Food allergies and intolerances: empowered or imprisoned?

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Food allergies and intolerances: empowered or imprisoned?

When I was young I could not eat gluten or dairy because it caused various allergic reactions, mood and behavioural disorders such as a reddening of my face, digestive issues from the dairy, inability to sleep and moodiness due to being internally disturbed.

Unfortunately, 20 years ago gluten free food was not as readily available as it is now. So, over time I learned how to override and ‘grow out of’ being gluten and dairy intolerant.

But what if we don’t ‘grow out of’ being intolerant – what if we just get better at masking the reactions?

Sometimes we may not register any obvious reaction or relate other illnesses in the body to our food choices, but in the case of no reaction have we simply developed a way of life that ignores the messages from our body? Does this way of life teach others to ignore this wisdom too… just as we have been taught?

In a world where what passes through our headspace is considered king – without ever questioning what is fuelling these thoughts – are we taught to override the clear bodily reactions and intolerances to certain foods so that we can eat ‘normally’? Are we so far removed from these messages that we don’t relate what we put into our bodies to our health?

Those with a food allergy/intolerance, or who simply choose to avoid certain foods, can be faced with reactions or expectations from others or themselves to accept beliefs of pity, deprivation and victimisation and become a prisoner within their own bodies, unable to eat ‘normally’. The idea of a person living a life without chocolate or cheese can spark conversations from those who still eat the avoided or renounced food as a drama of ‘life being over’ or a judgment that the person abstaining simply isn’t living a full life. Likewise from the one abstaining there can be a judgment onto those who do continue to eat the certain foods that they have deemed as being ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ – a form of arrogance no different to those holding different religious beliefs.

So is there more to this than we currently experience? We can try to eat ‘normally’, overriding the body’s messages that certain foods don’t agree with us in order to fit in, we can stick to our guns so to speak and dismiss another’s comments and go along believing that we are right and they are wrong… OR we can learn to accept and understand what our bodies are communicating with us, learn to appreciate what listening to our bodies brings as a result in our increased health and wellbeing and understand that every body is different and everyone has something to learn from their current diet. That our diet is based on our choices that we are free to make and that how much we honour or not these messages from our bodies are all choices each of us are making based on our relationship with evolution.

Removing these foods can expose what we have used them for – to bury feelings and levels of awareness we have about ourselves, the world and people around us. If the feeling the food was burying goes unaddressed then another behaviour comes in the absence of this food. A great example of this is someone who stops smoking but starts to eat more.

Is it possible that these undealt-with feelings create a disturbance in our bodies, a disturbance we have learnt from young can be momentarily quelled by food? Could the body’s allergies and intolerances to certain foods be a message that says that momentarily squashing our feelings doesn’t work and that the moment of relief comes with longer lasting negative affects?

The cliché of breaking up with a partner and reaching for ice cream stands as a classic picture of the dulling down of our feelings. Is it possible that an allergy or intolerance is telling us that there may be another way to address life? That burying our sadness in ice cream is not the answer.

By overriding our bodies’ messages and continuing to accept and tolerate a poor quality of life by eating foods we are intolerant or allergic to in order to avoid at all costs the hurts we carry is in effect not addressing anything; we continue to carry our hurts but we are unaware due to the disturbance the ill-tolerated foods are creating in the body –– a body that naturally does not want to hold onto hurts but live in harmony.

Could eating ‘normally’ be saying Yes to a life of irresponsibility by not dealing with what is behind our choices, supporting us to avoid expanding our awareness?

This was the case for me, and still is. When an uncomfortable feeling or tension in my body arises and I choose to avoid it, or the responsibility arises that comes with a rediscovered depth of awareness, my food choices become harmful and leave me with a lasting feeling of pain, discomfort, raciness or hardness in my body. This pain is rooted in the act of burying the issue and/or rejecting what I know to be true: eating in that tense moment leaves the hurt to remain underneath and undealt with, thus leaving me in the sadness of not claiming the next level of my divinity that has always been there, joyfully awaiting my return.

Our feelings and awareness of life need not be avoided or rejected and life becomes so much simpler when we drop the struggle and resistance.

Yes, life can hurt and be painful to experience but that pain comes from our disconnection to all the love that we are in essence. Instead we can stop, pause and feel our bodies; being aware of our fingers and toes, the clothes on our skin and how gentle our breath can be at the tip of the nose. When we build this connection to our bodies we regain access to our essence, the part within us that does not cause any struggle or pain, the part of us that understands the outplay of life and is not affected by it. Allergies and intolerances are not a curse but simply a way the body is showing us what does and what doesn’t work in supporting our connection with and awareness of who we truly are.

When we start to honor that connection, when we start to seek healing and support, we can begin to accept/love our senses and sensitivities. The foods and behaviours we have used to dull our awareness start to fall away naturally without any drive or push.

By having a body that shows us how certain foods are not required and in their absence we can achieve greater levels of health, we have our best guide when in comes to understanding life: our body knows what works and what doesn’t and by honouring its intelligence we come to find that food allergies and intolerances are not something we are a victim of, but a very clear message of what doesn’t work to support us in life.

Filed under

Self-empowermentGluten freeDairy freeHealthy dietCoeliacCeliac

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    By Leigh Matson

    A lover of exploring everyday life and what there is to be discovered each day. Waitress, cook, writer and so much more.

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    Photography: Steve Matson, Photographer