health

The 6 emotional stages of dealing with a food intolerance.

Latina ™ Fresh Gluten Free Pasta Range
Thanks to our brand partner, Latina ™ Fresh Gluten Free Pasta Range

Discovering you’ve developed a food intolerance or allergy can be an emotional journey, as much as a physical one.

From the moment your doctor tells you that you have a food intolerance, you suspect your life will never be the same again. And you’d be right. People will look at you differently (people are surprisingly intolerant of intolerances – I can’t remember whether that is irony or just unfortunate…).

But fear not: we’ll get through this together…

1. Denial.

“Nope. I will be fine. I used to be able to eat this stuff, no worries. It’s probably something else.”

“That sounds like some Gwyneth Paltrow rubbish right there. I don’t believe in that woo-woo, rich people, food intolerance nonsense.”

“I’ll just eat it sometimes.”

“Being easy-going is my thing. I am not suddenly going to become one of those people who complains about food in restaurants and asks for dressing on the side.”

I said all of those things. I was an idiot.

2. Anger.

Why me? Why now? Oh Dear Lord, what is this thing that I have just tried to put in my mouth?

The discovery, that food that doesn’t have wheat or dairy in it can taste pretty bad, can bring on The Rage.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve flung a coffee that cost me $5.50 into the bin because the non-dairy milk tasted so very bad. I was once served a terrible soy decaf in a café and I pretended to get a call so I could just leave the rest behind (now I ask the kind of soy milk or nut milk they have before I order. It makes me feel like a goose, but it is better than the alternative).

3. Mockery.

Know this: you will be mocked. My colleagues refer to my coffee order as a “Why Bother?” (large soy decaf flat-white, if you’re buying). I have been snubbed in hipster coffee emporiums who don’t serve decaf (sometimes I have a tremor and caffeine makes it worse. I know from experience that this is a fact that hipsters do not care about).

ADVERTISEMENT

4. Bargaining.

Everyone goes for dumplings. And you say: “I’ll eat before we go.”

There’s a cake at work. And you say: “That’s cool. I’ll grab something from the 7-11”.

You really want pizza. So you make a gluten-free base. And then you take something out of the oven that tastes like you put ham and pineapple on a sock.

5. Depression.

You will grieve the loss of so many things: sandwiches on fresh white bread, iced coffee, croissants, crackers, pies, barbecue flavoured roast chicken, biscuits, dignity, good times, spontaneity.

RIP, my delicious friends. I miss you.

6. Acceptance.

The days when you don’t get an asthma attack, migraine and vomiting because you accidentally ate some MSG: those are good days. The days when you don’t have stomach pain: those are also excellent days.

The day when you find a new brand of crackers or bread or pasta without gluten that tastes amazing, you’ll buy six boxes. The day that you discover a brand of cheese-flavoured corn-chips that you can eat, you’ll be Googling the company to find out where the CEO is so you can go and smooch her.

The day when you find out that someone you work with knows what FODMAP means or what diverticulitis is or what is in the cake they brought in: those days are great.

And when you find a café where nobody looks at you strangely: well that, my friend, means you’ve made it to the Promised Land.

How do you cope with your food intolerance?

Your relationship with food is bound to relate to (at least) one of these hilarious e-cards:

Want more? How about:

Good news! All your favourite artwork now comes gluten-free.

From happy to hangry: The 12-step emotional guide to a hunger-induced meltdown.

00:00 / ???