Part 1: My Story on coming to grips with Food Intolerance (or The “Different Dinner Guest….”
What Prompted Me to Write This?
I was chatting with Marie (a great friend) about intolerances a few weeks ago where she urged me to write a blog on my story as it may help others. Then later I came across a post by The Kitchn on The Most Difficult Dinner Guest Ever: And 5 Delicious Meals to Feed Them. With both I decided the Universe or the Time had just come for me to give my story, the aim of my blog.
You may find it useful especially if you’re in a similar predicament such as
- getting nowhere with the medical profession,
- family and friends frustrated at you being so contrary and awkward to feed.
- having trouble with certain foods (this may show you there is light at the end of your tunnel out of the hell that is untreated food intolerances).
- being constantly ill and yet all the tests your body is enduring are coming up empty
- eating out is a nightmare
It’s been difficult to write as I don’t like sharing what I consider very, very, very personal but since chatting to Marie I seem to be bumping into people, articles etc that say please write your story. My story or road to where I am today may throw some light or help even one other person out there. If it does I’ll be very happy.
I’ll keep it brief and won’t go into too much detail but remember you know your own body and if you’re not well get yourself sorted. Your body and loved ones and friends will thank you for it.
2005: Finding Out (or accepting things weren’t right)
A few years back in late 2005 I finally knew I had to set about sorting out my food as one or more foods I was eating were causing problems. Wheat was my first port of call. I searched for alternatives. I had tests and little did I know there would be a series of tests over the next few years to no avail. I replaced it with spelt and this eased a lot of the symptoms and made the whole lot more bearable.
Since this discovery in 2005 I’ve been changing my diet to cater for all my intolerances. For myself the main ones I have are dairy (for me includes any produce from cows, sheep or goats), wheat, egg and fish of all kinds. There are a few others (e.g. sea vegetables, cashew nut and brazil nut that I’m still a bit unsure of and coffee decides to cause problems every now and then). In the end I’ve luckily sorted myself out but it’s been challenging. Eventually the lack of proper care (despite my efforts) resulted in I getting very sick. I landed in hospital at Easter 2010 and nothing wrong could be found. This is despite the fact that through the first day after I was rushed in the bloods and other results were frightening the life out of the medical team. Within a couple of days I was fine again, leaving them totally perplexed as to what was wrong with me. Also in 2010 I was being scheduled for a nose operation due to the severity of rhinitis (this got cured when I removed dairy from my diet).
In mid-2011 I embarked on a fitness program to lose weight. As the doctors has given me the all clear on milk, dairy, fish etc the coach saw no reason not to go full throttle. With that I embarked on a good fat diet which was packed with full fat milk, full fat yogurts etc. Little did I know then that he did me a huge favour. All my health problems culminated in late 2010 to mid 2011 being in a state where nearly every food that passed my lips made me ill. I was weak, unable to function. My symptoms accelerated which included fainting, no energy, diarrhea (and constipation), aches, pains, stomach cramps, bloating, a “cloudy” brain, psoriasis got much worse, rhinitis and a host of other ailments. I even landed back in hospital for St. Patrick’s Day 2011 after losing consciousness. This time with organs on the decline and again perplexing the medical team.
Yes over the years I’ve had the tests for gluten intolerance, dairy, asthma, throat cancer, various heart tests among others. I was also scheduled in 2011 for an operation to sort out severe rhinitis as the only cure but once I gave up the dairy the problems cleared.
Have you have ever heard “Oh you’re a coeliac” then after doing the tests they say there’s nothing wrong with you as the tests came back negative or got lost or whatever? Even despite all my protestations that I wasn’t well? Well folks remember to ask the doctor if the test is for allergies or intolerances. If it is for allergies only and comes back negative then this does not mean you don’t have an intolerance which can range from mild to severe, the latter being my situation.
Coupled with the intolerances as I’m a very thankful recipient of a kidney transplant the medication I’m on brings it’s own challenges in terms of dealing with intolerances. There is a chicken and hen situation as to know whether they caused the intolerances or the medications associated with the transplant just make the whole situation worse.
Over the years I was told by the medical profession they had no tests for intolerances, regardless of whether it was wheat, dairy, gluten, egg etc. Most refused (from my experience) to accept or even engage with me on the possibility that intolerances exist. When I asked for advice I was mostly fobbed off with just give up a food if it doesn’t agree with me. One doctor even told me she wasn’t going to waste time doing more tests or try to sort it out! This is despite the fact I wasn’t well. However like a dutiful soldier I kept removing food causing me problems. However what would have have been more useful was for them to ensure that I spoke to a nutritionist so that suitable replacements for the nutrients lost could be sourced from alternative sources.
Grant it the medical profession are not up to speed with intolerances but I’d have thought they’d know that removing vital nutrients from one food source must be replaced with an alternative source. Anyway, up until late 2011 it was difficult to find a nutritionist. I found a few of them feared dealing with me because of my transplant. Dieticians either told me I was doing more then they’d have told me or just said according to medical research that I should be able to eat wheat, dairy, fish etc. I was in a bit of a quandry and needless to say I just became more ill.
I scoured the internet and read as many health books I could, yet I knew I needed help to fully incorporate the necessary nutrients back into my diet. I’ll deal with how I overcame and started enjoying life again with intolerances.
So now we need to take a break (well I do anyhow). I’ll fill you in on more with the next post.
Feel free to leave a comment or send me a link to your story of over-comimg, in the middle of dealing with, intolerances. Or do you know someone in the throws of dealing with intolerances? I could set up a section on the website if people were to find that useful.
Did you found this useful?
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