From before my earliest memory, I’ve had to deal with allergies. I can’t have any kind of dairy, nuts, or pea protein, and I’m also allergic to animals. Although this may seem like it’s starting off in a negative place, I’m writing this to talk about the positives aspects of having allergies, and perhaps, some of the less fun things. Allergies, like much in this world, is something that most people see as only a detriment, when really they just haven’t looked at it from a different perspective. This is a very important factor as to why certain things are viewed in a specific light, but if you don’t consider all the factors, of course, you will only see things one way. I was born with my allergies, so it’s not as if it is anything new to me. Nevertheless, I’ll shed some light on my own situation since I can’t really speak for others.
Ever since I was a child, people would frequently ask me how I got by every day without a grilled cheese or a chocolate bar. I would usually just respond by explaining that I had never had it before so it was never something I craved. More times than not, people weren’t happy with that answer. Some people in elementary school thought I was lying about my allergies since they had never seen me have a reaction. I was usually extra careful with what I ate and I am incredibly lucky to have had a very accommodating mother to help me out. Happily, this has given me so many nice memories of learning how to cook food for myself with my mother, and knowing what to substitutes to use. That, in and of itself, is a wonderful experience that I carried into the later parts of my life.
Going into high school, I was rather chubby and not in amazing shape, so I made the choice to switch from soy milk to coconut and started going to the gym. It was an easy switch because I already can’t eat a lot of junk food, and eating fast food is risky and a pain. So I started on that new track of my life and it got easy very quickly. It made me want to pursue cooking food, and hopefully start taking some culinary courses at the college when I get a chance. Instead of viewing allergies as a barrier that prevents me from eating all these lovely foods, I like to think that it just takes away the temptation, which also helps me save money since I’m a big eater. No matter how you look at it, buying food from the grocery store and cooking it yourself is much cheaper, if you look for deals!
I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t any bad things about allergies, I’ve had my fair share of accidents, and it can be very alarming when you suddenly have trouble breathing. That being said, it does keep you on your toes and forces you to be mindful as to what you’re putting in your body, since it can sometimes be life or death. The only other problem I have with allergies is that if you do want to indulge yourself with something like coconut ice cream, it’ll set you back money-wise. Allergies are expensive if you want to enjoy that kind of stuff, which is why I usually don’t bother with it and keep with just baking and making meals. Homemade stuff tastes better in my opinion anyway, and it’s a little shocking seeing the number of people around my age who don’t really know how to cook anything.
It is upsetting to fully realize how little control we have of ourselves at times, I’m someone who likes being in control and the fact that I really have no control over my body if I eat a cashew, for example, seems ridiculous to me. But there are so many little things in life that we can’t fight and it gets much easier the quicker you can accept that. Instead of focusing on all the things you can’t eat, lifestyle-wise, I think it’s incredibly healthy to see how much you could learn to make instead. Sometimes you really can’t focus on positive aspects, which I understand, but at least in my situation, I’m actually happy that I have allergies. They’re the main reason that I’m in good shape, that I love to cook, that I’m good with money, and most importantly, that I really understand the importance of life and how quickly you can lose it. So don’t dwell on all the things you can’t have because there’s a lot of stuff in this world, and you’re going to miss out on a lot if you can only focus on what you can never have.
I’ve had people ask me that if I could wake up tomorrow with no allergies, would I? If you can tell already, every single time, I would say no, simply because it’s my lifestyle now, and if I did wake up with no allergies, I couldn’t see my diet changing at all. I’ve found what’s good and works for me, and I’m aware other people with allergies might have different thoughts, but this is just what works for me. Maybe from reading this someone might have realized something they hadn’t considered before, which would be my hope for my stories.