Where to begin?
I have been literally immersed the past week and a half trying to help restore someone’s health. My Dad. A diabetic with the beginnings of kidney failure, I have begged him to test for food allergies for longer than I can remember. I mean I get the gene from somewhere. But that’s a hard thing to get people to want to do — willingly give up their favorite foods. No doubt, it’s a life of sacrifice. But the reward is so worth it. Your health. And outside of religion, what is more important than the health of you and your family while you are on this earth?
It’s important to understand to thousands of people, food is poison. You must recognize what you are allergic to and strictly avoid it. At all costs. Do I miss heavy cream and brie cheese more than I can put into words? Absolutely. Is laying on the ground in fetal position next to a toilet worth it? Absolutely never. Would I like to go up to receive the Eucharist in the Catholic Church including both the body and blood? You betcha. But I cannot. I must simply bow out of respect in front of the Host, and then walk directly to the wine where I can participate in this sacrament without physical illness.
The damage you do internally from ingesting the foods you are allergic to is unimaginable. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 19. I’ll never not have that now. But I can keep it in remission with my diet…and I have for the past 9 years. My oldest son, in the photo, had his first anaphylactic style reaction at age 3. Although the facial swelling did not involve his airway, thank God, the doctor, who had me meet him straight away that day, warned that could change at any time. Has he done that since? Not on my watch. I’ve never allowed him to eat gluten, dairy, egg or soy again. Even when he has experienced an accidental infraction or cross contamination, he’s suffered everything from migraines, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and hives. The likelihood of him ingesting more than one of his taboo allergens at once is low due to the precautions we take, and we’ll never know how many allergens he ingested the day of that reaction. Bottom line, we don’t play around with it. This lifestyle is not a fad diet. It’s survival.
When I say strictly avoid the allergens, I’m referring to treating them like e coli. If someone had their hands in a bowl of raw beef that you knew had e coli, and then they offered to reach into another bowl to hand you a peppermint candy, would you take it? Not if you possess half a brain. You wouldn’t touch the area that the bacteria ridden raw meat had been prepared in, you wouldn’t use utensils that had come in contact with it, and you would scrub the area with bacteria killing agents 20 times before using it again. This is no different than how food allergies should be treated.
Corn tortilla chips may not have gluten listed on the packaging, but did they ride the conveyor belt at the manufacturer with flour tortillas? I’ve been contaminated this way. Research must be done before ANYTHING goes into your mouth. If you have to call the manufacturer directly, do so. Assume nothing.
This post’s content is the very conversation I’ve been having this week with my parents. Why you ask? Because after 6 months of my Dad not being able to digest or hold anything in…not even water…losing 15 pounds, and being hospitalized twice for dehydration and malnutrition, he had hit his wall. He’s been to more specialists and run more tests than I can count on my fingers and toes. He finally decided to order the tests…which was the easiest and least invasive thing he’s done in the past 6 months. The test came back 7 days ago, and my Dad is allergic to…wait for it….gluten, dairy, egg and soy. Although he was not happy, he was eager to jump in because nothing else has worked. I’ve been on the phone and internet every day researching his favorite foods, telling him what to eliminate and finding what things he can add. Right down to vitamins and shampoo.
And in a week’s time, my Dad’s symptoms are lessening and starting to turn around. He’s even ditched some of the medications that he was previously on but had not been effective. His appetite is coming back. There have been several of these days in which he was able to properly digest the food and hold it in. And he realizes that there are probably still things he’s unintentionally doing wrong. It will take months to fully be allergen free. But the point is, it’s working. And best of all, he’s reporting that he’s actually feeling better. He’s said he has more energy, he can think more clearly and he’s not feeling nauseated. Now that his digestive issues are sorting themselves out, he can concentrate on the dialysis…which has never been able to do its job in full to this point. He’s planning to go on a trip next weekend with his buddies, compared to two weeks ago when he could not get out of bed. We have a new believer.
The tests I sent my Dad to are here. They are recognized by both my gastroenterologist and his. Everyone always assumes they are allergic only to gluten. Rarely is this ever the case. The first thing I tell anyone to do, is run a full panel of tests for the top 8 allergens.
Having gone through this with my Dad this past week, I now recognize that when people find out they are allergic to multiple allergies, they need some type of survival kit to get them through the first few weeks until they flip their kitchen and start to learn how to cook. Not everyone has access to someone else who has already been through this, as both my father and I had. So I’m going to be adding a page to my site that posts the very same survival kit techniques that I have shared with my Dad.
My sincerest hope is that this information may help you or a loved one who is “dying” to eat.