I look back at how my diet has changed in the past four months and it has been truly incredible. On December 30th I decided that I was going to quit Diet Coke. I'd tried this several times before without success, but this time I succeeded. I craved it for two months, but now I haven't touched a drop of any pop or carbonated beverage (aside from sparkling water) for nearly four months, and I don't crave it anymore.
Then, at my doctor's advice I cut out all caffeine, even tea (although I do still eat cocoa). I had two days of intense headaches and a lingering headache for a few days after that, but it's been three weeks and I'm totally fine. I get up in the morning and don't need anything to get my going, which is quite nice.
And then, the allergies. The allergist asked me to avoid wheat, dairy, eggs, and peanuts. In addition I was already avoiding banana due to a suspected allergy. And last week I had a fairly big reaction to what I suspect is sesame, so I've begun avoiding that as of a week ago. And then tonight I had a reaction to some avocado-date-chocolate pudding my mom made. This has happened a few times before but I was in denial. Three times can't be a fluke, though. Something else to add to my list.
Shopping is an enormous challenge. Nearly all gluten-free products have potato starch, as do a large number of dairy- and egg-free products. If it weren't for this it would be much easier ... I have found some great alternatives: Daiya cheese, almond pudding, quinoa cookies and crackers, rice pasta, coconut flour ... For the moment I have given up trying to eat low-carb. When I can't drive and can't easily read ingredients on products in stores, I basically have to rely on friends and family to take me shopping right now, and I can't be too picky while I'm with them. But I am spending more time in the kitchen than I ever have before, and especially when I'm done school, I can dedicate more time to finding ingredients that aren't processed and preparing my own food.
I am seeing the allergist again in about a week and a half. I'm still having EoE symptoms. In addition to the foods I'm already avoiding, my IgE blood test was also positive for soy and shellfish reactions, so I am worried he is going to ask me to avoid those. Shellfish I only ever ate with sushi, so I would not miss that (since I can't eat sushi now, anyway, unless I make it myself). A lot of the products I'm eating are already soy-free, but it would mean finding some replacements over again (like Daiya "cheese").
I am attending two conferences in the next three weeks. I go between feeling okay and feeling completely overwhelmed. I'm preparing to bring all my own food, and purchasing some that I can't bring on planes. That's the part that I'm feeling freaked out over: I'm not sure that stores in the cities I'm going to that happen to be close enough to the hotel to get to by cab would have the specialty products I need, especially since I won't have anyone to help me shop for them. I'm very glad that I've travelled a lot over the past year, so that I am totally comfortable travelling with my visual impairment, otherwise I would be a complete nervous wreck! As it is I just need to add an extra layer to the careful planning I already do when travelling, and of course there will be a whole new layer of, "Did I forget X?!" while I'm on the plane.