I’ve been plagued with food sensitivities for years now. I’ve seen many health care providers to find out what causes it and how to circumvent some of the effects it gives me. Most of them have been nothing short of unhelpful, unknowing, and even down right offensive.
But let me start in the beginning.
Sometime eleven years ago we first moved to North America and the food here well, it was different than in Germany… very different. A lot of food comes from a box or is prepared in one form or another. I had never seen so many boxes of cereal in my life until I first stepped foot into a grocery store. There is fast food on every corner and healthy options are pricey and utterly expensive.
My husband served in the Army, had a previous marriage, paid child support, I didn’t have a job, and our life was very much on a budget. Like the two young knuckleheads we were, we also bought too much house and I simply could not afford to shop at Whole Foods or Fresh Market. I tried to make it work, but oh well, I don’t want to complain and the result was the beginning of my troubles.
At first I couldn’t quite pinpoint what caused the sudden onset of gastro-intestinal issues, itching of my nose and inside my ears (yeah, try scratching that… impossible), shortness of breath, wheezing and endless coughing (I must’ve eaten hundreds of Ricola bonbons), heart palpatations that were actually later diagnosed as a condition called Hyperkalemia induced by too much potassium (drinking protein shakes literally nearly gave me a heart attack), stiff neck and shoulder — a form of hypoxia after drinking red wine or drinks mixed with pineapple or banana juice (floating in the pool and drinking those don’t mix either since I nearly drowned)… oh and the list goes on.
In hindsight I can laugh about many of these incidents; however, then I was actively trying to seek help and made an appointment at my clinic on our assigned military post and after less than a few minutes of listening and never having actually touched me or ordered any tests, the family practitioner told me that I was dealing with a case of homesickness and depression — how silly of me not to think of that myself… *evil grin*.
She prescribed Xanax and I was severely offended and extremely pissed!
Fast forward two years and we moved back to Germany. If the before mentioned doctor would’ve been right, my symptoms should’ve improved significantly upon arrival back home. Long story short – they did not. I will spare you the details — for now, but will write a follow-up post on my blog Millions of Peaches. (stay tuned)
Oh the frustration… the agony… I like cooking. I like food. Food makes me happy. Snacking on cheese with a glass of wine, a slice of pizza, bread, pasta, strawberries – yum! But, none for me. Maybe I was depressed indeed?!
My mom suggested I see a naturopath who immediately ordered blood tests. Expensive blood tests our insurance did not cover because I didn’t have a referral to see the provider of my choice. Yet my family practitioner didn’t give me a referral when I asked… it was a catch 22.
However, the naturopath diagnosed histamine intolerance, several food sensitivities, and a casein allergy. I was prescribed a very strict diet to heal my gastro-intestinal tract. Truth be told, it was severely depressing. It was more like a fast consisting of bland food, vegetable soup and broth, and a slice of dry bread for breakfast. I never felt more sorry for myself than when I was on that “diet” called Basenfasten. I just resolved that I was screwed in the food department and gave up.
Then a year ago, a friend mentioned Whole30 and I thought I’d give it a try. Eating paleo-style eliminated basically everything that made me sick and I lost 25 pounds. Hurray!!! If only I liked to eat meat; hence Whole30 was not the answer either.
During my last well woman’s visit, the doctor asked for a detailed history and when I was finished she saw it fit to refer me to a GI doctor. In March 2016, he performed an endoscopy and took biopsies, then sent me to get a CT with contrast. Aside from the usual offenders, gastritis, and Vitamin D deficiency, nothing new came to light.
Going out to dinner or getting invited somewhere is a nightmare. I generally can’t eat most of the things offered and I am so tired of explaining why I can’t eat. I’ve resolved to bring something that I can eat. It’s easier and less stressful for me – really!
At home we eat real food — you know, not the boxed stuff, but the stuff that grows in dirt and had a heartbeat once — aside from red and citrus fruits, some vegetables, Sauerkraut, banana, pineapple, any dairy (it makes no difference if it’s cow, goat or sheep), turkey, and pork — I don’t usually get sick from real food, yet the bottom line is: food shouldn’t make people sick.
We are what we eat, right?
(And all I really want is… pizza with delicious tomato sauce, Mozzarella cheese, and salami along with a glass of German Samtrot, my favorite red wine. If only my food world was perfect.)
“When people are happy, they smile, but when they are sad, they look depressed.” (Proverbs 15:13)
P.S. If you’re interested in reading more about food sensitivities, allergies, and what to do about it, please stop by my blog on May 13, 2016 for Part 2.