My Food Journey
Life As An Involuntary-Vegan
Hi there! My name is Gabriella Resnick; I'm an intern here at Culinary Kids Academy.
My journey with food began about four years ago. I, a nervous 14-year-old girl, was just trying to become accustomed to the scary land of high school. I joined clubs, made friends, and joined the swim team. By around November, I was starting to get the hang of it. High school wasn’t so bad after all.
However, towards the end of November I began getting sick whenever I consumed anything. Peppers, crackers, bread, milk, you name it. This was extremely bizarre, as up until this point in time I could digest everything.
It was at this point, when my intense stomach cramps inhibited my learning in class and overall positive mental state, that I sought medical help.
I first went to UCLA. After blood tests and multiple allergy tests, I was told that my symptoms did not match with a single diagnosis. According to doctors, I could eat anything I wanted.
Dissatisfied with this diagnosis, or lack thereof, I went to Children’s Hospital. It was there that I was given three different medications and a strict, FODMAP, diet to follow. For those of you who have not heard of the FODMAP diet, it is a diet that eliminates fodmaps, short chain carbohydrates that have trouble being absorbed by the small intestine. This diet is generally given to people with irritable bowel syndrome, my diagnosis. Slightly more satisfied with this diagnosis, I began taking the prescribed medications and started on the diet.
While helping ease my stomach pain, the medication was a very surface level solution to a deeper problem. Although I used to take them at night, I woke up extremely tired in the morning and was often unable to wake up early enough to go to class. When I did make it to class, I was unable to retain information. My grades began to suffer, as did my morale.
I became very unhappy, sulking though each day until bedtime. This became a habit, until one day I woke up and said enough.
This was my body and my life. No doctor could and still to this day cannot tell me what is wrong with me. I decided that it was up to me to figure it out.
I stopped taking all the medication and through trial and error added foods back into my diet. At the end of freshman year, I was no longer eating gluten, dairy, all meat, and eggs.
This was my normal until about November of 2017. I began getting sick whenever I ate fish. This again took a knock at my mental well-being. However, I refused to let myself go down that path of unhappiness again.
I started a blog, www.involuntaryvegan.com, in which I seek to give advice to others going through similar issues. If anything, these intolerances have shown me a whole new community. They have brought me to discover a passion for cooking and wellness. They brought me to Culinary Kids Academy.
My journey with food is far from over. That said, I know that I am not alone in this. This health and wellness journey is not one that I can do alone, and I am dedicated to helping as many people as I can along the way.
**Gabriella Resnick is an eighteen year old senior at de Toledo High School who has been a vegan "not by choice" since 2015. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.