Food Intolerances - A Personal Journey

Vegan Hot Dogs at Small Bar, Bristol

I often think about changing my blog/Instagram/Twitter name as my food intolerances have changed quite a bit since I started this blog and thankfully, have made eating slightly less awkward.

The main change has been my intolerance to gluten which at the beginning (it seemed to worsen at around age 20-21) made me go for various tests at the doctors and spend my evenings in bed with exhaustion/debilitating cramps. These days it just gives me constipation for a couple of days.

As written before, I discovered this was the case when I went full gluten for 6 weeks so I could go for a coeliac disease test! So it goes to prove that it's always worth testing the boundaries of your food intolerances if you have them.

I was previously very intolerant to coffee, chocolate, lentils and beans and none of those things give me issues anymore. However new intolerances have appeared, including cucumber and something else that I haven't managed to pinpoint yet.

And then of course, I have my veganism. (Which actually, especially living in Bristol, is a pleasure.)

It's no wonder that every time I see my Mum she says "so what are you eating these days?"

The honest answer right at this minute? "No meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Trying to be gluten free, but a bit seems OK. Keeping Rennies and Buscopans on me for emergencies. Dried fruit is my saviour. Damn those wheaty vegan treats. Seriously, it's all gluten. And lots of pizza. Yes, with cheese."

Vegan Pizza from Mission Pizza, Bristol

My dairy and egg intolerances are masked by my veganism and actually serve as a convenient warning system if I'm ever served food secretly containing either. (An inbuilt non vegan detector, how lucky am I??)

In an odd way, having food intolerances helps a lot if you decide to go vegan. We are used to looking at ingredient lists, zoning in on the words in bold. We are also extremely efficient shoppers, only needing to visit a few aisles. We are also used to working with cupboard staples, herbs and spices, cooking for scratch with an inventiveness that should earn us some sort of scholarship in alchemy. And we are more open minded to trying new things, new flavours and odd ingredients.

I'm in a weird middle ground at present which involves people encouraging me to eat lovely vegan things and then remembering about the gluten thing and then feeling guilty. And I've had people tell me that continuing to eat foods that you know you are intolerant to can cause you major issues in the future. And I know it's naughty. I guess gluten is my cigarettes. I know I need to give up. I'll start Monday...