Hello everyone!
Like some of you that may be reading this, I have food allergies. I decided to start this blog to help out other people that have food allergies. Finding out you can't eat any of your favorite foods is a major struggle, and you wonder how you're going to survive. Well, I'm here to help! I'm going to be trying out allergen free recipes and give feedback on them, even if they're a complete disaster. I'll also talk about restaurants I go to and how they cope with having a tough customer. I'll also talk about pre-made products I try.

Now you're probably wondering who I am and why I am qualified to talk about this. I'm going to give a little information on myself and my history. So if you're one to zone out during boring parts, you might want to skip this paragraph.
First of all, I'm a junior at Colorado State University. I came to college undeclared, considering majoring in Biochemistry. After my first semester, I decided I was completely out of my mind. So I took random classes, mostly consisting of basic Sciences and English (I'm a sucker for books). That semester I also took a health class. I really enjoyed it, so I decided to major in Food Science and Human Nutrition. A year and a half later, I'm still enjoying it. Taking these classes, I've learned a lot about nutrition and how nutrients affect us, but I've also learned about food and even taken a cooking class.

Now to backtrack; how did my food allergies come about? For awhile I had been having what felt to me like heartburn. In January of 2010, I woke up in the middle of the night with severe heartburn, which seemed to get worse by the minute. It was the worst pain I had ever experienced. I panicked, and couldn't breathe. My back and abdomen muscles were tensed. I thought I was dying. Obviously, that didn't happen. I decided enough was enough and went to a doctor. She believed I had acid reflux disease. We tried many medications, none of which worked. We also came to the conclusion that on top of the pain, I had a panic attack. Throughout this time period of about six months, no medication worked and I had the "pain" a few more times. She refered me to a gastroenterologist. He wasn't sure what I had so he jumped right into performing an endoscopy, which is where they insert a camera down your esophagus. They performed 3 biopsies, taking a little piece of my esophagus tissue. They also put a pH probe in place. This is where they put a little electronic piece, about the size of the eraser end of a pencil, on the inside of your esophagus. You have to wear a monitor and push buttons whenever you feel anything. The point of this was to monitor my pH levels, which came back normal. It was tough, I could barely swallow anything, and anything I did swallow hurt terribly. From the biopsies they discovered I had Eosinophilic Esophagitis. This means I have too many eosinophils, or allergy cells, in my esophagus. It's a fairly new disease and no one's sure what causes it. So this doctor refered me to an allergist over the summer, where they performed the scratch test, which is when you are scraped on your by a stick, it looks like a plastic toothpick, that is dipped in a concentrated solution of an allergen. Then you sit for 15 minutes while your back itches and burns. They measure the size of the redness and the puffiness. Turns out I'm allergic to A LOT of stuff I didn't know I was, including milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, and peas. On top of that I have environmental allergies to trees, grasses, molds, weeds, and cat dander. So my allergist suggested I go off of all of these foods. Being someone picky, I constantly ate potato soup and caesar salads, and I knew I had to change my diet completely. So what do I do? I cry my eyes out to my mom out in the parking lot. Not knowing where to start, I rush to Barnes and Noble and pick up some cookbooks. These cookbooks have saved my life. Many of them have an introduction on what food allergies are and what to look for on labels.

All the time people ask me what I eat. Since the time I found out I had allergies, I’ve been researching them, exploring products, learning to cook (sometimes failing disastrously), and visiting restaurants. I've also completed a few school projects on food allergies (and got A's of course), one including modifying a recipe for an egg allergy. I even made a manual on how to survive with food allergies (if you want a copy, let me know and I'll email it to you.

So the point of all this is what?

To help my fellow food allergy strugglers, of course! And their moms or dads as well. As I mentioned before, I'll post what to look for on labels, common allergen replacements, recipes and pictures I've taken, restaurant reviews, and product reviews.

Since I've been sitting here for a few hours, with my legs going numb, I'm gonna stop here for today. But my next post will be loaded with information so stay tuned!


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Laura (Ryan's sis) said...

Michelle, I think what you are doing here is awesome! Love it already!

Michelle said...

Thanks Laura!
Yeah, I hope it helps out people. Even people who don't have food allergies can benefit from it too!

Sara Kay said...

Hi Michelle!
I used to be in choir with your dad, and saw his post on FB about your blog. We have lots of food allergies (well, technically sensitivities) around here and I write about it often on my blog as well. I look forward to reading your thoughts! The history of food allergies was fascinating!

Michelle said...

Hi Sara! Yeah my dad was very excited about it. What allergies/sensitivities do you guys have? I'll have to check out your blog! Thanks!

Sara Kay said...

At one point or another, we have been off of gluten, soy, dairy, egg, salicylates, nightshades, corn, latex (banana, avocado, papaya)... It's a challenge, and yet worth it to me. I spent such a huge part of my life sick all the time. I'm grateful to know how to feel better. :) And my kiddos have had health issues that would have significantly lowered their standard of living apart from avoiding those foods. When we avoid them, they are healthy and happy!

Michelle said...

Oh my goodness that's crazy. I don't even know what some of that is! How did you guys figure out what you were sensitive to?
Yeah, I hear you. I have a lot of digestion issues and I feel so much better now that I've gone off those foods.

Sara Kay said...

We see an awesome naturopathic doctor in Denver. He has various tests to help figure that stuff out. And he also does an allergy desensitization treatment on a machine called a BAX 3000. My daughter used to have horrible eczema, and this machine is calming down her system and getting rid of it. She can now eat lots of things that used to make her scratch till she bled.

Michelle said...

Oh yeah I've heard a little about that. Not about that specific machine but desensitization. There's a lot of mixed reviews on it from what I've heard. But some people come out super happy. I should probably look into it a little more. At my school they have some sort of desensitization procedure too and I'm going to talk to someone once school starts to see what it's all about.