Sometimes, when I’m feeling annoyed that I can’t eat a cracker when I just want to eat a stupid cracker, I calm myself down by thinking about when I was 13.
I don’t know if it was the onset of puberty or what, but when I was between the ages of 12 and 13, my body freaked out. I’m sure it must have had something to do with hormonal changes and my body trying to balance itself out or something. Whatever it was, I became allergic to everything.
I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, sure, everything. She was allergic to everything.”
Well, let me tell you something. With the exception of rice, and a few types of veggies, I did become allergic to almost everything.
Most grains made me ill. Most fruits. All dairy. Tofu. Everything.
“Ill” meant that I had horrible stomach aches, and felt so nauseous that I couldn’t even sleep at night. And the reaction was always instant. It was like the second the food hit my stomach, my stomach rejected it. Violently. I spent so many nights awake in bed, crying and trying not to vomit, wondering if I would ever feel normal again.
I don’t even remember a large chunk of that period of time, I think because I was in such a nauseated, hopeless daze. One of my teachers in grade seven contacted my mom to say she was worried about me because I was always so pallid with huge bags under my eyes.
I was totally miserable. I have no idea how I even got through it.
There was one day I was so, so desperate to eat something that my mom and I actually bought a pack of two chicken breasts. Now, if you know me at all, you know this is something I would never do. But I was literally starving. My body was so depleted, I felt like I had no other option but to try to get protein from somewhere, anywhere.
My mom cooked one and put it on a plate in front of me.
I looked at it, cut a piece off, then looked at it again.
Then I started sobbing.
Couldn’t do it. No way in hell.
We threw them away and I probably ended up eating a bowl of plain rice instead.
Eventually, we found an amazing naturopath who specializes in allergies and intolerances. His treatments, combined with time, balanced my body out. I still have a few allergies, but they’re all to things I don’t eat (i.e., dairy). Except for wheat, but I’m hoping to eventually treat that allergy away, too.
So, that was the chunk of my life during which I learned that allergies are the fucking worst. And it’s also the chunk of my life I look back on when I need to re-learn that a gluten intolerance isn’t so bad.
P.S. When you Google image search “naturopath,” some hilarious shit comes up. My favourite, which seems to be the go-to visual representation?