Keeping It Real { A Food Allergies are Hard and at Times Overwhelming Type Post}

I have gone back and forth on whether or not to share this post. I have written and rewritten it many times over the last few weeks. I do not want to come across as complaining and whining, but at the same time I know you all understand.

One of the things I love about my allergy section is that I can keep it real because you all get it. We are all going through the same thing. You all get what food issues are all about. And I am so thankful I have this place to go and I am so thankful for you.

When it comes to food issues the last few months have been tough for me. I have struggled. I have longed for a piece of real pizza. I have longed to go out to eat without having to ask a hundred questions.

I have been tempted to buy that doughnut at the store, and I have fallen apart over food more times than I care to admit. I am tired of being on guard when it comes to everything that comes into my house and goes into my mouth.

I have been gluten free for over two years. My daughter has been nut and peanut free for over two years. Food issues are not new to me and yet there are times that it is still really hard.

There are times where I just wish I could eat normally and have a normal kitchen again. There are times when I wish we were no longer that family that no one wants to invite over because we are so hard to feed. I wish I could go on vacation like a normal person and not have to stress about food, where we will eat, and worry if one of us will get sick.

I have found that relaxing for me since going gluten free and nut free is extremely difficult. Food is a part of everyday life. We have to eat so, I am always on guard about what I eat and what I will feed my family. I am always having to think about food. I can’t just relax and take a day off from dealing with these issues.

There are times that eating gluten and nut free is just overwhelming and hard to accept. There is no break from dealing with these issues and that is something that only those dealing with these issues can truly understand.

And yet, I know how I will feel if I eat that doughnut or piece of pizza. I know what will happen if I am not careful and my daughter eats a peanut by mistake. I know that gluten free living has given me a life that I never thought I would have. I know that gluten free eating has change my health and made running a mile in under 10 minutes possible for me.

I know gluten free eating is so worth it and yet at times is can still be hard. I would not risk my daughter’s health for anything and yet that does not always make it easier.

My goal has always been to focus on the positive, but sometimes focusing on the positive is harder than others.

And yet deep down I know it could be worse. So many people wish their health problems could be fixed with food and ours can. So many people deal with problems much greater than I am dealing with.

I am so much healthier and I know in the end this journey is so worth it.

If you are struggling with your or your family’s food issues, just know that you are not alone. We all struggle. We all have those days and times where it is hard and overwhelming, but in the end we all know that it is worth it.

Thanks for understanding and thanks for letting me keep it real.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. Thank you, Lynn, for expressing what I feel, too. I started my gluten-elimination diet a year ago next week. It solved almost all my health issues, including a few I never would have guessed (like insomnia and early stage arthritis). I go through periods when I cruise along with no problems, and then all of a sudden, I will get hit with that longing for “the forbidden” like you mention. What wouldn’t I do for just a simple piece of bread and butter? And I get tired of being the picky eater, the one who asks all the questions, and being left out of the cake/birthday parties at work. So thank you for your post. It’s nice to know that others feel the same, and I’m not alone.

    • Thanks! That is the exact reason that I knew I needed to share this. Knowing that others know what the struggles are like helps us all get through it.

  2. You are so right in everything you said. It is nice to see someone talking about those feelings we all have, but don’t always talk about. I couldn’t agree more. My immediate family understands, but the rest of them do not. I am also sick of people who go gluten free because they want to lose ten pounds, and have no understanding of what it is to be gluten free, and why we do it. Great post!

    • Thank you. Knowing that people understand really does help and I am glad we can all help each other.

  3. Thank you–great post! You said it so well… there is never a break, that is what gets me too.
    Right now my struggle has been the people that know they should be gluten free for health reasons, but they tell me it’s too hard. I have a son with celiac disease (and can’t do dairy or soy) and the rest of us are gluten intolerant–Hard? Yes! Choice? No! Seriously, I’m not a good option to complain to about how it’s too hard to do… I didn’t get to choose.
    I believe in keeping positive too, but it’s nice to vent to those that ‘get’ it! Have a great weekend!

  4. Linda S says:

    Oh yes I think we all feel that way. My kids are always saying they will take me out to eat but then we have to try to figure out where I can go……… I too would just wish to go into a eating place and just order…anything….
    But like you the knowledge of the health issues it will cause keeps me from eating out most of the time. I live in Montana so there are not a lot of options.
    We just just have to lean on each other and we will get through these food craving times.

  5. I understand how you feel. I am gluten free and my youngest daughter is showing signs that I need to do the same for her. My middle daughter is a type 1 diabetic. My oldest daughter has a tree nut and peanut allergy.

    • Thanks, it really does help to know that others get it. And when I hear stories like yours where you deal with a diabetic on top of nut and gluten issues, I realize it could be so much worse for my family. We only have gluten and nuts to worry about and others deal with others on top of what I do.

  6. I admire you for jumping in and adapting recipes to suit your family. I am afraid to switch over to changing the way I always made things. It is just so overwhelming. For me going gluten free I have just gone without and it hasn’t been too big of a deal. At least I can still have chocolate :) Now that one of my daughters may need to be gluten free also I need to make things for her. That is why I love your website!!! I have longingly look at several of your recipes!

  7. It sounds like you are still grieving, and that’s not unusual. When we lose a loved one, we grieve to some degree for the rest of our lives because we miss that person, and they can never be replaced. No, it’s not the same as losing a person, but it is still a loss. Let yourself grieve. Have a good cry when you need to, and then keep going. It gets easier. And sharing your struggles like you did here helps. Thanks being real with us, Lynn. You’re not alone.

    • Thanks Linda. I think you are right, it is a lot like grieving and I expected that in the beginning, but not really the occasional episodes that come and go. But comparing it to losing a person and having grief come and go with certain memories, dates, etc. helps put it in perspective. It makes sense that at certain times and certain things will make it harder. For me I think it is the stressful and busy times that make the reality of gluten free harder for me to deal with. And knowing I am not alone and that everyone else has had these times really helps.

  8. I agree that it can become overwhelming at times, especially when you need a quick meal or on vacation. There is also a misconception that eating gluten-free has become easy; and although I am sure it is easier than it was years ago, I think truly eating gluten-free is extremely difficult and time consuming (and expensive). Every meal becomes a chore.

    I think it is frustrating for all us dealing with food issues, but eventually I think it will just be our normal :)

    • The every meal is a chore part is where I am at right now. There is no break, no quick run to the store to grab whatever you have time for, no eating out because you do not feel like cooking. Thankfully, I like to cook, so that does help deal with it some. And yes, I think/hope it will eventually become our new normal.

      • This is EXACTLY what I was going to say! All of my kids are now gluten free (the oldest has been for almost 18 months) and I am feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of every meal and snack needing to be prepped or at a minimum “checked and approved” by me.

        I worked really hard to stock my freezer with “quick foods” for all the busy days we’ve been having. But now those meals are gone and the days are still busy. (Big deep breath!!) One day at a time!!!

  9. I’m right there with you Lynn, and I’ve had a tree-nut allergy since I was 5! Whenever I travel, that’s the hardest for me – realizing how much I’d love to have that ice cream cone too, but just can’t. I often long for a “day off”, but I know that’s not really what I want. I just need an extra dose of God’s strength! I have certainly seen Him provide for me time and time again, when I literally thought I couldn’t keep going. When I am weak, He is strong. Thanks for sharing this here and to your readers – thanks for reminding me there are others out there who know exactly how I feel :)

    • You are so right, life is full of trials and God always gives us the strength we need to deal with them and for that I am very thankful. I am so glad I shared this post, I think we often feel like no one understands, so it is nice to know that others struggle also and that they really do understand what it is like. :-)

  10. Cheri A says:

    I can identify with everything that you posted and all the comments. I’ve been dealing with my daughter’s multiple food allergies (milk, egg, soy, peanut, strawberries) since she was born 13 years ago, and then she acquired a wheat allergy and probable celiac diagnosis 6 years ago.

    Most of the time we just plug along and deal with it, but there are times that are just harder than others that she or I just get sad and wish we didn’t have to always be thinking one step ahead and always being the parent to have to call and ask about food all the time. It has gotten so much better the older that she has gotten because she doesn’t care that she’s different and just chooses food that she likes to take to whatever the event is. She can also speak up for herself and will, if she has to.

    Wierd as it sounds, though, I feel that her allergies are a blessing in disguise. I look around at most of the people here IRL that just blindly consume what they throw in their carts at the grocery store and am happy that I know how to read labels, cook from scratch, and feed my family healthy whole foods. I’ve learned that some of my friends just prefer to keep their blinders on, and so we don’t talk about it. Others are more open and we talk about new recipes I’ve tried or why I choose to only buy produce from the U.S., etc.

    • I agree on the eating healthier part. That has been a benefit to dealing with food issues. When you are always having to read labels and be aware of what you eat, you really see what you eat. It makes you really think about what is in food, etc. We do eat much healthier, more naturally gluten free foods, etc. since going gluten free and that has change our over all diet for the better.

  11. Love your post!! I am gluten intolerant and my son has an egg allergy (that he seems to be outgrowing) and most days the plus FAR outweighs the minus, but I get tired of people who think it is some kind of fad diet to get skinny. I do it so I don’t feel exhausted, have constant headaches, aches and numbness ( not to mention the GI issues). I do it for me and I do it for my family – they deserve a momma who feels good enough to take care of them well everyday. Hang in there – I find a glass of good wine and a bite of dark chocolate can make almost any day better :)

  12. My daughter and I had a favorite snack long ago-roasting fresh pecans in the oven. Every time she would eat them or pecan pie or pecans in any form she’d tell me her throat itched. I didn’t think anything of it. Fast forward about 6 years and she was covered in a rash after eating pecans. Of course, we stopped eating them immediately. Now even when the pecan trees are blooming she can’t be near them. She gets so sad not being able to eat her favorite childhood snack!

    I have recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The doctor didn’t tell me anything about eating except that if I lost weight it would help. I have been reading that eating gluten free can really help with controlling fibromyalgia symptoms and pain. The thought of giving up whole wheat crackers and breads is hard to comprehend. After reading your post and the comments, I can feel how much it hurts y’all at times. I’ve already started reading labels and as I use up gluten products I already have, am finding replacements if possible. I also avoid soy if at all possible, being a thyroid patient. Soy, like gluten is in everything, I’ve found out. Gluten in lipstick? And toothpaste? God bless you all with gluten issues!

  13. Christy L says:

    My son was diagnosed with Celiac a year and a half ago (he was 18mo). I still grieve for the loss of his “perfect” life. Well, the potential for a perfect life, anyway. While I has read countless posts about the positive side of a gluten free, this is may be the first of the down side. It has been easier in the last few months but until then I cried a lot when he wasn’t around. Everything you said was spot on. It is like you wrote this about me. I, too, long for a day off to eat out. (We still take his food everywhere.) Today was his 3 year well check. He’s now in the 25% for weight and height. This just shows how far he’s come. In Jan 2011, he was off the charts and classified as a failure to thrive.

    Thank you so much for posting this. I often feel like I am alone in this as he is the only one with any kind of food issues in our circle. It’s really nice to have resources like yours. So thank you for all you do. It is appreciated more than you know.

    • Please know that you are not alone and readers like you are why I decided I needed to post this. There are many wonderful things that gluten free has given me. My health and my daughter’s health are so much better, but that does not always make it easy. There are days and times that we all struggle. I am so glad to hear that your son is improving. It is worth it, and overall it does get easier I think, but it is nice to know that others have days and times that they struggle.

  14. Danielle says:

    I totally empathize. I am anaphylactically allergic to tree nuts and I recently discovered my gluten intolerance. But yes, sometimes the whole food allergy thing is overwhelming. Eating out is such a pain, and I just feel like I’m known as the No Nuts Girl. I sound like a broken record asking… “are there nuts in that?” and “There’s no nuts in that right?” I recently discovered your blog, in my google search for a nut free, gluten free granola recipe. I can’t wait to try out your recipes.

    • Thanks so much! It really is nice to know that others understand. I hope you enjoy the granola and my other recipes. I am glad you found my site. Thanks for reading.

  15. I, too, understand. We talked about training to go gluten-free for probably a few years due to a son with what seems to be Asperger’s – we understood that we might see a benefit. But then we learned that ourdaughter has gluten sensitivities – and through our elimination of gluten in our home (I was still breastfeeding her at the time, so therefore I also had to eliminate gluten) – we learned that we are all sensitive to gluten. If we are not actually allergic after all – we’ve not been tested. Our extended family has tried to be supportive and encouraging, but the fact of the matter is, they think that we choose this and can go back or forth as we want. That we can have a “treat” every now and then. It has been nearly a year for my daughter and me…a few months for my son,

  16. Jennifer says:

    I completely understand where you are coming from! My son has so many allergies that I have to watch out for and when it gets over-whelming I have to remind myself that I can’t be lazy or let my guard down because it’s his life! He struggles with being that kid that everyone is afraid to have over because they are afraid they are going to kill him…..it makes him so depressed sometimes. He is allergic to milk, lactose, beef, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. It’s amazing how hard it can be to find things without all of these things in them!!!!! Thank you for keeping it real!

  17. I have 5 kiddos and our oldest had the worst case of excema and food allergies our doctors had seen in a long time. He could only eat carrots and rice for almost a year. Had to be supplemented with this awful liquid they drank at NASA.

    I would long for the days where we could go out and grab a bite to eat on a whim. Not cook 4 different meals a night. We have another with food allergies and one with high functioning autism with some serious food aversions! We have dairy, peanuts and egg allergies and it is rough around here at times.

    It really hit close to home reading this. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Hi, just discovered your site and am really enjoying it. I have been gluten free for 15 months (as well as lactose intolerant for 20 years) and it has been getting easier. the GI and head issues that have improved 95% are worth it. I am so careful, and my immediate family knows the drill-‘no double dipping in mayo etc. after regular bread’, ‘don’t let the sauce spoon touch your regular gluten filled pasta so mom can at least use the same sauce as everyone’. Last weekend ate out-from the ‘gluten free menu’ at a chain restaurant, then had birthday cake that my MIL made special for me all gluten free, but ended up sick, lasted for 4-5 days, not sure if it was the restaurant or if there was cross contamination when the cake was made (quite possible knowing my wonderful MIL, she doesn’t get that part of being GF) so now am freaking out about going on vacation out west in a few weeks. will try to bring what I can with me as I don’t know what kind of shopping I will be able to do out there. hopefully there is a Trader Joe’s along the way!

  19. Hi Lynn. With one of my relatives the only way I we go out to eat is if I call ahead to the restaurant and speak with the chef about what kind of meal he could make that would be safe. The kind of restaurant where you can do this is not a cheap restaurant. Travel is not easy for my relative, but eating in Asia is much easier than eating in the US or Europe! It’s much easier to feed me, but still, one of the main reasons I eat fish now instead of being entirely vegetarian is so that my friends will be able to easily make something I can eat when they have me over to dinner. My other note: potlucks suck. I’m sure you can relate!

  20. My son’s allergy is to food dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6 mostly). I totally understand how tough it is every single day to deal with that. The difficulty for us is that restaurants are required to list the 8 major food allergies but there is absolutely no requirement for them to list food dyes. We found out that at our absolute favorite restaurant (Souper Salad!) that until our 3 year old will eat green leafy salad with vegetables on it there are only about 3 things he can have in there – chips, goldfish crackers and the chocolate pudding. The on;y reason we were able to find that out was that we had been in SO much that the managers all knew us and they would go back and check their bags and boxes and whatever for us. We were grateful that they would do that, but we really can barely go there now. Why those petroleum (yes, like gasoline petroleum!!) products are allowed to be in our food is anybody’s guess, but it is. I like what someone said about it being easier to eat in other parts of the world. It is true for us too. Although I haven’t been anywhere outside the US in almost 20 years, I do know that most countries have either banned the dyes all together or have required HUGE labels on stuff saying it has dye in it. Sad that the US FDA doesn’t care enough about the American public to do the same.

  21. Thanks so much for sharing you feelings and your recipe’s Lynn. We’ve found that BJ’s resteraunt has a great gluten free menu. The gluten free pizza is great and the gluten free pazookies (dessert menu) are out of this world. So far, no problems with cross contamination. :)

  22. paula jordan says:

    I am just getting started with gluten free and I too am a food addict. I just can’t handle glutens anymore due to the tumors I have in my abdomen. So I will read with interest anything you can unearth. the flour issue seems daunting and I am not sure how to bake with guar gum, etc. – but where there is a will there is a way and I am ready to try. So, thanks for your patience and creativity in creating recipes.

    • It does get easier as time goes on. We all have days and times where we struggle, but it is so worth it to have better health. I have not done much with guar gum, I use more xanthan gum. Start slow and look for foods that are naturally gluten free, and that will help when getting started. I am glad you found my site. I hope my recipes and tips help.

  23. I just stumbled on your blog today (looking for a homemade taco recipe – yours was a hit!) and this post is exactly how I feel. Our oldest son has a peanut allergy, and it is hard to explain to friends how your life is completely changed. Thank you so much for sharing, and can’t wait to try more recipes!!

    • Thanks, I am glad you found my site and enjoyed the tacos. And as far as allergies go, knowing others out there understand what it is like makes it so much easier. All the comments on this post have been so great. I now know others know just how I feel.

  24. Well said, Lynn! I’ve been gluten free for 6 months & my 9 yr old daughter gluten free for 4 months….I have my days when I just want regular pizza & a real sub. My daughter ate gluten 2 days ago (Intentionally) and was sick all day yesterday. I know how frustrating it is for me to be able to eat what I want…..my heart breaks for my daughter when she frustrated by it.
    On the flip side, we are so thankful for better health……but man it sure would be nice to just eat whatever we wanted 😉

  25. What an encouragement! Food allergies are new to our family; my youngest (7 months) cannot tolerate dairy, soy, wheat, or eggs (and I haven’t even tried peanuts/tree nuts). He is breastfed (and we’ll be delaying solids for quite a while because he is a serious refluxer and recovering from failure to thrive), so it means my diet was the one to change immediately. There are days when I feel dull in the head from not eating enough–there just too few things in our house I can eat, and they all require preparation (with children ages 5, 2, 19m, 8m, and 7m, I just don’t have the time). And yes, I know what it is like to pack my own food wherever I go (I simply cannot trust any food I have not prepared myself) and not have “a night out” or special treat to look forward to. But I have MANY blessings to be thankful for: 1) after a rocky start and low weight gains, my son is finally starting to nurse well and gain weight–this makes it ALL worth it! 2) this trial is temporary–my diet can change when he weans, and it is possible he will grow out of his allergies, and 3) I thank God that I actually HAVE food and am not starving to death–there are many people around the world who would give anything to have unlimited access to my plain beans and potatoes. :)

    • You are right even with food issues, we have so much to be thankful for and remember that during the tough days we we long to be “normal” really helps. Thanks for sharing that.

  26. I understand the frustration. I have a son who has more allergies than anyone his pediatrician has ever seen before. The list is so extensive that there is no way our family could adopt his diet. That means I must prepare a second meal. It’s very frustrating. I wish it were just gluten and nuts! That would be a breeze! We are already GF as a family since my husband was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance (and my other boy, who is nursing still, can’t handle gluten), but we can’t cut out all nuts and seeds (except hemp and flax and chia–those are the only seeds he can have, and no nuts at all), and we can’t cut out nightshade and kiwis and the couple dozen other foods that my poor brain can’t remember right now. We just have to do the best we can.

    • You are right we have to do the best we can. And hearing stories like yours make me thankful we only have to deal with gluten, nuts, peanuts, and sesame. I know it must be hard to deal with all the issues you are.

  27. Elena Marshall says:

    I SO feel your pain!! I am the mother of 8 children and in the last few years, we have learned that 2 of my girls and I have food issues. :o( I hate that it makes cooking for 10 of us so challenging. I try to not let it totally steal my joy when cooking, especially since I’m the momma who shares love with food and fellowship. I will be praying for you!!! <3

  28. Rebecca R.. says:

    I am just beginning to wonder about gluten issues here. One of my daughters, who is a lot like me in a lot of ways, has stomach aches (which I used to have as a child, along with aching hips), occasional loose bowels for no apparent reason, some body aches at times, etc. Since I was a child, I had constipation issues, stomach aches at times, etc., and now have had digestive issues, heartburn, sensation of food caught in throat, etc., which happens to be in a flare up mode at the moment. I do wonder…will have to research some more.

    I can relate to the daily concern with food. We have nine children, ages 15 down to 3, with two sets of twins. We homeschool, and life is busy. The last set of twins was boy/girl, and the baby girl was failure to thrive, with other physical issues. It seemed like she probably had some sort of genetic disorder, but no testing showed anything. She was tiny for her age…even now at 3 1/2 years old, she is in mostly 18 mo. to 2 T clothes. and size 4 toddler shoes. Anyway, over the last several months, I am getting to be reasonably sure that she has Prader Willi Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder where she will never feel full, will always be hungry day and night, and all food access will have to be restricted and locked up, including garbage, etc. She would be hungry all the time, and yet because of lower metabolism than normal, would only be able to intake about 60% of the calories of everyone else. Right now, we have not had her tested yet, but she has several characteristics that fit, etc. Her BMI went from less than 5th percentile to 64th percentile in 1 year, because she suddenly was gaining weight much faster than her height was increasing. So, I have started to watch her portion size, limit carbs, make healthier replacements in some portions of the meals, etc. It is tough with 11 people in the home, to try to give her what she needs, on a tight budget, and make sure she is not getting hold of food she should not have, etc. Now I will need to start researching whether we need to add gluten free to the mix at all….I hope not, as things are crazy enough already! :-) But if that is what is needed, the Lord will provide.

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