Long before it was “cool” to avoid eating gluten and almond milk was mainstream, I was told I could no longer eat gluten or dairy. I’m not sure if my heart sank more from this news or when I was told I had Lyme.
No more toast with Nutella, team spaghetti dinners (a cross-country ritual) or my favorite dessert – ice cream. I never realized how much food I was consuming that contained these ingredients (that could be an entire blog in itself).
There were a few reasons I could no longer eat gluten or dairy:
- Both can cause inflammation in the body, which can result in a lowered immune system making it more difficult to recover from Lyme
- Gluten causes an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland if you have Hashimoto’s
- Bad bacteria like to feed off the sugar from dairy (so I also limited my sugar intake)
- I did a food allergy test around the same time I was diagnosed with Lyme and discovered I was allergic to both ingredients
I’ll admit that a few tears were shed as I had a pity party. But with the gracious help from my parents and some researching, I was able to develop a new diet free of gluten and dairy. This was before there were multiple aisles dedicated to foods for people with dietary restrictions. While there were a few gluten-free brands in existence at that time, I lived in a small town in the Midwest with a grocery store that had a limited variety of food.
Over time, brands made more allergy friendly food. In addition, grocery stores and some restaurants started carrying gluten free options. While I am very thankful for this, I think it’s important to note that these “gluten free” or “dairy free” items aren’t necessarily healthy. In fact, they can be worse than the actual food item because companies add nasty “filler” ingredients.
This was more than a diet change. It was a mindset and lifestyle change. It required self-control. I had to change my outlook from “poor me” to “this is essential for my health.” Little did I know that this new outlook would come in handy later on in my life as I’ve developed more dietary restrictions.
I just ask that you don’t feel sorry for me. Instead, enjoy a nice big bowl of ice cream for me – or an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s!
Stay lively my friends,
– The Lively Lymie