I’m Gemma!

As a food allergy sufferer, I am always researching ingredients, looking through my cookbooks, and trying to figure out how to substitute ingredients. It is a 24-hour job – it never ends. Feeding myself and my family healthy meals and living a natural lifestyle is my number one priority. Over the years, I’ve learned how to create healthy, delicious meals without compromising my health. In the process, I’ve made everyone around me, family and friends, aware of their food and ingredients intake. I have built a sustainable lifestyle, proving that someone with corn and nuts allergies doesn’t have to feel like life is ending. There are several challenges, true! But we can work around them and live a nourishing life. Let me show you how I create healthy meals without jeopardizing taste and cravings and without spending all day in the kitchen.

plan meals

This is how it started.

It almost feels like a decade now! I have suffered from seasonal allergies for years. I loved Cornflakes cereal! Back in 2012-2013, every time I could eat Honey Bunches of Oats (which used to be my favorite cereal), I would feel a little tickle in my throat. I never thought about anything dangerous. I thought it was just my imagination.

When Spring arrived, all hell broke loose. I had a bad sinus infection that lasted forever. I kept losing my voice and feeling stuffy constantly, and nothing worked. I went to see several doctors, and no one could tell me what was happening to me. I went through several tests, and they all revealed something new. And corn was never revealed in any of the allergy tests. Until my primary care physician said one day, let’s do a blood test. Ding, Dong! CORN — my life changed since.

I thought I could avoid corn, no, no, no! I became a food detective instantly because I was in survival mode. I could not let this thing beat me. I did make several mistakes, but I am learning more and more. We had a voice to inform the government that Corn was killing many of us. But no one will listen because corn is a big business and is not listed as one of the top 5 allergens to avoid. So do you do? You do what’s best for you, cook your own meals.

I went through depression many times – mild food depression. You would, too, if you could no longer eat the food you like. I became paranoid and did not trust anyone. I did not want to share that I was allergic to corn with my whole environment. I got tired of looking at the disbelief expression on people’s faces. I heard the same question over and over wherever I went: What do you eat?

I remember going into a restaurant and asking the patron to suggest a meal that does not contain nuts and corn. He looked at me in disbelief and said,” I am so sorry you live in the United States. Everything here contains corn.” This was, of course, disheartening as usual.

I am thankful that I have a great support system, and tomorrow will be better.  It is a process! Am I going to find a solution? Probably not! I am more careful and learn every day. This is how I manage my health. 

My fears

Many of us do not think about the many ways one person can hurt another until paranoia sets in.

I limit myself to my trusted circle – I only visit very few people. Dealing with corn and nut allergies is manageable. But how do you tell someone you cannot visit them because you are allergic to dust, mice, and roaches? I should consider living in a bubble. 

I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I must consider myself first. I matter the most! That’s my motto. I don’t compromise because there’s nothing wrong with being selfish when in this situation. 

I am my walking pharmacy. I carry my pharmacy bag everywhere I go.

Do you cheat? 

That’s inevitable! Who does not cheat? And, sometimes, I don’t even realize when I do. It is like staring at a slice of chocolate cake when you know you are on a diet. It just keeps calling you. 

Cheating comes with consequences. Medications may not be the answer every time I have an allergy attack. I struggle with keeping my tastebuds and stomach in check. It is hard, but I am managing. 

What happens when you consume nuts or corn? Can’t you just take your medications every day? 

It is not that easy. There is one common silent killer, stress. The combination can be deadly. If you ever encounter someone with allergy problems or an attack, DO NOT PANICK! We get more stressed out when you panic. I know it is hard to do, but please remember.

Why did I choose to write about corn and nut allergies?

Why not? I have been very skeptical and afraid of other people’s perceptions and opinions. But I love learning new things, and why not share my findings with others? I may help another person who is also in the same situation. As my cousin Toto will say, “You can save a life.”

Why are you using the blog to share your health issues?

Relaxation techniques and breathing exercises help me a lot. But how do I keep myself occupied? I use the blog to stay connected with the outside world. I use the blog to share my thoughts, how I cope with my health issues, and recipes that work for me. I hope that someone will benefit from it as well.  


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