Just Call me 'Pollyanna'

Since I stopped eating dairy and eggs on Sunday, I've been thinking about this whole situation. I know I was a little whiny in my last post, but there are quite a few positive things about having to stop eating dairy and eggs because of E.'s food allergies:

I have a decent health food store ten minutes from my house - I checked it out yesterday, and they have a ton of options. There was a whole section of dairy-free, egg-free cookies. I'm trying to avoid junk food anyway, but knowing that there was junk food I (and later on E.) could eat was a big morale booster. It's just nice to have options, you know? I also bought some soy milk. The taste isn't that bad, but the texture leaves something to be desired; it's pretty watery. But I can totally see E. liking it. It really does taste like melted ice cream. And I also found some dairy free soy margarine. It must be REALLY hard to have food allergies if you don't have a source of alternative types of food around. I consider us very lucky in this regard.

It will probably help me lose weight - Most of the foods I tend to overindulge in contain dairy or eggs (ice cream, creamy pasta sauces, Kozy Shack pudding, pastries, etc...). I was surprised to find out that most normal breads don't have eggs in them (but delicious bakery desserts do). This whole thing is making me more mindful of what I eat.

It will help me learn what foods contain things E. needs to avoid - I was pretty surprised to discover how many foods have milk products in them. I'm learning to read labels closely, but a lot of the time milk or egg products will be listed as something other than 'milk' or 'eggs.' While I'm not supposed to have any allergic foods at all, it's good for me to learn using myself instead of E. If I accidentally eat something I shouldn't, it won't affect E. as severely as if he ate it himself. He's still eating mostly baby food, so I can use this time like a set of food allergy training wheels. By the time he's eating more table foods, I should be a pro at avoiding foods that are dangerous for him.

It's good motivation to learn how to cook Korean food - For a while I've been meaning to learn how to cook more Korean dishes. Korean food basically has no dairy in it and except for certain dishes, it's also pretty light on eggs. This whole thing is a great reason to learn how to cook more Korean dishes. Before this even came up N. and I liked eating Korean and other Asian food. But I think we'll be eating more of it in the future, which is fine with me!

It's teaching me empathy for people with food allergies - There's a chance that E. might out grow his food allergies, but he might not. Either way, this experience is helping me understand what it's like to not be able to enjoy common foods. It's not really a life-or-death situation for me (I am trying my very hardest not to eat foods I shouldn't, but since I wasn't avoiding any allergic foods until last week, I don't think one small slip-up now will severely affect E.), but I now feel anxious when a situation regarding food I'm not sure about comes up. Going out to eat or getting together at a friends' house for dinner becomes fraught with anxiety. Before this, I simply took it for granted that I could eat anything I wanted to (whether I should have eaten anything I wanted is a different matter). It's a pain to check the ingredients of everything and a real downer to have to avoid some restaurants all together because I know they don't serve many things I can eat there. Food allergies make everyday life much more complicated.

My family and frends have been very supportive - Really, you have been simply lovely. It's great to be reminded how many nice people I have in my life. Thanks for all the support!

Well, those are all positive things that have come out of E. having these food allergies. After going grocery shopping and restocking our kitchen with allowed foods, the situation seems pretty manageable. I think we're going to be fine.

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