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Monday, February 4, 2013

Accepting that you're different

Food Intolerances and Allergies - Accepting that you're different.For those of you who have been reading Southern In-Law for a while, you'll know that I'm a little bit different.

As a hypoglycemic coeliac with way too many food intolerances, food can be tricky. With Jesse home, every night I have at least 3 pots/pans on the stove at once and often have the oven on too. Dinner leaves a pile of pots and pans and different cutting boards and utensils.

Why? I have a gluten eating fiancé with no food intolerances who thinks cheek-achingly sweet is just right and has now decided quinoa is a no-go.

But it's not just Jesse. My family and friends are the same so, generally speaking, I never eat the same thing as anyone else (the only exception is when Jesse and I have oatmeal or grits for breakfast and Jesse now eats gluten free pasta so I can make ours in the same pot).

Being a coeliac means that even traces of gluten make me insanely ill. I have separate pots, pans, utensils and chopping boards and I've got to be careful I don't mix things up when I'm cooking a gluten filled dinner for everyone else and a gluten free dinner for myself. 

When it comes to cakes and baked goods, I make things two ways. For my family, I follow my recipes as you see on the blog - while for me, they are gluten free but with a more tolerable amount of sugar. It's not because I avoid sugar or think it's bad whatsoever, my body is incredibly sensitive. If I eat sweet sweet foods without something else to offset the sugar (often times high protein or complex carbohydrate foods work) my blood sugar crashes dramatically and I end up with dizzy spells, nausea and have been known to black out. I've eaten this way for so many years that I love natural sweetness from fruits and lower sugar treats so I don't feel like I'm missing out at all. My family, on the other hand, are used to eating really sweet foods - so it's rare that they "love" my versions - especially Jesse.

The baked pancakes above were one of my not-so-sweet recipes. I thought I could get away with it since we were eating them with Nutella (for me, a small amount of Nutella is about as sweet as I can go without having an insane blood sugar crash) but I was wrong. Jesse is very much stuck in his ways (as are most people) and decided they didn't taste like pancakes were supposed to taste (read: southern style sweet) and if you put Nutella on top, they only tasted like Nutella (where's the problem with that?!) so alas, one of those pancake hearts was broken and half ended up in the bin.

This is a problem that many people with food intolerances or allergies have - accepting that you're different. It's tough - but once you realise how much better you feel when you're true to yourself, it doesn't hurt so much anymore.

So tell me, do you have food intolerances/allergies - or do you eat entirely differently to your family/friends? How do you cope? 

One of my bigggggest coping mechanisms is to be prepared. When you can't eat at dinner parties or when you're out and about - you have to be sure you look after yourself - because seriously, there's nothing worse than looking at food that you can't eat when you're about to chew your arm off! ;P 


  1. Kristy,
    I recently found your blog through pinterest. I am so glad I did! I myself have had quite the journey with food and have to say that your story is so comforting- I am not alone! I am lactose intolerant. Until I found this out I'd get sick ALL of the time. Nausea, bloating, diarrhea, you name it. It wasn't until I stopped eating it that I noticed what a difference it made, but also how many foods have some form of dairy/lactose in it. I also have a similar problem to sugar. It's nothing that comes up in tests but I know it happens. When I eat too much sugar I later feel dizzy, tired, like my sugar drops. I end up eating small meals throughout the day and high protein/low carbs so my sugar levels don't spike. Moreover, I have been taking antacids for YEARS I mean at least 7 years in order to actually eat food. It seems like if things are fried, oily, too condiment ed, you name it, I get sick! I also have noticed that wheat seems to make my stomach bloat. I have tried to cut back significantly on wheat and have noticed it helps. The things is I am young (26) and feel like I have been sick since I was 19. I see everyone else eating and drinking the things they want and feeling like an alien bc my stomach is so sensitive. I have been told by doctors that "that's just how your stomach is". From my knowledge, I do not have celiac disease ( I have been tested), I dont have allergies, I just don't digest well. I can't believe that this is all, something has to be up. I just want to eat foods and not worry about it! My story is not quite as bad as yours and I am still searching for what else I can be allergic too. To be honest, I am tired of going to doctors and feeling like food is running my life. Do you ever feel like that? I have developed such anxiety bc I essentially become paranoid of what I can or can't eat. I do lost a significant amount of weight while I tried to figure all of this out. Today, I thankfully am doing okay but I'd love to get off Nexium, Prilosec, etc and learn how to not let these food issues control my life! Any suggestions??

    1. Hi Millie,
      It is so lovely to hear from you - and I'm so glad you found Southern In-Law!

      I think I know exactly how you're feeling and I know it is SO frustrating.

      It seems like we have the same issues with sugar - my doctors had trouble pinning down the cause (and hence I got slapped with the umbrella term hypoglycaemia) but they told me that eating small, frequent meals as I do is the best option. Protein and fat definitely help me to keep my sugar levels stable - but I've never tried eating low carb (as I actually think carbs help to stabilise my blood sugar some what too - or that could be the carbaholic talking :P)

      You have really similar symptoms to me with the indigestion and stomach upsets - but with not having coeliac disease, perhaps it's just the way your body digests things. I did still have a lot of trouble after eliminating gluten because my stomach was just so damaged so I started taking digestive enzymes. I take one with lunch and dinner and I find it makes a huge difference with my digestion (I take these ones from iHerb http://www.iherb.com/Source-Naturals-Vegetarian-Daily-Essential-Enzymes-500-mg-240-Capsules/1448)

      It is really hard seeing everyone else eating and enjoying the foods you can't have - and I cannot tell you the number of times I have been told "I don't know what's wrong with you - something is very wrong, but that may just be the way your stomach is" and I also can't tell you the number of times I have wanted to take a doctor's eye out with a spoon :P

      I know exactly how you feel, feeling that food controls you - because that's something I get upset about quite often. I hate having to go out and pack food - or have to stay home because I'm feeling sick and can't figure out why. I would love to be able to eat and not read ingredients lists or ask a million questions - but I also know that it's better that I do.

      If you've only been seeing one doctor - I can't recommend seeking other opinions enough. It wasn't until I saw other doctors that I found out what was wrong and I was taken seriously. Also look at other options - I found that medicines made me sick so we began looking at Bowen Therapy and other natural medicines which really helped a lot - not only for my stomach issues, but for my mind too.

      One of the biggest things is - as this post says - accepting that you're different. Unfortunately, we're not able to eat like other people - but that's not the end of the world. As much as I hate feeling like I have this huge burden with food - I'm also grateful that I am able to make smart choices and feel better.

      If you ever, ever, ever need someone to talk to who knows how you're feeling - you know who to email :)

      I hope you can figure everything out very soon!


  2. Kristy,

    Thanks so much for replying! I am definitely looking into other alternatives than just traditional medicine. I found that eliminating foods and taking probiotics has helped MUCH more than taking Zelnorm, Nexium, this, that. It just irritates you more, you know? I don't know about in Australia, but in NYC (where I live and am from) everything revolves around food. I am glad I am not the only one carrying snacks with me!

    On a more positive note, hope to stay in touch and good luck with your upcoming marriage! I have been married for four years (we were both young as well 21 & 22) and can tell you it is AMAZING! Best of luck with everything and I look forward to your future posts : )


    1. Hi Millie,
      You're so welcome! I can certainly understand how medications would be making you worse - I was prescribed so many and my doctors couldn't believe when anti bloating/nausea/pain medications would have me looking like I was 9 months pregnant and feeling like someone was running a razorblade through my intestines!

      Everything revolves around food everywhere! Birthday parties, coffee dates with friends, anniversary celebrations, afternoon teas - you name it! I carry snacks everywhere - and the only thing that frustrates my family is that I'm shy about it. If we're eating at a restaurant where I have no food options and have to bring food, I'll pretty much eat it out of my purse - one because I don't want to make a scene or be rude - but two because I've gotten sick so many times just from gluten contamination!

      Definitely stay in touch! Thank you so much - we are so happy to finally be planning a wedding, haha!


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