Remember when you could eat anything and everything you wanted without having to worry about having a reaction?
Some of the struggles of developing food sensitivities later in life (in my 20s, for me) is missing all the foods I used to be able to eat. I grew up eating foods like chicken fingers & fries, Goldfish, Cheez-It, and many other various foods, M&M’s, Twizzlers, and plenty of other types of candies, especially ones with chocolate as well as many desserts like cakes, Oreos and chocolate chip cookies. I used to be able to walk into restaurants without having to worry about whether there will be something I can safely eat. I could go into a movie theater and grab a bag of popcorn, walk into a bakery or ice cream shop and get whatever my heart desired. I miss being able to eat whatever I wanted. That’s the hardest part about developing food sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies.
I know and have experienced, for many years, being able to eat everything and anything without having to worry about a thing. And then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, I develop my sensitivities and have to change my diet and the foods I eat. That’s hard. There’s days where I wish I didn’t have my sensitivities and I could eat anything again. Days where I just want to grab a bag of M&M’s, eat the dessert at the party, eat what everyone else is eating, not have to read the labels for everything, and enjoy food at a restaurant.
With anything that happens in life, it’s hard to let go of the past, forget about what you used to have, and enjoy the present. It’s crazy how something could change in an instant. How you could be used to and enjoying what you have, but then something happens where you have to change your ways and live a different life. You have to let go of the past and worry about/enjoy the present, which can be struggling at times, but you learn how to live with it as it just becomes part of life.
There are days where I’m fine with my sensitivities, forget that I have them, enjoy all the delicious food that I’m actually able to eat and enjoy, but there are also days where I struggle with my sensitivities wishing I didn’t have them and that I could just eat chicken fingers and fries again. I just want to be able to enjoy what I used to enjoy.
The good thing about food allergies is that there is plenty of allergy-friendly as well as natural and organic companies that have products quite similar to the ones you used to be able to enjoy. Yes, they are not exactly the same, but they are close enough and just as delicious, or even more delicious than the original. For example, I can’t eat Goldfish, but I can have Annie’s cheddar bunnies. I can’t have Oreo’s, but I can enjoy Kinnikinnick’s chocolate sandwich creme cookies. I’m unable to eat Twizzlers, but I can chow down on Red Vines and so much more.
I think part of the problem too is all the different food varieties available where people have all different types of foods. One family might have the same types of foods that I’m able to eat and another family may not. When I’m at a house that has the same food I do, then I don’t feel left out or any different as I’m eating the same foods as everyone else. But, when I’m at a house that has different foods and foods I can’t eat, that’s when I may get a little sad and upset wishing I could eat what they’re eating, especially if it’s candy, cake, or something sweet.
Sometimes we struggle with being different and all we want to do is fit in. We don’t want to be that one person not eating the cake; we wish we could just grab a slice too. We have those days where we may feel lonely or feel like we’re missing out because we’re that one person who has to eat something different. But, sometimes we have to remember that it’s not about the food. It’s about being around loved ones and having a good time. Yes, it can be struggling and hard at times, but just enjoy what you do have and what you are able to eat even if it is different or if you are the only one not eating the dessert. At least you got invited to the party or to go hang out with others. That’s what’s more important, not the food you can’t eat.
As hard as it is, you need to let go of the past, forget what you once had, and enjoy what you do have. Don’t worry about what everyone else is eating or doing and just worry about yourself; walk away from all the food. Realize things are different now, it’s okay to be sad about it, but then eat those gluten-free cookies and feel special is you’re the only one eating them. You’re not eating something different than everyone else, everyone else is eating something different than you and missing out on the deliciousness. Look at the positives; you have that whole allergy-friendly cake to yourself because no one else wants to eat it or is eating the other stuff. Just remember to have a good time. Live the life you have now the best way you can. It’s all just part of life.