I think it’s about time I talk to you about my health. I’ve alluded to my sensitive tummy issues here and there and you may notice that my recipes are always gluten free and vegan. Though I’m not vegan–I’ll eat eggs, honey, & drink bone broth every once and a while and I take daily fish oil supplements–I naturally gravitate towards a diet filled with fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, nuts & seeds. I’m also lactose-intolerant, so that’s that. I haven’t eaten meat or fish in seven years as a personal choice due to animal cruelty and to lessen my environmental impact on the world.
My entire life I’ve had eczema. Really bad. As in I remember coming home from preschool one day with bloody, oozy rug-burned hands because the eczema on my hands was so itchy I was started rubbing them on the rug. My mom would take me to the pediatrician and the doctor would write me a prescription for heavy duty steroid-laden ointments. The doctor would tell me, “Don’t use the ointment for more than two consecutive weeks.” Otherwise the steroids in the ointment would thin my skin and my body would develop an immunity to the prescription. The ointment would usually work its magic, but my eczema always found its way back: on my legs, behind my knees, on my arms, behind my ears, on my neck, on my hands, inside the crooks of my elbows… My mom would take me back to the pediatrician and the doctor would prescribe another ointment for me to use. It was an endless cycle.
Every now and then, well-meaning friends would cringe at my sore, rashy skin and ask me if I had ever tried a gluten-free diet. I scoffed at the idea. Maybe it was because being gluten-free wasn’t much of a ‘thing’ at the time or maybe it just wasn’t on my radar but I ate anything and everything and I felt fine… or at least so I thought. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had issues with bloating. When I was super young (around 4 years old), I thought that was just the way my body digested food. I thought my stomach was naturally shaped like the underside of a bowl. It made me self-conscious, yes, but that was life and I sure loved food. My mom fed me wholesome food, like chicken and bread and rice and vegetables and fruit and milk. I loved it all. I saw how picky my peers were with eating. I saw how they would take three bites of a sandwich and be “full.” I thought that maybe my problem was I loved food too much; maybe I was a glutton and my body was punishing me for eating so much.