The term “lifestyle change” has become a household term.
A lot of folks choose a diet plan, join a gym, and suddenly they’re in the midst of a lifestyle change. For those of us with food allergies, a lifestyle change takes on a whole new meaning.
When I met my husband, I was concerned with dating, my family and my career, and that was about it. While I could cook when I needed to, it was certainly not something that I could ever see see myself doing every day, not less three times a day. My husband still teases me to this day about a kitchen towel I had that said,
“Divas don’t do dishes.”
After we got married, I certainly did more cooking, but we enjoyed eating out A LOT.
I have known for years that I was allergic to red dye, sulfites, tuna, salmon, and cod. Those allergies didn’t change my life very much. However, It has been a mere few weeks since I found out I have a soy allergy, and I feel like I am leading a completely different life. This morning, I spent a good chunk of time looking through cookbooks to help me find something to eat other than the same 4-5 soy free meals in my rotation. What’s even more funny is that I was actually EXCITED about looking at cookbooks, because I knew this could be the key to unlocking a delicious and nutritious diet.
Below are just a few of things that I have experienced so far in dealing with my
- Throwing out every beauty product, household product, bath & shower product, toothpaste, hand soap, dishwashing and laundry detergent, and many medications.
- Throwing out almost every pre-packaged food in my house.
- Spending countless hours reading labels and making phone calls right in the middle of the grocery store, hoping to find something I can eat or beauty/household products I can use.
- Learning to cook all kinds of vegetables that I didn’t even know how to pronounce, much less cook.
- Spending countless hours trying to figure out if there is even one restaurant in my area that can make a soy free meal.
- Loss of spontaneity. My husband and I would go somewhere every weekend at a moment’s notice, and now it takes hours of meal planning and preparation to take a day trip.
- Figuring out how to carry soap with me so that I can wash my hands in a public restroom.
- Worrying about how I will handle my new lifestyle when I start a full-time job and if my coworkers will think I am a weirdo. (“Sorry, I can’t go out for lunch.” “Yeah, I know it’s weird that I have to carry soap to the bathroom.” “Sorry, I would love to try your homemade cookies that everyone raves about, but I have to pass.”)
- Answering all the questions from people that really do care, but just don’t understand. (Can’t you just take an antihistamine and eat/do what you want? Are you sure you are allergic to soy?)
- Sitting in a restaurant while your friends and family eat something you still CRAVE while everyone in the restaurant stares at your home cooked meal like you’re a freak.
Here’s the thing though. For every ONE item in the list above, there’s TWO things that have made my life SO MUCH BETTER. Here’s a few of them:
- I sleep like a baby.
- I never have to get up during the night anymore, and I always did before.
- My acid reflux went from needing surgery to being completely controlled with medication (and maybe eventually without medication.)
- I went from needing sinus infection antibiotics every 2-3 months for the past 1.5 years to having completely clear sinuses in the middle of pollen season.
- I feel INCREDIBLE.
- I am getting to the point that I can cook meals that make restaurants look like amateurs.
- Learning to see cooking as an opportunity for creativity and loving it.
- The “chicken skin” on my upper arms is gone, and in its place is skin that looks way younger than I actually am.
- I have lost enough weight to go down 2-3 dress sizes.
- Having people walk up to you and say, “Wow! You look ten years younger!” (And feeling 20 years younger!)
- I am empowered by knowing that I am aware of and am familiar with every ingredient that goes into my body.
- There’s a lot of toxins and harmful chemicals that my body will never have to process again, because now I know what can happen when you eat too many packaged foods.
- We have saved a ton of money by eating at home.
- My husband is also eating healthier and losing weight.
- I am in tune with my body, and I know now exactly what I need to be healthy.
- I have started this blog, which gives me a great sense of purpose for helping others thrive with their food allergy.
Considering it has been a mere few weeks since I began my soy free lifestyle, I cannot even imagine how the list of benefits will grow over time!
Calling All Soyvivors: What other lifestyle changes have you experienced? What are the good things that have come from it?