I have food allergies.
Lots of them.
I don’t know how or where they came from. It’s as if my body woke up one day and went, “You know, I have a new way to make you hate your body more than you already do.” And poof! Suddenly I can’t eat anything. Sodas made me break out with red cheeks and throat pain, pizzas made my skin itch, and chocolate gave me headaches. If I thought my body issues were bad before, well, at least it hadn’t tried to kill me off before.
There are several allergies up my belt, but the worst of the three are wheat, corn, and soy. Also known as, the three main ingredients in all processed foods and beverages. And of course, there is no known, guaranteed cure for food allergies. Otherwise, all of the kids allergic to peanuts would be eating gobs of peanut butter, right? My doctor, after hearing about all these allergies, prescribed me an
I got tested for these allergies two years ago after I was concerned that I was diabetic. The doctor that handled the test told me that I “lit up the charts like a fireworks show.” My family doctor, after hearing about all these allergies and seeing the results, prescribed me some epipens and said that the only thing I can do is experiment and test my level of tolerance with each allergy.
So, basically, eat something that can kill me and see if I die in the next few minutes. Sounds like a flawless plan, huh?
Well, I did all of that since the initial diagnosis. It was a slow, mentally and physically draining process. And all this experimenting and testing has done one thing: It has proven that allergies suck.
Wheat was the first to go, since it’s avoidance provided a simple solution: just go gluten free. Gluten free eating was/is an eating trend that had picked up speed in the small town I was in, and has expanded from the town that I’m currently living in. And since wheat is the prominent gluten provider in everything, then gluten free was the easiest way to avoid that allergen. Just hop onto the diet trend that old me thought was pretentious and stupid, and no more itchy bumps.
The second one I was forced to wean off of was soy, so, I had to say goodbye to soy candles, butter, crisco, and chocolate. That one was hard, because I love fried foods and candy, and this one allergy took them both out. I was eventually able to gain the fried foods back, but chocolate still continues to elude me. Which really sucks, especially when I start getting sad. Not being able to eat my number one comfort food just makes me sadder, and my blue episodes worsen. But I’ve found sweet alternatives and seem to be doing okay. Some days.
Corn, however, is the worst of the three. It can be found in just about everything. It can be found in condiments, soaps, cheese, sauces, cleaning supplies, plastic, and so on. If the food I’m looking at is soy and wheat free, you can bet that it has corn in it. It may be outright in the name of corn or cornstarch or corn syrup, or it will be one of it’s aliases like maltodextrin, citric acid, or dextrose. Heck, it may not even be on the label, because the FDA doesn’t require companies to regulate the use of corn because it’s not in the Top 8 Allergens list. So I can eat something and have a reaction, because it can have hidden corn in it. It’s like a Russian roulette, but with kernels instead of bullets.
These three allergens are the worst out of all of the ones I have. I can avoid foods like shellfish and nuts just fine. Just stay away from nutty products and seafood, easily done. But avoiding all of the items made out of the other three? There goes about ninety percent of the items in the grocery store, if not more. If I want to eat something, guess what I have to do about it? Make it at home. And even that’s not safe, courtesy of cross-contamination within the products that I get that are supposed to be “allergy-friendly.”
Eating has become a chore. A necessary evil. It’s almost as annoying as doing the dishes or cleaning the toilet. But I can neglect to do the dishes for a day, and deal with a dirty toilet for a few weeks. But I cannot go without eating for more than three days. That’s biology. It is just so frustrating to know that a requirement for living, one that I used to enjoy doing on a daily basis, has become this terrible ordeal.
I never thought that I’d be stuck in my kitchen a good chunk of each day. Or having to worry about where to go on dates because I just know that my allergies are going to butt in and become the center of attention. I mean, I can’t even go to a movie theater, because the smell of the permanent popcorn odor makes me break out in a face rash. And movie theaters are, like, the second most popular places for dates. And don’t even get me started on restaurants.
I’m trying to deal with it, in bits and pieces. But it’s hard. I live in a world that scarcely cares about allergy problems, outside of bylines under an ingredients list and a doctor’s office. And it’s only been two years. Adult food allergies are not able to be cured, last I knew, meaning that I have to live with this my entire life. Unless by some miracle, it just goes away.
But I’m not going to hold my breath. The terrible triad of allergies and their buddies are here to stay, and I’m just going to have to deal with them. One day at a time.