A frustrated man is looking through a magnifying glass squinting at the ingredients of a food package, ingredients

Having Food Allergies Robs the Pleasure Out of Food

If you have a similar experience to mine, you can remember the days when food was pleasurable, before food allergies. Food was always exciting. It meant nourishing your body with a smile on your face. Deliciously tasty textures and colors were always enticing to the palate. Trying new things and attending parties were fun-filled because music was playing, delicious food was served, and everyone was enjoying themselves.

Life after food allergies

Unfortunately, if I only had a crystal ball and knew these days were not always to be promised, I would have indulged and savored the moment more. But hey, I suppose we can all say that about any aspect of life.

It wasn't until I turned 21 years old that food allergies became rampant in my life. Along with a diagnosis of Crohn's Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), food allergies suddenly rocked my world and ranged from severe to slight intolerances. It was maddening, though. Suddenly I went from someone who loved food and truly enjoyed it to tip-toeing around it and sometimes even fearing it.

Fearing foods because of severe reactions

Yes, I feared food. Why? Because my allergic reactions were so intense that I didn't want to trigger them. Wheat, for example, causes a horrible response for me. Unfortunately, in the typical American diet, wheat is used in many dishes. Even in foods you think have no business having wheat, like salad dressing.

Studying food labels

So now, just trying to avoid wheat can become a full-time job. Going to the grocery store, I must read all the labels and ensure the single ingredient I am allergic to isn't there. It can become quite a task. Gone are the days when I could peruse the aisles and pick up food with delight. No, now I must become a detective and research.

Planning everything becomes the norm

Let's not get started on the endless planning that comes with food allergies. An impromptu lunch invite? Yikes. I have to know where we are eating out first. What is on the menu? Will there be something safe I can eat? Or will I have to suggest another restaurant?

Traveling with food allergies

How about traveling: it's even worse because you don't usually know the details of your new surroundings. When I travel, I need to bring snacks with me in my bag and my luggage. Then I simultaneously research nearby restaurants and study their menus. It becomes an epic journey and can turn a once pleasurable and fun adventure into a not-so-fun endeavor.

Food allergies make life more complicated

So now you can understand why food allergies take away the pleasure in food. Allergies can turn the simple act of eating into a more complicated and even fearful situation. So many factors go into preparing to eat that it takes out the fun and spontaneity. 

And while this may seem like a rant, sometimes rants can be healing. But to be positive, remember that although allergies can complicate things, with practice, you can make it work and still make going out to eat and traveling workable.

Can you relate? How do you feel about managing food allergies? Comment below and share with us!

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