It was summer of 2016 when I started having problems eating the same foods I used to eat all the time. One night after eating dinner, I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, when a started to get intense stomach pains. It was my first time experiencing this and was quite painful that I started crying. Then I rushed to the bathroom and felt all better afterwards; no more pains. My first thought was that I had some weird illness that was affecting my insides. Later on, I realized that it was a food problem when a started to have the same problem after other foods I ate. I remember eating some pancakes and starting to feel full instantly. I was bloated and full like I couldn’t eat the pancakes anymore, but I was still hungry and wanted more food. I decided to stop eating and once I got home, I experienced the same pain I had before. That’s when I realized there was a problem.
My mom and I started analyzing the food I ate and coming up with a common ingredient in the food that was bothering me. It all first started with fries, then with pancakes. We looked at common ingredients that are in fries as well as pancakes. We decided that canola oil was the problem. Fries are cooked in canola oil and most pancake mixes have canola oil in them as well as most restaurants using canola oil to cook the pancakes so they don’t stick to the pan.
Once we discovered that canola oil was the problem, I started avoiding foods with canola oil in them and/or foods that are cooked in canola oil. I didn’t have any problems for a couple months until I ate chocolate. When I had a problem with chocolate, I was really confused; there is no canola oil in chocolate. After chocolate, I also started having problems with peanut butter, which also doesn’t have canola oil in it.
I had to do some research to find out common ingredients that is in peanut butter that is also in chocolate as well as canola oil. I discovered that rapeseed is the problem. Rapeseed oil and canola oil are the same thing; canola oil is made from the rapeseed plant. Canadians changed the name to canola oil for marketing reasons because who would buy an oil with the word ‘rape’ in it? Rapeseed oil is listed in peanut butter; therefore, I can’t eat peanut butter. Rapeseed is also in soy lecithin and soy lecithin is in chocolate. I later found out that soy lecithin is also in processed breads, although, not in homemade breads.
As I started to have more problems, I decided to see an allergist. Since it’s not really an allergy and canola oil isn’t one of the eight common food allergies, there wasn’t any test I could take where I could find out exactly what the problem was. I was pretty much told that if it was bothering me, then don’t eat it. The allergist said that the best way to describe it would be an intolerance or sensitivity, or to just tell people that I can’t eat it because it makes me sick. When I don’t eat anything with rapeseed in it, I don’t have a problem, so I decided to stop consuming products with rapeseed in them.
After a lot of research, speaking to an allergist, and discovering what foods bother me, I had to change my diet completely. I can no longer eat fried and unhealthy foods. I’ve been introduced into the organic world, since a lot of organic foods don’t have canola oil; most of them use soybean or sunflower oil. I discovered some organic chocolates I can eat which use either soybean or sunflower lecithin. As a chocoholic, I was very excited.
I now have to be very careful with what I eat and I have to look at the ingredients for every food product that I buy. I discovered that there are a lot of organic and natural foods that taste just as good, if not better, than processed foods. I’ve learned to not lose hope as I am still discovering new foods I can eat and learning a lot about food. When you have a food sensitivity, allergy, or intolerance, and have a very limited option of foods you can eat, you get so excited when you find something you can eat. Till this day, I’m learning a lot about food problems and still get very excited when I discover a new product that I can eat that is really delicious.