Remember going out to your favorite restaurant on your birthday and ordering your favorite meal? What happened to those days?
When you develop an allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance in your teens or adulthood vs being born with one or having one early on in childhood, you have all that time in your life before where you remember eating whatever you wanted and not worrying about a thing. You know, the good ol’ days.
The days where you could walk into a restaurant and get anything on the menu, for me that was chicken fingers and fries during childhood. Or go inside a bakery and admire all the sweets while choosing the one you want to bring home and devour (anything chocolate, please). Or even going to a party and just eating what was provided no matter what it was. Those are the days you will never forget; the days where, in a way, without even realizing it, you took life for granted eating whatever your heart desired.
You have those moment where you’re just chilling with friends and family, maybe eating some food, or trying to order some food, while you make your own and everyone else gets from a restaurant where you talk about and reminisce on the times you could just eat anything. You have those moments where you wish you didn’t have your sensitivities or allergies and you could enjoy a restaurant meal like you used with your friends and family.
For me, I was 21 when I started developing my food sensitivities. So, I have 21 years of my life where I was able to eat anything I wanted and I clearly remember those days where I could eat at a restaurant, for example. I remember eating popcorn and candy at a movie theatre, getting cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, being at a party and eating the cake, eating the chips or whatever was out, getting fast food like McDonalds or Burger King after sports practices or games, and just living life not worrying about if there will be anything I can eat.
So, you start talking about those days with family and friends when someone brings up, remember when….moments? Remember when we all used to get Burger King after soccer? Remember when we used to sit and wait inside Papa Gino’s after work? Memories like those that bring up the days where you didn’t have food sensitivities and you wish you still didn’t to enjoy those foods again and have those moments again.
Now it’s more of remembering the “bad” and good moments of food sensitivities like remember when you got kicked out of the restaurant? Remember when there was absolutely nothing you could eat? But, on the other hand, remember when you got your own special “4 course” meal at Disney?
When you start reminiscing on the past before food sensitivities is when you start feeling sad because of all the great memories and all the great food you used to be able to eat problem-free. You start to wish you didn’t have your sensitivities and life was back to how it was with all those amazing memories. Memories like walking into someone’s house and eating whatever they have in the house; staying for dinner and not asking for your food to be cooked a certain way or making sure that you brought enough of your own food incase they don’t have something you can eat.
I guess in my case, I have been so lucky and so blessed to not develop food sensitivities until adulthood where I was able to live worry and stress-free making those memories and eating what my heart desired. I was able to enjoy a meal at a restaurant, eat at a friend’s house without being like, “I can’t eat that, I can’t have that” etc…, go trick-or-treating and eat all the candy, eat anything at school, and just live a “normal” childhood without worrying about what will give me a stomachache, besides being allergic to the cold, of course.
Now as an adult, I have a better understanding of what I can and can’t eat, which I might not have been able to understand as a child. I now have those memories of my first major reaction, trying to figure out what bothers me, all the foods I have a problem with, all the foods/companies I found that I can eat, and the restaurants I have vs have not been able to eat it. It’s very interesting how you can go from having no allergies/sensitivities and eating anything to developing sensitivities/allergies having reactions and learning everything about it and new ways of eating problem-free.
Even with those memories and reminiscing on the past, it can be hard at times and seems like it’s not fair, but then you learn how to let go of the past and live life with what you’re dealing with now learning how to live with it. Now as I discover and learn new things about food allergies, sensitivities, dietary restrictions, I get to teach others and spread awareness about the challenges we face as well as enjoying life without constantly worrying about any dietary restrictions you may have. It’s a new part of life and a new way of living that just becomes normal and a normal way of living just like any other person.