Almost every year at New Year’s, I think over the past year and take stock of the good and the bad. Last December, I was so sick that I had just quit my job, had choking spells in my sleep that made me think that I was going to die, had suffered my sixth miscarriage, and thought that I would never beat the sinus infection that I had been battling for over a year.
Fortunately this story has a very happy ending, because in February, I discovered a new food allergy (soy.) Now, I can say that this year has been the best year of my life!
- I have lost 50 pounds since June 2013, and 30 of those pounds happened after eliminating soy in February.
- I have incredible energy levels. I never feel the exhaustion that I previously felt every single day, and I generally work way more than 40 hours per week.
- I have not been on antibiotics in almost a year, and I previously took several rounds per year for sinus infections.
- For the first time in my life, I sleep through the night without needing to go to the bathroom.
- My acid reflux has gone from my doctor recommending extensive surgery to completely eliminating one of my reflux medications.
- I have stopped taking 3 other medications/supplements.
- The “chicken skin” that I had on my upper arms is gone.
- It feels great to have people tell me that not only look thinner, but I look years younger.
- I actually know what it feels like to just go to the doctor to check in and ask questions instead of constant “sick visits.”
- My doctor no longer feels the need to check my cholesterol, which needed regular monitoring before.
- Instead of eating out several times a week like I previously did, I can now cook easy, delicious meals that are just as good as any restaurant.
- I have learned to work around my demanding and ever-changing work schedule and still have a home cooked meal at every meal.
- I have found a handful of restaurants that can cook for me.
- I am able to travel again.
- I have an incredibly supportive family that has rallied behind me, cooked for me, and listened to me go on and on about food allergies.
- I always listened to other people talk about their “calling,” and this year I finally found it through food allergy coaching!
In this new year, my wish for you is that your food allergies will become one of your greatest blessings, and you will look back next December and have your own list of miracles and transformations!
The holidays are almost here! While it is certainly an exciting time, there are some challenges that anyone with food allergies will be navigating over the next few weeks. I have been having many conversations with family and friends about get-togethers: Should I bring my own food? What are you preparing and what ingredients are you using? What ingredients to I need to substitute to make a dish that is safe for me?
I have three main issues that I am personally dealing with right now:
1. This is my first Thanksgiving without soy, and watching others eat traditional Thanksgiving food that I can no longer eat is more than I can handle at this point in my journey.
2. I am severely allergic to poinsettias (the red flowers you see during the holidays) and cannot go near a grocery store, shopping mall, restaurant or someone’s home that has poinsettias. Yep, that means that hubby has to do all the grocery shopping and label reading. (He’s definitely a keeper!!) Side note: poinsettias can sometimes be cross-reactive to latex, so be aware if you are allergic to latex.
3. I have no time to think through how to make alternative dishes with substitute ingredients that are safe for me, not less cook that much food.
The thing is, instead of getting me down, I remind myself constantly that:
The reason why the holidays are important is not because of what is on the plate but because of who is sitting at the table!
I am very excited to be spending time with my family, and I am also very thankful that they are so supportive and also recognize that the food is not what is important. We have decided to have a spaghetti dinner with homemade banana pudding for Thanksgiving. I am supplying the spaghetti sauce (Whole Foods 365 Organic Pasta Sauce), and I will be bringing my own pasta to go with it (Whole Foods 365 Organic Spaghetti.)
Here are some other ideas for Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Meals that everyone can eat. (Place each ingredient in separate bowls with separate spoons, and prepare each ingredient with clean utensils and cooking surfaces.):
- Build Your Own Tacos (Try Garden of Eatin’ or Bearitos taco shells.)
- Build Your Own Salad
- Build Your Own Pasta (With a couple of sauce, pasta and veggie options)
- Build Your Own Baked Potato or Sweet Potato Bar
- OR, invite everyone over for a build your own Sundae or Fruit Salad bar. So Delicious and Haagen-Dazs have some soy free ice cream options, although not all are soy free. You could also make delicious banana ice cream from just a couple of ingredients. Google “one ingredient banana ice cream” for ideas.
Calling All Soyvivors: How are you handling the holidays and what are you eating?