Living with Food Intolerances

So you just got diagnosed with a food intolerance or you’ve been living with one.

It sucks.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a life changing thing and your gonna screw it up sometimes and you (or the people around you) are going to suffer a bit.

But it does get easier.

Just like that age old wisdom, time does heal. Well not actually but you at least get use to it. Cause eating whatever it is that is causing you problems has really not been working out so well. I know I’ve been there (Oh cream cheese! How I long for your deliciousness).

So a  few tips:

ONE: Get a good gastroenterologist.
Have them test you for whatever they think might be happening. Once you know what is actually going wrong you can start to do something about it. Changing your diet drastically before you know what is actually going on might hinder you more than helping. If your regular doctor wont refer you to a gastroenterologist, go find another one. I had to go through 3 doctors before someone finally believed me that there was an issue. They tested me and I was diagnosed with celiac disease and fructose malabsorption.

TWO: Get a good nutritionist.
That way you understand exactly what you can and can’t have. They can also help you make sure your eating enough of the right things so that you feel good and stay healthy. If your not a good cook or don’t know where to go they can create a meal plan or provided recipes.

THREE: Get your friends and family on board.
It can be devastating to show up to a potluck or family dinner. Look at the huge spread of food and realize you cant have any of it. Now I’m not saying that you should terrorize everyone into making food you can eat but hopefully someone is going to care enough that they made something you CAN eat (besides whatever it is you brought of course). The other portion of this is that people might not know what you can and can’t eat. Educate them, but don’t be a jerk. No one wants to have their ear talked off or berated. Find those couple family members or friends that are really paying attention and focus on them. They are the ones that are going to remember what grains actually contain gluten and might even do some research of their own so they don’t mess it up.

FOUR: Find a couple of places that you can eat out.
This is going to be easier for those of you who only have one intolerance because most places are able to pretty easily accomplish that. The more intolerances you have though the harder it is to find a place that will cater to it. If your not sure call ahead and ask. And at the end of the meal if they did accommodate you leave them a BIG tip. They went out of their way to make sure that you could have a delicious meal and it will help them remember you in the future!

FIVE: Plan ahead.
Ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure that you have food you can eat that is not going to cause you problems. If you’re not sure there is going to be something you can eat at an event, go ask whoever is hosting it or bring something. Stash some snacks in your desk or cupboards so your not eating from all the things you can’t have in vend-o-lia. Take the time to look at online menus that way you know what you can eat at fast food places and restaurants when your traveling. Maybe make a big dish of something every week that way you have something to eat when you don’t want to cook or freeze meals for later (cause you know your lazy, I know I am!).

Notes on my own love-hate-love relationship with food:

Its taken years to figure out whats been going wrong and I still don’t have a reason why this whole craziness started. One day I could eat anything with no issues, then Armageddon began! I began having issues with dairy, then beans, then with like everything else besides meat along with displaying hypoglycemia symptoms. Finally I was diagnosed with celiac disease and fructose absorption. Things have been going better since then and I’m still having issues with beans and dairy (though lactose is fine, weird I know).

What has been working for me lately has been eating 90-100% of my diet from FODMAP friendly sources (making sure not to have gluten, beans and minimal dairy). These charts from Kate Scarlata RND have been helping me keep on track.