The heart, like the stomach, wants a varied diet. ~ Gustave Flaubert
[ Poor Clawdie; The struggle is real! ]
Anyone with a food allergy , especially multiple ones understands the trials of temptation when it comes to the food favorites you once loved but can no longer have. It's been about 10 years for me and the journey's been formidable at times too, maddening! Back when I started, there weren't the enormous variety of choices that there are now. [ The early years of Rice Milk, Yuk! ]
However, that being said like the old song says "Ain't nothing like the real thing!" So here is where the challenges start and to be honest never end. :D The pic of Clawdie sneaking in old favorites is a scene replayed so many times throughout my journey! I'm much better now, I believe because there's a bigger picture that I have to look at, and that's managing my Asthma and my Osteoarthritis.
When you have other health challenges, and multiple ones, it brings a different light to the situation. It calls for a discipline or suffer attitude, and to be honest I believe that's what I needed, [though I would've NEVER agreed if I went back in time to the old undisciplined me. :D]
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways", saith the LORD. ~ Isaiah 55:8
Learning to live with food allergies takes a new coping mindset, that includes lifestyle changes including dealing with reactions of friends and family. People on the 'outside' of this lifestyle may not understand the seriousness of your food allergy lifestyle and you find yourself facing ridicule, resentment (especially during holidays because food is so personal and traditional for so many families ), people often take your turning down their food as rejection, then not only do you have to handle not participating in some of your family traditions, ( and bringing your own foods which are also looked at as weird or made fun of ) but trying to manage your feelings and the feelings of others as well! This can and will bring on some angry feelings because you're the one who's going through this but other people treat it like it's their affliction.
Many people including kids unfortunately encounter bullying because of their food allergies. No one should be bullied, and if you find yourself in this situation, speak out and up, never allow yourself to be a victim of someone else's ignorance. Keep an open dialogue with your kids with food allergies so that they know that they can come to you or any other adult in their life who can speak up for them, advocate for them and teach them to do so as well.
People, because they're uncomfortable with your life changes will make fun, or even exclude you because they just don't understand because you may have consumed certain foods since they've known you. Sometimes people equate food change lifestyles to some sort of new diet, that it's just a fad. Oh and let's not forget the times people who will (or have) come to you spouting that you shouldn't be eating a certain food ( like gluten free for example) because of some clip they've heard on the local news; without any further knowledge on the topic in which you know and live with! It's frustrating, but important to explain what's happening with you and why certain changes are necessary. :D
[ I can't stress enough to family and friends of those with Food Allergies, you support is very important. Hassling or MAKING FUN OF someone who's going through tough changes does't help matters. Support REALLY matters! ]
[ Clawdie is fortunate to have a good friend like Roxy who supports her food allergy journey. But sometimes she goes overboard! LOL! ]
Let's not forget those who believe they're helping (and in their way they believe they are) by constantly food policing you! :D Who's been there?? My hand's raised. :D Communication isn't always easy, because as I've said you are already going through your own changes. Here is where it's going to take patience for all to adjust and for you to let your family and friends know what's ok with you and what isn't.
[ sometimes people mean no harm, they're simply NOT on your food journey and don't always feel the need to make the effort to have to 'remember' what you can or can't eat. ]
Sabotage! We've all experienced family or friends saying but it'll be ok if you just have some (of the offending food) just this once, or a little bit of 'this' won't hurt you, etc... Explain how it's not possible for you to consume the (foods), that you're managing your HEALTH and that its imperative or you'll wind up sick or worse. Let family/friends know that it's important for you to have their SUPPORT just as if you had a disease or any other illness and to not aid in leading you into temptation.
[ Roxy's passionate about her friend Clawdie's health, as she's a health nut herself. Sometimes frustrations boil over when dealing with food allergies...]
[ Clawdie has been having trouble with guilt from her food rebellions and with living with others who have to be careful to not cross contaminate her food...]
Guilt is one of those emotions that plays on those with food allergies for a few reasons. If you're indulging in something you shouldn't there's guilt, if you can't participate in family food meals, there's some guilt or fear of offending, if you're not managing as well as you could there's guilt. In my years of food allergy experience I have two words: Forget Guilt!
We're human and prone to struggles, it's part of the life experience. Food is something deeply personal to most of us and significant changes in diet, especially while removing many of the traditional foods you've grown to love and even associate with positive memories is no simple task. We're in a Mental battle. It can be particularly difficult for those who do not really have any detectable symptoms. There is no one formula for everyone. Your experience can be as different as we are from each other.
[ It's fun discovering and enjoying food in it's natural state, like these fresh figs and avocado! ]
Over time as you begin to adapt to your new paradigm and most importantly; discover tasty and healthy alternatives to your old favorites, and create some of your own; and you'll be rewarded with better health. Will you still long for those oldies but goodies? I do, honestly, some things just cannot be completely replicated, ( but I've come close with a few sweet treats!) Moreover, I've come to enjoy simple and pure foods like strawberries with coconut based whipped cream (It's insane!), or garlic infused greens topped with grilled chicken. There's a world of real and nutritious food that's available. Who's had a plate of fresh Figs when they're in season? Heaven!!
Find a food allergy community either in your town our online where there are hundreds of like minded food allergy journey folks :D Here you'll find endless recipes, and take comfort in the struggles of others as well.
www.community.kidswithfoodallergies.org is a place for kids and their loved ones to get the support they need.
www.community.aafa.org these communities are supported by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
www.foodallergy.org This site will assist you in finding support groups in your area as well as offer the opportunity to become members pf FARE [Food Allergy Research & Education]
[ So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31 ]
Even though I live with asthma and arthritis, I too still struggle at times. I've found that when I'm upset or stressed, my 'wants' tell me to toss all caution to the wind and just have what I want. I'm much better at tuning out my 'wants' and focusing in on my 'needs' because those wants don't care about my health and when I have to deal with the fallout, those wants are nowhere to be found! :D My needs take care of me, they lead me to foods that support my health in any emotional situation. My needs reward me with better controlled asthma, less or no joint pain and clearer thought processes that in turn allow me to make better decisions all around. It's cyclic behavior, one thing effects another and that effects something else.
It's my hope that if you're reading this as one who lives with food allergies, it will give you support and help you to realize that your'e not in this alone, and that it's just another part of our journey. Messing up, or rebelling against certain ways of eating are all part of the process and are not to be considered a measurement of your value. Remember, we are valued by our Lord and through Him. Bumps in our lives serve to move us closer to a better way of living. The longer you're in it ( the food allergy journey ) the better you get at it!
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. ~ Luke 2:40
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