You are walking through the grocery store, you smell the beautiful smell of cinnamon...Your mind automatically gets anxious because you know you are anaphylactically allergic to cinnamon...so you speed up your steps to get away from the smell you love that hates you. You are walking past the bakery to get to the meat and cheese section, when you get a whiff of fresh made cake, donuts, bread...You know there is probably a trace of gluten still airborne from the mixing and baking process that goes on in that open area... You remember all the times that you were sick for weeks from that trace amount of gluten you breathed in while hanging out near the bakery for a few minutes, just trying to get your shopping done... Your heart sinks because you are hungry, wishing you could have those delicious foods again.
You get to the cheese isle... your eyes quickly roam to find the cheese you are buying for your family, not yourself. You absolutely adore cheese, and really could use the protein and calcium found in it, but you know that if you eat it you will be sick for days... You just grab what your family needs and leave, trying not to spend too much time in that area.
You pass the meat counter...You see steaks, hamburger, pork chops, ham, fish...Your heart screams at you, as your mind constantly repeats (allergic, allergic, allergic!) Without hesitation, you pass on by.
The frozen vegetable isle is loaded with delicious choices. You take your time checking to see if there are any new ones, but all you can see that is safe is broccoli, kale...and that's it. You wonder if it will always be this way. You remember the days when you could have fresh corn on the cob, okra, or even green beans or peas...You long for the freedom you had then.
The canned food isle is a quick grab and passing for the only thing down there you can have is absolutely nothing...but the family can have pinto's so you grab a few cans and go.
You go through the rest of the isles picking up a few things here and there, mourning over all the delicious options that aren't options. You remember the days when you could have them. The cravings for healthy, filling, nutritious meals are severe about now. You are just about in tears, but you must look and act strong in front of your family...so you push on. The fake smile you wear hides the inner pain and frustration that is bottled up until that moment when you are alone to release it.
Finally, the last thing on your list, you grab some yogurt for the family. You know that without the yogurt your gluten free baking just won't be what it needs to be. You also know that you won't be able to have not even one bite of the goodies that you will be mixing up for your family. At the peak of frustration, you quickly check out and pay the hundreds of dollars for the few groceries you actually have been able to grab. You are relieved when you finally get into the car to head home, only to do the same thing again next week.
You are so hungry by this time that you wish so badly that there was some kind of fast food or snack at a gas station that you could have, but instead you just have to deal with it till you get home. You know that there isn't anything safe.
So many people don't understand the emotional battle that those of us with multiple food allergies deal with. Most people say, "Oh, you are being overly careful." But what they don't know is all the hundreds of times when your body went into anaphylactic shock because you weren't careful enough. They haven't seen you doubled over in pain, and vomiting for hours because you ate gluten. They weren't there when you failed your exam because gluten made your mind so foggy you couldn't think straight in-spite of the weeks of study. And they haven't dealt with the extreme fatigue that brought you to depression...all because of Food Allergies and Gluten Sensitivity!
The BATTLE is REAL, Folks! You can't make these things up...and so many people suffer on a daily basis like this! We have to spread awareness! We must stand up for those who have Food Allergies, Celiac Disease, or Gluten Sensitivity! We must do our best to help others who are suffering to have their voice heard!
Do your part, whatever it may be, to get the word out!
Have a Happy, Healthy, Allergen Free, Gluten Free Day!
~Gluten Free Em~
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