My entire life, I felt sick as soon as I ate. Peanut butter sandwiches, cookies, pizza, pasta, burgers-you name it, it made me sick. I gradually just came to accept the frequent trips to the bathroom after meals for one reason or another, the fatigue and the condition of my acne that seemed to get worse the more I ate.
Around college age, I started cutting food groups left and right to see what it was before spending the money on an expensive doctor’s visit. I was convinced it was a milk allergy, but cutting my milk from my PBJ snack didn’t help me feel any better. Next up was the peanut butter, which I ate religiously on pancakes and sandwiches. Cutting the peanut butter didn’t help, either. I knew something more had to be going on.
I went to my doctor shortly thereafter and had a battery of allergy testing done to learn I am sensitive to gluten and after a long talk, determined that I was probably also having trouble processing fat. I was surprised, because I had never heard of gluten sensitivities. Suddenly all those tummy aches from pasta and pizza added up. I decided to do my best at cutting gluten down bit by bit until it was gone from my diet, and to avoid fatty meat.
I was lucky enough to go to college in a town where there was a health food store with lots of gluten free options. I picked up crackers, bread and even pizza crusts. At that time, chain stores did not carry any sort of gluten free options, so I had to choose carefully what was worth my money the most. I started eating more salads, lean meat and became a master at making my own delicious meals.
Within a few weeks, the acne and redness in my skin vanished, my digestion improved and I had a lot more energy. I began to feel good enough to exercise and could finally enjoy meals out with friends without embarrassing side effects. I always brought gluten free dishes to parties and made sure I had something to snack on if I needed it.
It can be difficult to stay gluten free sometimes. I often find myself craving a slice of pizza when I am with my friends and only have a salad. Sometimes I do cave and have bread or grain, but I notice every time I do, my reaction is worse. My advice to anyone with food allergies or sensitivities is to stick with avoiding them, and you will eventually stop craving them as much.
If you suspect you may have a food allergy, contact your physician as soon as possible. I could have saved myself a lot of sickness and damage to my body if I hadn’t played doctor at home. It is totally possible to have a normal life, including social life, while avoiding what makes you sick. In fact, you will probably live a much happier life without the stress of getting ill.