The reason I started this blog was to provide support to those in the food allergy community. Obviously changing our diets is vital to our wellbeing but I also feel a large part of the healing process is the sharing of stories and learning you’re not alone. This page is to be an open forum where anyone can share their food allergy story. Tell us how it has changed your life, how youre’re feeling, your favorite products or recipes or anything else you would like to share about life with food allergies. Let us know what’s going on in your life so we can be a source of support and encouragement to each other.
I’ll go first. This is my food allergy story:
I spent much of my life feeling awful and I had accepted feeling that way as my ‘normal’. I experienced chronic fatigue, severe nausea, IBS-like intestinal distress, headaches and I had a weak immune system. It never made sense to me why I felt so lousy, I was young, fit and ate healthy. I just categorized myself as someone who needed a lot of sleep and had a ‘testy tummy’. It wasn’t until I tried to help my brother with his numerous health issues that I started down my own path to health.
Joshua, my brother, had experienced a continual decline in his wellbeing for almost 15 years. He had bronchitis so many years in a row he developed asthma, if anyone around him had a cold or the flu, he had it next. He suffered from chronic fatigue and insomnia. He had his appendix and gallbladder removed in the same year, yet he still suffered from constant abdominal pain that the surgeries should have taken care of. When he called me during the summer of 2011 and said he had been diagnosed with mono it flipped a switch in my mind. It seemed apparent to me there had to be an underlying issue that was causing his issues and none of his doctors were looking at the big picture. After some research I sent him a list of common symptoms of gluten intolerance and asked if he had any. He wrote back he had them all.
This convinced me that his health issues could be traced back to food allergies. I felt he should see a holistic allergist because all of his conventional doctors had failed to look at the whole picture of his health issues and I knew a holistic allergist would look at all aspects of his wellbeing. I gave Josh the number of a holistic doctor who had been highly recommended to me.
When I told my husband, about the conversations I was having with my brother and how he had made an appointment to see this holistic doctor, he said “you sound just like your brother with all the health issues you are having”. Surprising I had never before made that connection but it was true, so I also made an appointment to go to the doctor with Josh.
On August 18, 2011 Joshua and I had back-to-back appointments with the allergist. He spent several hours with each one of us going over our medical history, our health complaints and what our typical diet consisted of. He concludes that food allergies were likely the root cause of our health issues. He proceeds to test us for numerous food allergies and it turns out Joshua is allergic to gluten and dairy and I am allergic to gluten, dairy, potato and avocado. It’s not surprising we have similar allergies because food allergies are genetic (if you have food allergies chances are other in your family do to, so you may want to consider having them tested as well). The doctor told us that in order to feel better we would need to change our diets and guess what, it worked.
Although it was difficult at first, rethinking meals, eating out, handling food cravings and dealing with the unpleasant consiquences of accidentally eating something I can’t, the benefits far outweigh the any of those relativly minor inconveniences. I’m not constantly tired any more, I only have stomach issues when I accidentally eat something I’m allergic to and I haven’t been sick in months. Although my brother’s health issues were more complex he is also well on his way to being healthy again.
Having the support of family and friends has made and continues to make a huge difference in how easy it was for me to transition into this world of living with food allergies. Having a brother going through the same thing also made a real difference because. I have someone to call who can relate to how I am feel and what I am going through. Hopefully you, the readers of this blog. will feel a similar sense of connection and support by reading and sharing your experiences. I look forward to hearing from you.