I have tried to start this post several times. Different ways to word what I am thinking.
I cannot fully articulate, for some reason, how difficult it is to have food allergies such as gluten and lactose.
It is not difficult for me. It is difficult for everyone else….I guess thus for me too.
Picture this: four plus years ago a good friend of mine is eating a sandwich and tells me to take a bite of it. It is an avocado sandwich. It was really yummy. She says, “It is made from my own bread I make, which is gluten-free, can you tell?”. “Nope”, I respond having no clue what in the hell she is talking about.
She comes over for dinner another night and I am frantically trying to figure out what to serve. What is gluten?? That night I remember telling her, “I don’t know how you can live like this”. She smiles and responds, “It’s easy…unless I go somewhere”.
For over fifteen years I have had severe digestive issues. Really since I was a child, but it worsened as I got older and as I had children.
Two years ago I started down the path of really trying to find out what the problem was. Doctors had told me it was everything from stress (the default culprit) to IBS to an ulcer.
It was none of those.
I got my biopsy’s done and now know. Finally. The relief to know is overwhelming. And now I get to eat crow….now I get to live like ‘this’.
Here is the truth: it is wonderful. Absolute bliss. I have NEVER felt better and NEVER had a quieter tummy (that is the best description I have folks). No pain, no gas, no yucky bathroom issues…nothing. Unless of course I mistakenly eat gluten (or lactose of which I can’t digest either).
Here is another truth: it is very difficult to go anywhere. Not for me, but for others. Well it is difficult for me too. Especially when I travel. Like to Prague. That was hard. But I carry my own salad dressing and so at restaurants I can usually order a salad dry and be good to go.
The difficulty lies in others trying to help. How sad is that? Don’t I sound like an ungrateful b$%& ?
My husband and I go to a restaurant and a steak sounds really yummy. So he is trying to see if the kitchen can make one that won’t be contaminated or any sauces or seasonings used that I can’t eat. THIS IS PRETTY DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE. PERIOD.
I mean really? A busy steak restaurant, or even an Applebees cannot be expected to wash down an entire area and dedicate space to make a meal for me using specific ingredients that they may not even carry. I AM OK WITH THIS! Just give me a plain salad and I will make do. I promise. But my poor husband will keep trying so that I feel somewhat embarrassed (I know, I know I shouldn’t) or any friends or folks that may be with us will stare at me and wonder what the heck the problem is…’just eat it, you won’t die will you’? You know that is what they are thinking…. And once in a while I will just eat it…and suffer for it. Sometimes for days.
Or we are going to a party or gathering….and pretty much 99% of what is served I can’t eat. I AM OK WITH THIS! Don’t try to come up with something I can eat because you will be frustrated with me and would have to outfit your entire pantry or fridge just to do so. I will bring my own stuff, or eat before I go…so I AM FINE! Just give me a glass of wine and leave me to enjoy my grapes..
THIS IS ME
Ok, now that I sound like a complete jerk…know that I get it, that it is an obscure thing to figure out what to serve and how to make everyone happy. For me? I am like a Gremlin. I have too many rules of what is safe, what isn’t, where to go, etc. My own husband forgets. Unlike some who get wrapped up in the feeling that the world needs to cater to every allergy-I am the opposite. I see that as unrealistic and really, quite unfair.
So, please know that I love you -family and friends that really want to try- but it is OK, I AM FINE and even happier not to carry the anxiety that perhaps you unknowingly slipped an ingredient into something you made that will then make me sick all night and into the next few days. And to my hubby, and others, when we go out to eat- I am PERFECTLY FINE with a plain salad that I will add my sauce to. In fact, that is EVEN better, then I can save my calories…for really important things…like wine.