Learning to Live with Food Allergies and Food Intolerances

Food allergies and food intolerances can be very challenging. The worst part of it is that people tend to have the attitude that you are just “being difficult”. I have been treated with down right scorn in restaurants and pubs because I can not drink a caffeinated soda or a glass of tap water. Ordering food and drinks can be an ordeal for everyone involved! For new friends and /or for a person that can eat and drink anything, it can be especially confusing and hard to understand. For a person with no allergies,  it’s extremely hard to understand that you are not being “closed minded”, you are simply trying to NOT BE SICK.

It can take weeks, months and years to figure it all out. For me, my allergies have been evolving.

They started when I was sixteen with a doctor figuring out that I couldn’t have caffeine and not for the usual reasons.  For me, caffeine can mean severe stomach cramps-when I say cramps I mean “please God, just let me die debilitating stomach pain”-, nausea, uti and more.

A few years later, I started having problems with water. The symptoms are very similar to the caffeine symptoms. Through trial and error I found that I needed to stop drinking tap water.

My guess is that I’m allergic or intolerant to the chlorine and different additives/chemical leaching. It started with tap water and has evolved over an approx 20 year time period to where I can only drink water in glass bottles and I have to rotate the brands, never drinking the same brand for too long. As little as a SINGLE SIP of the wrong water can cause my stomach to inflate like a large balloon and then the debilitating stomach pains start…

For my husband – my patient, saintly, saintly husband- who very sweetly carries the recycling out every Wednesday… all those glass bottles are not only expensive and heavy, they are embarrassing because he’s QUITE convinced that the neighbors hear the glass bottles rattling together and that they think he’s a wino! Lol

Homemade fizzy water with ice cubes and lemons

As you may guess, ice is a problem as well. As the ice melts into my drink, it can cause nausea. So now,  I try to use an insulated cup and finish my drink before the ice has time to melt. Recently,  I’ve started freezing ice from the water I can drink so that I don’t have to worry about it as much for over night and day trips.

Homemade fizzy water with ice cubes and lemons in a prized Tiffany Plaid Crystal Glass

As well as water, over the past couple years, through a process of trial and error we found that I have a problem with garlic, onion, broccoli and quite a few other fruits and vegetables. The onion and garlic has been the most difficult.  Most recipes begin with onion and or garlic, making it very difficult to go out to eat or order take out. We’ve adapted our favorite recipes by cutting out the onion and garlic. It really didn’t take long to adjust to the new taste and now we can REALLY taste onion and especially garlic if it is in something.

As far as going out to eat (before the pandemic hit) I learned to accept the good with the bad. In other words, if we want to go out with friends,  I eat as blandly as I can the day before and the day after AND I know that I’m not going to feel well the day after. Symptoms the day after eating out can range from nausea and stomach cramps to diarrhea.

It’s much more difficult on vacation. For example,  when we flew to New Orleans for a group trip with friends, it was impossible to find a restaurant that served anything without onion & garlic in it and very difficult to find the brand of water that I could drink. By the last day or 2 of the trip, I was really very ill. Still, I would love to go back again!

In the following weeks I’ll be posting some of my favorite recipes. If you have food allergies or intolerances and you’d like to share any helpful tips or recipes that you’ve learned through your experiences, please comment at the bottom of this post 🙂

Published by sharietomlinson

I’m Sharie. Owner of Butterfly Bunny Studio and The Urban Duck. Mixed Media Watercolor Artist, Bunny & Disney Lover, Avid Gardener, Proud Mother to Josh, Bunny Momma to Princess Buttercup Bunny and Wifey to Jason. I am located in Columbia, Md but I’m a Harford County girl at heart! You can find me on Etsy at Butterflybunnystudio.store and on Instagram at @notjoshsmom Email me at butterflybunnyarts@gmail.com

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