Food Intolerance Haikus

sketch of milk carton with red circle and cross out.
Food allergies, intolerances, and food restrictions got you down? Yeah, me too! Here are some silly haikus to hopefully make you groan and then laugh. Photo image from Pixabay.

Food Intolerance Haikus

When I laugh, you would laugh too.  I’ve been told my laugh is more infectious than the Ebola virus and stomach flu, combined. One time, I made a tent full of people laugh so hard that people came running in to see what was going on. All they got to see was a Chinese woman squealing louder than a penguin being tickled.

In the world of food allergies, intolerances, autoimmune diseases, and chronic illnesses, food journalism is an understandably serious subject. I do not write nearly as often as I should or could, mostly because I spend a lot of time researching food subjects and “getting it right.” My readers deserve the best.

However, I thought it was time to also give you a little lightness and levity in the midst of all that seriousness. Why now? Because if I have to add the indignity of having had 21 days of runny, antibiotic-driven diarrhea post dog bite to the 2017 year, I might as well throw in there the bowel prep for a colonoscopy (wait for it) — three days before Thanksgiving Day. Nothing worse than clear liquid poo to make me want to crack a few jokes.

Yes, I chose this. It’s the right time, I’m due for a colonoscopy,  our insurance will cover most of the cost, and it is still magnesium citrate hell. Maybe I’ll get an IV chaser or two afterwards.

So for your reading pleasure, and for kicks and giggles, here are my lovingly crafted Food Intolerance Haikus (with references to autoimmune disease and my chronic illness, Medullary Sponge Kidney). I hope to add to these every year. Feel free to share with others who understand.

And yes, I  do know that food allergies, intolerances, Autoimmune Disease, and Chronic Illnesses, in themselves, are not funny. Adults and children suffer and some die from complications of these conditions. I am not making fun of them, but rather the eye-rolling situations many of us find ourselves in every day of the year as we manage to make food fun again.

As a reminder, I don’t edit for course language. It is what it is. Parental discretion is advised.

Carry on (and read more for the silly haikus).

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The Sensitive Celiac Technical Baking Challenge

I am so excited about this, I could pee my pants (but I’m not going to!).

During my long rides on a Computrainer in our garage (affectionately named, The Cave of Suffering”), I compounded my miserable biking training sessions with the agony and ecstasy of watching multiple episodes of, The Great British Baking Show.

My friends rolled their eyes. How could I do this to myself? Isn’t it just torture to watch contestants making sugary, savory, creamy, gluten-filled pies, breads, and cakes, knowing that I would never be able to eat them?

Oh my Hungry Minions! There is always an idea waiting to be hatched whenever I am in my own mental trenches of gluten-free baking hell. My job was to focus on the “what” of an idea, and to understand that sometimes, I’m not the one who needs to figure out the “how.”

If two heads are better than one, I invite you to read on and participate in the “how” of this post: the first ever Sensitive Celiac (or Gluten Free Guru) Technical Bake Challenge!

On your marks… get set… bake!

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Why Attend IFBC 2017

Food Bloggers Conference

 

Disclosure : As an IFBC Citizen Blogger, I received a reduced conference rate in exchange for sharing three posts about my experience. This is the first of three. 

If it wasn’t for a little race called Ironman, I would have attended the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) 2016 conference, held in Sacramento, CA. But wait! What does an Ironman race have to do with interfering with plans to attend a food blogging conference?

Well, actually, Ironman training made a great many decisions for me in 2016, from what available time I had, who I socialized with,  how much and when to eat, and yes — even determining what conferences I could attend.

Last year, I spent 15-20 hours a week on top of my hours in the office as a private practice counselor, training for Ironman Mont-Tremblant. Every spare hour was spent in the pool or in the lake, riding my bike on a trainer or up and down hills, and running for hours. To do all those things, I also had to grocery shop, prep, and cook all my own meals and make my own race food.  Over time, my needs grew to the point that I could not eat outside my home, and could not spare even a day of food sensitivity by making inferior food choices. When the IFBC 2016 dates were announced, I realized they were just too close to the dates of my race, creating some risk for the Celiac athlete to try new food combinations or sample beverages. It didn’t make sense to put my race in jeopardy, so I took the conference off my plate (pun intended).

When I heard that the IFBC would return to Sacramento in 2017, my mind was made up: I would come back again. This was an exciting development, because I was really kicking myself for having missed the 2016 conference at that specific location.  This post is about why I’m attending IFBC 2017 as a “citizen blogger” for the second time. And it’s also about why you as a reader should care.

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Neutralizer Drops for Tummy Issues

Dropper bottle with label with golden brown liquid sitting on a desk.
4 ounce dropper bottle of Neutralizer for “Tummy Issues” compounded by Hidden Alchemist. Photo by Imei Hsu (Dec 2016)

How many times have you had one of these “tummy days”, when you’re even too tired or embarrassed to admit that you’ve been struggling with diarrhea, cramping, flatulence, and digestive problems?

Anyone who has mild to severe intolerances, a gastro-intestinal disorder (i.e.Crohn’s, IBD), or an Autoimmune Disease that creates a whole host of sensitivities and intolerances knows the painful reality of how many hours and days we lose in a battle against “Tummy issues”.

The reality of living with these symptoms often enough that you can no longer call them occasional should have you thinking that the best remedies aren’t always grabbing a bottle of Imodium. So what is a food-sensitive person to do?

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Living in the Land of the Gluteneaters

Gluten | Gluten-Free Living | Home | Health | Food Allergies

Stack of Kirkland pizzas in pizza boxes on the corner of a table
When gluten is all around, how do you figure out how to cope when you can’t eat it but must be around it?

In 2014, I entered my first race Olympic Distance race as a relay, the Victoria BC Subaru Saunders Olympic Distance Triathlon. I took on the 0.9mile swim event, M took on the 27 mile bike event, and a fellow runner friend Rosie took on the 10 kilometer run around Elk Lake. When it came to giving our team a name, I ended up submitting the team name, “Imei and the Gluteneaters.”

Three seasons later, and an Ironman Finisher now going on for her first Ultramarathon, I’m reflecting on what it means to live — and I mean fully live — in the Land of the Gluteneaters.

If you must be gluten-free for medically necessary reasons (meaning: you must avoid gluten or you will become seriously ill or risk severe complications or death), avoiding gluten in your food is a complex enough task by itself, since much of our food supply in westernized countries are embedded with gluten and cross-contaminated as well as cross-reactive ingredients. What happens if you live with others who eat gluten? What happens if you live with others who eat the foods you are most reactive to, such as nuts, dairy, gluten, soy? What if you have multiple food allergies, and your partner/spouse does not?

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Eat Like You

During the holidays, we think about what we're eating more than ever (or, we try not to think about it!). How do you navigate the world of food when you have food allergies, intolerances, or a GI disorder)? Photo credit: Imei Hsu (2016).
During the holidays, we think about what we’re eating more than ever (or, we try not to think about it!). How do you navigate the world of food when you have food allergies, intolerances, or a GI disorder)? Photo credit: Imei Hsu (2016).

Stop trying to eat like everyone else. Just STOP.

On any given week, I receive well-intended yet unhelpful suggestions from people who believe they can “help” me. Sometimes it’s from a well-meaning Vegan person who thinks my Paleo options are not only immoral and cruel, they are unhealthy for me. As usual, I kindly ask that person to design me a minimum 1538 calorie meal plan free from nuts, dairy, seeds, soy, legumes,  beans, gluten (including no corn), alliums, goards (pumpkin, squash, cucumbers), and certain oils,  certain sugars, plus more calories on my training days that are easily absorbed, do not cause my guts to rebel and fall apart, and deliver iron, protein, and healthy fat well enough that I don’t suffer a loss in cognitive processing.

Every person I’ve encountered who has looked at that list usually tells me it cannot be done without severely compromising my health.

And so, here I am again, stating the obvious: nutrition is an individual matter. Stop eating like everyone else.

Instead, eat like only you can, and only you should:. Eat like you.

Among my friends, they have a reply to newcomers who mean well when they suggest a food or new recipe to me: “That sounds safe, but is it ‘Imei safe’?

They say this because I am my own canary in a coal mine: if it isn’t safe for me to eat, it might not be so good  for them either. Why? Because while all of the ingredients in processed foods are FDA-approved for public safety, a good amount of them will still leave me writhing on the floor, vomiting, cramping, racing for the toilets, or leading to poor nutritional status over time.

Yet the real truth of eating well and transforming your life is a journey of discovery, trial and error, and extreme customization. What we’re learning more than ever is that a nutritional profile that works for one may not work perfectly for another.

The good news: there exists one shared food factor among those who have autoimmune disease and food allergies, one in which no health expert would ever argue against. It is a simple equation: eat a natural diet free from highly processed foods.

By doing so, you will not eat in the manner of everyone else.  You will eat like you.

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Gaffes, Goofs, and Sundry Oops

Siamese cat hiding behind a pillow while crouching on a red couch.
Made a mistake with your food and you’re not feeling well? The world of food can be a scary place to navigate, and it can even be scary cooking at home if you don’t take care to get your routines nailed down to reduce mistakes. Photo by Imei Hsu.

As much as I believe the last three years has given me an education on clean eating, ingredient label comprehension, and the dangers of cross contamination, I still walk in the same shoes as anyone who has an autoimmune disease, chronic GI issues, and severe food allergies.

I goof, here and there. And I pay for it.

If you think there is an expert resource who avoids all gaffs, goofs, and sundry “oops”, I challenge you to find him or her. As far as my research has taken me, I have not found a single respected expert in the field who has never been “glutened”, become ill due to cross contamination, or suffered from an imbalance of micronutrients or macronutrients as they experimented with all available options.

One great example is gluten-free oats. Most of us who were placed on a gluten-free diet had a steep learning curve. Some of us did fine with gluten-free food products such as gluten-free oats; these people dove into GF oatmeal cookies and lovely GF oatmeal trail mixes that could be baked into bars when mixed with nuts, seeds, and oils.

Others of us suffered “Swan Lake” death scenes, suffering long near the white throne in our households, and feeling horribly betrayed by safety labels and descriptions that declared these products safe for people with CD/NCGS.

You often don’t know which category you fall in until you try something and it doesn’t work for you.

This post is about goofs, yours and mine.

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