Beautiful things I can’t eat. Photo by Molly MacRae
About eight years ago I discovered I was allergic to gluten, then eggs started giving me problem, a year later fish began causing horrible stomach cramps, and I’ve known for a long time that dairy doesn’t love me as much as I love it, more an intolerance then actual allergy.
I wanted to share some tips I have discovered through a lot of trial and fuck-ups so hopefully thing can be easier for you :)
Food allergy first aid kit. You should always have on hand chia seeds, charcoal, ginger, and a digestive aid you like. NOTE THESE ARE NOT ‘MEDICAL ADVICE’ AND NOT TO BE USED IF YOUR ALLERGY AFFECTS YOUR BREATHING!!! THESE ARE THINGS THAT WORK FOR ME.
Chia seeds: these small black seeds are so amazingly helpful. If I eat something I’m allergic to, we’ll pretend it was an accident and not me being a pouty brat. I will put a teaspoon of chia seeds into a quart of water or juice, wait for them to swell, (they are gelatinous, just FYI) then drink them. I find the chia seeds remove whatever evil thing I ate from my body gently, effectively, and quickly. But I don’t need to stay near a bathroom all day. This is safe for me to use at work.
I find the chia seeds not only help with tummy/intestinal issues but also help remove the allergen so well that my migraines aren’t as bad.
Charcoal capsules: I get these at the health food store. When I eat something that causes a lot of bloating (gas), nausea, and cramping, charcoal is what I grab first. For me it seems to neutralize whatever evil is going on in my stomach. Just don’t freak out when what comes out of you is black/ grey in color. :)
Ginger helps soothe my stomach, helps digest greasy foods, and breaks up mucus. I find if my tummy is what needs the help, eating candied ginger works really fast. Ginger capsules help but they will help, including clearing up my sinus congestion .
There are tons of digestive aids, some basic, some specific to food intolerance (not allergies). Find one you like and help your body deal with possible contamination. This is really helpful when I travel. I take some digestive aids before each meal I eat out, just in case .
Gluten Free option at one of my favorite restaurants.
Go to the friggin’ website. Most restaurants have their menus posted on their website. Do they label dishes for allergies? Can you find something to eat? If you have in-depth questions, please call the restaurant ahead of time, during non-busy hours, or email them. It is very inconsiderate to ask a list of allergy questions of a waiter during the dinner rush.
BTW, dear restaurant peeps put your menu up with allergy info, I won’t go to restaurants I can’t check out first.
Do not expect friends and family to do this for you, and if you show up someplace and can only eat the dinner salad because you didn’t do your homework, no pouting. You cannot expect other people to look out for you like this, and if they DO, thank them repeatedly.
ALSO tip accordingly to the amount of help and extra work the staff need to do for you.
AND help fellow allergy sufferers. If you find a good place, post about it, on your blog, YELP, a website for people with food allergies, whatever. Share the wealth!
Seriously, many many people suffer from allergies and/or know others who do and these people have little kernels of wisdom that can help you, if you ask.
One day I was complaining on Facebook about craving an egg sandwich that I can’t have because eggs hate me, and a friend asked if I had tried farmer’s market eggs. What? No? Why would I?
Now, I can’t eat normal eggs. Not even the organic, range free, from chickens who listen to Mozart all day, eggs. BUT I found out I can eat eggs from farmer’s markets, from chickens or ducks that run around someone’s back yard and eat bugs and stuff. No idea why. And I would never have thought to try them if my friend hadn’t mentioned it.
Food allergies are a pain in the ass, expensive, and frequently make me want to cry. But I’m not alone and neither are you. What advice, tip, tidbit do you have to share?