Food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances are all quite similar in a sense that if you have one of them, you avoid eating those types of foods. An allergy, however is more on the dangerous side as you can break into a shock, have trouble breathing, and have to carry an EpiPen that could save your life. You may think that someone who has an intolerance or sensitivity has the easier route, but that’s not always the case when it comes to finding food to eat.
With a sensitivity, you don’t necessarily know what’s bothering you, although you might be able to figure it out. You can’t go to an allergist and get some tests done, so you know exactly what you’re allergic to. Well, at least for me there is no testing for oil where I know 100% that oil is what bothers me and I can’t test for what kinds of oil. I just happened to eat foods like peanut butter and had a reaction to it and had to do some research to figure out why. What’s in other foods like french fries that is also in peanut butter that happens to bother me?
With an allergy, there are other alternatives and allergy-friendly foods one can enjoy. With a sensitivity like mine where I’m sensitive to oil and other small ingredients, I can’t look for allergy-friendly food and know I’ll be okay. I can’t walk into a restaurant and ask what they have that is allergy-friendly or what do they have that is gluten-free, for example.
There is a bunch of allergy-friendly brands that knock out the common 8+ allergens, but I don’t have an allergy. I can’t grab allergy-friendly food and know that I’ll be able to eat it; I still have to look at all the ingredients for every product. Enjoy Life Foods is one allergy-friendly brand that I love. I’m able to eat their chocolate that is soy free because I can’t have chocolate that has soy lecithin, as someone who loves chocolate, I was so excited that I found chocolate I can eat. But, I can’t grab every product they have worry free, I still have to keep an eye out for oil. So, I can’t eat their chips because of the oil that is used, but there’s chips I can eat from other brands plus that’s only one product out of the many like cookies and chocolate that I get to enjoy worry free. Enjoy Life Foods is still a brand that I love and I’m happy I found them, even if there is a product or two I can’t eat from them. They’re doing the best they can to make delicious food free from the main allergens.
With that being said, I still get frustrated and disappointed sometimes when I grab something I think I might be able to eat, but then it turns out I can’t eat it because of the oil or something else inside. I start to lose hope wondering what I can eat if I can’t even eat allergy-friendly food, because that doesn’t mean oil free because people aren’t allergic to oil, as far as I know. I still struggle with finding foods I can enjoy. For example, the other day I grabbed a bag of gummy bears thinking it was safe for me to eat as I didn’t see any ingredients that I know for a fact bother me, but I ended up having a stomachache after eating some. I’m not 100% certain as to why gummy bears would bother me, but now I know not to eat them since it didn’t end well. It’s things like that, where I eat something that I think is okay, but ends up not being safe to eat that adds to the frustration and confusion of what can I eat? What do I look for? I don’t have many options left. This also leads into the fear of being too scared to eat food because now I don’t 100 percent know what my sensitivities are; I don’t know what bothers me and what doesn’t until I eat something and see what happens; I eat something I think I can handle, but may or may not be able to.
As positive as I try to be about my situation, it’s hard to stay positive sometimes, knowing that not all food is safe for me to eat; knowing that I may be able to eat one item from a brand, especially one that is allergy-friendly, but I can’t eat all their products. I guess the good thing and positive thing about this is that there is still some food I can eat. I can still love a brand, eventhough I may only be able to eat one or two products, at least there is one product I can enjoy. At the end of the day, I have to remember to enjoy life and enjoy what I have.