Going vegan to pacify allergies
I am truly grateful to Angela for being so open about the various conditions, reactions, tests and surgeries that she had to endure, before finding the cure, which has made it disappear completely! I am humbled by her willpower, strength, determination and positive outlook.
What allergies do you have?
Lactose Intolerance, which means I can't have dairy.
Immunoglobulin E (IgE)–mediated Gastrointestinal Allergies means that I cannot consume any dairy and meat (except chicken and turkey), onions, bananas, strawberries, fermented foods and olive oil.
How long have you had these allergies?
I've had the problems from the allergies for as long as I can remember. But I had it medically documented in 2014.
How do the allergies effect you in terms of daily living?
I cannot leave the house or travel unless I plan out bathroom stops. Living overseas for more than 7 years and wanting to travel was not only restricted, but caused me a lot of strife when I wanted to hang out with my friends.
If I ate any of the items listed above, I would bleed internally as it (tried to) process through my stomach. This would turn into an acidic runny stool that would inflame until it created haemorrhoids.
I was always anaemic. I would feel nauseous, experience headaches, and get rashes or go numb in areas of my face. My body could not digest any of these items and therefore it would find way for me to get rid of it as quick as possible.
What did you eat before finding out you had these allergies?
Everything I wanted. I never said no to trying foods.
Did your diet change after you discovered that you were allergic to these things?
Yes. It changed drastically.
Slowly, after food testing, biopsies, and surgery, I had to become Vegan. It was a slow process to fully understand the vegan lifestyle, but It was needed and in the end, welcomed.
Did you see any health professionals, other than your GP?
Yes, I have seen a German professional (when we were stationed overseas) who specialised in Gastroenterology / Hepatology - Hematology / Oncology -Endocrinology / Diabetology / Angiology - Infectious Diseases - Internal Intensive Medicine - Rheumatology / Clinical Immunology.
What did the health professionals say?
First I had tested positive for helicobacter pylori, and looking over my records, it came to light that I had it for 7 years! I tested positive in 2007 but the doctors hadn't told me.
After eradicating that, I was tested for Lactose. Then went in for back to back hemorrhoidectomy surgeries with biopsies from my colon and intestines.
We also did several food tests, such as, limiting what I ate for a few days at a time e.g. I would eat only rice for days or just potatoes. After that I would have dual colonoscopy and an endoscopy and they would test my urine and bowel movements.
It was a gruelling process, but one that was needed. I was tired of living with pain and seclusion.
After months of probes, needles, sonograms, CAT scans, and drinking/eating certain things; the doctor formed 2 options. Either go Vegan or live in a clinic for a few months while they do more tests to figure out exactly how many more foods I am allergic to. I chose to go Vegan and figure out myself which more items resulted in bigger reactions.
I am a parent and could not up and leave for a while. I do plan on seeing my GP soon to ask for the new blood allergy test.
What made you decide to shift to a vegan diet?
Vegans have no meat and no dairy, which were two of my biggest allergies/Intolerance.
What did you notice as a result of eating vegan?
No more pain! No more bleeding! No more haemorrhoids! I am still finding small items that do bother me, but it's nowhere near the amount that it used to! I have to make sure that I watch out for casein which is hidden in some items.
How quickly did you notice these changes?
It was immediate.
Would you consider going back to how you used to eat?
No, never again! I have slip ups like anyone who was changing a lifestyle would, but I would never would I go back.
I love coming up with new vegan recipes that suit me.
It's fun. I know it won't hurt me, and I am able to do much more with my family and friends.
Have your family and friends been supportive?
I have found that I have the greatest support system ever! My friends were the first ones to encourage me to seek help; before and after the tests and surgeries. They bought me so many vegan cookbooks and found me vegan items locally and online. I can not express how amazing my girlfriends were and are. They were amazing (non-vegans) who embraced me and helped me go vegan, which is what I needed to do, to achieve a better quality of life. We even had brunches geared around what I could eat. I love their support. My daughters and husband are not vegan but they will eat what I make. My youngest is showing signs of having similar issues, so she usually asks if what's been made is Vegan or not. Naturally, she wants to avoid her stomach hurting.
It's been less than one year. We have so much to learn, and we also, have so much to teach. I'm thrilled with the Vegan Life.
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