You may not know this, but I spent years unable to eat out at a restaurant without EXTREME anxiety. My food allergies caused me to have behaviors around food that were completely different than normal people.
I’d go to the restaurant with friends and after attempting to get some assurance from the server (If they didn’t know what gluten was I’d start sweating) I’d order the best option on the menu. When my food came I’d eat a couple bites and then it would happen. The anxiety would build to the point where secretly inside I thought I might go into anaphylactic shock and have to get rushed to the hospital.
My body was so reactive to foods that I would literally pack up my food in a to-go box and after 20 minutes had passed with no heart-racing, no panic attack, no mucous, no coughing, no stomach pain, no blurry vision I would eat the food from the to go box in the car on the way home.
This is just how it was.
Last week I was prepping for my preview call about Gut Rebuilding and I remembered back to these days. I thought about all the anxiety that I used to carry around food. I would get so worked up before each meal because I didn’t know what would happen to me after I took those first few bites. It still lingers from time to time…
Check out the Ah-Ha’s from last night’s first Gut Rebuilding training!
Now I live in the mecca of food allergies, Portland, Oregon, where every menu at every restaurant in town has all the gluten and dairy marked on a menu.
Everyone is educated about the foods and allergens so I can eat confidently without worry of getting poisoned (I’m not being dramatic here).
You can friend me on Yelp if you want…you’ll see that I get to express that foodie inside that was dying to come out…but couldn’t with how reactive my body used to be.
My favorite restaurants in Portland are Fish Sauce, Swagat, and Nicholas.
If there is anything I’ve learned in this journey it’s that food must be a relaxing, grounding experience. And when it’s not, it totally throws off your entire life.
As I retrain my brain and body to relax before each meal I am in utter gratitude for the huge transformation that has occurred for me.
I think back to all the gluten and dairy I ate as a child. All the stomachaches I had. All the rashes and anxiety. That turned into panic attacks, contributed to my drug use, and chemical sensitivity.
And when I first learned that I couldn’t eat these things, everyone around me didn’t understand. They would get annoyed and frustrated. I became too embarrassed to order my food in front of others. I hated going to my girlfriend’s house or my boyfriend’s parents house for dinner because I didn’t want to explain and I didn’t want to be rude.
Before potlucks and social gatherings I would eat ahead of time and not eat with everyone else. I would get jealous of my partner when they got to eat whatever they wanted and saw how easy it was for them.
It was an all-around nightmare!
Until I figured out that I could claim this with confidence. I learned how to communicate my food intolerances with people unapologetically.
When I approached dinner invites I discovered that if I communicated things a certain way, I could get people to cook food that I could eat. I could participate in the meals again!
I even got my family to come together for a dairy-free gluten-free Thanksgiving meal. My Dad ate vegan pumpkin pie!
And no one complained. They all supported me.
Today, most of my food allergies are gone. And you wanna know the biggest contributing factor to healing them??? Learning how to eat with others again. Learning how to communicate my food needs eloquently and effectively with compassion and without impatience. Subtly teaching people how to react by using particular methods of communication.
P.S. The New Rules For Healing: How to Heal Your Gut in a Sugar-Laden, Chemically Saturated Society. Gut Rebuilding Program. There’s still time to participate. Register now.
What are your strategies?
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