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The Struggle Continues

I am still here, battling on… I have been rather unwell and extremely busy. These two things do not go well together! So other than packet checking, eating and working, all I have been doing is sleeping.
I am hoping that eating a restrictive diet isn’t causing a problem with my immune system. I have been struggling with a chest infection for a number of weeks and I can’t seem to shift it!

Glastonbury’s Health Food Shop

There have been a number of successes; after visiting various Holland and Barrett stores and not finding anything I could actually enjoy, I spent some time on google. Much to my delight, I came across Glastonbury’s Health Food Shop – Earthfare. It is the most amazing supermarket for anyone with allergies or dietary requirements. Most excitingly I found the most amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies made by Doves Farm.
We did take our 3 year old nephew and his dad with us; so I can’t say that I got the most out of our trip. However, it was great to find such an amazing place, full of free from and organic foods! I will certainly be taking a child free trip back very soon.

Asda Boycott

After visiting my local Asda on several times over a period of 3 weeks for them to not have any freezer free from foods on every occasion; I have made the decisions to not shop there. It began to cause me too much stress and anxiety. It also caused a couple of “disagreements” between Laura and I.
It can be so frustrating when you can’t find the food you want without the ingredients you are allergic too. It must also be frustrating for people in our lives that have to deal with us being annoyed we can’t get what we want. I also do not think that I should settle; why should I have something I don’t really want or like that much just because I have allergies and it is “free from”.

Birthday Meal

So, I turn 26 this month and like most people I wanted to enjoy a meal out with my family. This wouldn’t have been much of a problem last year, however this year it wasn’t looking great. Luckily we would be in London over my birthday; seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. So I thought that this would give me more eatery options.
I decided to reach out to restaurants using Twitter. I work in digital marketing, so knew this was more than likely where I was going to get the most success. My theory was proven correct when the majority of restaurants promptly responded.
However, it wasn’t always a helpful response. The main reply that I received was “Please speak to your server when ordering.” For someone with allergies, this is not what you want to hear. Firstly, if a restaurant unable to provide me with their allergy information is it leaves me with no confidence in them. If the people maintaining their social media do not have access to their allergy information, then will the restaurant staff have it? Also, I don’t want to book a table, be seated, given menus and then to be told actually there isn’t anything on their menu I can eat. Then, I would have to uproot my family and find somewhere else with a table for us and hope they have something I like and can eat.
After taking to social media, I followed up my enquiries with a phone call to to restaurants. Although ASK Italian where not good at responding to tweets, when I phoned them, they were amazing. Really helpful friendly staff who made me feel at ease with the whole dining out experience. So that is where my family and I will be celebrating my 26 years on this earth.
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New Year, New Me!

So, I hadn’t planned to make any new years resolutions or make the New Year, New Me sweeping statement. However, my allergies have inadvertently ensured that I now am following a very healthy (boring) lifestyle!

I was left feeling energised and positive after our successful trip to London; so on the 2nd of January the kitchen back home was jiggled around to give me my own cupboard and fridge freezer space. What a perfect way to spend my extra bank holiday!

The first food shop of the year was interesting; I made sure that I had done some homework and tried to work out which supermarket would be best for “free from” products. I came to the conclusion that Tesco’s would be best; I was so glad I made that decision. Although slightly more expensive; the range they had was amazing!

A couple of amazing products that I found when I was shopping in Tesco were;

It just felt so nice to find a few things that I could eat without worrying. It was also great to not feel deprived!

I started to bake; I am trying to adapt recipes to my allergy needs. At the moment it is going well; I have managed to bake some flapjacks and cookies. I will post a few of the tweaked recipes shortly. It’s so nice to have what other people are having (slightly tweaked). Although the family couldn’t really taste the difference.

I am still struggling with the length of time everything takes. I can’t just pop to the supermarket or go out for lunch; everything must be pre-planned and meticulously thought out, it is actually quite exhausting.

I will get there, slowly but surely. I am just not a very patient person. I guess that is also something that I am working on inadvertently. I am just trying to stay as positive as possible and take the small little wins (the cookies being one of them!).

Successfully Entered into 2017

After the struggle at Christmas, things were beginning to look up for me. My girlfriend, her brother and nephew and I were all traveling to London to spend some time with my parents and to celebrate the end of 2016 and the start of 2017.

So our normal tradition of getting McDonald’s on the drive up to London was not hindered by the fun new allergies I have to deal with. A grilled chicken and bacon salad with fajita dressing and a side of fries for me. I must say it was quite delicious. It left me feeling far more positive about eating out. I know it is only McDonald’s but a win is a win regardless!

My amazing mum and dad went out of their way to find foods that I could eat so I wasn’t left living off of tortilla chips and pate. They visited numerous supermarkets, scouring their “free from” ranges. They were been extremely successful in their efforts. To name a few of their amazing finds:

Truely amazing!!

I did have a few wobbly moments whilst we were in London. We had gone out to the Lego store; totally amazing and worth a trip, but I hadn’t planned on having lunch out, so I hadn’t planned where was “safe” to eat. So after a rather childish tantrum, we found a restaurant with an extensive gluten free menu!! We ended up in Planet Hollywood. It was amazing! The service, the food, the range I was able to eat was first class! One of the highlights of our trip! 

New years eve we had a fun day out in London; ice skating, river boat, coffees. We did have a small problem with the McDonald’s by the London Eye; again wanting to fit in with the family and have lunch, I ordered a grilled chicken and bacon salad with a side of fries. However after we had walked out and found somewhere to sit by the river, we realised that the salad actually had a battered chicken fillet with it. Even though on the receipt and the bowl clearly stated grilled chicken! I was rather annoyed but I had packed pink panthers (gluten free) in my bag. 

So we saw the new year in with my parents and my best friend. A small party at home with party food, drinks and music. The kids fair much better than we did!! I was so grateful to my parents for find so many amazing foods that I could eat. It made a real difference. Having my girlfriends, brother-in-law and nephew be so understanding was too a turning point in all of this for me. It has certainly made me realise how lucky I am to have such amazing people around me. 

Post Christmas Survival

So after my food disasters over Christmas and Boxing Day, I was so sure that I was not going to be unprepared again. 

I set out on Tuesday 27th December to go to the local health food shop and Holland and Barrett to stock up on some foods I could enjoy without the fear of being unwell. Firstly Holland and Barrett was extremely unsuccessful. It would have been ok should I not have what feels like a million allergies or if I was just looking for vegetarian or vegan foods. Then the local health food shop was closed for the Christmas period. 

Disheartened, feeling alone and isolated; my better half suggested we went to the supermarket – Morrisons. My goodness!! It was amazing. After the bad experience in Asda, it was so refreshing to see an isle dedicated to free from foods. I found some great allergy friendly foods; Pink Panthers, Flora Freedom and rice cakes. The most exciting was the discovery of Mini Moos! I was sceptical; dairy free, soya free, vegan friendly chocolate. I was grately surprised! They are delicious, the orange ones taste so much like Terry’s chocolate orange. 

I was going into our New Years trip to London feeling much more comfortable about what I was going to eat and how I was going to survive. 

I Survived Christmas… Just

I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy and mild gluten intolerance three days before Christmas 2016. I couldn’t think of a worse time to be told you cannot eat chocolate, cheese or cream. Not to mention stuffing, bread or crackers!

I was so unprepared… I tried to muddle though. That is the worst decision I ever made. I ended up in tears and feeling poorly over the Christmas period. Not how I imagine I would be spending the festive period.

I relied on bacon as my breakfast and come Christmas dinner I was so frustrated that I gave in and eat yorkshire puddings, homemade sausage meat stuffing, chocolate… My god did I regret that. I felt so poorly! It was awful, I wish that I had thought more about myself and my needs.

I started out Boxing Day with the greatest of intentions. Well firstly a disagreement between myself and my better half. My allergies had left me feeling alone and isolated. We ventured to our local Asda; it was a pretty unsuccessful trip. A couple of bags of tortilla chips, pate and sweets. Seeing as we had planned an evening of party food, this wasn’t the worst shopping trip we could have had. However come the evening, a house full of family and a table full of sausage rolls, mini pizzas, chicken nuggets and other delicious nibbles was just too much to for me to resist.

I again made the stupid mistake. Four sausage rolls later; full of dairy and wheat, I ended up in bed taking antihistamines. Whilst the rest of the family were enjoying themselves playing pie face and enjoying whipped cream, I was feeling sorry for myself in loads of pain and feeling sick.

Safe to say, I have learnt my lesson… Be prepared! I am learning what I can now have. I am trying to focus on what I can have and trying not to focus on what it is that I can’t have.

 

First blog post

I was recently diagnosed with yet more allergies. As if five of them weren’t already enough… I know have to learn how to cope with another two. However I am choosing to look at this as an opportunity for growth.

So I am now allergic to;

  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Soya
  • Honey
  • Dairy
  • Mild Gluten Intolerance.

I am daunted at the prospect of having to try and adapt to all of these allergies. It is going to mean changing my whole way of life.

I am sure I am not the only person battling these allergies. So I will document my struggles and successes in the hope that I can help others that are in the same difficult position as I find myself in.

Love Crystal x