Ahhhh…the allergen free life. It’s gotten much easier over the years but sometimes you forget what it was like when you ate whatever you wanted whenever you wanted and then, well, felt like total crap. When I’m tempted to fall off of the gluten-free and dairy-free wagon I try very hard to remind myself of how terrible I felt the last time I caved in. Horribly stiff joints, neck pain that requires anti-inflammatories, swelling, sore breasts, chest tightness and congestion, feeling so tired that it felt like someone drugged me, flu symptoms, migraines, irritability, itching, stomach and intestinal issues, and if I really overdo it, eventually a shingles break out which then gets my nervous system all whipped up. Just because someone’s throat doesn’t close and tongue doesn’t swell up does not mean that they aren’t allergic to certain foods or don’t have food intolerances. Sometimes the symptoms are more subtle, sometimes people are eating their allergen foods daily and just have an overall “feeling yucky” kind of feeling. You know, when you’re not feeling up to par and you can’t figure out why? Some people can tell when they eat something that bothers them but they live on antacids instead of realizing that they shouldn’t be eating that food. They may think that it’s just irritating their stomach but in reality, if they are intolerant or allergic to what they are eating, it’s also taxing their immune system. I can’t say this too many times or loud enough…STOP IGNORING YOUR SYMPTOMS!
We already know that food allergies worsen autism, can cause and or worsen ADD/ADHD, cause irritable bowel syndrome and all kinds of intestinal and stomach issues, and they are finding out more and more about the link between food allergies and intolerances to auto-immune diseases. Food allergies have also been linked to arthritis, asthma, canker sores, shingles breakouts, eczema, and fertility problems. As Americans, a lot of us over-eat, over-work, over-stress, under-exercise, and ignore our health issues.
Do I miss certain foods? Of course! But not nearly as much as I thought I would. I probably miss pizza the most because to me, it’s the ultimate “I’m tired and don’t want to cook” comfort food. But, such is life. I can make all kinds of GF and DF pizzas that are absolutely delicious without all of the horrible side effects I listed above. As a matter of fact, I absolutely love proving that I can make almost anything gluten-free and dairy-free and still be satisfied and happy with what I’m eating. If you like to cook and bake, it’s easy. If you don’t like to cook and bake or don’t have the time, it will be a little more difficult, but not much. You won’t have as much variety but there are still all kinds of foods out there that you can enjoy.
If you’re new to this world of eating gluten-free and or dairy-free, I feel your pain. But just know that after a few months, you’ll feel so much better and you’ll get the hang of it. I’ve written a couple of articles filled with tips and advice to get you going in the right direction. You can find them here Arm Yourself With Knowledge and here Where Do I Start?. I promise it’s not nearly as difficult as people make it sound. Placing yourself in the driver’s seat where your health is concerned is a gift of a happy life to not only you but your entire family. I am thankful every single day that I don’t feel like I used to and am taking charge of my own health, and I want you to feel that way too!