Food allergies are commonly misunderstood by the general public. It seems to be a “you don’t get it until you get it” situation, with most people simply misinformed and some of them straight up hostile. Today I’m bringing a few of my least favorite myths to light. If you have a food allergy or know someone who does, you’ve probably heard these too.
It’s Friyay! While you’re getting ready for a relaxing weekend, we’re here at Chronic Coffee Chat sipping coffee (or tea, or cocoa, or Diet Coke— whatever floats your boat) and getting to know each other a little better. This week, we’re featuring Hannah of Sunshine and Spoons! I actually featured her shop back in my Valentine’s gift guide, so you may be familiar with her. If not, let’s learn a little more:
My name is Hannah and I’m a wife to one and mom to four little ones, ages 9, 6, 4, and 2. I’m a writer, and I also enjoy reading and sewing. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, asthma, eczema, allergies, POTS, acid reflux disease, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, and PTSD. Three of my kids also have EDS along with an assortment of other diagnoses.
Ever since I’ve been old enough to do the upkeep on my own hair, I’ve gone through cycles. My hair is short. I think about how nice it would look long. I grow it out. I remember that I hate having long hair. I lop my hair off. I forget how much I hate having long hair. I grow it out. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I think long hair is beautiful. One of my dear friends has some of the longest hair I’ve ever seen, and it’s always beautifully styled and wonderfully healthy. My long hair is always swept up into a messy bun, in the hopes I can forget it exists.
This is a post about my allergy pet peeve. I’ve got several, including the dreaded “can’t you just try a bite?” The thing about pet peeves is that they’re personal. You may totally disagree with this post, but this is my opinion.
I’ve always had a limited diet in some shape, way, or form. My allergist, primary, and other doctors cycled through dietary changes they thought would help me. I was dairy free, shellfish free, soy free, bland diet, and finally wound up gluten free after a Celiac disease diagnosis in 2012. When Critter was born, we struggled with what we thought was reflux for a while before realizing that she was dealing with food allergies.
There is a lot more food allergy and Celiac awareness now than when I was first diagnosed, and many of my interactions surrounding our weird diets are positive. Unfortunately, there are still many misconceptions and stigmas surrounding food allergies. I recently dealt with a few less than understanding people in a situation involving food and kids. I understand that many people mean well and are just uninformed or, let’s be honest, nosey. But listen y’all, as someone with Celiac who is parenting a kid with FPIES, there’s one question I never want to hear again.
“How bad is the allergy?”
It’s Friday, which means it’s that time of the week again. Pull up a chair, brew yourself some coffee or steep a cup of tea, and join us here for Chronic Coffee Chat. We’ve had a great few weeks so far, and as usual, this one is no different. Today, Vicky from Vicky Warren Writing: Living the Diagnosis is joining us to talk life, kids, migraines, and a little bit of everything in between. Let’s let her introduce herself. (Full disclosure, Vicky has actually started a new blog since we did this interview, but she’s still a blogger with chronic illness and I hope you enjoy what we have to say, even if it’s slightly outdated!)
My name is Vicky Warren. I live in Alaska with my husband and 4 boys. During my childhood, I was a dancer. I wanted to dance professionally at one point. However, after high school, I discovered my desire to help people and was drawn to the medical field. I spent 9 years doing prerequisites to go to nursing school. It took a long time because I was working full time so my husband could get his degree done and life happened along the way. In 2011, I finally went to nursing school and became an LPN. After working for a few months, I became pregnant with my 3rd son and Hyperemesis Gravidum hit me so hard that I was unable to continue. I became pregnant with my 4th son nine short months after my 3rd was born and have been a full-time stay at home mom since. You can find me on Twitter, and Pinterest, and my website .
I’ve talked quite a bit on the blog about my struggles with mental health. Although I’m not a mental health professional, I’ve been in and out of counseling for quite a while now. The main goal of my counselors has never been long-term counseling. It’s always been to equip me with skills to help me in each new phase of my life.
Postpartum, my biggest mental health issue has been a dramatic increase in my obsessive compulsive symptoms. After years of checking the locks, the pets, the heaters, and anything else that could be checked, I finally had a diagnosis: OCD. OCD comes with some really weird societal stereotypes, but when it comes down to it, it’s basically anxiety that your brain has totally channeled in the wrong direction. Although I’m on medication, healthy coping skills are key. So, the biggest goal in my counseling sessions right now is finding ways to redirect and channel the anxiety.
Not every way to deal with anxiety is right for every person. For example, my counselor quickly ruled out breathing exercises. Why? I was obsessing over them and making my OCD worse. Instead, we work with my ADHD and direct me towards creative outlets.
Today is a super special Chronic Coffee Chat. As you know by now, the series is based on the idea of chatting with friends at the coffee shop. Well, today I’m interviewing one of the friends I’ve made through the chronic illness community. Vee and I met in an online support group back in 2014, and we’ve been friends ever since. Like most of my friends in the chronic illness community, we’ve never actually met in person. So, this Coffee Chat is the closest we’ll come to actually hanging out in a coffee shop until we’re not on opposite ends on the country.
So let’s all say hi and let her introduce herself:
Hello! My name is Veronica, and I’m a spoonie like Brittany. I have EDS, Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I’m a recent college graduate, currently trying to figure out my life. I love music, cooking, reading, and dance, and I watch more Netflix and YouTube videos than I probably should. I also love to travel when my budget allows for it. I have a blog that focuses living with chronic illness and other aspects of my life, and that’s here. I also have an instagram, where I post a lot of food photos, since I love food and nutrition, and you can find that here.
One of the first things you learn as a medical student is “if you hear hoofbeats, think horses.” This means, in layman’s language, that the simplest diagnosis is usually the most accurate. This is true, and it’s a good guideline to follow. You don’t want to sink thousands of dollars into an MRI to diagnose vertigo when your patient just has an ear infection.
Sometimes, though, the problem isn’t horses. Sometimes the problem is weird, or rare. Those rare diseases (and by extension, us patients) are called zebras.
Hi world! I have a rare disease.
Can you believe this is our fourth week of Chronic Coffee Chat? We’ve had three great guests so far, and today is no different. Although February is coming to an end, we’re just getting in the swing of things over at Chronic Coffee.
While we await spring weather, a lot of us are stuck inside hiding from the cold. I don’t know about you, but that means I’m spending a little more time than usual browsing social media. Today’s guest, Alexa from Girl in Healing, has a beautiful Instagram that I love poring over. Seriously, her food photos speak my love language. If you’re dying to drool over her Instagram too, let’s move on to the introductions.
Alexa: I am a 22-year-old Boston girl. I graduated from college in May 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease throughout my gastrointestinal tract. I am a huge lover of books and I always have one going! I enjoy doing anything with friends and family whether it be staying in to watch a movie, hanging by our pool, or taking trips. I love being on a beach, green tea and coffee, and empowering people to take charge of the aspects of their health that are controllable. Awesome! I fo I can be found at: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Pinterest. My blog is Girl in Healing.
There are a lot of restricted diets in my family. My dad is supposed to eat high fiber/pre-diabetic. I have Celiac Disease, so I can’t eat gluten. I’m also lactose intolerant. Critter can’t eat dairy, soy, oats, or pears. My mom has just started Low FODMAP. Trying to find something we can all eat and enjoy is a research project. Seriously, we need more sources to see if ingredients are safe for all of us than most grad school students need to write their thesis paper.
Food allergies, intolerances, and other special diets can be a hassle. I get it. Trust me, I get it. It can feel like you can’t eat anything! Over the years, our family has gotten adept at finding swaps and substitutes to keep everyone content. (Not quite happy, I would literally punch a man in the face for a slice of “real” pizza.) Throwing FODMAPs in the mix has just added another layer to the challenge. Luckily, we’ve developed a few basic tips over the years that will help us through this, just like it has helped us through every other food related challenge we’ve faced.