It feels like a long, long journey back to health when you have food allergies or Celiac’s Disease. Lucky me: I have both.

It doesn’t seem fair.

And it’s hard.

Customers come into the restaurant and tell me their stories. We compare food allergy lists. I smile and give them hope. They are able to eat allergy-free dishes at Nourish they haven’t been able to safely eat in years.

Many say, “Thank you so much for opening!” or “This is the only place I feel safe to eat!”

That makes me happy – thrilled! Because I get it. I live it. Every freaking day. I live the food allergy life, personally and professionally.

Now, what most of our customers don’t know is what happens when I’m not in the safe walls of Nourish.

I’ve eaten out and been glutened. I’ve been sick for days because I ate something I shouldn’t have, but don’t know what it was or where it happened. I’ve swelled so badly from something my body didn’t like that I looked pregnant.

I’ve had my share of meltdowns when it seemed like everything I enjoyed eating was being taken away from me and when it just felt it wasn’t going to get better.

I had to learn to be patient and in some cases I had to adjust my expectations.

Associating the food I wasn’t able to eat with the pain I had suffered for so many years was helpful in readjusting my feelings towards the foods that were bad for me. It helped me feel better about the loss of the food so it no longer felt like something was being taken away from me. Rather, I was gaining health and feeling good!

After looking back at the number of changes that had happened for me in the process of eliminating toxic foods for my body, rotating my foods, and adding the appropriate supplements for me I was shocked at how many things got increasingly better. Things I didn’t even realize were wrong!

After several weeks, I noticed a lot of new hair growth on my head. I hadn’t even realized I was losing hair! My migraines stopped almost completely and the terrible random bloating – the kind of boating that made me look pregnant – had virtually ended. My menstrual cycle worked its way into a regular 28-30 day cycle and I no longer suffered from the near debilitating cramping, under arm lymph node pain, and sharp lower back pain.

My skin was clear and glowing. The horrible, painful hormonal cystic acne completely disappeared. Dry skin was a thing of the past and my nails began growing strong and healthy. The changes were amazing, though it took several months to see some of the results. Some things got better almost immediately. I’m expecting to see even more results as time continues.

That being said, I made a classic mistake during my recovery. I fell into a pattern of eating certain foods too frequently. In fact, I got into a pattern where I was eating peanut butter and apples every night and began substituting buckwheat flour into many items I ate several times a week.

I did it because opening a jar of peanut butter and grabbing an apple, or opening my freezer and getting a delicious muffin or waffle I had pre-made with buckwheat flour was way easier than cooking all the time. And after working 15 hours at the restaurant making sure our customers got to eat safe meals, I didn’t always feel like bothering to cook for myself.

Ironic, huh?

Well, even though I knew better, I over did it with buckwheat and peanuts and had to remove them from my list of safe foods.

On a positive note, because of the diligence I had with my gut repair program, I was able to add many foods back into my diet, and dramatically reduced my reactions to foods I couldn’t. In fact, things went so well that there was nothing on my food allergy test that was higher than a moderate reaction. Success!

So, I confess: There are days when I want to give up and just eat a pizza – a gluten-filled, dairy-topped, would make me sick for days. But, I’ve come so far. I feel better than I have in years, and am seeing progress every day.

You owe it to yourself to feel healthy, too. And you deserve to feel good.

So, do what you have to get there. And if you need a shoulder to cry on, mine is allergy-free!