Living with Food Sensitivities

I was sorting old blog post looking for inspiration to get started writing again and I came across the beginning of a piece I started almost two years ago.

It’s been a little over a month since  I received my allergy test results and have been avoiding corn. I’d like to say the results have been amazing, but that’s so not true. I have to admit that as sad as I was to find out I had to avoid corn I was also happy because I felt I was going to have some dramatic healing taking place. I thought within a week or two I would notice a major difference in how I felt and looked. But to be honest I really feel no different, like not at all. My sleep has deteriorated, I’m, I’ll just say it, constipated and continues to feel overwhelmed and stressed. I can almost say I feel worse, not better. I’m so disappointed. There are days I don’t feel like eating because I’m afraid to put things into my body. I feel very stuck. I feel very frustrated, I feel like my body has duped me. Like whatever I think is the problem and start working on that my body goes “Nope, nice try.” It sucks and I just want to quit. I hate this !! I hate this I hate this. Why can’t I just be normal

When you are first diagnosed with a food sensitivity or allergy it can be very frustrating. There are days where you feel overwhelmed! There are days where you don’t feel normal and wonder how you can be a part of things without standing out. There were many days where I felt like people thought I must be crazy and was making it up to get attention. I’d bring my own food to events or sometimes just not eat. I would ask a million questions of my hosts and read as many labels as I had access to. Corn, like sugar, has a lot of different names so if I was unsure I wouldn’t eat it. I had many days where I felt like what I described in the blog post I started two years ago. I wanted to give up, I wanted to eat “normal”. But I didn’t give up. Every now and then I would try eating “normal” and then I’d pay the price. The worst temptation for me was when one of my boys brought home pizza and I’d break and have a piece or even a half of piece and the next few days would be awful. I’d have stomach issues, brain fog and feel anxious. I get it! Giving up what you love and creating a new lifestyle is hard, but trust me, it’s worth it.

The biggest thing I did over these last two years to help me deal with the stress of having food sensitivities was to continue to educate myself. I found it hard to believe that a small amount of a food I was sensitive to could make me feel so awful. I wanted to understand why. It’s hard to determine how I developed my sensitivities. I read that wood tick bites can cause meat sensitivities (good thing I’m not a fan of turkey, I have no intention of reintroducing it). Having a lack of enzymes on your stomach can cause problems with digestion or you can react to chemicals in the food. The more I read and researched about food and how it affects us, both positively and negatively I began to accept my situation. Through all my reading I came across different foods and recipes. I expanded my food repertoire. I learned new cooking methods and having to cook almost everything from scratch I began to start to understand what tastes good together. I began to enjoy the challenge of cooking food that nourished my body.

This wasn’t something that happened overnight, The acceptance of living with food sensitivities just slowly evolved. The people I interact with the most just accept that I eat differently and no longer do I feel like I stand out. I learned to accept my situation so I no longer feel uncomfortable not eating when I go places. This sounds a little judgy but now instead of feeling sorry for myself when I go places where there is a lot of food that is processed I feel sorry for the unsuspecting guest that are eating it.(Shh, don’t tell anyone I think that)

So if you are diagnosed with food sensitivity or allergy, as overwhelming as it is now, understand that it will get better. The more you educate yourself on how food affects you and find resources to help you prepare food that is tasty, pretty soon you’ll have the best-tasting food in the room and instead of people saying to you “Don’t you miss eating real food?” (as they walk by with a plate of processed food and super sugary treats) they will be asking you for the recipe for that amazing nutrient dense dish that smells amazing!







Summer Summary


It’s hard to believe that summer break is over, if  it could be called aSunflower summer break. Since being diagnosed with a corn sensitivity,  I feel like it’s taken most of the summer to turn back 180° and recover some normal back in my life, if there is such a thing as normal. Along with trying to find products I can use sans corn, I also had a full plate of activities and projects I needed to accomplish. The most important being planning and holding my youngest son’s graduation party. I also spent my time subbing for summer school and working my part time job at the organic grocery store in town, I haven’t had much down time. I have to admit, part of me is looking forward to a more rigid schedule the school year brings, but a bigger part is mourning the loss of light, warmth and having a day off once and a while.  

My son’s graduation party was in the middle of July so the first part of the summer I was very focused on getting the yard presentable. One of my bigger projects was getting a makeshift rabbit fence around my now fairly large garden. I got a late start on my garden but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Had I been able to plant all of the things I wanted I’m not sure I would have been able to maintain my garden as well as I did. This focus on the yard and successful graduation party was to my advantage. Working two part-time jobs required me to schedules all my projects like appointments. Previous summers, I’d do a few weeks of teaching summer school and then procrastinate the rest of the summer, panicking in August because I hadn’t gotten my projects done; having a goal of a party mid-July kept me motivated.

I also started running again. Not real consistent but consistent enough (Thanks Mr K for motivating me). I feel some improvement in my cardio and I actually enjoy running again. It’s still easy for me to find excuses not to run but I’m more consistent that I have been. I’m hoping that just because school starts I don’t let it slide, though I feel it slipping away already.

I’ve been taking the supplements that were suggested to me by Dr. Anderson and I do feel better. I still  have the bags under my eyes and the inflammation throughout my body. Earlier in the summer I felt like my inflammation was calming down despite being a little lax on my eating but now everything has caught up to me and I feel like I took some steps backwards. I know my sugar intake is up and because of my varied work schedule I have not been able to consistently plan menus and shop for food. When there is little to eat in the house it’s easy to make poor choices or eat something you shouldn’t. Yes, I work at the store I shop at but after six hours of “Paper or plastic?” the last thing I want to do is spend another half hour shopping.

Where my food sensitivity testing helped to identify the corn sensitivity and a few other sensitivities it also gave me a good excuse to eat some things that I wasn’t, like nightshades. I don’t know if reintroducing night shades has slowed my progress or not, like I mentioned early, I have upped my sugar intake. I have quit eating tomatoes and peppers again and I may have to do another 21 Day Sugar Detox once I’m settled in my fall routine. I do feel good about myself, despite the self-inflicted setback of eating sugar and nightshades, and to me that is the best progress.

Despite my busy summer schedule, my stress level has gone down and my adherence to routines has gone up (thus being able to carve out time to blog again). I also attribute this to doing yoga and meditating at least 4 times a week. I can really feel the difference; mornings I fit this in result in a more calm and productive day. I’m going to give a shout out to Hal Elrod here, after I read his book The Miracle Morning I really started to embrace the practice of yoga and meditation. I remind myself that, to me, these two activities are as important as sleeping. Think of how less productive I’d be if I only slept an average of 4 days a week!

I’m curious to see what happens when I go back to work full time, work part time, blog, and maintain the house. I’ve created some great time management spreadsheet, now I just have to put them into use.

I feel like this summer I’ve been able to put myself in second gear and hoping that this fall I get to shift into third gear and hopefully soon set the cruise.

So I Thought I Was Grain Free…

As you know I went grain free August of 2013 after reading Wellness Mama’s article Are Grains Slowly Killing You and as a result some of  my auto-immune conditions improved. I no longer needed to use medication to control my asthma (if I really even had asthma) I no longer suffer from seasonal allergies and my eczema seemed to go away. I felt amazing. Then, in the Fall of 2013, I had a new condition pop up, Blepharitis. After some research I found out that one of the causes of Blepharitis is Roscia, another autoimmune condition.  The eye doctor I saw wanted to put me on antibiotics but by that time my research into nutrition made me ask if there were some more holistic ways I could control it; fish oil and hot packing. After a few months I saw very little improvement and I started researching for more answers. That’s when, in February of 2014  I found the Autoimmune Protocol diet and eliminated (in my opinion) everything else from my diet but meat and veggies.

On the autoimmune diet I lost weight and for about the first 6 months felt great! People I didn’t even know would comment on how healthy I looked and I seemed to have hope and energy to spare. But then about just after Thanksgiving things started to slide. I look at myself in the family pictures from Thanksgiving and I look vibrant. I look at pictures now and think not so much. This is when, on the suggestion of a good friend, I tried accupunture. It felt amazing but the woman I saw did not speak very good English and I had a hard time communicating with her. She looked at my age and instantly blamed everything on menopause and just couldn’t seem to get past that. Her treatment plan was to come to her for 10 years to get me through it. I didn’t believe that was what was causing my issues so I moved on.

I continued to spiral down, having eczema breakouts, mainly on my neck so a lot of my shirts were really bothering me. I became more anxious and depressed. A lot of the plans and ideas I had for my job, house and life just seemed too overwhelming and my stress increased to a point where even one of my students told me I should “ Do some breathing exercises and drink some of my de-stress tea”.

Around that time I found a local Functional Medical Doctor. Despite the fact that my insurance doesn’t cover it I knew I had to keep searching for answers. I was approaching 50 and if you remember this blog was originally going to chronicle my journey to be “Fit by 50”. After the first appointment we decided to do some actual testing, not just relying on what I said or how I felt. We did a nutrition test and a gut biome test. Wow! my body is not a healthy place! Just to name a few things I’m deficient in many nutrients, like magnesium (which I was taking daily) and the vitamin B family (which again I was taking daily). So this indicates that my body is not absorbing nutrients. My gut biome wasn’t the best and needs more diversity. I also have high levels of lead and gasoline in my system… Not sure where that is coming from.

This led to food and mold allergy testing. I really wanted to know what I could eat so that I could bring back in some foods may help me. I walked out of her office with the allergy testing kit, a  list of supplement to take and a little hope.

In order to test for antibodies in you blood for allergens you have to eat foods that you react to so for the next two weeks I ate pizza, nachos, eggs, nuts, seeds, spices I’d been avoiding, cheese, oh and drank some nummy nut brown ale. It all tasted so good and I felt so awful. I was going to eat this way for 3 weeks but just couldn’t do it! I was even having panic attacks again! It sucked! I was counting the days to my blood draw. After my test was sent off I started following AIP again and taking the suggested supplements, I wasn’t feeling any better. I was still anxious and though I had gained weight by eating everything I thought the weight would just drop off, it wasn’t. What was going on?

Finally my  test results came back and the email from my doctor said “ The only thing I would tell you to avoid before seeing me is corn and turkey. “  My first thought was “That’s it?” Oh, I was so naive!

I started looking into turkey because I wanted to know if that meant I couldn’t eat any poultry and it looks like all poultry have different proteins so just because you are allergic to one doesn’t mean you are allergic to all. And I don’t particularly like turkey so … no big deal.

Then after a few days I started looking into corn-my mind was blown-CORN IS IN EVERYTHING! I REPEAT, EVERYTHING!  Now, I panicked! Here I thought I was grain free but all my supplement(that I just bought) were corn based, my sea salt had an anti caking agent that is corn based along with vanilla extract, just pick up any processed food and you will see an ingredient derived from corn. After a few emailed questions to my doctor she also suggested I avoid corn topically too– Well here we go again, it’s in hand soap, dish soap, laundry soap, toothpaste, and on and on and on.

I don’t have a face to face with my doctor for another week but thanks to the help of my sister’s friend, who has a corn allergy, a facebook group and the Corn Allergen web site I’m starting to navigate the corn free world. I allowed myself to  mope and whine for a few days but now I’m trying to replace “This Sucks” with “I’m up for the challenge!”

And this is what my cat Yum has to say:weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmzxo9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999iio


Yum is always getting into trouble

I walked away and came back to that added to my page so I thought I’d share =^..^=