“You have lactose, gluten, and high fructose corn syrup intolerance.”
And that is what the apocalypse sounded like to 15-year-old Kate Murphy. Never in my life had I imagined that “the end” would be the words of a stomach doctor. Food intolerances? At my age? I’m sorry, no. What about McDonald’s? Chick-Fil-A? Taco Bell? Pizza? Donuts? Chocolate milk, donuts, and.. ICE CREAM? What am I ever going to be able to eat?
Can you hear my adolescent whining? I can, too. That day was the start of many painful years to come. Everything was unfair from then on. Every day at school, I had the privilege of watching my friends eat their glutenous bread with peanut butter and jelly, and their Papa John’s slices of pizza, and their oreos, cheetos, candy, and granola bars. It would make me so jealous as I silently cried over our leftover meatloaf from the night before.
Bitterly, I struggled to begin each day. I did not even want to go to school. I felt victimized and would indirectly lash out at those I cared for. I remember one day I felt so low that I sat on the pantry floor and just cried. I wailed at the top of my lungs because of how badly I craved loaves and loaves of bread. All I wanted was to be normal. I didn’t want to have people looking at me incredulously, intrigued at my situation as if I was on display at a zoo. “So, what can you eat?” No reply I ever gave was enough – shoot, I was already a different species in their eyes. They had no idea what a day in the life of Kate was, and their disbelieving chuckles made me writhe in anger.
In retrospect, those years were the worst of my life. Countless memories of hours in pain, undefeatable cravings that drove me to the point of mental breakdowns.. I hated every bit of my body so passionately until I was exhausted. Yet, somehow, I managed to survive. I believe I’ve come so much farther than I give myself credit for, but it was because of those horrible years of my life that I learned to be thankful for them.
Being lactose, gluten, and high fructose corn syrup intolerant for the past 9 years has forced me to accept a new way of life: The BEST way of life. It has been 9 years since I have had fast food, dairy, candy, bread, or gluten. Yes. It was hard. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It was a hardship I did not think I would overcome. Fortunately, the knowledge I have gained from my dairy and gluten intolerance has outweighed the cost by tenfold.
Over the last decade, this is what all my research has indicated:
There are only certain people who have the ability to digest gluten and lactose. Those types of people have a mutation in their DNA that has evolved over time, allowing them to break down the gluten and dairy proteins. When I was 15, I didn’t just “become” food (or happiness) intolerant. I always had the sensitivities. The reason my body allowed such harmful foods for so long was because I constantly subjected my gut to them ever since birth. Naturally, my stomach did not know any better. In fact, humans are the only mammals to continue to drink milk after adolescent life. Isn’t that a little weird to you?
The way I eat is a lifestyle. It’s not a hobby or an attempted short-term diet. It is an absolute way of living I MUST adhere to because otherwise, enjoying everyday life is simply not an option. Thereby stems the purpose of this blog. It was not until I changed my attitude regarding my intolerances that I truly became appreciative of the opportunity I have been given. After mastering my cravings and the art of healthy cooking, the first thing I wanted to do was inspire others who may have a similar story. Those who may have struggled just as much as I did. Perhaps in time you might too see your allergies as a gift instead of a curse.
What I will share are the tricks and secrets to living deliciously lactose & gluten-free. I’m not talking about that nasty gluten-free pancake mix you just bought on a whim to see if it was good because.. it probably tasted like cardboard, right? This is not acceptable. I’m talking about meals that will blow your mind. Recipes and brands that will make you wonder, wait.. there really is no dairy OR gluten in these brownies? It has taken me 9 years of trial and error to finally settle into a bodily equilibrium, and it is thanks to this blog that I feel inspired to help others find their own serenity.
For those of you who have allergies/intolerances (or for those who are just willing to eat well), it would be an honor to show you how to turn your “deficiencies” into a physical and mental advantage. My goal is to help you navigate and discern which tried-and-true recipes and remedies taste wonderful and make you feel good. No more emergency runs to the nearest gas station bathroom, no more bloating, no more fatigue, frustration and anger. It’s time to accept the reality and make the best of it.
I hope that through my experience and testimony you will find peace. I guarantee you are not alone in your struggle.