Hello fellow bloggers, friends and family!
Sorry it’s been a while since my last post, I have been on my summer vacation and moved house all in the space of a few weeks! So… I finally thought it was time to share with you the WHOLE reason for starting my blog in the first place, it’s not something I’ve really touched on and that’s because I knew it would take me a while to write and to try and gather all the information, I have been trying to wrack my brain and take a step back into the past! So if you’re looking for a quick blog post, then this isn’t it! Think of it as a mini book, It’s a journey that has happened over the past 16 years and is still an ongoing process of elimination, hospital appointments and tests.
My allergy to nuts started during the Christmas period when I was just 8 years old, in the old barn house that we used to live in just outside of Brighton & Hove. I was running around my lounge all excited for Christmas, trying all the different nibbles that mum had decoratively displayed on the table, I can remember it so vividly like it was yesterday.
I came across this huge bowl of walnuts, that were still in their shell, as an 8 year old you can imagine how intriguing this was! I remember eating a few and starting to feel rather hot, sweaty and flushed, my ears started to tingle and become itchy from the inside, and my tongue didn’t feel right, almost like it was too big for my mouth. At the age of 8 having these sensations isn’t something you could pin down to an allergy or easily explain to someone how you are feeling.
Next I remember sitting in the doctors surgery with my mum, and the doctor was explaining to her that it was the start of a nut allergy. From then on something had changed drastically, my mum had to tell the school, my dancing school and any other clubs or activities I was involved in about my allergy to nuts. I could tell it really frightened my parents as they were taking every precaution they could to prevent me from suffering.
I had a few reactions over the years that sometimes left me hospitalized, as they have to monitor you overnight or for a period of 12 hours once you’ve had an anaphylaxic shock , but it wasn’t until I was 17 and off to live in the Big City to study dance and being miles away from my family that the doctors finally prescribed me with 2 epi pens or in medical terms an Epinephrine autoinjector.
Luckily I am SUPER careful when it comes to eating and a bit of a clean/hygiene freak that during my time in London I didn’t suffer from any severe anaphylaxic shocks, the people I surrounded myself with were extremely cautious, so I thank you for that! However I did develop a different kind of allergy during a very stressful time whilst studying for my degree at university.
Dairy! Something I never thought my body would reject, I had been brought up on it, and would drink pint after pint of milk a day, ALWAYS have yogurt for dessert and absolutely LOVE ice cream (mint choc chip is a personal fave!). So at the age of 19 I was going to have to start from scratch with my diet and slowly introduce and eliminate certain foods and drinks from my diet.
Surprisingly it was my flat mate at the time that noticed my symptoms, I was completely oblivious to it and kept denying anything was wrong as I thought it was just a stomach bug that left me in agony and on the toilet (GROSS), but after seeing the doctor and slowly eliminating dairy products from my diet i felt less bloated and less sick.
At the age of 22/23 I went through the most upsetting and stressful time in my life so far. This started playing tricks on my tummy, which left my mental and physical state in a bad way. Honestly they say you are what you eat and I truly believe that, your gut is THE most important and largest endocrine organ in your body. It has extremely thin lining so you HAVE to look after it, which has been something i struggled with for such a long time because my health issues have been unanswered.
I then went to the doctors to be tested for Coeliac disease which came back negative, however even when you’ve been tested you can still carry the disease and experience the symptoms. The doctors then concluded that I had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) so depending on my stress levels or my state of happiness, certain foods can trigger my tummy aches, lack of energy, headaches, sickness and back pain.
Over the past 6 months I started to notice that things like tomatoes, kiwis and pineapples were making my mouth itch, almost like a nut allergy but without the severity of an anaphylaxic shock. Having had lots of tests and consultations, I decided to write a food diary so I can keep a personal log of what I’m eating/drinking and what the outcome of consuming them is. After showing this to the doctor they said I also have an allergy called ‘Birch Pollen’ which carries symptoms almost like hay fever. Eating some fresh fruits and vegetables can trigger the itchiness, and the only way to be able to eat these foods is to cook them as this breaks up the protein they contain, that cause the allergy.
So after years of unanswered questions and going from a child transitioning into adolescence, I am finally getting the answers I need. I have just started looking into a Paleo based diet, and when I brought this up in my last consultation the doctors highly recommended it, after seeing what triggered my IBS from my food diary. I have recently been referred to a dietitian so I have my first appointment mid September, and of course I will keep you all updated!
Everyone’s food allergies are unique but are also extremely relatable so I hope you take something from this blog post, or even if it just opens your eyes and creates awareness to the many different struggles that we have to go through!
ANY questions feel free to ask in the comment section below or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for your overwhelming support.