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 :-).