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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Don't Tell Me that You're Hungry.

I have suddenly come down with a lot of different food allergies, and saying it has been a rough ride is an understatement. I love eating fresh healthy foods, so it's been a blessing as I'm *forced*  to eat them. As a teen, I was a vegetarian for over 4 years, so changing my diet and having diet restrictions isn't really an issue. Except for the fact that I currently can't eat ANYTHING. No dairy, no gluten, not even my oatmeal, no butter, no eggs, no cinnamon, no vinegar, and who knows what else... I'm still trying to figure it all out. 

The other day I told my husband that I seem to constantly be in a state somewhere between hungry and starving. "Oh", he replied. I think he finally started to understand why I get so angry when people come up to me and tell me they are hungry. "you don't know hungry", I think to myself.  I've lost about 6 pounds. I've eaten variations of the same two meals twice a day for the last two weeks, with a few other things here and there. I'll tell you what, I make a killer bean and rice and veggie taco!
Looking for food to eat is frustrating and discouraging. If it has eggs, milk, or butter in it, I can't eat it. If it's a salad, I can't eat it with dressing, which makes it rough. Dry salads are hard to swallow. Bread is out, even chocolate is out. I'm not even sure if I can eat it with traces of milk or whatever in it. If it's dairy free it has gluten, if it's gluten free it has eggs, or if it's free of everything else, there is cinnamon.
I was doing fine with the multi grain cheerios, and then suddenly one day I wasn't! Same thing with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I had two bites left and I had to spit the piece out that was in my mouth because it was like my body didn't want to open up and let it in. I could not swallow.
And just so it's clear, I am having actual allergic reactions. I'll admit that I've rolled my eyes at all the hype of gluten free diets. I don't doubt that it makes people feel better when they find foods that are right for their bodies, but you can't deny it's definitely a trend right now. But when I eat cinnamon my tongue swells instantly, my heart races, my breathing gets shallow, and in rushes the panic and I feel like I'm going to die! Same thing with dairy. Even milk chocolate chips, or cheese, same with salad dressings and Mayo. My tongue even swelled with veganese - dairy free/vegan mayo.
It now makes me angry when I find a website that is about healing or clean eating, and it's all about losing weight! I don't want to lose weight. I'm not here for appearances. I just want to live. I just need something to eat. I become bitter.
Looking for recipes is a heart breaker! Yesterday I thought I found the jackpot on Pinterest! "Just look at all these dairy free gluten free recipes!! And then I started reading, "1 egg - egg substitutes won't work in this recipe", "cinnamon", "vinegar", "vinegar", "vinegar". More eggs, milk, there is nothing free of everything. I'm sure I could make substitutions in some, but I'll save that for another day. It was too discouraging to tackle for that day.
So off to the food co-op I go on a search for ANYTHING I can eat.
First I look in the bakery. Finally something gluten free, "contains: egg". Everything has egg. There is a list of the daily gluten free beads, but one isn't on the counter to see what the ingredients are, so I ask. "nope, it doesn't have eggs or dairy." I think he was surprised by my response of gratitude. They bake that bread on Sunday and Wednesday. "I'll have to wait. Don't forget!!" I LOVE bread!! There's hope! I look around some more. Cookies! I would love a cookie! They all contain eggs or dairy, or if neither of those, cinnamon. I start to cry in the isle.
I finally find some bread I can eat in the frozen section. $5.76 for a small loaf. So expensive. I put it in the cart. I turn around, gluten free dairy free pizza!!!! My mouth waters. $8.59. I don't care, I put it in the cart. Veggie fries made from carrots and potatoes. I put them in the cart. Dairy free ice cream! Look at all those flavors! It's more expensive than talenti. The cherry amaretto goes in the cart.
The store is about to close so I go checkout. Ug. I've already spent way over our food budget last time I came here to buy some supplements, gluten free flour and chocolate chips ($5.76 a bag!) (I had to make and bring my own muffins to Jackson's Mom's and Muffins event in kindergarten this last week). On to the credit card it goes. There goes our goal of getting our of debt. It's discouraging on every level.
I hurry home to put everything in the freezer before I go to the regular store to buy food for the rest of my family. "I can't eat it, so why do I have to buy it" I think to myself with a hint of bitterness. Because I love my family and it's my responsibility, that's why. Salt in the wounds.
I hurry and open up the ice cream to have a few bites before I leave again. Yum! That is good. I'm about to go out the door and my tongue is swollen. Tears roll down my cheeks. (What is even in there that I'm reacting to??) I guess I won't be finishing that.
At the store I buy the things my husband asked for. More apples and cucumbers. What something new I can add to my repertoire?! Strawberries aren't too expensive. I see a few people I know and try to put a smile on my face.
Back to home. I'm so hungry. I lay down on the couch and try to sob. Maybe I'll feel better if I let it all out. But the voice in my head criticizes myself and tells myself to suck it up. Lots of people have diet restrictions. I don't cry. I can't cry. I fall asleep.
Food has been a struggle. But that's not where the battle lies.
On our trip to Utah a few weeks ago my husband tells me, "you know how they say that men's hearts will fail them? I think your heart is failing you." It is. He was holding up a mirror and I could see it so clearly. Every time I am bitter, angry, feeling despair, or discouraged. My heart is hardening. My heart is failing me.
The heart is about faith. Hope. Being cheerful despite the circumstances. Being grateful. I feel like my world is crushing down around me.
We made so much progress in our financial goals, and I feel like just trying to stay alive has knocked our knees out from under us. The expensive foods and ingredients. The doctor bills and lab work. The impulse spending that is a tough battle for me personally to fight when I'm tired and weak and discouraged.
Wanting things different in my life, like my husband getting the needed raise, or getting a house with a fenced in backyard so I can let my 3 year old outside to play with his siblings. Wanting to work on my business so I can bring in the extra money that we need, but I'm too tired and don't have the energy or the desire. Watching my kids struggle in school and wanting to quite my job so I can cut out the balancing act (and the stress) and be able to give them more of my time and attention. Wanting to be closer to a temple so I can go and get the much needed refuelling in my life - because now it just means that much more time that I'm away from my family, and it's still too long to be away from my baby. Wanting to get out of debt so bad it hurts!
I don't think any of my desires are extreme or unrighteous. And while I try to have faith in better things to come, my hope for them is almost non existent. I'm tired of wondering if we're going to move or stay. I'd be fine with staying, but the university underpays all their employees, so we can't plan on it.
I try to have faith, I try to be positive. I read my scriptures every morning, and am filled with messages and lessons that are just for me, that never would have stood out if it weren't for my current circumstances. I know I am blessed. I know I'm being watched over. My head reaches the top of the water and I gasp for air. I listen to conference talks or inspiring talks. More air enters my lungs and the day gets brighter. I pray, and I find strength and hope. There is some joy in my step. My husband gives me blessings and I think my head is entirely above the water.
Then the kids fight, or everyone is impatient and snappy. The house is a mess. I have too many projects to finish. I'm hungry. I hit a wall and I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open. My head drops again below the water and I fight for air. I'm so tired. I'm so tired.
Is it over yet? Isn't this just a dream? Where did April go? I don't even remember it. Life is a haze. My mind is in a fog. I can't think straight. I get on Instagram and they changed it... Where are all the pictures? Where are all my friends? No one is liking my pictures. How am I going to let people know about the sale on my destash? I need to sell it all to pay the bills. I need to work harder. I need to be a better mom. I need to be happy and have faith. I need to do my calling and help others. I need to fake it when I go outside because no one wants to talk to the struggling girl. No one wants to be friends with the girl that isn't happy. I'm all alone.
I think they are all lies. I want them to be, but I believe them anyway. What am I doing wrong that we can't seem to secure the blessings my heart desires? What do I need to fix or change? Those are lies too. Hardships don't come because of our faults or unrighteousness. They come because this is life. Well, can't I sit this one out?!
I struggle to get out of bed. I struggle to find something to feel grateful for. For something to look forward to that day. I'm grateful for a lot of things. I see miracles and blessings all around me. But my heart is hard and they don't soften my struggles like they should. I don't feel anything.
Instead I sit. And tears roll silently down my cheek. I pray desperately for something. Anything. And blessings come. But I continue to struggle.
I wish I had a message of hope and encouragement to share. I wish I had something to say to lift another.
I could share the scripture in Matthew, where the Lord said come follow me, and find rest. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. How? How do I yoke myself with Christ? Or how about the script in 1 Nephi 3:7, that the Lord gives no commandment save he prepares a way for us to accomplish that which He has commanded. What is the way for me to keep the commandments?! How do I have faith and hope and have gratitude in my current circumstances? Or what about the scripture in Mosiah, where the Lord makes the burdens of the people of Alma light, that they cannot feel them upon their backs, and they are cheerful. How do I stay cheerful?
I read these scriptures and similar messages everyday. They are powerful. They are packed with hope and with promise. They help lift me up and give me air. But I can't seem to stay there. I want to. I would like to be happy. And yesterday I was. I felt joy. Life was good. And then I looked for recipes and found nothing but discouragement. The scales are so sensitive right now, and the balancing act too delicate. I can't wait to get off this dark side and be on the side with hope and peace and rest.
Until then I'll eat my beans and rice. I'll try that pizza and hope for the best. I'll share the ice cream with my family and watch the smiles on their faces, as tears roll down mine.
But I'll remember that I'm a mother. And I'll tell myself that mother is all about loving my children and despite what my world looks like, I'll create a world for them that is safe and happy and strong. A world where they feel loved. Where they are not alone.
It's not easy to give what I don't have. But I will try. And hopefully when they are old, they will understand and see that through my imperfections, I never stopped trying.
Today is mother's day. It's a hard day for me. Especially this one. As of late, Neil has been making me my favorite breakfast on any special occasion. Crepes with nuttella and bananas and whipped cream. That made every hard day a good day. But not today. Not again. I can't eat any of that now.
I don't want to go to church because I know they'll give me chocolate I can't eat. I don't want to go anywhere. I don't want to talk to anyone.
So the battle continues as I watch those small acts of love, that were really nothing but meant so much, pass me by. Wondering if there will be anything to take their place. Or if life will be left with un-fillable holes.
I would say happy mother's day, but I'm not feeling very happy. I hope I'm the only one. I hope everyone is feeling happy on this day. Though I know not everyone is. I know there are many with struggles, struggles that have many different faces.
So perhaps instead of a happy mother's day. I wish you love and comfort. May this day be a day where we can feel safe to share our struggles. Where we can be free to voice or sorrows and our pain. Where we can be united in not giving up but trudging along forward. Knowing we are not alone. Knowing that somewhere someone else is struggling, that someone else is battling sorrow, despair or discouragement. And realizing that our struggles are real, they are a part of us, they make us who we are, and they are nothing to look down upon. They don't make us less than someone else, they don't make us better than others. They just are.
We can unite as people who are living life the best we can. I send a hug to each of you! I hope you'll pause for just as minute and feel my tight embrace. Hear me whisper in your ear, "I know it's hard! I know it's hard. You can do it. Be brave. Have courage. Don't give up!! I love you! You are not alone." Because sometimes all we need is for someone to recognize. Recognize our heartaches and struggles, and hold us and tell us it will be OK. So for this mother's day, I give that to you. I pray that God will carry my love to your heart, and if even just for a moment you will feel comfort. You will feel love. And that you will remember this through the hard moments, to help you through.
I love you.


  1. I am so sorry you are suffering :( i can relate...it's been 20 years and most of the time i can deal, but still catch myself staring at the dessert section in the grocery store waiting for something i can eat to magically appear. No such luck. Not sure what your root cause might be, mine is lyme and multiple chronic virus/infections etc (have you been tested?). I hope you have a good doc or naturopath. Also, this article may help. Sending you big hugs and wishing you peace and healing..http://mthfrliving.com/health-conditions/mast-cell-activation-disorder-histamine-intolerance/

  2. Oh, Diane, I can't even begin to imagine how hard the food challenges you face are. Foods we love are so much to us in this society -- sustenance, comfort, energy, really, life itself. And, of course, our general well-being is tied to food. I'm so sorry. I hope you find answers, something that helps physically, and spiritually, too. I wish you an extra helping of blessings!
    --Nancy. (ndmessier @ aol.com, joyforgrace.blogspot.com)

  3. I want to say something inspiring and helpful and valuable, but all I've got is that I love you and I am here if you want to vent or brainstorm or cry, or do something to take your mind off your struggles, but you don't need to pretend all is well. You never need to pretend. I want to help. You can do this, but you don't have to be strong all the time. You're not alone. ❤️

  4. I can't even begin to understand the depths of your despair. But, I *applaud* your absolute courage in writing about your unbearable situation so eloquently. I never felt that you were complaining .. just trying very, very hard to accurately describe your life. I believe you did so brilliantly.

    I hope that the writing ... and venting (which is *so* therapeutic, even if the audience can't provide a solution) ... helped to alleviate your frustration and sadness. Your hopeful words at the end were, indeed, encouraging .. and blessfully, I don't *need* the encouragement, but thank you for it anyway.

    I do hope, so very much, that you find what is causing your allergies. Or even that just *one* of your family's problems can be solved, because that will cause you all to be uplifted ... and who knows? might even start an avalanche of good things.

    May God bless and keep your family in the palm of His hand.

  5. My dear girl, what a heart wrenching post. I am up at 4am because I can't sleep and feel bad for myself. Then there you are on my screen and reading your post, I cannot believe what you are going through. I am sorry. I am sure that anyone reading this with me would so desperately wish you none of what you are going through. I wish you speed in finding your what is the culprit in the change in your body and in the meantime, the strength to carry on. I am so sorry that this has happened to you my dear girl.

  6. I wish I could reach across space and put my arms around you. I am SO, SO, SO sorry. I've not experienced what you are talking about (no allergies to speak of here), but I have been at the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical limit of myself before (all at the same). And I've been STARVING before, though in a different way. I've hated food before. I've been discouraged that nothing was working with my diet. It's THE WORST. When something so fundamental (and something that's supposed to be relatively easy) gets taken away from you, it requires more attention that you want to dedicate to it. It saps so much from you. I wish I had words of wisdom, but I don't. However, I know from experience that sometimes the best medicine is to know that someone cares and knows even just a little bit what it feels like. Don't give up. You can do this. I promise that brighter days are ahead. I know this, because I've been there several times.

  7. Ohhh, so many hugs for you!!! I have a soy allergy, and people are always amazed when I tell them the things soy is in. Pretty much anything pre-made or prepared. Also, a lot of farm animals are fed soy, so I can't even eat most meat... So, I feel a little of your pain. :( Plain salads are my go-to for allergy free. As for dressing I've done a few crazy sounding things... pureed carrots with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper is actually really good as a dressing. Adding fresh herbs to the salad helps too. Pesto is pretty good on a salad too, especially the broccoli coleslaw mix at the grocery store. I roast a lot of vegetables to eat, and veggie soups, especially with beans (if you can have those). It get's a little boring at times, but being sick and unhealthy gets real boring too... Having that extra level of not even knowing what is going to trigger has got to be the worst part. If you need/want help deciphering any crazy food ingredients, let me know. I feel like I've spent the last 15 years getting a degree in weird food additives and their origins.

  8. And I cried for you. You should know that too. Empathy is a powerful emotion.

  9. I do hope that you are able to find a more organic diet that will work for you. I imagine that you are under medical/allergist care for what seems extreme allergic reactions. In place of the process foods that seem to cause you such extreme pain or you able to make your own combinations from raw ingredients? Say make fruit slushies in place of ice cream, roasted veggies in place of salads no dressing, pita bread instead of regular bread. You can porch pot grow herbs that can be used to season food if you can tolerate this. I had a friend from school that had severe allergies to food and she hand made everything she ate and would drink celery or cucumber water all the time. I have severe allergies to my environment and take a lot of meds and holistic remedies just to exist with the nature I love every day. Hopefully you will find a diet that works for you without making you feel left out.

  10. Another person like me! I'm also dealing with the same thing, only I'm not allergic to anything. My heart dr thinks I have a mast cell disorder. Not only foods, but cleaners, makeup, dust...you name it, I get sick. It's so bad that some days I can hardly get around, it's horrible!! I know just how you feel. I also have POTS syndrome that was likely caused from the mast cell problem. And now I've learned I still have thyroid cancer growing somewhere. All combined is a super storm that's hard to deal with. So I GET it, completely!!! Big hugs. I'm over here hungry too and longing for a snickers or a sandwich or dressing on my salad ;)

  11. I have a mast cell disorder too. Like an unpredictable anaphylactic allergy. I always tell people that I wish I could say I was allergic to peanuts, because then I would know that if I ate peanutes I would be sick, and then I could avoid eating them. Sadly though whatever causes my triggered anaphylactic reactions can vary from day to day or month to month, and depends on the instability (or relative stability) of those mast cells.

    I wish you good luck. I also had a very sad day yesterday trying to cope with everying (job! life! laundry! single parenting!) and let the tears out. I know it's good to cry but sometimes it seems worse because it's hard to stop once you let yourself go to that dark place. Hugs.

  12. I have recently been dealing with lots of food allergies too, and you will figure out what foods are good for you. A terrific blog with recipes for people with food allergies (dairy, egg, wheat) is heatherchristo.com. Good luck as you eliminate and try foods. I found that lab testing was very helpful for me.

  13. Dear Diane, you do not know me but I wanted to write to you to thank you for sharing your story. I am so very sorry that tou are going through all of this and I hope that you find the answers you are looking for.

    You mentioned that you are struggling to find peace through your faith. When I find myself in despair, I try to imagine myself standing at the foot of the cross as Jesus was dying. And as I gaze into his eyes and see his suffering I am reminded that God allowed his only son to suffer an unimaginable death. My own suffering, though it feels pointless, isn't caused by God... But he allows it so that I may grow in holiness.

    If I take that suffering and offer it to Him as He suffers on the cross, then I am uniting my suffering with His. And in doing so I am in a small way participating in the redemption of souls.

    Our suffering doesn't have to be pointless. Offer it up to Him as a gift of love: when virtually everyone else abandoned Him, you can be there with Him (since He experiences time in the eternal now) to share in His suffering and offer Him the love He so greatly desires from all of us.

    May the peace of Christ be with you.

  14. I feel your pain and hopelessness. My struggles are different, but the state of being in limbo and waiting waiting waiting can be SO so difficult and draining.
    You may have already looked into it, but I wanted to recommend Whole30 to you. It's all about eating to heal your body, reduce inflammation, skin conditions, stomach problems and other various ailments caused by the extra garbage in our food. You'd still have to cut cinnamon out, but you might be able to find a lot of good recipes to get you through. I've also found a company called Tessemae's that makes wonderful sauces/marinades that are compliant for Whole 30 and leave out a lot of the garbage. Good luck figuring it all out. Just know you aren't alone.

  15. I just wanted to give you another option. We'd thought my husband was having a gluten allergy too (IBS symptoms). He'd eat the same GF foods for a week & then sick on the 4th day. Look up FODMAPS. It gives food a # based on how much water they make in your large intestines. It's made a world of difference in a frustrating time. I wish you all the best.

  16. I just wanted to give you another option. We'd thought my husband was having a gluten allergy too (IBS symptoms). He'd eat the same GF foods for a week & then sick on the 4th day. Look up FODMAPS. It gives food a # based on how much water they make in your large intestines. It's made a world of difference in a frustrating time. I wish you all the best.

  17. HUGS to you, Diane. I'm so sorry to hear that you are struggling. I know how hard it can be to find something to eat when you have dietary restrictions. I'm slowly adding new recipes to my repertoire. I have some gluten-free, whole food recipes that I *think* you will be able to eat. In fact, I'm about to go make some spaghetti using squash instead of noodles with organic meat in an organic sauce. I also have good recipes for shredded chicken, chicken stuffed bell peppers, chicken enchilada casserole... all gluten-free and dairy-free. Let me know if you want them. Take care!

  18. I just wanted to give you another option. We'd thought my husband was having a gluten allergy too (IBS symptoms). He'd eat the same GF foods for a week & then sick on the 4th day. Look up FODMAPS. It gives food a # based on how much water they make in your large intestines. It's made a world of difference in a frustrating time. I wish you all the best.

  19. Wanted to suggest a tea made from cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds that is brewed and drunk first thing in the morning. It calms the gut. Also try Align. It will restore the good bacteria. Digestive issues are so complex and it takes a while to figure out if a treatment is actually working and can be very frustrating. I hope that you feel better soon.

  20. I want to send you more than I can but I'm sending you love and prayers. That is all I can offer. I just want to say you sound like you are dealing with a lot but if you are feeling depressed I hope you will seek medical help for that too. You can't look after your physical health if you arn't taking care of your mental health.

  21. Ugh, Diane, my heart aches for you. You have been given a tough road with these food allergies. I can't even imagine. I got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis after Sean was born and I've had a tough time figuring out food too. When I'm on the super expensive medicine, I can almost eat whatever but I've gone off of it to try to control it with food. I know I can't eat wheat or most grains at all and dairy. Something else is still bothering me but I can't figure out what, as the reaction is not immediate. Your struggles make mine look like a piece of cake. The only thing that's helped me a lot has been the books by Daniel walker, of against all grain. You should check out her blog. In her book, meals made simple she has a bunch of recipes that are grain free and even some that are nut and egg free. She makes a chocolate chip cookie this way, of you can't have an egg she substitutes it by using 1T golden ground flaxseed with 3T water and let's it sit a few minutes to get thick. Maybe this substitute would help you? I know, again, with the pricey ingredients - everything costs more and is hard to source. I'll send you an IG direct message with the recipe if you want. Good luck figuring everything out, I'll be praying for you.

  22. Found your blog as I was looking at quilt patterns on line, and then saw your long post about food allergies. I am sorry that you are going through this and feel so isolated. While people in the on line world can offer support, it sounds like you just need a friend to sit with you and drink tea or water (if that is all you can tolerate). I hope you have someone locally to ease your isolation and share your pain. You are so right that many are suffering now, and almost all of us will face tough times during our life. We need to support one another so the load is lighter.
    As for the food issues, I don't suffer from food allergies ,however I have some experience working with meal prep for multiple allergies. I have a daughter with gluten/ dairy issues, and her boyfriend is allergic to nuts, my other daughter is a vegetarian and my husband needs a special cardiac diet. I have found the least expensive option for me, is to designate Sunday afternoon to prepping meals for the week, I buy unprocessed, fresh fruits and veggies, a very limited selection of meat and make soup, chili, fresh bread and roasted vegetables and a grain (usually quinoa) that we use to assemble meals for the week. I do use olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the roast vegetables but it wouldn't affect the taste adversely to leave the vinegar out. Depending on each persons dietary restrictions they can supplement with eggs, purchased bread and protein powder in smoothies. I also prepackage smoothies in my freezer with frozen fruit (raspberries/blueberries/oranges) and protein powder and flax seed. That makes a good breakfast when blended with water and ice.

    I found the cookbook "The Abundance Diet" at my local library and found the sugguestions and bread recipe to be quite good and pretty easy to implement.

    It can be hard when you are facing so many challenges at once, to just have faith. And so many things that people repeat to you can sound hollow, but God only gives you what you can handle, and trusting that these challenges are given to you so you can take the time to reflect and find new ways of facing your obstacles seems like the most appropriate.

    Sending you ((((hugs))) and prayers. I love your quilt blocks and am in complete awe of your artistic and sewing abilities. You have a tremendous gift. I will be purchasing some of your patterns and working to through your excellent instructions in the near future. You have inspired me with your starry skyline block to return to quilting.

  23. I cannot write a lot because of a brain injury, but I wanted to mention that if the thyroid has not been explored, I think maybe it should be.
    Really enjoy the blog

  24. I cannot write a lot because of a brain injury, but I wanted to mention that if the thyroid has not been explored, I think maybe it should be.
    Really enjoy the blog

  25. I'm reading this a few months after your initial post and I sincerely hope that you are in a healthier, more satisfying place with your issues. I ache for you through your struggles. No, I won't pretend to understand them but I will pray for you. I will send YOU a hug of comfort, of encouragement, of strength, of patience, of love. I hope that knowing that you have people that love you and support you will help you raise your head above the waters and find the peace you need.


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