The Emotional Side of Food Allergies

Food Allergies
I have to be honest. Lately, I’ve been struggling with my food allergies. Maybe it’s just the heightened emotions of this pregnancy.

But it’s all become a bit overwhelming.

*Sigh*

I try to keep a positive attitude, because really, it’s food. I’m not starving. I’m not terminally ill. One look at the news headlines will tell me how much more horrible life can be. I need to suck it up and move on.

But every so often it’s nice to have myself a little pity party.

I think the reason I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed is because my allergen list is growing. And my safe foods list is quickly shrinking.

At first it was just dairy. I cut out all dairy products – no big deal. The biggest adjustment was cheese, but I finally found two AMAZING substitutes (Daiya cheese shreds – their cheesecake and mac and cheese are great too, and Field Roast Chao slices – out of this world flavor). Yay!!

Then, I took out gluten. I’m not celiac, but after doing a food challenge I realized how sluggish and bloated gluten made me feel, in my gut and in general. So I cut gluten and never looked back.

Still, not a huge deal. There are plenty of gluten free options out there. I’m so thankful for all the allergen free brands! Kudos and thanks to you all!!

Mystery food allergies? I’m over them. Sigh. #thatsmyforearm

A photo posted by Cheryl Pitt (@cheryllpitt) on

But then…then I started having gut trouble again, last October. Severe digestive distress episodes which would last for a few hours and consist of my gut painfully evacuating everything from my system, just like my diary reactions. However, this time my episodes came with weakness, sweating, itchy palms and throat and a lovely itchy rash.

I couldn’t figure out what was going on. But I believe I’ve found the culprit. After much trial and error, juicing (which I love), a Whole 30 Diet (which I strongly recommend – loved it), going Paleo for a while, allergy testing and an intense food challenge, it looks like I have Alpha-Gal.

Basically Alpha-Gal is a tick-borne or chigger-borne allergy that causes you to become intolerant to mammal meat. That’s right, no beef, lamb, goat, pork, venison, etc. Just fowl, fish and seafood are safe.

I was bit by a tick late last summer. My symptoms started late fall. I say it “looks like” I have alpha-gal because I haven’t been tested yet. But I will be soon and all signs point to this issue.

Since cutting mammal meat out of my diet I’ve generally been okay. Except in a few cases which left me wondering, is it something else or do I have to be very careful of cross contamination?

Case in point. Hubby and I went out to eat. We were at a steakhouse, however I ordered fish. Shortly after arriving home I had a reaction. So, was it cross contamination with the fish being cooked alongside the beef? Or am I allergic to something else entirely?

I don’t know yet. I share all this to 1) whine, 2) commiserate with others going through the same issue, and 3) to illustrate that allergies aren’t all cut and dry. It’s not always easy to pinpoint an allergy. And it’s not always easy eliminate the allergen.

Eating out for me now consists of a plain salad. It sucks some of the joy out of anniversary dinners and holiday celebrations. So much of our lives and events revolve around food.

Once I get tested and, hopefully, have some answers I think I’ll feel better. Understanding exactly what you’re dealing with is half the battle.

So, forgive me if I whine a little more than I should. But by all means, enjoy every single bite of your Thanksgiving dinner! Seeing others enjoy “standard” food brings me joy. Because honestly, even though I can deal with them and work around them, food allergies kinda suck.

Thanks for letting me vent :-).

Celebrate Valentines Day With Raspberry Monkey Bread and Curious George

My two year old, Amelie, loves to help me in the kitchen. Cooking, baking, cleaning, it doesn’t matter, she just wants to help!  I’ve been surfing Pinterest, looking for easy Valentine’s Day recipes to make with her. There are a ton of great ideas, but I wanted something *just right*.

Then, last week, I heard PBS was coming out with a brand new Valentine’s Day episode of Curious George. And that’s when it hit me – Monkey Bread! It’s quick, easy for even little hands, and it will go along with watching our favorite monkey!

Raspberry Monkey Bread

This ooey gooey creation was a hit with the whole family! My husband said it tasted like an inside-out jelly doughnut, and that’s a very good thing around here. I liked it because it’s easy to convert to dairy free or not, and you can easily switch up the flavors by changing the fruit filling.  Next time, I’m going for strawberry rhubarb.

Raspberry Monkey Bread

Serves 8-10
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Bread, Dessert
Misc Child Friendly
Occasion Valentines day
Gooey and delicious Raspberry Monkey Bread. Quick and easy to make. Kids love it.

Ingredients

  • 3 7.5oz Cans Refrigerated biscuits (these are small biscuits)
  • 1 3.4oz Box Instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 15oz Can Red raspberry pie filling
  • 1/3 cup Orange juice

Directions

Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 and oil your bundt pan.
Step 2 In a medium bowl, combine the instant pudding mix and cinnamon.
Step 3 Cut each individual biscuit into quarters. Add the pieces to the pudding/cinnamon mixture and toss until well coated.
Step 4 Add the pie filling and orange juice. Stir gently until well combined, taking care not to mash the biscuit pieces.
Step 5 Evenly spread the mixture into the bundt pan.
Step 6 Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 7 Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving tray.

Easy, right??

Whip up some raspberry monkey bread, cuddle with the ones you love, and enjoy the new episode Happy Valentine’s Day, George!.  It airs February 9th and sounds like it will be a great episode, chock full of George’s usual antics.

Curious Geoege

In “Happy Valentine’s Day, George,” Curious George wants to make his friends the best Valentine’s Day card ever, but even with four paws, it takes a long time to create homemade cards for everyone. Using sponge shapes, red paint, and a waffle iron, George creates the first ever monkey Valentine’s printing press!

I wonder if Hundley the Dachshund will be in this episode? He’s another favorite of ours.

Do you watch Curious George with your children?  Do you have a favorite episode or character?


Linking up at: Clever Chicks Blog Hop

Milk Drinkers Are The Weird Ones

I have read, many times over, that our bodies are not made to tolerate dairy after a certain age.   Supposedly, the fact that people can consume dairy products into advanced ages is due to a genetic mutation.

So basically, I’m not as weird as my family would like to believe.  I’m the normal one.

I was tickled to discover this video from DNews.  I love how Trace breaks down the information with knowledge and humor (as usual).  Check it out and let me know what you think.  I find it fascinating.

And for what it’s worth…when I removed dairy from my diet, I couldn’t believe the difference in my skin.  At the peak of my un-diagnosed dairy issue my skin was horrible.  To the point of my father asking me what on earth happened to my face.  The difference has been amazing!

Also, my sister-in-law used to battle constant head congestion.  It was so bad she could barely taste or smell.  After reading that dairy could be the issue, she cut it out of diet and…you can guess what happened.  Her taste and smell returned as the congestion went away.

This isn’t craziness people.  It’s real.