I now know I have to deal with food intolerances, but what are they and why do I have them?
What is a food intolerance?
A food intolerance is not the same as an allergy. They both cause a physical reaction to a food but that’s where the similarities end. A food allergy is when your immune system reacts to a certain type of food, which then affects different organs in your body. These reactions can be very severe and sometimes even life-threatening. Reactions from a food intolerance are similar but not as severe. They can also be delayed, sometimes the reaction can happen up to 48 hours later. The cause of an intolerance is most often that a certain enzyme or chemical needed to digest the food is missing or does not work properly.
Okay, I have a good idea of what I have and why I have it. So what can’t I have?
What can’t I eat or drink and how can I replace it?
- wheat (pasta, bread, pizza dough, pita bread, fajitas, cookies, cake): not such a big deal, I already avoid carbs, I don’t really miss bread, I will miss pita and fajitas, I might also miss treating myself with real pasta and pizza
- replace pasta with: Zero Noodles and zucchini noodles, (already do this)
- replace wheat flour with: almond flour or coconut flour
- replace pita and fajita with: does a non-wheat alternative exist?
- cow’s milk and all derivatives (milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice-cream): again, not a big deal, I already don’t drink cow’s milk, I avoid cheese (although I love it) and ice-cream (ditto), I do often eat yoghurt
- replace yoghurt with: sheep/goat yoghurt (yummy?), coconut yoghurt (affordable?), this is indeed a conundrum
- replace cheese with: goats/sheep cheese (I know there’s some good Spanish sheep cheeses), vegan cheese (yummy?)
- soy (soy milk, soy yoghurt, tofu): this will be tricky, I drink soy milk and eat tofu often, and as I also can’t have regular yoghurt I’ll have to find a more exotic alternative than soy yoghurt
- replace soy milk with: almond milk, oat milk, rice milk
- replace tofu with: some healthy, veggie alternative
- citrus: it sucks that I can’t have a healthy glass of warm water with lemon in the mornings (not that I ever kept it up for more than two days in a row, but I had hope), and I’ll have to leave lime juice out of my guacamole, but otherwise shouldn’t miss citrus too much.
- replace citrus with: not necessary
- pork: not an issue, I don’t like pork other than in hamburgers and dried sausages (crap, I forgot about fuet, noooo)
- replace hamburgers with: beef burgers, lamb burgers, chicken burgers, fish burgers
- replace fuet with: tears
- coffee: here comes the kicker, at work I start my day with a coffee with an extra shot of espresso, I generally have two to four (large) cups of coffee a day. I know tea also has caffeine, but it really does not compare. I’d have to drink litres and litres of tea to match my caffeine needs. But I guess kicking my caffeine habit would actually be a good thing. I think I’ll just have to grin and bear this one.
- replace coffee with: tea, will power and other sources of energy (a friend suggested mint and goji berries)
- alcohol: I saved the worst for last. When the topic of food intolerance came up I literally told people that I could handle anything but an intolerance to wine, and ta-dah, I have to give up wine (and all other alcohol). Yes, giving up alcohol will be healthy, but I just love a good glass (or two, three, …) of wine in the evening, and the bliss of a good G&T on a hot summer evening. Alcohol was my one vice. This royally sucks!
- replace wine with: alcohol-free wine (it exists, Hema even has some, but will it fill the void?)
- replace alcohol with: other vices 😀 (just kidding)
So, in some ways I’ll be able to tolerate my FIs pretty well, in others, we’ll see how it goes. So far I’ve been two days without coffee and alcohol and I’m surviving 🙂 I’m even enjoying sipping warm milk with honey in stead of a glass of wine.