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When you’re histamine- and lactose-intolerant as well as lacking a somewhat vital organ such as a gallbladder, everything floats your bloat – tomatoes, eggplant, mature cheeses (so most good cheeses), wine, spinach, almond milk, every form of preserved meat (yes, that includes bacon), that little bit of ghee your mum slips into her dahl to make it taste all the better. To add insult to injury, I was mis-diagnosed as FODMAP-intolerant five years ago, which means I was haphazardly avoiding onion and garlic to no personal benefit. The journey to figure out what exactly it is that floats my bloat continues.

With symptoms that range from an enlarged waistline, which makes it pretty much impossible to wear jeans (I haven’t worn them since ’05), nausea and intense cramps to the other side of the spectrum, you’d be forgiven for thinking I follow these intolerances fastidiously.

But of course I don’t. Because eating out is one of my favourite pastimes. Scratch that, it is my favourite pastime. Eating out with friends in particular, which means sharing food is the norm, and no one wants to be stuck at the wrong end of the table where tomatoes and cheese are outlawed. Because it’s embarrassing to check in with waiters on which dishes are everything-friendly and wait for them to run toward the kitchen, only to have them return shortly after saying you can have the naked vermicelli noodles and nothing else.

There are enough blogs out there that tell you where to go for intolerance-friendly food, so I’m not about to add to them. (let’s be honest, I don’t even know where these are! Pray tell if you know.) What I can do is what I do best – frequent the restaurants and cafes in Melbourne that most excite me, flagrantly disregard my intolerances, and give each meal a bloat score out of 5. You find out the best places to go to, I get to justify my disobedience towards my dietician – it’s a win-win situation. If you would like to get in touch, please email me at sonia@rightnow.org.au

I will be rating each meal I have using the scorecard below:

0 Living the dream

1 Had to loosen my belt a notch

2 The belt had to be completely removed

3 I could have balanced a glass of wine on my bloated stomach

4 If I were lying prostrate on my tummy, it would have looked as though I was levitating

5 So full of gas I floated home like a hot air balloon

*Disclaimers: Sometimes I do follow my intolerances, because my bosses kind of expect me to function at work every once in a while.

Which brings me to my next disclaimer: this blog isn’t meant to shame people who strictly follow their intolerances, because I know how good it is to not feel like a walking whoopee cushion after a meal. These people just have more willpower than me. I am in awe of them.

2 thoughts

  1. Hi Sonia, I enjoyed your interview on reReaders . It sparked by thoughts on “cooking and recipes”. I am continually astounded that there is such an effort to distinguish cultural difference in recipes. Given that almost all recipes contain sugar cane regardless of cultural heritage.
    I believe the common thread in ‘human taste’ needs to be understood over and above the separatist understanding. There are two major reasons for my interest in this topic.

    The history of sugar cane is a blight on humanity representing plunder and colonization throughout the ancient and modern world. For example the British left Jamaica with little or no infrastructure and degraded soil.

    Not only is sugar a human rights issue but a human health issue. There is a lot of research on the detrimental health issues related to sugar. eg. diabetes especially in Aboriginal Australians.
    We all need accept that ‘history makes sugar a common thread’ in both a sweet moment’ and ‘a not so sweet outcome’.
    regards Ellen Michel

    Like

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