Nope, I'm not jetting off to Singapore for any funny business, it's just the name of a drink somebody tried to sell me tonight.
At the moment I'm in the wild and crazy world that is Singapore. It's hustling, bustling and moves at a frenetic pace compared to Australia. The people are fantastic though and it has to be the safest place I've ever been (which was lucky when I was lost and walking the streets at 11:30pm one night!). The main thing I've gotten out of this trip, aside from a heap of learning on the work side, has been how hard it is to do the BTD or have food allergies in Singapore, especially if you're an ex-pat. I also got to meet up with some of the Singapore BTDers (more about that in a later blog).
I've been really lucky, the hotel I've been staying at was informed of my allergies/intolerances before I came and they have done a fantastic job of providing safe food. Outside of the hotel, it's a different story. There's a world full of wheat, corn, soy, eggs (personal allergy that's pretty serious) and dairy out there just waiting to trip you up. I had been dealing with it by sticking to the hotel food and tinned tuna, however there's a limit to how much carrot and broccoli a girl can eat and I was craving variety.
So, last Sunday I decided that I couldn't stomache another day of tinned tuna for lunches and braved a new frontier - eating at a restaurant. Now, I didn't jump into the deep end and go to a hawker market, instead I chose an American style seafood restaurant and chose something very plain - grilled fish and salad. I did the responsible thing and asked about wheat, flour, if it was rolled in anything and also told them no butter, milk, etc. I should have realised something was wrong when they brought me out a piece of garlic bread (which I didn't eat), but I thought they've made one mistake, but that's no need to write them off.
Then the main came, with three breaded calamari rings. Well, I wasn't going to be deterred, I cut off about an inch of fish that I thought would make it safe. What I hadn't counted on was the fish being covered in flour before it was grilled. I could tell at the first bite and for the first time in about five years, I got glutened. Five days later, trust me, I'm still paying the price.
So, what's the lesson out of this experience?
From my perspective, planning is the key. I think, in hindsight, a great idea would have been to print out a list of foods that I need to avoid in Malay or Chinese and have that ready to hand over. I don't know how to communicate in their language and it's a little wrong to expect them to have detailed understanding in a second language.
The other thing is, that if you get the chance, definitely come to Singapore. It's fantastic. There's some amazing history and you seriously have to catch their MRT, it's an amazing form of public transport.
I wanted to use my first blog as a bit of an introduction. As you can see from my bio, I’m a married 26 year old who’s been on the BTD a while. I have a heap of allergies (thanks to an inherited hypersensitive system) and had numerous antibiotics as a child. To expand, and let you know a little bit more, I found the BTD through a GP. It seems like ages ago now, but it was during a particularly bad health period when I was passing out on a regular basis, having sore joints and becoming increasingly hyper-reactive to everything from perfumes to foods to everyday cleaners. So, in an effort to regain a normal life, I went into the BTD full force.
The changes started to happen right away. Coming off soy cleared up my skin, my joints started to stop aching and my blood pressure normalized. Now, I’m not going to say that since then everything has been great, but from a food perspective it’s been a lot easier. Once you start really focusing on the beneficials and limit the avoids (as well as any specific allergens that you have), you start to feel a lot better.
The thing is though, that food is just one part of the story, a lot of things depend on other factors as well. For me, stress is a big trigger. I developed CFS and a mystery virus in 2004, no matter how well I adhered to the diet, I had reached a low point again. I had an inflamed liver and my system was completely out of balance, a reflection of my life at that time when I’d just moved across the country and felt completely out of control. My body responded the only way it knew how, by seeing everything as a threat. That meant new allergies (goodbye tomatoes) and new challenges.
So, this time, we took a step back and looked at everything. From our routines at home to when we were eating to the cleaners and environmental factors that I was exposed to. This started to help and I have to admit, that although BTD is a big part of the picture, sometimes it's those other triggers that need to be investigated as well. I'm looking forward to sharing with you some of the issues that I've faced, some O-nonnie recipes and some tips/hints on researching issues that you're interested in.
On a lighter note, I work full-time (as a Business Analyst) and study Law part-time. Thus if you ever want someone to commiserate with about trying to do both, I’m a willing listener (and some time procrastinator!). Feel free to e-mail me about anything and I'll aim to get back to you ASAP.
Thanks for taking the time to read,
I'm a newly married 26 year old with a 36 year old husband plus two Alaskan Malamutes. We live in Perth, Western Australia having just moved from Brisbane in Queensland. I've been on the BTD for the past few years and am currently trying to convert the other member of our household to a healthier way of life.
I'm an O positive, nonnie, Gatherer.
The BTD has made a big difference to my life and I"m looking forward to sharing my experiences with others.