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Fixing a Safe Plate
By Gillan Ludlow
Over the last two years, I have encountered a variety of reactions from strangers, co-workers and friends involving my constantly-evolving diet.
At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with food allergies. Now let's shutdown a common misconception. You CAN develop food allergies at any age—you don't have to be a kid. You are more likely to grow out of your food allergies if you are born with them, however, it's not like food allergies are restricted to a certain age.
I am not a leper. I am not in any way, shape or form considered contagious. You will not die if you touch me. So please spare me your looks of pity and sympathy and certainly don't offer me condolenscences for my restricted list of foods.
Intrigued yet? Almost three years ago, I tested positive for corn, egg, cantaloupe, and banana. I dismissed banana and cantaloupe because I didn't really like those foods to begin with. I was neutral about eggs because I could make subsitutions for those especially when baking. But corn? I was heart-broken because I loved corn. Fresh air-popped popcorn, homemade creamed corn, corn on the cob, grits. You name it.
Most people think that when I say I am allergic to corn, that it's really JUST corn. But let's set the record straight. I am allergic to high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maize, malodextrin. Basically any food, spice, baking necessity, additive, preserative, and anything else you can think of that derives from corn, I am allergic to. Eating large consumptions of corn products lead to asthma attacks, which are usually non-responsive to asthma medication. So I either have to go to the emergency room or ride out the asthma attack and hope for the best.
In September 2013, I was diagnosed with allergies to lobster, crab, mushrooms, ginger, peaches and oats. That was a big hit because I loved all of those foods. I can eat crab, lobster and mushrooms in small doses and not have it bother me. Consuming pure ginger and oats usually leaves me with an itchy tongue and swollen throat; and I haven't eaten a peach since I tested positive.
This year in February, after consulting heavily with a doctor on some symptoms I was experiencing, I cut gluten out of my diet. I haven't felt this good in a really LONG time. But, I have come to find out that the majority of gluten-free foods in restaurants rely heavily on corn. For example,Olive Garden offers a gluten-free menu for their pastas, but it's made of corn. Forget about Mexican food, what's the point of eating it if I can't have the corn or wheat-based tortilla?
Holidays have been an adjustment for my family and my boyfriend, but overall, the experience has been almost liberating. Even as a kid, I was never a picky eater but now, I can try so many more new things without looking back.
I don't really miss the foods that I've had to cut out of my diet. I'm happy with who I've become and how aware I am about what goes into my body.
But, in a society where we claim to be advance, open-minded and diverse, we sure do live in a state of mind where anything outside of “norm” is hard to accept.
#Real #PersonalExperience #FoodAllergies #TryingNewFoods #AdultAllergies #AllergiesDiscoveredLate #Food
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