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> When The Food You Love Hates You
midgemcgrath
post Aug 11 2006, 11:16 AM
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Regarding allergies and what counts as allergies (for example, not all allergies are severe enough to cause anaphalaxis, and diarhea is indeed a common symtom of true allergies), I thought this might be helpful. It's from the Food Allergy and Anaphalaxis Network if you want to go there for more info.

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What is a food allergy?

A food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. Once the immune system decides that a particular food is harmful, it creates specific antibodies to it. The next time the individual eats that food, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, including histamine, in order to protect the body. These chemicals trigger a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system. Scientists estimate that approximately 12 million Americans suffer from true food allergies.

What are the common symptoms of a reaction?

Symptoms range from a tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue and the throat, difficulty breathing, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness to death. Symptoms typically appear within minutes to two hours after the person has eaten the food to which he or she is allergic.

What is the best treatment for food allergy?

Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to avoid a reaction. Reading ingredient labels for all foods is the key to maintaining control over the allergy. If a product doesn't have a label, allergic individuals should not eat that food. If a label contains unfamiliar terms, shoppers must call the manufacturer and ask for a definition or avoid eating that food.
Is there a cure for food allergies?

Currently, there are no medications that cure food allergies. Strict avoidance is the only way to prevent a reaction. Most people outgrow their food allergies, although peanuts, nuts, fish, and shellfish are often considered lifelong allergies. Some research is being done in this area and it looks promising. Click here for research information.

Should I stop eating the food that I think I'm allergic to?

Randomly taking food out of your diet can leave you with an unbalanced diet that can cause other health problems. Additionally, you may become frustrated because you reach a point where you believe that everything you eat is causing a reaction. Seek the help of a doctor before making significant changes in your diet.

What is the best treatment for a food allergy reaction?

Epinephrine, also called "adrenaline," is the medication of choice for controlling a severe reaction. It is available by prescription as a self-injectable device (EpiPen® or Twinject®).

What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance?

Many people think the terms food allergy and food intolerance mean the same thing; however, they do not. A "food intolerance" is an adverse food-induced reaction that does not involve the immune system. Lactose intolerance is one example of a food intolerance. A person with lactose intolerance lacks an enzyme that is needed to digest milk sugar. When the person eats milk products, symptoms such as gas, bloating, and abdominal pain may occur.

A "food allergy" occurs when the immune system reacts to a certain food. The most common form of an immune system reaction occurs when the body creates immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to the food. When these IgE antibodies react with the food, histamine and other chemicals (called "mediators") cause hives, asthma, or other symptoms of an allergic reaction.
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cstars124
post Aug 11 2006, 11:11 AM
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I kinda posted this in the kvetch thread, but my sister used to have a food sensitivity to wheat and she would break out in rashes and have severe stomach issues when she ate anything with wheat in it. My aunt also had the same type of problem when she was younger, so my sister started to eat things that were wheat and gluten free. And she felt SOOO much better. After about a year or so, she was able to start eating foods with wheat in them and occassionaly, she'll get sick, but for the most part, she's ok. So, I can understand what chacha said about treating the sensitivity and getting over it.

Back about two years ago, I read a book called, "The Truth About Beauty" and it was all about eating organically. Which prompted me to start eating better. And I noticed that I when I eliminated all processed foods from my diet that I actually felt better, not only physically but emotionally as well. Lately, I started to feel very slugglish and depressed and very head-achy. And I'm thinking it could be a number of things, but I'm thinking I should look at my diet and start to eliminate some type of foods to see if that could be the cause. Did any of you guys have the same sort of symptoms to make you think you had a food sensitivity?

One of my friends who works at an allergist told me that allergy tests are covered under health insurance (at least in the US) as long as you have a referal from your Dr. If not, the tests are over $300. Faith, maybe you can get a Dr's referal so you can have the tests covered?
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chachaheels
post Aug 11 2006, 10:27 AM
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Most people have food sensitivities rather than allergies. An allergic reaction always involves 4 things: calor, dolor, rubor, and tumor...heat, pain, redness, and swelling, which are the signs of inflammation. If you were truly allergic to food you would go into this reaction, and undergo anaphalaxis. Allergies are often life-threatening.

Most people don't suffer this: they merely have sensitivities to foods which create symptoms like headaches, or diarrhea, or stomach cramping; or many other symptoms of real discomfort. The symptoms are not life-threatening.

Also, and I know you won't like this, but, successful treatment for food sensitivities means that the sensitivity stops. If you go in being sensitive to dairy products, then you should be able to digest dairy with no problem after treatment. You may not want to eat dairy for reasons having to do with preference, but you should be able to eat it without any problems, unless you are not well or still deficient in some form of essential nutrient (or nutrients) that would allow your body to function in full health.

I'm not saying that treatment with things that allow you to ignore you sensitities is successful: taking things like Lact-Ease, for example, so that you can chow down on milk products by taking a pill does nothing to correct your body's inability to digest milk. I am saying that if you are put on a special diet, like an elimination diet--plus a regime where you supplement your diet with the appropriate nutrients a la naturopathic nutrition, then you should be able to eat anything with no problems after your treatment is done. Nutrition therapy is not meant to be life long; it's meant to be corrective and finite, to restore full health to the body so that it can function like a healthy body does.

If you've been on a long term diet where you have to limit your foods to avoid sensitivities, you're not treating the sensitivities; you're just avoiding them, a form of suppression of the symptoms. What ends up happening is that you will become sensitive to more and more foods as you go, because you're not treating the weakness that causes your problem in the first place.

It's a big lie that sensitivities and even allergies can't be treated permanently with dietary changes and other medical alternatives (many of these problems were treated effectively in the past--eg. dairy intolerance--just by making dietary changes to address the problem). Certainly nutrition therapy works, as does classical homeopathy and many other forms of alternative medicines as long as you find someone well qualified and competent, and as long as you stick with it till your health is restored.

Wow, this sounds a bit discouraging, and I apologize if you feel that as it wasn't my intention. I really did mean to encourage you and I think Turbojenn's experience as she describes it is what so many people experience when they finally make supportive changes to their lives for the sake of their health. Good luck with the treatment, and look forward to the changes in diet as a chance to explore other foods rather than a limitation of the foods you've gotten comfortable with.


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May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency.
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turbojenn
post Aug 11 2006, 10:06 AM
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welcome, faith, to better living through better eating!!!

I was alot like you - I've really got food sensitivities rather than a full blown allergy. I never bothered with the tests for this, just cleaned up my diet, and worked with a naturopath to clean my whole life up - meditation, breathing, eating, supplements, excercise...it all changed my life!

So keep at it, keep going, and notice how you start to feel better every week, how your moods change, etc! I used to be really moody, snappy, depressive - not any more!! It really does work! When you feed your body what it needs, it returns with kindness a hundred fold!

It can be overwhelming at first, to make the change, but just take it slowly, and do what you can, and it doesn't really have to be that much more expensive, once you get your routine down. And it helped me to switch things up and not think of it as the things I *can't* eat, but thinking about all the things I *can* enjoy. I turned it into an adventure to learn to cook new things and incorporate the flavors I love into new, cleaner dishes.

You can get tamari instead of regular soy sauce that does not have wheat, spelt bothers some people but not others. I can have it now, but when I was first detoxing, I couldn't handle it. As you first start detoxing your body, you'll still be pretty sensitive if you eat some wheat or dairy because the overall stress level on your body is still so high. Now, 6 years later, I've got a low stress level on my nervous system, and if I have a bagel, its not the end of the world.

And I didn't change my diet for weight loss either - just to be able to enjoy life, but I did lose 60lb the first year, and I never counted a calorie or a carb. Now, its been a few years, and I don't have to be as severely strict on my diet, and I've put about 15lb back on, but I'm fine with that...I feel great, and that's what matters!

Let us know if you have any questions, faith!
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faith
post Aug 11 2006, 09:30 AM
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Ooh I am definitely going to check out that glutin link! I'm just learning about food sensitivities, it's fairly overwhelming. Vietnamese food is a favorite of mine, I will have to find a reliable local place.

I just started seeing a therapist who's a psychologist, nutritionist, homeopath, yoga teacher, etc. My main issues are anxiety/depression and compulsive eating. The eatiing issues make any kind of food regime really hard for me to adhere to. Her theory is that I am "sensitive" to wheat and other things, if not full-blown allergic. She advised a panel of tests but since they are out of my price range right now, and not covered by insurance, I am going slowly.

Anyway, she's put me on a "no white, no wheat" diet. Basically, it's nothing refined (sugar, flour, etc.) and very little dairy (maybe a little cottage cheese or mozzarella but that's it) and no wheat in anything, or gluten. Confusing. I can eat meat but not fish unless it's farm raised (apparently the mercury is linked to anxiety). So stressful! I am going to have to cook a lot more, and go out a lot less, and buy expensive groceries. But if it helps my mood and everything else, I suppose it's worth it (she said begrudgingly!)

It can be a weight-loss diet (I am overweight), but right now I am not doing the weight-loss part, I just need to get used to the food restrictions. I find calorie-laden alternatives and indulge in them, and then once I stop feeling so stressed I will start to phase out these treats.

Reading about glutin has been sort of confusing, I thought I was OK with muslei but it turns out spelt is a kind of wheat (or something). Soy sauce has wheat in it too, which shocked me.

Anyway, as someone who has and does do a lot of pharmacology stuff for mood, I thought I better look to my diet. I have never done much natural/"alternative" medicines but they've been so integral in some many non-Western cultures, I feel like I'd be stupid not to explore it.
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turbojenn
post Aug 11 2006, 08:28 AM
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Eggs are out for me too...eggs and dairy are really and truly the worst of my food allergies. I kind of forget about eggs most of the time, because they're pretty damned easy to avoid. They give me a wicked stomach ache and headache immediately. I just cannot digest the proteins in them.
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wombat
post Aug 11 2006, 08:06 AM
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MMMMMM Vietnamese food. They got it going ON! Healthy peasant fare such as chicken or fish, rice or vermicelli noodles, spicy tofu, and really good quality vegetables like bok choy and broccoli, not a bunch of silly baby corns out of a can -- no breading, and the sauces -- well, they had a french influence for long time. So, usually nice light tasty piquant sauces with no dairy and no msg.

Heart them. I wonder if people think it's racist that I'll say things like "I don't want to live in an all white-people neighborhood" but, decent world chow from the east is a major reason why. They don't mess with that dairy stuff cause traditionally they lived in climates that would make it difficult to keep it fresh.

But what about eggs?

Strictly speaking, eggs are dairy, but have you noticed the same problems with them?

I think of eggs and cheese as safe as long as I stay away from milk -- the worst! and cream and stuff like that. Also, eat DECENT cheese ---

but eggs? Anyone?


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turbojenn
post Aug 9 2006, 02:23 PM
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cheese is completely out for me - just bad bad bad - I like to think of dairy for what it is - its breast milk for baby cows - its not designed even for adult cows to drink, let alone humans! ...This makes me feel a bit better about my choices, but like midge, once you give it up, it hasn't been hard.

midge - what are your fave soy cheeses? I'm always up for trying something new, if its recommended - there's so many bad ones out there, I've kind of given up, but every once in awhile, I'll whip up a spelt pizza, and want some cheese on it - usually I end up going for soya-kaas, which does have casein in it, but it seems fine on the tummy.

I also think that I'm really lucky in living in a big city, where there's fresh ethnic food around every corner that is generally easier for me to eat than any american restaurant, and I've got a bevy of natural food stores that carry the other special pantry staples I need. Last weekend when we had to drive to MI for the weekend, I was jolted into a different reality, where there was no safe food to be ordered in restaurants, and just resorted to icky prepared grocery store salad. Better than nothing, I guess.
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midgemcgrath
post Aug 9 2006, 10:32 AM
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i always knew i was allergic to dairy... it is just BAD! but until about five years ago when i finally got tired of being so sick all the time, i kept eating it. then i had allergy testing, and my allergist made it clear that was the biggest thing to do to help me feel better. i haven't had any dairy in five years, and considering how much better i feel, i don't miss it at all. and i loooooved cheese. it drives me crazy to see all these people who can eat dairy and all they eat is mozza. but the cheese cravings went away after a while, and it's just not worth it to make myself ill! soy cheeses aren't great, but there are a few that are okay, and that's good enough for me! (of course, you have to watch out for the ones that have milk protein in them...seriously, why would someone be eating soy cheese if they could have milk protein?!)

i am also intolerant of yeast, so i am on a yeast free diet, and that has been the next biggest thing that has helped me. i started feeling so much better when i went on this diet, and although it's another sacrifice, it is well worth the difference it made!

other than that, i have some seasonal produce intolerances (potatoes, apples, melons, cabbage, etc. etc.) and am currently on a gluten free diet, which seems to be helping, but i'm going to start trying to go back to eating gluten in about a week... hopefully it will go well, i miss real bread!!!

oh, and i'm also allergic to shellfish. (almost forgot, there are just so many!)

but all in all, it's really not that bad, i am just happy to have figured out what i can't eat, because i've felt a lot better since working with my allergist and getting on the right track!
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chachaheels
post Aug 9 2006, 08:46 AM
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MSG affects everyone, whether they perceive it's effects or not.

It has no real flavour, but it's added to food because it causes swelling in soft tissue such as tastebuds, and some brain tissue (that's the reason why some people experience tremendous headaches from it). It's such a huge part of refined and processed foods that substituting fresh foods often allows people who thought they were allergic to certain edibles to eat them without after-effects. You must know, too, that MSG can be disguised on food packaging as well: it's often called "natural flavour" instead of MSG.

And it does occur naturally in vegetables depending on how they are cooked--most often high temperature frying will bring about MSG in the dish even if it isn't added. It is simply a sodium, so it can be produced naturally given the right conditions. Again, it's best if you're food's freshly prepared, not cooked via frying at high temps, and not prepared with processed ingredients.


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May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency.
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wombat
post Aug 9 2006, 08:43 AM
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After being a candy fiend for my whole life thus far, I find I feel much better without it. I now will occasionally indulge but will often start sneezing. I also notice that my gums swell up. Bad. I can avoid it most of the time.

Sugar and dairy-- oh, ice cream is the worst. Take sugar, dairy, fat, cold, the huge amounts they usually serve -- arrgh. First I get the "high" and then I just want to curl up in a ball and do nothing, and it gives me mucous like I have a cold. so, once or twice in the summer when it's really hot, that's it.

Cheese is pretty bene, no? Easy to digest, satisfying. Hard to eat just a small amount, but it's a protein source, comforting, and doesn't seem to cause those reactions.

All hail Mighty Turbojen!.

And props to sixelacat for starting the thread.



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lunasol
post Aug 9 2006, 08:37 AM
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I'm completely intolerant of MSG too. I think a lot of people are. It makes me sleepy and gives me these fake, but very painful, "hunger pangs." boo. interestingly, a lot of people can't taste it, but the taste is soooooo strong to me.

for a while, i thought i might be allergic to sugar and wheat, but after cutting out processed foods and adding a lot of fruits and veggies into my diet, those problems seem to be clearing up. such a relief!
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sixelacat
post Aug 9 2006, 07:53 AM
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Yay! So glad this thread is proving useful!

Turbojenn, making food "worth it" has been the key to managing my anti-dairy system, too! Not that I have near as many intolerances, but some things are easier to give up than others, and I've never been able to go completely dairy-free. I was a vegetarian for a few years no problem (and from other threads you know I love meat, but oddly it wasn't hard to give it up), and I'm generally fine with olive oil instead of butter and soy instead of milk. But since I "cannot" give up the cheese, I make sure it is quality, quality stuff! Makes such a huge difference!

Good restaurants are generally quite happy to make your food w/o MSG, if you let them know you have an allergy, bunnyb. Also, just general restaurant tip for all, I've found (from cooking in them and frequenting them) that if you are trying a new restaurant and have special dietary needs, they are more accommodating if you first go during a non-busy period like a weeknight. Then if they did your food well, when you go on a busier night they are more likely to remember you and make sure that your food is truly allergen-free. Esp. if you find a favorite server, who'll be more than willing to "shepard" your food in exchange for a good tip!


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bunnyb
post Aug 9 2006, 07:02 AM
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Thanks halycon! I'm not sure whether we have allergists here in the UK but I'll check with doc at next appointment. I've been suffering hives/bites of some sort and put it down to dust mites but I'm plagued with them so need to check it out.


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halcyon
post Aug 9 2006, 02:27 AM
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Bunnyb--I've had the food allergy test panel. It was pretty much a bunch of little lancet pokes on the back (after which I found I wasn't allergic to anything, not even the things I thought I couldn't eat, interestingly). If you've never had allergy testing before, prepare yourself for a bit of itchiness, because the things you're allergic to will swell like little mosquito bites. It's interesting to know for sure! You said your dermatologist has you on a waiting list? What about an allergist? That's who did mine.

I think soy sauce has a little bit of naturally-occuring MSG in it, if I'm not mistaken...so it would make sense to trigger a reaction.
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thisxabovexall
post Aug 8 2006, 07:58 PM
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I'm another with a lactose intolerance. It should be all the more reason to go from vegetarian to vegan... but, I really can't imagine what I would eat. I take tons of Lactaid for cheesy products, but try to avoid pretty much everything else. I use soy milk in my cereal and order my lattes soy as well.

The severity seems to vary. Sometimes if I forget to take a pill with a huge cheese enchilada, I'm fine. Sometimes when I take two pills with ice cream, I still get sick. Taking acidophilus once a day usually works, and would actually be cheaper than popping a pill with every meal and snack, but I've gotten to the point that I've been taking Lactaid for so long, it would feel strange being able to go grab stringe cheese without a pill. Habits are strange that way.
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turbojenn
post Aug 8 2006, 07:35 PM
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I've got intolerances for: dairy, wheat, eggs, sugar and beef.

Here's my resume, in brief:
I had horrendous allergies as a kid, the kind they just sedated you for, 'cause you just can't cope.
I had pills, steriods, and weekly shots for 21 years...didn't do much for me.
Eventually the pills and shots were making me broke, and weren't working.
I had migraines every day. Life was miserable. I pretty much hit bottom.
I got up when I sought out the help of a naturopath who showed me the way...better living through better food.

So here I am, nearly 6 years later, many pounds lighter, brighter, and really, a different person. That's the story, in a nutshell.

Dairy is like the devilish siren, both calling me and repelling me. I avoid her 95% of the time, with small allowances for the occasional croissant.

My feelings are that if I am going to punish my body, it had better be with the good stuff. Nothing cheap, no mass produced confections, only the truly delicious and decadent.

But the other side of the coin is, that if I manage the overall stress level on my nervous system - that means food, work stress, emotional stress....my body is more forgiving of my transgressions.

On the MSG front - just always ask if the food has MSG in it, and ask them to make it without - most restaurants are totally accomodating on that.
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pollystyrene
post Aug 8 2006, 06:34 PM
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So far (((knock on wood))) I don't have any food allergies, but there's a little commercial that plays on The Food Network for this woman's website with gluten-free ideas. Hope it helps someone!!


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You went to school where you were taught to fear and to obey, be cheerful, fit in, or someone might think you're weird.
Life can be perfect. People can be trusted. Someday, I will fall in love; a nice quiet home of my very own.
Free from all the pain. Happy and having fun all the time.
It never happened, did it?
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bunnyb
post Aug 8 2006, 05:36 PM
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I randomly come out in hives and don't know if it's food realted or not.

I also think I'm intolerant to MSG (chinese restaurant syndrome) and have done for years. The boy hopes I'm not as he misses chinese food and I've been fine the last couple of times I've eaten any (I cut it out for a long, long, time) but last week a friend made chinese fajitas (yeah I know it's an oxymoron!) and I reacted. Also, does anyone know whether soy sauce could be linked to MSG intolerance? For a long time I thought that I may have IBS or similar condition but now I'm thinking it's the food.

Has anyone had allergy testing done? I have other allergies and have asked my doc to put me on waiting list to get the patch test done by a dermatologist, it's very specific, I think, so will tell me what foodsa -if any- I'm allergic too although think it's a long waiting list.

Sixelacat, thanks for starting the thread! As a cheese fiend I really feel for you on the cheese.


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sixelacat
post Aug 8 2006, 05:11 PM
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Wheee! My first thread!

This thread is for any/all BUSTies with food allergies and/or intolerances. Personally, I'm lactose intolerant, which of course means I LOVE cheese, in a very Wallace and Grommit way! (There are currently 4 different types of cheeeeeeese sitting in the fridge, and that's pretty low for me). Instead of going on prescription medication, I prefer to think of my digestive system as differently abled. I'm lucky enough that my intolerance is not a full blown allergy, so I can survive with loads of Lactaid and diet modifications. I know that there are many BUSTies who also have differently abled GIs, so please, share your stories, tips, meds, and of course, feel free to vent about last night's culinary transgression!


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