There’s no more cheese in my life.
No more dairy in general. No more milkshakes or coffees, unless they’re made with soy milk. No more Camembert (and I used to be able to eat a wheel of that stuff in one sitting alone). No more heavy lasagnes and no more ice-cream.
And that’s not all. I’m not eating gluten, either. I’m buying gluten-free pasta, loitering in the section of the supermarket with the different-coloured packaging. I’m avoiding big, buttered bread rolls and cakes and crackers, muffins and macaroons and even chicken schnitzel.
That’s right. I’ve gone lactose and gluten free. And when I tell people, it’s like I’m announcing that I’ve suddenly taken up smoking crack.
Just as a heads up – none of this sh*t was by choice. I haven’t willingly decided to make my life harder by choosing not to consume two elements that seem to be present in about 75% of food options. I didn’t just wake up one morning last week and say to myself, “You know what’d be really fun? Giving up gluten and lactose! Damn, that’d be cool.”
No. What actually happened: I went to the doctor about six times in the space of less than nine months, complaining about digestive issues.
These issues came on relatively quickly earlier this year after a bout of sickness, and changed my life almost immediately. And not in a good way.
I now triple-guess everything I put in my mouth in case it's going to make me sick. I never try new or spicy food and I mostly stick to bland stuff that won't irritate my stomach. I am consistently anxious in situations where I don't have immediate access to a bathroom. Long car trips have become my idea of a nightmare and I generally don't eat anything at all before them.
It's not a way to live. Not at all.
People are claiming they're gluten-free when they're really... not. At all. Listen to the Mamamia Out Loud team discuss. Post continues after audio.
My doctor tried a few different treatment options. She was very hesitant to cut anything out of my diet, but else nothing worked. Combined with my medical history, and the history of that of my direct family members, she decided that this is the best way forward.
Tests were done. Food diaries were kept. Lactose went first, and gluten was next to go. Fructose is still safe, although that’s the other main thing that causes digestive issues in people.
I was sad for a minute when I realised what I'd be missing out on. And then I realised that just by eating a bit smarter, I could make my life shuffle completely back to normal mode.
I could get back to a point where I’m no longer spending a Sunday night in bed, doubled over with stomach pains, trying to work out what’s causing me to go through so much pain.
I’m also very happy that I’m going to be able to calm everything in my body down a bit - as I was on the fast-track to causing so many other potential problems and/or diseases for which much heavier medication would have been required.