Welcome to Allergy Free & Cheap Like Me!

gluten, dairy, egg & soy free

I’m so happy you are here! I hope to create a place for you to find lots of information about food allergies, as well as, lots of goodies to help you not only eat better, but more affordably! Please feel free to share all of your own tips, tricks, and recipes too! Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you again very soon! You can read more about my allergy story here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

HAWMC Day 17, Learned the Hard Way

Today's HAWMC challenge topic is, Learned the Hard Way; What’s a lesson you learned the hard way? Write about it for 15 today.

I've learned many lessons throughout my life and most have been learned the hard way. I think that is the way we learn the best. It's why there is the expression, 'live and learn'. It's a part of life, we are human, we learn by trial and error. If we don't live it, then we don't feel the consequences from our actions. 

The lesson I've learned the hard way that I am going to share is one I've learned along my food allergy journey. When I first learned I needed to avoid gluten, diary, and eggs, among a few others, I went through the usual cycle of acceptance. At first I mourned what I could no longer have. I literally went to the grocery store and walked up and down every single aisle and looked at everything I could no longer eat (blindly missing everything that I could eat I might add); I was in tears by the time I walked out. I wanted everything I couldn't eat. Never mind that I never ate Twinkies before, that wasn't the point. The point was my food options were now more limited than before for more significant health reasons than I had previously known. Then I went into what I would call an overzealous stage. I decided I needed to learn everything I could. I would have to learn to replace all those things I couldn't eat with substitutes made from allergen-free alternatives. I went crazy making substitutes of things I had never made before and hardly ever ate. I made every kind of muffin imaginable, I made dozens of loafs of bread, bagels, cinnamon rolls, english muffins… you name it, I tried to create it. After all that, I was exhausted and overwhelmed because none of my creations tasted as good as the allergen filled originals. I felt like my allergies had beaten me. So I moved into the rebellious stage. I basically said, "Screw it, it's my life, if I want to eat it I am going to eat it! I've been eating it all for my entire life and nothing horrible had happened, so why stop now?"  So I stopped eating allergy free for a couple of weeks, well maybe more like a month or two, but after that month I felt and looked, to put it bluntly, like crap. I was tired, cranky, and constantly gassy, my face was broken out and blotchy. My allergies had beaten me once again. 

Over the course of the first 6 months of my allergy journey, I cycled through these emotions, over and over. In the end, however, I learned, the hard way, that I do have a choice whether or not to eat that Twinkie. I can eat the Twinkie if I want to, it is my choice. I know from experience it is not going to make me feel good. After the minute or so of satisfaction I will feel as I eat it, the pain I will feel will last for hours and the ill effects on my body might last for weeks or longer. I think most people who find they have food allergies or intolerances go through a very similar stages. I think it is part of the learning process. If we don't have those feelings and experience the lapses, then we won't learn we truly do feel better avoiding the things we are allergic to. I'm not going to lie, almost 3 years later, sometimes those feelings still crop up. It's hard to watch others eat things you wish you could eat too, but from living my allergen journey and learning from my mistakes I know all said and done, I am better off without them. 

Below are a few quotes about mistakes that I love and have drawn inspiration from along my journey not with my allergies but with life.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.-- George Bernard Shaw
If you don't make mistakes, you're not working on hard enough problems. And that's a big mistake. -- F. Wikzek 
Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.-- Denis Whitely 
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.-- Scott Adams 
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.-- Mahatma Gandhi

What is a lesson you have learned the hard way?

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