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Tell Me Your Deepest Darkest Secrets…

Living with food allergies

Okay…before you think I am talking 50-Shades-Of-Grey-type secrets, I will tell you now that I am going for something far more G-rated here…

I am changing it up a little today. Life has brought me a lot on a plate right now, some happy and some sad. So…I have not really had the time lately to tinker with recipe creations in the kitchen and then come here to share them with you.

So today, I would love to turn the tables a bit. I want you to have a chance to tell me your deepest darkest concerns, fears, worries, or triumphs about your life (or your child’s…or your spouse’s) with food allergies, Celiac Disease, or special diets in general.

Knowing what worries you most, my loyal Cook It Allergy Free community, will help me to continue in the best direction of giving you the recipes, the support, the information, and the stories that you want and that will benefit you the most.

So….if you feel so inclined to share what is like for your family living with food allergies and special diets, I would love to hear your voice.

Is the sadness that you see in your child’s face when he does not get to eat that fluorescent colored birthday cake at his best friend’s party perhaps the most difficult part for you?

Or is it that looking for recipes that your whole family can eat (and like) leaves you feeling like a short-order cook and dreading meal times?

Or is it that you feel excluded from events because of what you can and, more often, what you cannot eat?

Or does entertaining the thought of sending your child off to a school that is potentially teeming with their food allergens make you want to throw up a little in your mouth?

Or possibly, just possibly, have you discovered some joys and blessings in this journey that you would like to share with this community and give others some inspiration and hope?

Whatever it is, if you feel comfortable in doing so, I would be honored if you leave me a comment here explaining a little (or big) piece of your journey.  Trust me. I will totally be taking mental notes here and listening carefully to what you each share here.  

Each of our journeys are different…but yet so alike.

And maybe this will just help you to see how many others are on this same path.

Living with food allergies



Allergy Free App

Food Allergy Coaching with the Allergy Free Food Coach

Kim Maes - Allergy Free Food CoachKim Maes, CNC, AADP, known as the Allergy Free Food Coach, is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant and Certified in the Practical Application of Food Allergy Guidelines.. She is also the creator of the Cook It Allergy Free iPhone and iPad Apps and the Cook It Allergy Free website, where she shares her passion for teaching others how easy and delicious it can be to eat whole, pure allergy-friendly meals that the entire family will enjoy.

  1. On May 1, 2012 Kristin Celeste said

    Thank you for giving us a platform to discuss our deepest darkest secrets. I have never shared on my blog that I am a three time cancer survivor, and with that comes many life challenges that survivors are never able to speak about. It seems society only hears and sees what they want to….a survivor (no other details needed or wanted). Not how you have to adapt your life to make it through each and every day.

    I understand that all of our journeys are different, yet they are so similar. My journal has included two different husbands leaving me when I became sick paired with the daily struggles of working full time and managing daily health issues including how to gain good health through nutrition from eating fresh unprocessed seasonal produce (let alone having enough energy to make it and clean up!).

    I personally glean inspiration from fellow bloggers. Thank you for helping me get through some very tough days!

    Happy cooking!
    Kristin Celeste with “The Intentional Minimalist” food blog.

    • On May 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Kristin, thank YOU for being the first to come and share your story here.
      You are such an inspiration. 3 time cancer survivor! WOW! That is truly amazing. Your journey has obviously had it’s ups and downs, but to see that you have found gratitude even during your difficult times is so wonderful. No doubt that your perseverance, positive attitude, and clean seasonal eating has been a major part of your path to health.
      I am so grateful for you opening up to us here and letting us know what your journey has been like. It will inspire many people.
      And I love the beautiful recipes on your site. So fresh and healthy. 🙂 Here is to your continued health and positive attitude!
      Happy Cooking right back to you!

  2. On May 1, 2012 Christina said

    Wow! I LOVE Sharing and greatly appreciate you for opening a platform for this community of people to share a little of their lives. I know I am inspired and changed and often helped by the sharing of others from Recipes to A Story that Encourages Me To Keep Going.

    For me, on my Food Allergy Journey, I have Good Days and Bad Days. Sometimes I feel like I am completely alone and rather hungry. I can’t just go out to dinner with my hubby and eat anything or with my gal pals and have a bite of that Chocolate Dessert. Sometimes though, I feel happy to feel Good in my belly, which was a far cry from how I would often feel before my food allergy discovery.

    My family has dramatically changed their eating lifestyle as well because of food allergies and just for all of us to be healthier and happier. It’s hard though for my kiddies who just want to grab for a quick and easy yummy treat like everyone else. They aren’t as restricted as me, but when you’re little and you have tasted the “forbidden fruit” of Junk and Everyone else is doing it, it’s really hard to be the Only One NOT joining in.

    My SECRET…Sometimes when I am smiling and saying that I am GOOD while everyone is digging in on some delicious dishes…I’M REALLY NOT GOOD! I’m frustrated that I can’t have something other than Plain Salad because the dressings are made with Soy Oil. I Love salad, but I also Love bread and sandwich type food…While You are eating your burger or grilled chicken sandwich, I am starving and counting down the moments to run home and find something to fill my belly!

    There, I Said It!!!

    Still…I SMILE! I will not be a downer to a good time! Just grit my teeth, hush my belly rumbles, and enjoy good company until it’s my turn to put myself first, at home!

    • On May 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Christina, you just said what so many of us have felt too. It is so hard sometimes to put on that SMILE and pretend that all is well. I know that it has been much more difficult for my husband (who was diagnosed as an adult with Celiac Disease) to just smile. There are times when he is still just plain bitter about not being able to eat at social functions like he used to. In his business, he is out often with partners and clients for meals. And it kills him when they order an appetizer to all share that is loaded with everything that would make him deathly ill. However, at the end of the day, when he is back home and he is feeling good instead of doubled over with stomach pains, he is grateful that he knows now how to not feel sick.

      I think that for the kids, it is definitely a struggle for them to deal with the emotions of feeling left out. I have talked a lot about it with my older son. There are times when I am watching him look forlornly at his friends devouring something he cannot have. But… he really knows just how bad he will feel if he does get a taste of the “forbidden fruit”. We just try to talk a lot about how he is feeling about it. My youngest still is at the age that he does not question it yet and knows it is just not good for him.

      I so appreciate you sharing your feelings and saying them “out loud”! I think so many of us feel exactly how you do. And I truly hope that you have many many more Good Days than Bad! 😉

  3. On May 1, 2012 Tessa@Domestic Diva said

    While there is so much to say…I would say the hardest obstacle I have encountered is in the larger community in which we live. I feel judged by many like I imagine things and make mountains of mole hills when it comes to food and my kids. I feel sabotaged by a food culture that supports all processed junk food loaded with allergens. At home, no issues, this has been a very positive force. It is when we leave our house that I struggle…restaurants, traveling, school lunch, school parties,etc. Rather than be admired for trying to take care of my family, I feel like pain in the ass that is putting people out, the person who moves in the wrong direction in a crowded room.

    • On May 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Tessa, you just wrote my exact feelings. I so so hear you! I could write a novel about all of the skeptical glances (and, I am sure, behind-the-back eye rolls) that I get from people when I say that we cannot eat something. They think that just because a label does not list an allergen directly that it should be totally safe (not realizing hidden contaminants, cross-contamination, etc). And I struggle so much with all of the packaged crap. My kids know what is healthy for them, and they do make good choices most of the time, but when we are out and every other kid has a bright snow cone or some kind of candy that probably is gluten free and dairy free (but full of everything else that I do not wantthem eating) and then I am not letting my kids have one, I feel like I am the worst mother ever, despite the fact that I know I am making a good decision for their health.
      Just know we are being great moms and doing what we believe is right for our kiddos! We are all right there with you, walking in the wrong direction against the flow. LOL Thanks so much for sharing your feelings, Tessa!! 🙂

    • On May 1, 2012 Maggie said

      I hear ya Tessa! You’re bang on with this, totally describing my life. Like we are doing them harm by depriving them of crappy food. Ha! We’ll see who has the last laugh 🙂 Just kidding, I try not to be too negative. I just had to hop on a reply to you because it IS nice to know you’re not alone. You’re not the only nutbar out there 🙂 Phew! But I have noticed, in the last few months, that more people are coming around. More people are peeking above their menus to see what we ordered, gently inquiring about ground flax, and even considering throwing spinach in their smoothies. Hehe. It’s up to us to initiate this change. We can do it! xo

      • On May 3, 2012 Allegra said

        That’s so true Maggie! For every 10 people that think I’m annoying, at least 1 person is like, “Avoiding gluten makes you feel better? Tell me more…”

  4. On May 1, 2012 Cassidy said

    I feel very similar to Tessa in that I feel that people think I make mountains out of mole hills and think I’m too strict. My son is borderline autistic but I firmly believe that he is borderline and not severely autistic because of the diet and the intense therapies he’s in and has been in since he was born. And since he doesn’t have a clear cut allergy with hives or swelling people just don’t understand why his diet is so important because they don’t see an immediate reaction. I see a reaction though! If he even gets one bite of wheat, aspartame, dairy, or food coloring, he’s obsessive, hyper, in his own world, and hard to deal with it for at least a week.

    Sometimes it feels very isolating because other kids don’t want to play with my child and people don’t want to have us over because of our diet. I try to make it easy by telling parents not to worry about the food… if you tell me what you’re having I’ll bring the same dinner for lance but allergy friendly. That has helped but it’s still hard because I’m so exhausted from cooking by the time we even get there!

    Traveling is also hard because I have to cook for about 2 days making snacks and food to take and look up all the restaurants that have a gluten and dairy free menu where we can eat.

    I’m know I’m doing what’s best for my child (my whole family really) but sometimes it’s just exhausting. But I put on a happy face and just keep going. I know it’s for the best.

    Oh yeah… some of my friends have made an effort to make food for Lance only to find out it has gluten in it. It makes me feel bad that they put forth the effort and then Lance still can’t eat it.

    • On May 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Cassidy! Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your feelings too!
      I completely believe that your dedication to how you are feeding your son is truly the reason that he is doing as well as he is. We are in the same boat that my son does not react immediately to their allergens with obvious signs. But I can tell within hours, and definitely by the next day, when my oldest son has dark circles under his eyes, sharp stomach pains, and no energy to do anything and he has canker sores in his mouth that make him miserable.
      I am like you in that I just always ask what food will be at gatherings and then spend time making our own versions of it to bring with us. But…it does get plain exhausting. I try to keep a freezer stocked with some staples to make it a bit easier on me, but I often am scrambling at the last minute to throw something together.
      And, before we leave on a trip, I usually make a batch of my granola, muffins, pancakes, cookies, dried fruit, etc so that we have plenty of snacks and safe food to eat while we are gone.
      Also, I have had many friends and family members make food for us too. But, I always worry about cross contamination in their kitchens and exactly what ingredients they use. I feel bad if I grill them because they went through so much effort to try for us.
      Huge hugs and kudos for you for all you are doing for your son! 🙂

  5. On May 1, 2012 Brandae said

    One thing I am much more aware of now that I’m unable to participate in many food-type fellowship activities is how much our get-togethers revolve around food! I’m more aware now of the necessity of going the extra mile to make a holiday or social gathering about games, fun, and visiting and to sometimes move people OUT of the kitchen into a more neutral spot where we all are on equal footing and food isn’t the focus.

    • On May 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Brandae! Isn’t it crazy that once you are living a life with food allergies or special diets that you notice how pretty much EVERYTHING really revolves around food? That is so awesome that you try and center activities around something other than eating! I think that it is so important! It makes life so much less stressful and we can just relax for a little while! Kudos to you!! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  6. On May 1, 2012 Sheena said

    I would echo many of the sentiments that others have already written about attitudes outside the home and the challenges associated with finding suitable food when away from home. My friends and family are supportive, but the truth is that most people don’t understand what it’s all about and why I can’t eat their food.

    My son (7) and I are both GF and DF, he was diagnosed with celiac 6 months ago, I don’t know if I have celiac (long story, lots of doctors later and no clear diagnosis..) and have been GF/DF for about two years now.
    In addition my son is allergic to tree nuts, coconuts and sesame. The nut allergy was not a huge deal before, but many alternative recipes and products that are considered healthy (and they usually are, just not for him!) and popular in the GF community are off limits for us because they include coconut or other nuts.

    At home it’s not too much of a trauma and it’s very manageable. I get anxious if I have to eat out as my symptoms are sudden onset of severe diarrhea, much like an episode of food poisoning. We are from Scotland but live in MS now so the long trek back to see our families fills me with dread in case I get sick on the plane or airport.
    A year ago we landed in Gatwick Airport in London from Atlanta, shortly after that I ended up in the restroom, it was pretty grim. We had a 5 hour layover that felt like a lifetime, by the time we reached my parents home in Scotland I looked like a deflated balloon.

    I am going with my husband to a conference in Louisville this summer for four days and we have to stay in a hotel so I am quite anxious about how I am going to get food that won’t make me sick. I have asked for a fridge in the room which will help, I’ll just need to pray that I can find even one restaurant in the downtown area that will be safe

    • On May 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Sheena!! You poor thing! I can only imagine how nerve-wracking it has to be to have your reactions have such a sudden onset. I have a dear friend who gets similar reactions, but hers often includes vomiting as well. It truly changes the way you think about vacations and traveling. It is frightening not to have any gentle warning signs. Hopefully, when you go to Louisville this summer, maybe you can pack a suitcase full of safe foods for you to eat and then go to the store once you are there to stock up on a few items that you can store in the fridge. I often will make my safe granola and pack that with us and then will go to the store and buy milk once we are at our destination. And then will pack a loaf or two of our bread and some sunflower butter and jelly so that at least that way we know we have breakfast and lunch taken care of. Dinners are definitely a bit more challenging though. Hopefully, you can do some research on the Louisville area before you go and find out where there are some allergy friendly restaurants. Perhaps you will be pleasantly surprised and there will be a few to choose from!
      Sending you some allergy friendly traveling energy! 😉

  7. On May 1, 2012 Michelle W said

    I feel a bit guilty of the increase in expense since going Dairy and Gluten Free.

    • On May 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Michelle, I totally hear you on the expense factor! I think my grocery bills have probably tripled since we started eating this way! It is definitely painful for sure…but I just look at it as an investment in health. At least we will be feeling good, even if there is no money left in the budget for new clothes. LOL

    • On May 2, 2012 Sandra said

      In Ohio and I don’t know if it is US wide, if you get a documented diagnosis from your doctor, you can take some of your food bill, foods such as brown rice flour, that you have to buy per your diagnosis, off your taxes. Check with your tax accountant to see if you are eligible. The price of five pounds of wheat flour versus 5 pounds of brown rice flour. The difference between the two is your deduction. I just found out about this recently and haven’t done any figures yet but I have 3 out of 4 members in my house have celiac and like everyone knows, it ain’t cheap. It would be nice to get some of that money back next year from Uncle Sam. Save those receipts.

      • On May 2, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

        Sandra, I was just asking our accountant about this as well. I need to get better about keeping receipts and itemizing them for sure. Thank you so much for sharing this info! This could help a lot of people! 🙂

    • On May 3, 2012 Allegra said

      Me too! Even though I cook almost all of our meals at home I feel like we spend so much money on food.

  8. On May 1, 2012 Maggie said

    Thanks for this amazing post Kim. Of course you, in your time of total craziness, are reaching out to help other people. You’re incredible. I’m glad to be on this journey with a woman like you. xo

    • On May 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Ahh, Maggie! You are so wonderful. Thank you for the kind and inspiring words! i feel so lucky to have such a wonderful friend like you to be on this journey with! And, I LOVE what you said to Tessa! We can be the ones to initiate the change. I have so many people in my life who are also slowly coming around, too. I love it!! 😉 I feel like the naughty part of me wants to say to them…”See, and you said I was crazy? Now you are jumping on this special-diet-train too! ” LOL 😉

  9. On May 1, 2012 Christina said

    If this is not a great place to be inspired, encouraged, understood, or just listened to I don’t know where else would be. It’s moments like these, when I am sitting and reading through the responses of so many who understand an Allergen Free and Healthy Lifestyle, that I feel like I can conquer the world (even with all it’s obstacles and glances). Thank You, ALL OF YOU for sharing and Thank You Kim for this opportunity. I know this journey can bring it’s own lovely set of challenges, but that sense of pride I feel deep down, when I know I am being good to my body and my family’s…Makes It All Worth It! 🙂

    • On May 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      It does feel good, doesn’t it, Christina, when we know we are doing something healthy for ourselves? I am so glad to be on this journey with so many wonderful people like you. It is great that we can all support each other and know that we are not alone on this journey. Thank you for being open to sharing your story! 😉

  10. On May 1, 2012 Tabitha said

    My food allergy journey has been a short one, only starting 2 weeks ago. It was a Thursday that I got the phone call that my 5 year old Son had several food allergies, and two days later I got an envelope in the mail containing information on how to avoid these foods. One page each food. All I thought was, “Where’s the page that tells me what he CAN eat?” It wasn’t there, of course,. So, this was the first website I found with information on what to feed him. I downloaded your app and have opened it and used it so many times over the past few weeks. Thank goodness for you, and all your wealth of information. I am thankful for this resource!
    In my mind I know things could be so much worse. I am very thankful to have found out through blood work instead of a bad incident. And I know there are far worse conditions than this one. But to be honest, I do feel overwhelmed with the enormity of this responsibility. And mostly, as I sit here in tears, I feel worried and sad for Sam. I’ve seen the sadness and disappointment on his face when I have to tell him he can’t have cheese for lunch anymore. Or milk in his cereal, or even his favorite cereal at all. So there it is. The truth. Thank you for allowing us to openly share these things here. It’s is nice to finally be honest. And for now, we will continue to take this one day at a time. But fortunately not alone, thanks to wonderful people like yourself who puts all they have to give to help others.

    • On May 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Tabitha, welcome to the world of food allergies. As overwhelming as it may seem right now, you can do this…step-by-step. And your attitude already shows that you are going to be one amazing food allergy Mama! You are going to help your son so much and together you will make it through this and slowly you will figure it all out and grow used to this new lifestyle. Feel free to come here with questions and for support. I am so glad you found the app and that it has been helping you already.
      And you will find that there are so many things out there that he really can eat…especially whole unprocessed foods. Just slowly keep a list of all the foods, recipes, etc that he can eat and you will slowly see that that list will grow longer and longer as you discover more ideas and outside the box ways of thinking and cooking! And once you have a good list going, you can refer to it at times when you are stumped for a meal and you will hopefully get an idea from the list.
      Good luck to you and please let me know if you need any help along your journey.

  11. On May 1, 2012 dee m. said

    I have noticed definite changes in my life since being struck by lightning a few years ago. Its not like having a cold and you run to the doctors and they prescribe something to fix you up quick like.

    I was taken by ambulance after being struck and evaluated at the camp I was at, at the time, as I was one of 6 struck within seconds of each other. Though I was rushed to the emergency room, I had a lame doctor who discharged me, within half an hour with extremely high B.P. cause she thought it was dirt on the bottoms of my feet and not the multiple burns I had instead. I was released without direction of what to do next, I could not find a doctor to listen or help me in any way, so I have been on my own from day one.

    I have new symptoms monthly still, including migraines and nausea often. Recently I am regaining strength after losing the use of my leg. It has been associated with effects of the lightning being stored in my spine. I’ve shed the walker and am using a cane now. Yet another challenge. But nothing keeps me down long. 🙂

    Sadly friends don’t see anything phyical so therefore there is nothing wrong. I have changed my way and my families way of eating more and more. We are very careful where we go out to eat, always sure to find whole foods on the menu, whereas friends want to head over to the Kentucky Fried Chicken or the newest Sports Bar n Grill. They think my choices are boring. So be it.

    I have noticed that everything that happens since the lightning strike has been intensified. When I get poison ivy its the worst case the doctors have ever seen. When I get bronchitis, it takes months on end to cure. My immune system was zapped, literally. Everything is exaggerated. I am extremely drained most days.

    I have had extreme bloating since the lightning, I have tried to change my diet several times. Upon seeing a gastroentologist just over a year ago, he kept putting me on diets to fiber up fiber up, whole wheat, whole grain, I would report back how miserable I felt on his diet, only to have him yell at me that I wasn’t eating enough whole wheat or whole grains. SO.. on my own about 8 months ago, I took myself off of ALL whole wheats, whole grains, to gluten free. I have always made everything these last 35 years from scratch. YES it has been very challenging to say the least as there are so many many gluten free flours out there. It has been tough trying to figure out what to use to sub for this or that. ha

    I must say though I have made many flops I have a dear dear hubby who eats everything I put forth on his plate, my hero. He has been my rock throughout. He just says, try again, you’ll get it next time. I have stumbled onto all these wonderful sites for gluten free, allergy free, including you. Such an awesome support system you have going on here. Thank you oh so much!

    We are close to being 100% processed free though there are some things we just have to purchase that way, we grow a large garden each year, so I do can and freeze as much as possible.

    I see that many here see a huge increase in their grocery bills when going gluten free, I on the otherhand have not, we have been a one income family for many years due to previous health issues, making everything I can from scratch has been very beneficial for us. I have recently been making Goat Milk Cheese Sesame Bread which is gluten free, one recipe makes 2 to 3 loaves, with the dough being stored in the frig. In the store it would cost over $5. We buy the things we don’t grow or raise locally. Farmers markets, Amish, neighboring free range eggs as little as $1.50, etc. Its worth the extra effort to check also through

    You have been an inspiration and I thank you for that. It is so good to see what the readers share, as we all perservere towards better health for ourselves and our families.

    • On May 2, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Wow, dee! Your story is absolutely incredible. It is amazing to me what the power of lightning can do. It literally rebooted your entire immune system, it sounds like. What is so wonderful though is that you have made such amazing efforts to heal your body. You are giving yourself and your family such a great gift. Your husband sounds like such a supportive and wonderful guy as well. And it sounds like you guys make a great team.
      I try and do as much as i can from scratch as well and we also grow a decent sized garden. I usually order my meat and eggs from a local farm and then get whatever else I need from Whole Foods. I will say though that here things seem to be more expensive. I would be jumping up and down with excitement if I could get my eggs for $1.50. LOL Ours are usually about $5-6 for a dozen. Ouch.
      Thank you so much for feeling brave enough to come and share this incredible story. You really are an inspiration for all of us. Truly. Congratulations on the successes you have had so far on restoring your health. It sounds like you are on a wonderful path to getting healed.
      Oh, and that Goat Milk Cheese Sesame Bread sounds absolutely wonderful!! 🙂

  12. On May 2, 2012 Sugarpuffish said

    I’ve had my allergies for 20+ years and counting. As a child it was horrible no one had heard of allergies, I remember crying at the ice cream van because I couldn’t have an ice cream, dairy free products were non existent. As an adult it is easier there is more choice for me, the first time I found dairy free cheese I cried with joy. The internet has given us a community and I no longer feel the odd one out.

    • On May 2, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Sugarpuffish! I can only imagine how difficult it had to be all of those years ago for you. With not many alternatives available back then, you and your family must have really had to work extra hard to find safe things for you to eat! Even when we started our own family’s journey, 8 years ago, there did not seem to be quite as much as available as there is now. We are so lucky to have so many resources at our finger tips between products and online resources!! And yay for no longer feeling like the odd one out! 😉

  13. On May 2, 2012 Alta said

    Lots of deep, dark secrets for me! Okay, not SO deep and dark, but here goes:
    One – I find restaurants frustrating. I’m gluten and dairy-free, and I get reactions from even the tiniest amount of either, so my choices are limited, and many times, all I can eat is a dry salad or a bland chicken breast with steamed vegetables. I manage and put a smile on my face, but I have always disliked being the problem child and having to ask a billion questions. My husband and I used to love going out to try new restaurants, and now that’s difficult to do. I would rather try to make something new at home.
    Two – Over the past few years, my husband and I have moved towards a healthier diet. We eat unprocessed, whole foods at home. He has a few treats around, and he goes out sometimes for “junk” food, but dinners at home are wholesome. But when our kids are over (3 teenage stepkids), it’s frustrating to cook dinner. I love to cook, but these are kids that only eat junk food and are EXTREMELY picky. I want them to eat healthier and I want there to not really be any gluten in the kitchen, but it’s not often I can make something they will eat. So they make themselves PB&J or something like that if they don’t eat what I make. Which isn’t part of a balanced diet. I wish I could influence that more, but when they eat whatever they want, whenever they want, when they’re not at our house, it’s hard to influence their habits much.
    Three – It’s hard to express to others how much better I am since going gluten and dairy-free when I still suffer from some symptoms. I still have “IBS” – or whatever you want to call it. It’s a constant struggle. I’ve tried elimination diets. I’ve had allergy tests. I’ve visited lots of doctors. I’ve done paleo, anti-candida, you name it. I still struggle with this. Obviously, I don’t yet have all the answers, but I hope that doesn’t lessen the importance and impact a GFDF diet has. I still feel I am like 90% better, and that’s a LOT.
    Thank you, Kim, for all that you do!

    • On May 4, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Alta, I agree with you on getting frustrated at restaurants. We used to love going out and checking out new places. But we do not go out very often any more. It is so much easier just knowing that whatever we eat at home with be safe. And as for your point number three, I totally give you so much credit for all of the amazing things you have done for you health up to this point. You are going to get the answers and, of course you know this…Rome was not built in a day. This may be a slow road and just look at how far you have come to this point. 90% better is like the most ginormous accomplishment ever. Many people give up LONG LONG before that. Kudos to you, my friend, for your perseverance. You are an inspiration to all of us! 🙂

  14. On May 2, 2012 Heather said

    My daughter and I both have celiac disease, plus she has severe food allergies (nuts, sesame, etc). We’ve always taken the “glass is half full” approach to our dietary restrictions. We are so thankful for the food we can eat, and we’ve made so many amazing recipes and learned a lot on our journey being gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free.

    But, the hardest part is probably socially interacting with others. Some of our family members didn’t “get it” at first. They didn’t understand the seriousness of our dietary restrictions, especially given that my daughter has severe food allergies. We tried our best to educate them and explain it to them. Things have improved, but you come to learn that no one truly “gets it” unless they live it like we do.

    Recently my daughter took a concert ballet class, so I had to make special arrangements to ensure the class and the concert would be safe for her. But eventually, it just turns into how you live your life and it’s not strange or inconvenient. It just is what it is, and we make the best of it!

    • On May 4, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Heather, it definitely seems as though the social situations are the most difficult part for most of us. It is frustrating that so many gatherings and activities are so focused on food these days. But, no matter how hard people try, they will not “get it” until they are going through it as well. I give you so much credit for keeping such a positive outlook. I, too, am grateful for this journey because of the healthy lifestyle it has opened up to us. Your daughter is lucky to have such an encouraging and inspiring mom!! 🙂

  15. On May 2, 2012 sarah said

    I hate it when people say “oh you are gluten free” making it sound like I choose not to eat gluten and act like I’m following a fad diet. I want to scream back. “No I have coeliac disease which means I cannot eat gluten or I could get bowel cancer at worst and have severe stomach ache at the least” but I don’t. I hate the pity looks across the table at restaurants . Or my dreaded moment when I get offered birthday cake and have to decline, and they never remember why so I have to tell them for the hundredth time. Would people forget if someone was a vegetarian and then stick some steak in their face at the next party? I know, I’m not the centre of the universe and shouldn’t expect people to remember but it still irks me. My mother in law declares “oh I don’t know how to make gluten free, so there won’t be any cake” to everyone at social occasions. And she wonders why we don’t visit. I worry that my children who are toddlers will have coeliac disease and I put off getting them tested because Im terrified that one child will be and one wont. I found out when I was 17 and I still hated my brother (at the time, not now) for eating KFC in front of me. I can’t imagine my whole childhood being like that, it would of sucked. So if one is a coeliac, I’m thinking of lying and telling them both that they are, then I feel guilty for thinking of lying to my child. There, I vented. You don’t know how much better I feel now. Thank you so much, reading everyones stories makes me feel less alone, more understood.

    • On May 4, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Sarah, it is funny how people act like that. My husband and my son have Celiac Disease as well and it kills me that people think we just make the choice to go gf instead of realizing that their lives depend on it. My son and my husband have both come around to being grateful for having Celiac Disease as well because it has opened up their culinary tastes to so many new and healthy foods! We are all so much healthier because of it! Good for you for doing what is best for your family. They will be the ones to benefit in the long run!

      And you are definitely not alone. Feel free to vent here any time. Everyone here gets it! 😉

  16. On May 2, 2012 sarah said

    I would also like to add, that I am grateful that I have coeliac disease. If I hadn’t of started checking labels and looking closely at food I wouldn’t be the parent I am today. I try to feed my children organic, natural foods as much as I can. We don’t eat numbers and there are rarely packet foods in our house. If that comes with a little negative baggage and occasional food envy, then its worth it.

  17. On May 2, 2012 Christina said

    Another SECRET…I was thinking of the difficult time before the “Diagnosis” (for lack of a better term). I remember Not having Health Insurance, covered in Rashes all over my body, armpits(the worst place ever), and even my whole face and neck. I was extremely itchy, hugely inflamed, frustrated, and taking Benadryl literally every 4 hours not knowing WHAT was causing the breakouts. After finally going to the Dr. (before learning it was food allergies) I was given Steroids in Oral and Topical Form to take WITH the Benadryl….I still had to maintain my busy life and I was all drugged up! I didn’t even talk much about it or complain. Many people had no clue what I was experiencing and fighting through (besides my hubby). I would be singing at my church and after our set would run off the stage and pat myself down with wet paper towels to ease the burning itch that inflamed worse from sweating. I even had moments of walking around with wet paper towels stacked under my armpits. Looking back part of me thinks “How could I have lived that way” and the other part of me feels like “if I can overcome that, I can overcome anything!” Dealing with the frustration of not being able to eat at a restaurant, or eat anything yummy is a much better option than those before times for sure!

    • On May 4, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Wow! Christina, what a great outlook. That time in your life had to be so incredibly difficult. You are so right, after going through that, at this point in your life you must be so grateful for only having to deal with more minor challenges!

  18. On May 3, 2012 Stephanie @glutenfre said

    Hi Kim,

    This is amazing. What a wonderful community we have here. Just knowing we are not alone in our own individual journeys makes a world of difference. I am so sorry to hear life has been a little rough lately. You are in my thoughts and prayers I. Hopes that things smooth out for you in the coming weeks and months.

    We have been through a bit of a rough patch lately too. Lots of family stuff happening. At the same time, we are having some work done on our house. And we are living here throughout the construction. I’m not sure whose bright idea that was (wink wink). But, it’s the little things. I’m sure for most people they would just order take out every night and be fine with that. But, we cannot live without a kitchen. Ever. My contractor has been an absolute angel and set me up a “temporary” kitchen. But, I have secretly had feelings of regret – other people don’t fully grasp how easy they have it! Not that would eat poorly even if I had the chance. But, i think you understand my point.

    Speaking of the amount of time I spend in the kitchen. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. I struggle to get everything prepared ahead of time so that I can actually spend time with my husband and family. But, since we tolerate absolutely nothing from a package, it’s countless hours every week. I wouldn’t change it. I love my family. And I will do anything for them and for their health. But, sometimes – again – a day off would be dreamy 🙂

    It’s frustrating too – as one of the other readers stated above – because we can’t eat gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nuts, seeds, yeast, legumes etc. So, most of the healthy options that exist for egg replacers, for example, don’t work for us. We’ve learned to be quite ingenious about how we work around the problematic foods. And I will never stop trying to find alternatives that don’t make us sick. Truth be told, who wants to see that look on your kids’ faces when they hear we can’t have something?

    One of the most difficult things I struggle with is “the label”. I can’t tell you the number of times people have given me that “look.” you know it, the one that says ” oh, you have one of THOSE children.” it’s heartbreaking. I do feel allergies are becoming so common so more and more people are accepting it. But, we continue to run into situations where people just wish to group all the allergic kids together in the corner so that the other kids can go about their business. As one reader said above, I think for most people they could never fully understand what’s it’s like because they have no personal association with this lifestyle. But, this same fact makes me respect that much more when I meet someone or someone reaches out to me and goes that extra mile to make sure my child feels included. I never waste a chance to tell that person how profoundly I appreciate their efforts. And how their kindness means more than they could ever know.

    At the end of the day, it’s all about tolerance and acceptance and not about judgment. I have learned so much from my children about this. They’ve acquired this sensitivity to other people and their personal situations. Which is such a beautiful thing. Each day, I pray that – although I am just one person – that this acceptance and tolerance will have some kind of ripple effect. That we can all truly feel part of our communities.

    • On May 4, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Stephanie, I lived through a house remodel as well, but it was before we were eating this way so it was not nearly as difficult. I cannot even imagine how challenging that is for you right now. I hope that you are up and running soon – giving you so much credit for making it work during all of the construction though!

      And oh my! A day off? I sooo agree at how dreamy and amazing that would be! And your food restriction list is a lot longer than ours so I can only imagine how much more involved your time in the kitchen is.

      Your sentiments are so beautiful about creating more acceptance and tolerance. I feel bad when people say how sorry that they feel for us right in front of my kids who have never thought of our lifestyle and the way we eat as something bad. I do not want to start feeling that way. I get so frustrated because I feel so grateful for the path of health that this has put us on, yet people look at us like we are so deprived. I want my kids to remain proud of how they eat and not let society tell them that they are outcasts or that something is wrong with them. I hope that this judgement will shift as well and turn to that acceptance! We don’t ever feel left out of things, so please do not act like we are, people!

      Thanks for your wonderful words, Stephanie, and for sharing your frustrations as well!
      😉 Kim

  19. On May 3, 2012 Allegra said

    I can empathize with pretty much all of the comments on here! (I am new to this website by the way, and it is simply amazing!) But the #1 thing I hate about being GF (as well as having allergies to soy and canola… I get sick from pretty much ALL processed food) is that I feel soooo left out at social gatherings!! And I miss going out with my hubby to try new restaurants 🙁

    Also, I love, and have ALWAYS loved food! So it’s difficult to control my desire to “try just a tiny piece” of something that I know will probably make me sick.

    I am also really into organic food and people have actually called me a food snob! Multiple times! Even my parents think I go overboard and do not really support my desire to eat organic, non GMO, GF etc etc. I feed my daughter very healthy food- she was a micro preemie so it’s crucial that she remain healthy. My mom continues to try to feed her food that I do not approve of! It’s not that I think myself better than anyone else, it’s just that I have been studying nutrition for a long time now, and I am convinced that eating healthy food is the key factor in overall health.

    Thanks for letting me vent a little 🙂

    • On May 4, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Allegra, I total cracked up about people thinking you are a food snob. I always think people are saying the same thing about me. We eat the same way as you in our house and, to me, it is worth every penny to keep my family healthy.

      The resounding feeling here is that the social gatherings are the most difficult. It does get a little tiring when you always have to think ahead of what to bring to make sure you have something safe to eat, but I have realized that it is now just become a way of life and not such a big deal anymore. 🙂

      And like I’ve said here to others, feel free to vent here anytime. It is nice to feel validated in your feelings knowing that others are experiencing similar situations!
      Thanks for sharing your feelings here, Allegra!

  20. On May 3, 2012 Kristin Celeste said

    As I mentioned earlier, I struggle each and every day with eating fresh unprocessed seasonal foods that will not make me sick. I am allergic to gluten, dairy, eggs,soy, meat, seafood, anything processed, preservatives, added ingredients/preservatives, sulfites, sugars, vinegars, hops, yeast and a huge list of fruits and vegetables (organic or not).

    It seems that dealing with all my other health issues always takes priority over my food allergies. Living alone and making it through the day is an accomplishment by itself, let alone making something that I can eat and not get sick from. I am thankful finally for a platform to discuss our fears and concerns, where others can listen with an understanding heart and not just hear “complaining.”

    If I do eat something I should not (usually because I am just too tired at the end of the day to cook something from scratch or I am not able to chop due to pain), I end up in a horrid cycle that can last for days or a week or more. I have tried numerous things and usually end up eating raw until my anemia kicks in and I have to eat some red meat (my body is off the charts for plant based iron, but is beyond low for animal based iron). By eating the meat, it causes me to go into a cycle, which includes additional poor dietary choices. Does anyone have any proven ideas that are easy to incorporate and realistic to stick with when it comes to this many allergies? Thank you for your honest and heartfelt replies. It is comforting to know so many understand on so many levels.

    • On May 4, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      HI Kristin! Wow. Your list of food allergies is impressive. 🙂 My best suggestion is to make a list of every single food that you can eat. Then compile lists of meal ideas based around those foods and then create a menu plan for the week. I think the easiest way to stick to that menu plan is to spend a day during the week (or on the weekend) ,when you are not too tired, to just make and freeze tons of little meals for yourself that you can just quickly reheat on those nights when you are just too tired to do it and need something quick and easy. I have found that to be the best method for us and i really appreciate when I can just grab something that I have already made out of the freezer!

  21. On May 4, 2012 Carol, SGF said

    Wow Kim, what a great platform. Amazing comments. As you know my philosophy is to celebrat the abundance of what I can eat and not focus on what I can’t but even I, despite how diligent I am still get glutenized occassionally. It can be frustrating but the rewards of my lifestyle so outway the bad.

    Just wanted to say what an amazing woman you are!!!

    • On May 4, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Carol, my dear, you know how much I love your positive outlook and glass-half-full view of life. It is so inspiring!

      And we occasionally get glutenized here too. It is frustrating, but we have just learned to be diligent and as aware as possible. Not much else you can do!

      Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  22. On May 5, 2012 kelli said

    I LOVE all the comments here!!! I have felt all these emotions in the last 2 years raising 3 little kids with food restrictions. The complaint I feel the guiltiest about is not being able to share our “special” food. It is incredibly expensive to feed a family of 5 good non processed, allergy free food. When we travel and visit family it never fails that someone eats our food.
    I love to share but the expense and effort it takes to make sure all my kids have food to eat and others not being respectful of that is irritating. I know they just don’t understand that when my food is gone we cant go grab a pizza and a meal on the fly for all of us is impossible while traveling. I feel the worst about having to say no to my nieces and nephews when it comes to treats. I try coordinate deserts to be similar to what the rest of the family is having but it never fails they want ours and when i agree, about half the time (like any normal kid with food) they waste it. Ahhhh it just really annoys me.
    I love my huge extended family so much and I usually take the kids for a 6 week road trip during the summer to visit as many as we can. It is a lot of planning and budgeting to make meals work so when my sweet sister lets her child eat only one bite of my organic $2.19 per lb apple and throw it away I get a little resentful with her bargain basin $.75 per lb apple replacement. Petty I know and that is why I am so grateful to get to share this SECRET with such a supportive community!!!
    I have no idea how I would have gotten my children healthy without such wonderful people willing to experiment and share wonderful recipes, ideas and knowledge while living with allergies. My family loves food and they have no problem eating within their restrictions thanks to all of you!!

  23. On May 6, 2012 Jenny said

    Hi, I’ve just discovered this site and its so good have others to relate to. I have dairy and wheat allergies, my 2 yr old and my 8 month old both have dairy and soya allergies and my husband is just plain fussy lol. I find meal times a struggle and can find myself making 4 different meals just to ensure everyone eats something suitable. My secret is I really hate Easter. Easter egg hunts, chocolate bunnies and all faff that goes with it really grates on me as it just leads to disappointment. This year my toddler has become aware of what others eat and wants to be the same so when she completed an Easter egg hunt and there was no dairy and soya free alternative at the end she was forced to watch all the other children ripping the shiny foil off their eggs and eat them up. She thought mummy was being horrid when I had to take the chocolate egg out of her eager little hands just as she went to bite into it. Having to do that to her and watch her little face drop still haunts me now. The organisers blame me for not telling them about the allergies, a little unjust as I go to the toddler group they run every week, I’ve declared the allergies on their paperwork and I tell them every week about it as the snack provided is usually unsuitable. I’ll stop ranting now 🙂

  24. On May 9, 2012 Alisa said

    Though food allergy issues started with me, the frustrations have evolved to my husband. What’s hardest for me is his constant state of flux. Is he reacting to this food, or that food, or no foods at all? What is he trialing this week and what is he being strict on? I can’t use eggs, but if we go out to eat, and a little mayo sneaks in, he doesn’t mind. I end up totally dreading mealtimes as I never know what to cook when! Last month is was no potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, almonds, etc., etc., etc., but now he trialed and tomatoes seem to be okay, maybe eggs too.

    I guess what is hard for me is that he hasn’t set out a plan, a real elimination diet to trial. Everything is haphazard causing me to hate the kitchen. I have to let him do it himself though, as if I try to help him set a plan or stay on track, he inevitably gets frustrated with me. Okay, that was more of a vent than a deep dark secret 🙂

  25. On May 19, 2012 Nicole said

    This blog is wonderful! It’s great to hear how you are all learning to deal with allergies and adjust to a glass-half-full perspective. I don’t have any deep, dark, secrets. But I do, apparently, have some allergies that I’m just learning about. Having had chronic inhaled, contact and injected allergies for years, I finally decided to do the elimination-challenge diet. I have just started the challenge phase, and already seem to react to tea and grape juice. I have drunk tea every day for the last 12 years! I think the allergy developed during the last five years or so. Coffee, however, seems to be ok. I guess my deep dark secret is that I’m challenging caffeine before stuff like eggs, soy and dairy! 🙂 My concern is how difficult it will be to manage food allergies in the coming year as I study in a foreign country. Not only do I not have a thorough command of the language, I don’t know what my living situation is going to be like. If my allergies are just tea and grapes I don’t think it will matter so much… but I expect I’ll find more. I guess I will have to make sure I have unlimited access to a kitchen and just go for whole foods. That’s mostly how I eat anyway. As I have an autoimmune condition it’s especially important to keep my immune system calm, cool and collected. Thanks again for this great site. I will be using the app, I’m sure!

  26. On May 20, 2012 Food For Skin said

    I would have to say feeling excluded and letting my partner down. He feels like he should have someone he can share dinner with and that makes me sad. I do the best I can when we eat together but I just can’t eat the same foods everyone else eats.

    Most of the time though I really don’t mind, dare to be different 🙂


  27. On June 25, 2012 kathy said

    I chose to be gluten free about a year ago. It started simply to support a friend that had been diagnosed with a medical condition that made gluten impossible for her. We work (and snack) together so I just thought it would be nice to try. I was stunned at how much better I began to feel and then I had some real weight loss that was a bonus. I don’t know if it was so much the gluten free part as that when you are gluten free you lay off fast food, frozen entrees, most junk food, etc….A by product of eliminating drive thru food was getting rid of sodas (I am allergic to aspartame so never did diet soda). All in all it has been amazing. I rarely feel deprived in any way. I began to feel so much better and my overall diet improved so much that I began evolving the diet further. Now, 40 pounds lighter and much, much healthier I wouldn’t go back to eating gluten. It is, for me, simply a choice but it has been one of the better choices I have ever made.
    To those of you who miss pasta and pizza and sandwiches and cakes and pies keep tinkering with the recipes that really mean something to you until you find your replacements. (zucchini pizza bites work really well for the pizza fix) but open your mind to all the different foods to try, not to replace old favorites but to develop new ones. Best of luck to all……

    • On June 26, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Kathy! Thank you so much for coming and sharing your wonderful story with us!! You are an inspiration here! There are a few people in my life that I wish would follow down your same path. Congratulations to you for doing something so proactive about your health and achieving such great results!! You should be proud of yourself! And you are so right! If you just keep tinkering with your recipes…you really can come up with something pretty yummy! 😀

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