With age comes wisdom and a few food allergies to keep things interesting. In mid-2015, after complaining to my doctor about stomach irritation, bloating and generally not feeling well, specifically after eating dairy, she wanted me to undergo a few blood tests. We joked at the time about the results coming back with something strange like an allergy to eggs, which I told her would be heart-breaking for me. I have eaten eggs all of my life, which as it turns out, might be part of the problem.
Of course, a few weeks passed and I got the call, my results were in! I was eager and hesitant because I wanted to unlock the mystery behind my digestive woes, but I feared that I would have to give up the foods I love. The results, (spoiler alert: re-read the title) were mind-blowing for me.
I was indeed moderately allergic to egg whites and, less so, to the egg yolk. The craziest thing was, all of these years I thought I was Lactose Intolerant. Nope. I am allergic to Casein, the protein in milk. I am also highly allergic to Green Bell Peppers and to Corn. But, the one that really surprised me was an allergy to not only gluten, but wheat as well. Whaaaat?
The blood test performed measured certain foods and its antibody building reaction. As I listened to my doctor read off this long list of things I had varying degrees of reactiveness too, I was speechless. I had heard of people who were gluten intolerant, but I never associated any of my symptoms with anything wheat related. To me, it was always the dairy. Apparently, my gut knew, but my brain was still catching up.
So, after a glass of wine, white because, you guessed it, my test also revealed a slight allergy to red, I took this on like a mission. I was determined to omit these things from my diet and see how I felt. I figured it was an investment in myself and like, setting a fitness goal, I was determined to make my best effort embarking upon a rather restrictive nutritional goal.
I am now seven months into my life without wheat, eggs, and dairy. People say to me, if I had to give up, fill in the blank, I would simply die. You know what, you won’t! When there is scientific evidence that something you are consuming is causing harm and discomfort, you tend to get motivated. And, further motivating, I feel better having omitted those things from my diet, yay!
I don’t miss the food that causes me so much agony. I am often asked if someone wants to order eggs, pizza (gone, but not forgotten) or pasta whether it bothers me (yeah, I have the most thoughtful and supportive husband, family and friends), but it doesn’t bother me. I loved eggs and I still do, but I don't eat them as often and now, I savor them. When I do sit down to enjoy an egg (about once a month), I actually taste each bite, with pleasure. I think I inhaled them before without much thought at all.
So, for me, life without these foods has become an extended exercise in mindfulness and nutrition that works for my body. I have explored many substitute options, like gluten free bread (gag), vegan cheese (gross) and the worst one, gluten free pasta. To me, eating these overly processed, chemical-laden, taste-lacking subs are not worth the calories, nor the ingredients I can't even pronounce landing in my less-irritated digestive tract.
I learned to slow down and enjoy each bite. I learned to really listen to my body, no really listen. I also learned that there are some truly tasty gluten free beers available now (thank you God and Omission). Life, for me, is about more rather than less and I am so thankful that, at least for now, my gut, skin, hair and nose, seem to agree.