Have you ever been knocked out by a kiwi? No, not the bird or a zealous New Zealander. I mean the fruit. The strangely fuzzy, rather benign-looking fruit that is surprisingly beautiful on the inside. Well, I have. It happened one night when I ate some fruit salad while having a hefeweizen beer. Within minutes, I found myself becoming sleepy (I hadn’t been up to that point). I excused myself to go lie down for a minute, only to wake up 14 hours later wondering what had happened to me.
*Photo courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt.
I never really figured out what, but I blamed it on the kiwi and banned them from my life forever. Little did I know that it was a sign of more strange food happenings to come. You can read about them here.
Yes, I have food allergies and sensitivities. You want to know what they are? Well, gluten and dairy (whey most significantly). But, also baker’s and brewer’s yeast, clams, and a slew of fruits and veggies that have a mild enough effect on me that I still eat them periodically.
These foods wreaked havoc on my life long before I knew the cause. Imagine having your hair fall out, your weight rise and drop like a roller coaster, your skin break out, turn red, get bumpy, etc., and your energy levels get so low you wonder why life is so darned hard. Maybe you don’t need to imagine these things happening. Maybe they have happened to you.
In my case, I thought I had thyroid problems – something I’d seen in family members. After numerous tests and doctors told me I was fine and just needed to be less stressed, I realized that I needed to find answers another way. Through pure happenstance, I wound up reading a book called Ultra-metabolism by Mark Hyman. He outlined symptoms just like mine and said that if more sensitive thyroid tests (which I had done) did not show a problem (which they didn’t), then food could be the cause. I immediately started the 4-week elimination diet he outlined and documented what I ate and how it made me feel to see if food was, in fact, the problem.
It was. And follow-up blood tests confirmed what I learned, as well as other sensitivities I had no idea about.
I stopped eating these things completely and felt great – for a while. Until I realized how important these foods had really been to my way of life. As a result of my new found food constraints, my husband and I cooked separately and shopped for different foods, eating out and with friends and family was a serious challenge, and there were so many new ingredients to learn about that I started to struggle.
Fortunately, in the several years since, both my husband and I have learned our way around a kitchen of new and harmonized ingredients (no more cooking separately), found support from friends and family, identified resources to help me manage my food constraints efficiently (time and budget-wise). And, I have fallen in love with cooking again – ethnic, down-home, and outdoor cooking, in particular – as well as the idea of helping others figure out how they can do the same. I have also gone back to my roots (I grew up in a farming community) and developed an appreciation for real food, particularly whole foods that are naturally free of the allergens I can’t eat – like gluten, dairy, and yeast – and the processed ingredients I choose not to eat, and which support my health and fitness goals. Read my realizations here.
I started the Maoomba blog in 2009 as a way to explore food and health. As my knowledge and experience grew, my diet evolved into a natural or ancestral way of eating – including more of the traditional foods our grandparents ate and the types of foods eaten by ancient peoples – to improve health, manage food allergies or chronic disease, and/or support fitness goals.
Today, I add in my love of travel, the outdoors, exploration and learning. Because, what is food if not another experience that requires challenging the sense and exploring one’s boundaries in the pursuit of good taste?!
And, if you want to make sure you get real food recipes, awesome photos, and a preview of my blog posts before everyone else, sign up for my monthly digest here.
Looking forward to connecting with you!
PS – Check out the Maoomba FAQ here!