The breakfast buffet had a little bit of fruit and a lot of muffins, scones and pastries. Everyone piled up their plates and went about their morning as I surveyed the food situation from a few steps back with another woman. “Sorry, am I holding you up?” I asked her. “No, I’m just trying to figure out what I can eat.” “Me too. I’m a bodybuilder and I’m pretty sure pastries are not on my meal plan,” I laughed. “I have food allergies. Breakfast is a nightmare.”
Suzan Bonds, the woman with food allergies, and I got to talking. She had only recently discovered she had food allergies and was still trying to learn about them. I asked her if I could interview her for my blog, and she said she’d love to. So here is Susan’s story followed by her advice – 7 Strategies for Coping with Food Allergies.
“How did you realize certain foods made you sick?”
“I suspected for 6 years there was a problem with my diet, but didn’t realize it was allergies. I was at my sister’s house in Chicago for Christmas, she and her husband love pasta, so I ate it every day. I was sicker than a dog but didn’t know why.”
After a long process of allergy testing, elimination diet process and turning to alternative medicine, she realized she had five distinct food allergies – gluten/wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, potatoes/corn.
“Do other people in your family have food allergies too? What do they think caused your allergies?”
“I’m the only one in my family with them. I was born early and hospitalized on and off first two years in oxygen tanks. We suspect my adrenal system did not develop properly.”
“How did your friends and family react when you told them you had food allergies? I have a friend who recently discovered gluten allergies and her family didn’t believe her.”
“My parents and family were concerned. Some friends thought I was just being trendy, trying to be cool. ‘No,’ I told them, ‘I want bread and cheese and eggs right now and would stuff my face if I could!’ Having to change my eating habits changed the relation of friendships. I became closer with most of them.”
“What was the toughest part about dealing with food?”
“Before I figured out what was wrong, I didn’t’ want to eat anything because I was afraid of food. It can be scary. “
“Do you have any advice you’d like to share with people who suspect they have food allergies or just recently discovered that they do?” “Sure!” Here are Suzan’s:
7 Tips for Coping with Food Allergies
- Start by getting allergy tests with doctor. You might be allergic to a combination of things. If you are not getting answers from traditional Western medicine, you could try alternative medicine where they read your body chemistry and offer suggestions of what to eat and what to avoid.
- Try an elimination diet, which means you remove one type of food from your diet, such as wheat, for a period of time and see how your body feels. Then add that food back in your diet and see how your body reacts.
- See a Dietician. Foods have genetically changed; pasta is grown differently now from 20 years ago. Many foods are genetically altered, and that can affect you too. You can see what you put in your body shows up externally and not just by gaining weight. A dietician will tell you what foods you can and can’t eat.
- Ask for help and find people who are supportive. When I go to restaurants they are supportive. Waiters have been educating me. They give me gluten free recipes. Go to Whole Foods – they would teach me how to make food in a different way. I’d tell them, ‘I love chips. I’m gluten free. What Can I eat?’ They walked me through the store and showed me gluten free options like Boulder Chips.
- I follow “The Beauty Detox” by Kimberly Snyder. I use her recipe for Green Smoothies and make a couple of batches so I have breakfast for a couple of days, as breakfast is the most difficult meal for me.
- Find things you can take in the airport. Traveling is a challenge.When you are hungry it can be miserable. I pack Larara Bars, hummus, gluten free crackers and apples.
- Don’t worry what anyone else thinks.
Thanks, Susan, for sharing your story and tips! If you would like to check out Suzan’s blog you can read here: SuzanBond.com and @Suzanbond.
Do you have food allergies too? What tips would you like to share?
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