Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: Food Allergy Denial


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Food Allergy Denial

I wish I could just ride off into the sunset and leave all these food allergies behind!  But before I start venting about how frustrating the food allergic life is, let me take a minute to introduce you to my father, pictured above in 1940.  He grew up in a 3-family home in the city, but you'd never know it from his ease on this tired pony!  Apparently, someone came around from house to house with the costume and the horse, taking photos for a small fee.  Judging from the huge smile on his face, my dad really enjoyed his two minutes as a cowboy :)

So, I'm getting to the end of my rope with this allergy thing (how do you like that slick transition from cowboy to allergy?).  I discussed a few weeks ago how it is common to crave the foods to which you are allergic, and I'm struggling with this quite a bit this week.  Last weekend we went out to dinner with some new friends, and for a variety of reasons, I decided it would be okay to eat some of the things I've been told to avoid.  Now I'm paying for that lapse, because my entire body is crying out for more, while at the same time all my crummy symptoms are back.  Why would I eat something that I knew would cause me uncomfortable symptoms later?  Well, every once in a while, I drift into food allergy denial.

Sounds odd for someone who blogs about living with food allergies EVERY DAY, huh?  Yeah, I know.  I'm thinking of trying to make a case for writers/creative people being able to slip more easily into fantasy worlds, but that's just me trying not to take responsibility for my actions. I think what's really happening is that I haven't fully appreciated how strong my food addictions really are.

In my last post on this topic, I briefly touched on how eating allergens can produce a euphoric response, followed by an increased craving for that particular food (here's a great explanation of why).  Even after carefully avoiding several dozen specific foods for several months, I still find myself longing to eat them, especially when I'm tired or haven't eaten in a few hours.  What's worse, if I do allow myself a little bite, the next day the craving is worse.

I thought I'd feel wonderful after eliminating allergenic foods from my diet, but I am actually feeling bored and kind of disappointed.  I miss the euphoric feelings, the "high" I get from eating crazy things like cheese, green olives, or even corn chips (cheesy corn chips are even worse!).  I'm discouraged that all of my symptoms haven't abated, and I'm weary of constantly having to work so hard just to eat.

Last weekend, I really wanted to make a positive impression on our new friends, and struggled with a nagging feeling that making a big deal about my food allergies would make me seem prissy, fussy, or high-maintenance.  I know, I'm a big girl, I should be more confident about being myself, but in the back of my mind, my food addictions were calling to me and trying to convince me that "taking a break" from food avoidance was justified.  It worked.

I had a *spectacular* time at the restaurant, indulging in every one of my favorite foods, which of course, are all the foods I'm allergic to.  It was fun while it lasted, but today, three days later, I'm finally regretting it.  All day I've felt physically unable to make good food choices.  I look in the fridge at all the healthy fruits and vegetables and don't want them at all... they look terrible today.  I. Want. Something. Good.  Never mind my upset stomach, my wildly fluctuating blood sugar, or the unattractive cystic acne covering my face like chicken pox.  I. Want. Something. Good.

It's almost like a weird little alien living in my brain.  Letting a little bit of allergenic stuff back into my diet has opened the floodgates to my cravings, and I'm almost back at square one.  I suppose I should be grateful that my allergies aren't anaphylactic, but I almost feel as though I need that grave reaction to shore up my jello-like will power.  My wimpier reactions, as rotten as they are, don't seem to be enough to keep me off the junk.

The worst part of this whole ordeal is that I'm not sleeping well, and as a result, don't have enough energy to properly complete my daily tasks, which include a whole lot of baking.  I'm grumpy and twitchy and uncomfortable, and I didn't cook a damn thing today.  Luckily, we had enough leftovers that the family didn't go hungry, but what kind of mom puts something as minor as a food craving ahead of her children?   Now I can add guilt to my list of unpleasant emotions dragging me toward the Doritos like an industrial-sized, ever-growing magnet.

Tomorrow my plan is to start the day with the healthiest breakfast I can muster up.  Ideally, I would then leave the house and go somewhere where I can't get at any food, but I have a locksmith coming tomorrow to fix a door, so I'm stuck for a while.  Maybe I'll lock myself in the basement and clean like a maniac until the cravings pass?  What do drug addicts do when they need to get their minds off their bodies?

Has anyone else experienced this kind of speed bump?  What did you do to get past it?  Looking forward to reading your advice :)

Shared with Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and the Gallery of Favorites at Premeditated Leftovers. 


  1. I do this too. It is so hard for me because I don't have test results to rely on yet (I did with my children). I have figured it out for myself. I KNEW I had a gluten problem but would end up eating it because I thought, "Well, the doctor said I don't." Well, after a year of asking, they ordered the anti-gliadin blood test - it was positive. I spent a whole year in denial on that one, waiting for a test to tell me what I already knew.

  2. My oldest son really struggles with cravings to the foods he is allergic to. And the symptoms come back very quickly after even just a small indulgence. It is very hard for me because he needs to take ownership as he is in his late teens and be responsible when he is away from home. My daughter and I both have reactions when we slip or accidentally indulge gluten, but we don't have the severe cravings like my poor son.

  3. Oh no, this certainly sounds like a big hurdle to get over. I'm allergic to soy products, but luckily haven't experienced this phenomenon yet. The biggest problem that I have is that many of my friends are vegetarians and vegans, and I can (most often) no longer eat with them. There are some things I miss simply for their simplicity, but I don't miss being covered in red itchy bumps, and I I am terrified to have my throat swell up again. So far it's been enough to keep me inspired to stay away, but I think the futher away I get from the last serious outbreak (aka when I found out about the allergy almost two years ago) the harder it will be to remember why I'm not eating these foods. Best of luck!!!

  4. I trying to heal my breastfeed baby of his allergies (mostly mom-diagnosed, waiting for further testing). I was so tired and hungry I totally caved and ate a banana! No two! I couldn't resist. And then...rashes and a sleepless night for him. Poor baby. Seriously like you said, what mom does that?! Alas, the spirit is willing but the body is weak! Just time to recommit and keep at it I guess. I'm loving reading your experiences. Thanks for being honest about it!

    1. So glad my rantings can help a little :) I have to confess, I did it again this week. I decided to "test" my reaction to a little bit of gluten (ok, I just really wanted to eat sole francaise) and just a few hours later got so dizzy I was sure I was about to throw up. This is a new symptom for me, and I read that it's a sign I've really screwed up my body. In other words, this happens when you've done so much damage to your gut that the reaction skips right over that and affects your brain. Oh, I'm so proud of myself :( But like you say, it's a learning experience, and a great incentive to recommit. Good luck with your baby!

  5. The past two weeks have been horrible with wanting what I can't have and just plain feeling sorry for myself. I get so tired of dealing with all these allergies!! I don't have a problem staying away from gluten as I have Celiac and I don't want to die but its all the other stuff I miss, like cheese!! and tomatoes. I'm glad to finally find someone else who is honest about this stuff, thanks Lisa! And, by the way, the dizziness could be a separate symptom to another food, like the sole maybe? When I accidentally consume gluten I immediately take activated charcoal which clears everything out of my system. Don't overdo use this product!! Just as a safety valve.

    1. I've never tried using charcoal, but I think I will track some down. My latest gluten mishap has resulted in dizziness lasting a week, and I am not happy about it! Thanks for the tip :)