Before allergies, I hated the notion of diets. I loved food and hated the idea of limiting myself to achieve the “vapid” goal of being skinny like my family wanted me to be. I was the fat one in my family, and everyone was always trying to get me to go on some kind of diet. And while I tried to a few times, it always ended up with me eating whatever I wanted and not caring about anything else.
And then the allergies came, and all the food I was scarfing down tried to kill me. Obviously, if I wanted to live, I had to change my diet up. But I was stubborn enough to think that the change wouldn’t be too bad or jarring or even life changing.
Man, was I an idiot back then.
The first diet I ended up trying to do was a gluten free diet. A gluten free diet basically means no wheat, barley, and rye. It was an annoying adjustment since wheat was the primary ingredient in all of my favorite snacks, but this was when being “gluten free” was getting attention and grocery stores were creating sections dedicated to this specific diet. Plus, I lived in a town with a Natural Grocers, so it wasn’t that hard for me to transition into the diet (aside from getting used to the taste).
But despite being on that diet, I still felt like crap. My stomach would be in knots, my throat would itch like crazy, and my chest would hurt. Anytime I went to the doctor’s office, I’d be thrown into a lot of testing only to have the results show “normal.” I got tired of spending so much money for nothing, so I changed up my diet again and took out more foods, like obvious corn and soy products.
I tried to go the “allergy friendly” diet route, but there weren’t nearly as many cookbooks as I had hoped for that niche diet. And with all the foods that I’m allergic to, those cookbooks and guidelines weren’t of any real use. They only focused on the Top Eight Allergens at best, and I have at least fifteen foods to watch out for. A lot of substitutions had to happen, and it was disheartening. So I gave up on that.
Then came the Paleo diet, which is basically no grains at all. Since I’m allergic to almost all grains, this one seemed to be more my speed. The problem is that the diet relies heavily on nuts when it came to baking foods or thickening soups. There’s only one nut that I can supposedly have, so that was not going to work. I can only tolerate one kind of flour so far so I could make up for it.
So, in the end, the best way to describe my diet is “Nut Free Paleo.” I eat a lot of plain meats, use only one kind of flour, and don’t even use spices to make the food taste better, which people think is insane.
This is one of those diets that I know people would look at and think, “That is insane and too strict. No way could I ever do that.” And, you know, if I didn’t have the issues I do, I’d agree with them. This diet is insane and tortuous. I wouldn’t force anyone into my lifestyle, even though my family loves to crack jokes about how skinny it’s made me.