24 Jul Is your diet working for you? The rise of food allergies and intolerances.
I knew I hadn’t been feeling great for a little while. My throat was swollen, my joints ached and I felt under par and whilst I had been over doing things for some time, something was telling me these symptoms weren’t from overworking but from something else. Finding out what that something else was took me the best part of a year and took me on a whole new journey. The food intolerance journey.
This journey began last summer. My body, which has worked incredibly well for me all my life, began telling me something was wrong. My symptoms puzzled me and no matter what I did they didn’t get better. So I thought I’d see a doctor and check it out – and this is coming from someone who’s GP crossed them off their list as they hadn’t seen them in 20 years!
Cameras went down my throat and blood samples were taken. I was told my stomach was acidic, it could be oesophagitis, perhaps reflux and I was put on nasal sprays and steroids, followed by a different set of tablets and then more tables. A new set each six weeks. Tablets it seemed were in limitless supply, but a cure wasn’t.
Then one day as I was relaying my physical woes all over again, even my conversation was repeating on me, a friend said ‘go see a Doctor I know, a haematologist who specialises in allergies’.
Bingo. Dr Lana connected up the dots. The aches, the raised cholesterol level, the swollen throat, the tiredness and gave me an answer. Dairy intolerant. Change your diet. Cleanse your system and get rid of those symptoms.
And that’s what I did. The aches in my joints went pretty much immediately. The simple explanation was the milk wasn’t digesting, it was laying in my stomach separating into curds and whey. Acid and fat basically. The fat had increased my cholesterol and the acid, uric acid, like with gout, was crystallising in my joints. Literally within weeks the worst symptoms had gone.
The cleansing process by the way was hardcore. No dairy, no wheat and no sugar, including fructose. Has anyone tried to live on that diet!
Now I’ve just excluded dairy from my diet and limit wheat. It took me a while to adjust, but adjust I have and I’m happy with what I eat. It was all about finding what I could eat and learning some great new recipes rather than focusing on what I couldn’t eat and what I missed – of which there was plenty – mainly puddings. I’ve a terrible sweet tooth!
Feeling better, I did not want to slip backwards and I became an obsessive. Checking labels, reading ingredients, googling recipes. The funniest thing I’m told is that I developed a habit of looking at cakes! Literally sizing up cake counters. Looking in shop windows at Danish pastries. Hanging around the pudding section of a buffet. They looked so perfect. So edible. There was something almost erotic in denying myself this delight! Custard Danishes appeared to be my biggest fascination!
I still stare at cakes, but I’ve stopped the obsessive label checking. I have instead a simple list of things in my head that I can eat. Eating is now simple again and do-able. Life is live-able. I have new routines and habits. I cant deny it, I mourned the passing of dairy foods, my puddings, my cheese on toast, most of all my cappuccino and pastry walking to work, and I’m learning to embrace my dietary future!
But this food allergy / intolerance phenomena is growing. The number of allergy sufferers is increasing by 5% each year and intolerances are running at as high as 20%.
Mass produced food may not be working so well with the individual. It’s not just because I’m now one of this club that I’m paying more attention, although that is undoubtedly true, but I also read, see and hear of other people with dietary related problems at increasing levels. Restaurants, hotels, caterers are now alert to this. Food industries, health shop, health supermarkets have sprouted up to meet the need.
So on occasion on this blog you’ll see me type up new recipes, even sugar free, wheat free and dairy free cake recipes. Things I’ve discovered how to do, or something I’ve researched for either myself or a friend who’s been diagnosed with cancer and who I’m helping through their food constraints. I’m glad I’m a year ahead of them checking out food types and recipes. I hope I can be useful, help them with their diet, create new recipes and be someone to have a laugh with as we go on this journey together.