So, the first post on a brand new blog. I thought I’d take the opportunity to start by expanding on the ‘About’ page. How exactly have I come to be writing about food intolerances? I have lots of them. Not of my own free will mind you, but we’re learning to live together, not always in harmony but we’re getting there. I had a dairy intolerance from birth that seemed manageable enough, but with an autoimmune condition came a number of new intolerances including wheat/gluten, soy, a variety of brassica vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, turnips to name a few) and now histamines. Histamine intolerance is a particularly nasty one due to some of the best things in life like wine, chocolate, and coffee being on the symptom-triggering list. I’ll tell you now this is one I don’t manage so well, partly because it’s still relatively new to me and I’m still learning what to avoid. Then there’s the issue of no wine, chocolate, coffee, tomatoes, fermented foods, avocado, banana… (insert incredulous look!).
The autoimmune condition I am referring to is Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), which is a form of arthritis that seems to run in my family. It’s a bit of potluck with who gets it and who doesn’t in each generation, but I was the chosen one in mine. I might tell the story of its arrival into my life some other day, but for now, I can say it was the conduit for necessary change in a lot of things for me. It certainly changed my diet for the better, which has since helped me keep the AS very well controlled, a wonderful thing.
When autoimmune conditions are combined with so many food intolerances there are also very obvious gut issues that need to be addressed. That’s not something we’ll talk about too much in the early days here but I can say I have a wonderful team of conventional and natural health care professionals on board to help with the gut healing and suggest anyone with multiple food intolerances should also be seeking guidance. You certainly need to get to the bottom of the cause!
Everyone is different when it comes to how food intolerances affect them and what symptoms they get. It is because of this I am coming to understand that there is no quick fix nor one particular diet that will heal all and we all need to take a very individual approach. Symptoms for me are the result of a cumulative effect of trigger foods. It’s not gluten or dairy at one meal that affects me, it’s if I have them at two or three meals within the space of a week or so. The exception there is histamines, again it is a cumulative problem although they can accumulate quite quickly and symptoms appear in mere minutes.
I can’t tell you I’m an angel with my diet, I mean it’s pretty good, it’s certainly all wholefoods, almost exclusively organic and I avoid the things that I am intolerant to most of the time…. except coffee…. because, you know, its coffee. For the most part, I have made peace with the fact I need to be somewhat cautious with my diet for now in the hope the gut healing will eventually resolve some of the issues. However, after a lifetime of restrictive dieting for one reason or another and for the sake of my mental health (and those who accompany me on outings) I’m not overly strict. In saying that, I do know where my limits are and understand the signs and symptoms my body gives me better than ever so I respect my boundaries and get back to a very basic diet as often as I need to.
Learning what to eat and where to eat out when you have food intolerances can feel like quite the daunting task initially. Eating at home is rarely a problem, but eating out has been a bit tricky. Going to cafes, restaurants, attending events, buying foods from markets or taking cooking classes was once an impossible task but it’s with thanks to the many establishments and providers that will eventually be listed on this blog that I can say it’s becoming less of an issue. As people become more educated on managing some of their health concerns with diet or using diet as a preventative measure, menus are changing. For the first time ever, finding recipes to make at home or finding places to eat out is not too hard at all. It’s true that one still has to be quite picky about where they go, but at least there ARE places to go! I will say though that eating out with histamine intolerance can be a little more difficult but, not entirely impossible.
Finding out you have multiple food intolerance can be both depressing and very isolating initially, so I hope the information and recipes contained within the pages of The Tolerant Table will make life that little bit easier for anyone who just doesn’t know where to start.