Tuesday, January 5, 2016

This Is Me Not Caring That My Food Allergies Offend You...

Like a lot of people I have issues with certain foods. Not because of texture, smell, or overall disgust. Because I am gluten and lactose intolerant. Paired with a hiatal hernia , I've clearly got issues...
I am so tired of people acting as though food allergies are a choice.
Food allergies are more common than most people think, causing major gut problems people pop Tums in mass quantities to mask.
Last year I was experiencing lower abdominal pains and GI issues. My doctor was concerned it was my gallbladder. He ordered all kinds of scans to be done. After refusing another surgery, I did some of my own research (again) and testing. We determined I was gluten intolerant. I avoided surgery, prescriptions, and few thousand dollars in medical bills.
Granted going out for a bite to eat isn't always the easiest, but I find it easier now than a year ago. Most restaurants are supporting the gluten free world, along with educating their staff on the topic. What I find concerning is why does it annoy, disturb, or bother anyone that I order gluten free pizza with no cheese and loads of veggies? Could I possibly make the wait staff that uncomfortable with my personalized order? Would it be better if I arrived without pants on and ordered a more common meal? I think society is often so offended by personal choice as it is, but food allergies are NOT a choice.
I cannot eat such food groups with out major side effects. Migraines, crazy menstrual cycles, gut aches, constipation, bloating, joint pain, insomnia, fog brain, just to name a few.
Recently I mentioned how my food allergies required me to make my own food for ultra events that I run. I had an individual look at me as though I had  third eye! Here's the scoop...it's VERY easy! Eating real food during events has also help speed up recovery. I used to take in sugar filled foods, candy, basically crap during races. Now, I eat sweet potatoes, avocados, gluten free turkey, Cutie oranges, mashed potatoes, lettuce wraps...my menu is colorful! (Gluten free Ciabatta bread is also lovely for sandwiches.)
Since the change, I have had less GI issues (sometimes none), quicker recovery, I actually don't have to force myself to eat, I enjoy it!
Food prep for races is easy... I make a list and prep all of my foods. I place them in "throw away" Glad containers or baggies. I find that it's also easier for myself and my crew to keep track of my calories as well. 2 Cutie oranges (peeled) in a baggie on the go supplies me 160 calories. Versus a gel that supplies me with diarrhea.
Keeping things cold is easy. Keeping things warm, not so much. Recently I have been spoiled with races having access to a microwave. However, at more remote events, warm packs do the trick if I warm my the food up before hand. I also adapt to what I need, and having a crew helps with this hiccup.
Another discussion I have been part of recently, "A gluten free diet is too ________." Fill in the blank: expensive, time-consuming, inconvenient, hard for me. The truth is, our grocery bill isn't much different. Yes, specialty items do cost more. I do not eat a lot of bread, pasta, or what I call convenience foods. When I do buy them, it's more like a treat. Most of our grocery cost is produce...and peanut butter! I do not eat meat regularly, that also supports the offset of gluten free expenses. I also find that when we do go out for a meal, I order a side salad and a baked potato most times and my meal is generally the least expensive!
My children eat about 60% gluten free in my home. I don't tell them, and that don't know any different. I feel like kids need more fruits and veggies daily anyway, and not filler foods. We all think we need crackers, bread, cereal. We don't! Try eating gluten free oats with fruit for breakfast, or a green smoothie. For lunch have a salad with lemon juice, instead of dressing. Treat yourself to zucchini "pasta" with a veggie full sauce! Learn to explore foods, fight the norm!
Create a happy place in your body...it will thank you!

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