Allergy members - how do you shop for food?

Can you talk me through how you go about food shopping for yourself or a member of your family that has a food allergy. Do you go to the local supermarket or specialist store? If a supermarket, do you buy from the health food aisle or regular aisles? Do you have to check every ingredient label or do products advertise themselves well enough? Do you have to buy specific foods? Is your food bill more expensive as a result? And finally does your household all eat the same meals, or does the person with the food allergy eat separate food?

Last reply: 10th Jun 2017 / 83 replies / Post by looklively



Posted by: Jovid
Posted on: 16th Jul 2016

Jovid says: I have a complicated medical condition called Fructose Malabsorption (FM). Most people know it as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and have a few issues concerning foods to eat. My issue means that I have heaps of trouble digesting not only Fructose but Fructans, Polyols (sugar alcohol - mannitol, xylitol, sorbitol, and Galactans (GOS) which are in everything fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices to some degree. When I go shopping it can be very frustrating and upsetting because there is virtually nothing for me to eat except for meat, which is highly expensive, and dairy. I am also a Type 2 Diabetic so I have to watch my carb intake. I am also allergic to seafood, so that is another food group less that I can eat.
I have to read every label very carefully for hidden ingredients like food enhancers 621, 635 etc. as these are another way of the companies putting MSG into our foods and artificial sweeteners. Just about every company that produces foods for main meals put in garlic and onions and tomatoes which I can't have at all. I know that these are the main flavourings; however, there are other forms of flavourings but who wants to go to the expense of looking into other people's suggestions and maybe coming up with new products. The big companies look for the cheapest way to produce their products to sell at high prices without even considering the people who have allergies or severe medical issues.
People who have no alternatives pay high prices for their foods like Gluten Free products or Lactose Free products. There should be little difference in price between Gluten bread and Gluten Free bread because buying bulk flours of either kind to make homemade bread is about the same price. Gluten Free products are higher in carbs so they are not really acceptable for Diabetics.
I have been researching for the past 2 years to find out if there are any Fructose, Fructans, Polyols and Galactans (GOS) in any sort of cooking ingredients for me to work out a diet and meal plan but without much success because all these so called dieticians and doctors only know one thing - the FODMAP diet. All they talk about is Gluten Free products, a little on Fructose and Lactose Intolerance and nothing on Polyols and Galactans (GOS) and when asked they tell you to follow the FODMAP diet properly. This FODMAP diet was first introduced by Monash University, here in Australia and although I think it is a great discovery for a lot of people, they don't break down the FODMAPs into what group it belongs to. They state that something is low FODMAP and it may be in some part but it is very high in another part. Example - Celery is high in Polyols which is very bad for me and people like me who are Polyol Intolerant but FODMAPs say you can eat no more than 1 stick. If you add that to a meal that also contains potatoes (Fructose), sweet potatoes (Polyols), cabbage (Polyols and Galactans) carrots (Fructose, Fructans and Polyols) peas (Fructose and Fructans) and mushrooms (Polyols) and then followed by some fruit for desert, I might as well go pick my coffin because I would have a severe long reaction to that one meal, even a small serve. Childbirth is easier to go through than the pain that just those foods mentioned would give me and I am not mentioning other fruits and vegetables on their own. Yes spices and herbs can be just as bad even used in very small quantities. The main issue I have is that I bloat and as I can't burp to clear it, it builds up to a point where it starts to squash my lungs and heart. I can't breath or walk. I have been rushed to hospital twice of suspected heart attacks but it was just the excess wind in my gut that was the culprit and once it was cleared, the pain went and I was good.
Yes, I have issues and I know how to cook from scratch and have done so all my life and I know how to adapt recipes to make them taste good but not knowing what is exactly in the foods doesn't help especially when you spend all day cooking only to find out that I can't eat more than 2 mouthfuls due to instant reactions. I used to throw the food out but now, I have a friend who lives alone and she takes my dishes and enjoys home cooked meals at least three times a week.
I have found a butcher who sells bulk quality meat for a lot less than the supermarkets. I can buy a large leg of lamb for less than half the price of the supermarkets. I have a greengrocer who sells or gives me parts of vegetables that I am able to dry and use in my cooking for flavour. I can't eat celery but a little bit of dried celery leaves gives me the flavour without the issues. I am only able to have 1 cup of a specific brand of coffee in the morning, a small cup of a certain brand of Iced coffee in the afternoon and if I'm lucky, I might be able to have a homemade style of hot chocolate in the early evening and that all depends on how my body is tolerating the foods for that day. All other times I can only drink water. Going out for morning tea or any other meal is nigh on impossible for me so I don't socialize much anymore.
My adult children have always called me a "fussy" eater due to my FM until recently when my eldest daughter started getting the same instant reaction and pain to certain foods like I do. My son is a qualified Head Chef and he even has trouble feeding me at times. His wife is Vegetarian so I can't eat her meals so when I visit, he makes 7 children's meals - 6 for his children (all under 10) and 1 for me. It works well.
I hope this is the kind of information that you were looking for. I know that there are many other people in this world with my type of issues and they too are looking for answers that they can't get, like me.
Joan Maguire

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