By Ingrid Ward, West Auckland, New Zealand
My body began speaking to me very loudly from an early age with symptoms that included a blocked or runny nose, lots of itching in various parts of my body, and digestive disturbances like diarrhoea and bloating. But I can hardly ever remember these reactions or symptoms being put down to food, except for the hives being blamed on a certain variety of apples and the swelling of my lips and mouth on eating crayfish: when my body spoke that time it was listened to immediately, as the reaction was severe. That was the last time crayfish was eaten, as to eat it again may have had a rather scary outcome.
In the 1950’s when I was growing up, food intolerances or allergies weren’t spoken or written about very often, so there was very little information to help people know about the intricacies of their bodies, and we certainly didn’t get taught much about the body at school. You just ate the food that you were presented with and anything that the body tried to tell you by way of subtle (or not so subtle) messages was likely to be overridden, as most then didn’t understand that food could be the issue behind many of the body’s ills.
So on I went eating what I was given without question and not surprisingly the suffering, along with the messages from my body, continued. I can remember suspecting that milk was the culprit behind the runny nose and excess mucous issues, but milk, in this little country of 10,000 dairy farms, was considered to be liquid gold and essential for the strength of our bones, and to say you didn’t want to drink it was almost sacrilege. Those bottles of warm milk that waited for us at school every day were my worst nightmare with my body speaking so loudly after each one, not just with nose issues, but with headaches as well. With the continual nose issues and sore throats, my tonsils finally gave up and at age eight they were removed, but I continued to drink milk and so my body kept talking. I have a feeling that I slowly began to accept that everything I was going through was actually normal, so I stopped talking about it. Continue reading “My Body Spoke, but I didn’t Listen… for a very Long Time”