Does anyone close to you have Coeliacs? or a gluten intolerance?
I am Coeliac and I am also dairy and egg intolerant. By choice, I don't eat any sugar. At all.
I don't speak about it much on here, but it is a topic I feel very passionate about. How could I not? it affects me all day every day. It affects MANY other people in the same way too.
**PLEASE DON'T EVER take for granted what you can eat. Ever. I can't stress that enough.
**Don't partake in
**Enjoy every mouthful you eat and savour it.
It is NO fun to have to watch EVERY thing that goes in your mouth ...all. day. every. single. day.
It's tiring, its boring *yawn*. It N.E.V.E.R goes away.
Our survival is dependent on us eating. Eating is not a choice. We have to do it several times a day.
It's also a very social activity. Do you ever invite friends over for a glass of water and not serve them morning tea? Do you have a birthday party for your children without food? What about a dinner party without dinner?
On a daily basis I am reminded of how socially isolating it can be to have food allergies/intolerances.
It's the birthday parties we go to, where there is nothing for me to eat. It's the coffee's with friends at the Mall where I drink my water. It's the invitations we don't get for dinner. It's the Friday night after a long week of work when cooking seems all to much and the luxury of takeaways would be great...but there are no takeaways you can eat...even though you live in a suburb teeming with takeout places.
I have no problem going to functions and not eating, but when its every.single.time. It just becomes boring.
I want to share with you an example of how socially isolating food allergies can be...
I have a new job and a lot of the 'rewards' are very much food centred.
Choccies, sweets.. lots of yummy treats. Morning teas full of cake and other things I can't eat.
I can live with that, I bring my own food. When someone hands me a chocolate I tuck it away for my hubby or the kids.
On Friday a week or so ago, at work the Senior Managers put on lunch. That was fine. Good on them for recognising the hard work of their staff. I knew it was happening. I made sure my lunchbox was a bit more exciting than usual.
What I didn't anticipate was the lunch arriving right as we went into a team meeting. I didn't anticipate our team leader telling everyone to 'go load up their plates' and bring it into the meeting.
As I sat there, surrounded with 12 other people with their plates piled high with hot chicken, creamy salads and fresh rolls I suddenly felt very aware of the how isolating it is to have food allergies, and how often I feel like this.
As I fought back the tears and my team members apologised for eating in front of me, I put on a smile and told them, no its fine. Why would I be upset? If I ate it I would be sick, for days...even a crumb would make me sick.
But as I sat there, for 1.5 hours smelling the food, watching everyone eat up I was finding it hard to focus on the meeting, finding it hard to be present. Wishing I could be anywhere but there.
If you are fortunate enough to not live with food allergies, maybe this reaction seems a little extreme... maybe you think I am whining about nothing. But I challenge you. For a week or two, EVERY time you attend a birthday, work function or coffee with your friends, have nothing, have only water.
And some tips for those people around you with food allergies:
*Please don't exclude them because they are too hard to accommodate.
*Please don't tell them, 'bring your own food, you're too hard to feed'. Laughing when you say it, doesn't make it funny. At all.
*Please DO take their allergies seriously and don't try to feed them foods they are not comfortable with eating. When you get sick all the time from food you learn to only trust your own cooking. Its self-preservation.
*NEVER ever roll your eyes. The misconception that everyone is just eating a certain way because of a fad makes it doubly hard to live with REAL food allergies. We are not eating this way because we WANT to be different or difficult.
The people I treasure are the people who go the extra mile. Its the friend who makes a cake you can eat. It's the friend who always buys rice crackers and hummus when she knows you are coming over, its the friends husband who grabs something gluten free at the supermarket so you can stay for dinner. Its the friends husband who washes the barbeque plate to cook your meat so you won't have it contaminated. Its the team leader who has gone and bought little boxes of nuts for me to have when everyone else eats chocolate. Its the little things... and the thoughtfulness.
You see, although having food allergies is NOT the worst thing in the world. It is something you cannot get away from. It is present all day everyday. It is very time consuming.
It is isolating. It is boring. It is miserable if you make a mistake.
I'm not looking for sympathy. This is my lot. I get that and most of the time I suck it up and just deal with it.
But I do wonder if I am food intolerant or socially intolerant because my eating doesn't fit in?
*sorry for the pictureless post... *