The Social Roles of Food

Hey Everyone!

One of the big things I have to deal with, with Dairy and Gluten intolerances is that there are situations, and times that I excuse myself from, even though I would love to spend time with the people in the group, because they are heading to a restaurant where about the only thing I could order would be water or another beverage. That is because most if not all the food served at said restaurant contains one or both of the foods that I am intolerant of.

I had found this article, and while it talks solely about children with food allergies, the concept can be applied to anyone with a food allergy or food intolerance (Intolerances and allergies are different but the fact that people with both have to avoid foods containing what they are allergic/intolerant to, for this discussion has the same effect).

Not being able to go with the group, or order something, or eat what was brought to the gathering/function raises questions, weird looks from those who don’t understand or don’t care, and that you are different from the group or not part of the group because you can’t join in the eating of the food.

Trust me, it’s not because we don’t want to join in, its that if we do we will be sick. Just because someone else is also *insert intolerance/allergy here* but can eat *insert food here* because *insert reasoning here* doesn’t mean that I can. Everyone’s body is different and reacts to different foods differently. They may not have as severe as intolerance or allergy, or I may not have as severe intolerance as the next person, but don’t compare them to me or me to them.

In the two and a half years I have dealt with having food intolerances, I have come across plenty of negative responses, and more times than I would have liked feel like I don’t fit in, don’t belong, something less than human or some kind of monster just because I can’t eat what everyone else is eating, and have to be OCD about shared cookware, utensils and about double washing/ running through the dishwasher said items before I can use them. It is more frustrating and more work for me than it is for those who don’t have food allergies and intolerances, mess with the system I have going.

I know I always appreciate when I am given input in what is made, or where the group goes for food, so that I can still be part of the group and have fun, but not have an upset stomach for the next week afterward (and not because the food in and of itself was bad). It is and can be socially isolating/culturally rude because of a food intolerance, but believe me I didn’t ask for them, they “chose” me.

My Food Intolerance Journey

I wanted to tell you a bit about my history and background of having a food intolerance, and why I started this blog.

Growing up I could eat just about anything and be fine. That all changed when I was 23. I had been really sick one weekend, and I was never the same after that. within a month of being sick, I knew that something was different and had gone wrong. I knew my body didn’t like something I was eat, so I started the process of going dairy free. I spent the first year afterward being Lactose Free, but still really didn’t see a lot of improvement. Going into year 2 I went off dairy completely. That was difficult, and getting the people I lived with on board with the fact that while they didn’t have to eat the same way I do, the system in how dishes and cooking was done had to be changed so I wouldn’t get sick. That is still a challenge to this day, which is a year and a half later. Having gone completely dairy free, I noticed a great improvement, but I still wasn’t 100%. After the second year of struggling with food intolerances, I went gluten free as well, and that was 6 months ago. I have found that as long as I stick to it, and don’t cave to straying from the diet, I finally feel normal again.

Having gone gluten and dairy free has been a challenge that hasn’t (and at times still is not easy) but it is definitely worth it to feel normal again, and be able to get back to living.

I am fortunate that my close friends understand that I can’t eat certain things, and when we go out, they get that there may be places I won’t go to because of being able to find stuff to eat, so we try to go to a restaurant that we can all find food to eat at, and they will go to the resturants that I can’t eat at, but they still like with their other friends. I do greatly appreciate the effort that they make, and understanding they have that my body can’t tolerate certain food groups.