Before I begin this post, I know I won’t be able to reach everybody I want or even need to. I know some people reading this post will have no connection to what I am saying, and will not relate. Hear me out. Listen to my words. Let them soak in and maybe pass this along to somebody else who needs to hear this. Somebody out there needs to hear they are not the only one, they need comfort knowing food allergies are not easy and they need somebody who will offer advice, shared experiences and comfort. If that’s you, then I’m your girl.
This is unlike any post I’ve ever done but here it goes. Let’s get personal.
My Story IS Different.
I will tell you the truth, some days it’s really hard. Some days, all I want to do is eat food from a package without having to roadmap through the confusing ingredients and wonder if my body will have an adverse reaction to it. Some days all I want is to be able to spontaneously go to a restaurant and order something off the menu without having to ask the waiter if it contains soy, then deciding if I trust him or not when he tells me, “No”. Some days I dream about the day when I don’t have anxiety about traveling and where I am going to find food safe enough for me to eat. Some days, all I want is to be normal.
Four years ago I was diagnosed with a food allergy to soybean. Since then, my life has been changed FOREVER.
Some days I embrace my allergy because it defines exactly who I am. I am not saying I am a relentless, uptight, invasive son of a B (because let’s face it, this allergy is exactly that) but rather, I am who I am because of my condition. I would not be here with a bachelors degree in nutritional science, blogging about nutrition, or even studying to become a registered dietitian if it wasn’t for my devout interest nutrition and food allergies. Some days, all I want is to have a normal perception about food… “I’ll eat it if it tastes good.”
Some days I wish I could use any shampoo, conditioner, soap, or lotions that I want without having to decipher the long names in the list of ingredients. Some days I just want to smell the dang candles without looking to see if it’s made with soy wax or not. Then there are some days where I want to turn a blind eye towards the person making dinner and not have to watch everything they put into the meal. Someday I want to be able to experiment with makeup like any other girl does- not worrying about soybean oil in the ingredients. Some days I just want to try the free samples at the grocery store and guess what it is. Maybe Someday.
What is Normal?
Food allergies simply put, are not normal.. they absolutely stink. I could use many other interchangeable words to describe this phenomenon but I think I’ll just stick to they stink. They stink the whole place up. They stink when you watch somebody order at a restaurant and you salivate while watching them eat. They stink when you travel and you’re not used to the food accommodations and therefore you have to travel with your own food. They stink when people want to give you their famous homemade dish and you have to turn it down because you don’t know what’s in the ingredients. They stink when somebody offers you a bite of their cake and icing but you have to say no and walk away. They just simply stink.
Don’t Treat Me Different
Don’t feel sorry for me when I can’t eat that delicious mac and cheese casserole from last night’s potluck dinner. Don’t pretend you don’t want the delicious chicken fried steak because you know I can’t have it. Please don’t tip toe around the fact that some days all I eat are veggies, nuts and fruit (as if that’s a bad thing). Please, I am begging you, don’t stop inviting me places even though I can’t enjoy the food- I enjoy the company more than I would ever enjoy the food. Don’t treat me different because I don’t eat like you. I don’t strap negative thoughts on my food allergy but when you treat me different, I start thinking otherwise.
I Do NOT Sit and Pout.
You will never see me put out because I cannot eat what everybody else enjoys and neither should you. No matter if you have a food allergy, medical or other health condition in which you have to watch what you eat. Never give up. Never give in. Strive to be the best version you can be. I have worked so hard to get to where I am, dug deep into the shelfs of my pantry and had to throw out 3/4 of my kitchen ingredients. If I can live a full and wonderful life with a soybean allergy, you can overcome the obstacle in your life. Don’t let it consume you, when you think all hope is lost, start changing your perception. Don’t ever think you can’t be a normal person.. because normalcy shouldn’t be your goal. You were not born to be normal, you were born to be exactly the person you are. Own it, embrace it, make your obstacle work with you and never EVER give in to your pessimistic thoughts about wanting a different life. Live the life you were given and LOVE the life you LIVE. It is after all, the only one you were given.
Stay strong and just keep chewing, friends. I’m here for anybody who needs it.
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