What I Learned From Being Diagnosed with 34 Food Allergies

food selectionLast year I was diagnosed with 34 food allergies. Removing these food allergies from my system, along with processed foods and sugars, I have been cured of Hashimoto Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s Disease), gastritis, pancreatitis, significantly reduced the symptoms from and the occurrence of cysts related to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), I have regulated life-long abnormal / heavy periods and have lost 25 pounds. Additionally, after suffering from repeated occurrences of abnormal cervical cells due to the presence of the virus HPV for nearly ten years, I am HPV free.

Given these drastic improvements, I am a strong believer that the convenient, modified, processed foods we’re eating are at the core of most of our health problems. Unfortunately, mainstream medicine isn’t quite there yet, doctor’s looking to prescribe medication for a person’s symptoms, (and often causing other symptoms in the process), rather than treat the cause.

This is confusing people. Knowing what I know now, I can compare it to this: I see you, the patient, complaining of pain and discomfort every time you sit on a tack. The doc gives you painkillers (and maybe even some antidepressants as you get sadder about your butt pain) … but never removes the tack. And this way of handling your pain won’t change anytime soon, because the doctor can’t charge you for their services and the medical companies can’t sell you medicine any longer without the tack on the chair.

The food companies surround us with cheap, affordable, delicious, damaging crap — the medical and pharma companies ignore the effects of terrible “food”, treating only the symptoms — and the world of BIG money making keeps spinning ’round.

Anyways, back to the “food allergy” vs. “food sensitivity” debate. To me, it’s deeply frustrating. You don’t know how many times over the past year I’ve been confronted with the questions, “Yeah, but are these all food allergies or food sensitivies?”. The underlying tone of this question is always, “Can’t you just eat whatever’s put in front of you so that we can go to the restaurant I want to, or just eat in a hurry like I want to?

Food allergies or food sensitivities? It really doesn’t matter. If a person gets sick eating a food and is communicating to you that they don’t want to eat that food, then that is the end of the conversation. Slow down and listen to them. Check your feelings of irritation at the door — yes, it is an inconvenience to you, and you don’t get exactly what you want to eat … but that person with the allergies never gets what they want. They probably don’t ever get to go home after an exhausting day and order up pizza or Chinese. Whether they’re sick, exhausted or craving pizza topped with hot fudge because they’re so desperate for the foods they used to know, they have to cook their food, healthy, no matter what.

And those thoughts of doubting that the food allergies even exist? I have yet to meet a single person who has faked food allergies. Yet I’m confronted and have to prove mine all the time. This weekend I was denied admission to the day-long concert at Naperville’s Ribfest, because I didn’t have a doctor’s note to prove I was sick and needed to bring my own food in. Are you kidding me? As if my life isn’t hard enough with all this, now I have to “urgently” track my doctor down on a Sunday to get permission to eat at an outdoor concert? Are they going to stop the cancer patient with their oxygen tank, and tell them they can’t bring it in, because they already have air in the venue? Of course not. But somehow they think it’s okay to deny those suffering from food-born illnesses the ability to eat, at all.

Mine are actually food allergies. A food allergy is a harmful response within the immune system involving either the body’s T-cells or the immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody. When these cells come into contact with specific food proteins, such as milk, they react. This reaction can cause pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea — symptoms also found with a food sensitivity. Food sensitivities are reactions of the digestive system that aren’t linked to immune reactions. Food allergies can also cause rashes or hives, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, drastic drops in blood pressure, the throat to close and a myriad of other problems within the body. As I said, ridding my body of these allergens has cured me of things that many doctors told me were impossible to cure.

food allergensWhat many people don’t understand is that food allergies don’t often make you puff up and explode as soon as you eat an allergen — often they don’t even show themselves at all as you eat, or within weeks of eating the allergen. But deep down, these allergens are causing reactions within the blood, inflaming internal organs, messing with the balance of the digestive system, etc., often leading to some very serious issues. Food allergies are at the core of issues with digestion, fatigue, hormonal issues, emotional issues, issues of mental clarity, problems with headaches, joint aches, inflammation and so much more, (as are processed foods and sugars, as well). Many links between processed sugar and cancer are also being discussed.

And, suffering from food allergies — knowing how hard it is to stay away from certain foods and work to improve your health… I have one more plea to make. Not only should people stop challenging those of us who are made sick by certain foods, or those who are trying to protect family members who are sick (e.g. the endless debates between parents who want the convenience of packing a peanut butter sandwich vs. parents of children who go into anaphylactic shock around nuts — No, the poor kids with a peanut allergy shouldn’t miss out on life and education and stay home so you can hurry your kid’s lunch). But please stop challenging those who just want to try eliminating foods. Sugar. Gluten. Dairy. Any of the foods they feel are making them feel feel less than optimal. What.do.you.care? Let people make whatever food choices they want to for themselves, and support them in their efforts to try to feel better. There’s really no reason to judge them, get upset with them or worry about anything going on beside your own choices.

When it comes to other people’s food… just let it be.

 

 

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