do or the menu you can choose from. I have friends and family who has hated feeling different – it can be debilitating and depressing, some choose to just stay at home.

These reasons are part of why I wanted to start this blog, to let people know they aren’t alone, to hopefully give some support, share recipes, share stories, share the journey I am on at the moment of going through a major dietary change and how I react both emotional and physically.

Many people in my family have food intolerances and allergies, from seafood, to peanuts  and I remember once a dear cousin of mine (who I won’t name) when she was about 16 had a run-in at a family event. She has been allergic to peanuts and other nuts and seeds severely since being a child, and at a family reunion we had gone to a restaurant for dinner. She ordered a salad and checked that no nuts or seeds would be in the meal. They usually servered it with sesame seeds which she asked them to remove. While the meal was served with no sesame seeds, the chef had used sesame oil in the salad dressing. My cousin started having an allergic reaction within minutes, but….. she had forgotten her epi-pen (epinephrine auto-injectors: needles for the treatment of anaphylactic reactions), my Aunty rushed her home immediately to take her medication.

When I returned to their home, I found her in her room, upset, for many reasons. That she even needed to have an epi-pen made her feel alienated. She didn’t want to be different. She wanted to be able to go somewhere with her family or her friends without the fear that she may have an allergic reaction to something. I was about 21 at the time, and told her about my issues with asthma, I believe I demonstrated my need to have a puffer with me at all times by getting mine out of my handbag. It is a part of our lives.

It can get us down sometimes. But a) for others it is so much worse, we should be appreciating all the things we can do, not focussing on all the things we can’t,  b) if there are things we can do to help our bodies out, we should do them. And I hope to help not only my own body, but hopefully others as well.

Come with me on this journey, and maybe we can both lead better, healthier, relatively allergy-free lives that are still full of social events, eating out, DELICIOUS meals made at home that others will actually be jealous of when you bring leftovers to work, and a better overall feeling of well-being.

Remember: For those who eat everything – not everything is good for you. And for us, we find that SOME things are delicious, some things are good for us, and some things are all we need to live an amazing life.

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