Why I'm Grateful For Having Food Allergies & Intolerances
Imagine if food were made of paper, it would have the same nutritional values as real food of course, whilst still tasting AMAZING, however everyone would be able to enjoy paper food - even those with the most severe allergies. Whilst many would celebrate such an invention, an invention which I don't believe is as far fetched as we once would have thought, it would make for quite a boring gastronomical world.
Allergies and intolerances can be frustrating, a lot of time is spent reading the back of food packaging, pouring over recipes, and considering possible substitutes for meals. Whilst, at first this is disheartening, I'm now grateful that I can't eat certain ingredients. Having a restricted diet has made me aware of what I'm putting into my body and I'm more creative in the kitchen,. Food is something we should all have some knowledge about, after all it is what keeps us alive and the restaurant industry alone is worth $799 billion dollars.
My body doesn't tolerate dairy or refined sugar well - I vomit within 15-30 minutes of consuming either of these, which now is only due to accidental ingestion - it took 22 years to realise what was making me so sick all the time. Unfortunately, if I do eat dairy or refined sugar it stays in my body for up to a week and I struggle to hold down even water. I'm incredibly vigilant with these two as I have ended up in hospital before due to dehydration.
Animal protein in the form of meat aids the growth of tumours in my body. I keep my meat consumption low, and followed a vegan diet for two years however being completely vegan led to anaemia several times. I've had to work out a good balance for my body, so I tend to eat meat or fish a couple of times a week. Eggs don't seem to affect me too much which is great as they´re a good source of protein.
Bananas and Leaks - I can't process either of these and steer well clear as they have exactly the same affect as dairy and refined sugar for me.
Gluten is something I'm quickly becoming more and more aware of. A couple of years ago my doctor wanted to do a gluten intolerance test, explaining that with my restricted diet as it is, if there are things that I don't need to stay away from, it's best to have them in my diet in moderation. The gluten test came back all clear and so I brought it back. I've recently pinned the acne flair ups on my face down to one thing in my diet - gluten. I'm currently experimenting with a gluten free diet, and have seen a significant difference in my skin in just five days, so I'll keep you updated!
Having restrictions on my diet has made life interesting, it's the topic of many conversations when I'm around friends and family. Whenever a friend is trying to cut out a certain food from their diet, they tend to come to me for advice. So I thought it would be nice to start a series of posts on the blog about food, restrictions, substitues for certain foods, how I learned to listen to my body and the process I had to take to discover what my trigger foods were. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, so I won't be able to advise or recommend. I will only be giving my honest account of how I learned to live with a very restricted diet. I hope this is useful, I know that I have found reading other's experiences with food allergies and intolerances has helped me in the past.
Whilst you personally may not have an allergy or intolerance, I'm sure someone close to you does - according to the UK government a whopping 21 million adults in the UK have an allergy to at least one food. I hope these posts help in some form or another, be it personally or for a close one. I also publish free from recipes which act as a base for cooking simple, delicious food that everyone around the table can enjoy.
I'd love to hear about any foods you can't eat below, and if you have any questions or suggestions for this series please do let me know either via the comments below or contacting me - petacoote [at] hotmail [dot] com .
See you next Saturday when we delve into how my body became intolerant to all foods apart from jacket potatoes, which I lived off for nearly two months. I'll also be chatting about the long but worthwhile process of discovering what my trigger foods are.
I found the paper food templates on Mr.Printables, they took HOURS to cut up and make but I love the finished product!