Have you been diagnosed with food intolerances? Do you feel overwhelmed? I have 5 steps that will help you to cope with food intolerances!
I’ve always had issues with certain kind of food. The times I felt sick, bloated, or plain dizzy after a meal are too many times that I can even count. At a point, my stomach problems got so bad that I had to go to the hospital, but honestly, they couldn’t find anything and didn’t think it had anything to do with food. It wasn’t until quite a bit later that a doctor suggested, it might be dairy that was causing all the problems and that I should avoid it. They did a lactose intolerance test and it was negative. It was a frustrating experience, as some people said that it was just in my head and that I just needed to eat „normal“ and my body would be fine. Sure enough, that wasn’t the case. I did cut out dairy, which was still at a time where it was super hard to find even soy milk and when the first rice milk tasted like absolute cardboard. But guess what, my problems were bad enough that I stuck with it, and I did start to feel much better. It was dairy after all, even though not the lactose part.
Cut to the present, where food intolerances are pretty well known and taken much more seriously. Sure, they are not allergies – but constantly being in discomfort when eating certain foods is still no fun. While I have cut out dairy for quite a while now (even though I’ve been slacking a bit in the last months), I was having quite a lot of digestive trouble lately. This led me to take a more extensive nutritional screening, and lo and behold, it revealed quite a few more food intolerances. The test showed that I’m intolerant to wheat, spelt, all kind of dairy, eggs and quite a few other things to a lesser extent. I felt extremely overwhelmed at first because the test told me that I was even slightly intolerant to buckwheat, quinoa and oats. Shock, horror, some of my favorite things to eat. I got into the “I can’t eat ANYTHING!” mindset, just because grains are such a huge part of the regular diet here. The right way to think in this case is actually the opposite, by focusing on what you actually CAN eat. And that’s usually more than it feels at first. For me, it’s pretty much all veggies (no bell peppers), and fruit (apples, pineapple, and banana only in moderation), rice, legumes, nuts, meat, and seafood. See? That’s actually quite a bit. It is a matter of shifting your focus! So let me share 5 steps with you that can help you as well to better cope with your food intolerances!
5 Steps that will help you to cope with food intolerances
- Focus on what you CAN eat! It feels overwhelming at first when you probably get a long list of things you can’t eat anymore. Try to focus on those groups that you can actually eat – just like I did in the example above. It will put things into a more positive light and might actually give you inspiration!
- Add first, then subtract. For example, if you cannot eat wheat flour anymore, look for something that you can replace it with, like corn, rice, or tapioca flour. Once you found something that you like, it will be easier to cut out the item that gives you trouble.
- Don’t try to do it all at once – take baby steps. Start with the worst intolerance(es), and then work down. The results will be quicker/more noticeable if you remove all the food items at once that you are intolerant towards, but if you have a long list like I do, it might be easier to focus on the ones that give you the most problems first.
- Never be afraid to ask at restaurants. At first, it can be daunting to go out and find something suited for your new dietary needs – if you can’t find anything on the menu, ask the waiter/waitress/chef! They might even be able to come up with something that suits exactly your dietary needs, even though it’s not on the menu.
- Find inspiration online! Praise the Internet. It was never easier to find recipes tailored to any kind of diet like it is right now. I love Pinterest for inspiration and also for recipe searching, where I have, for example, curated this board of grain free/paleo cookies.
Do you have any additional tips on how you learnt to cope with food intolerances? Let me know – let’s help each other out!