By Anne Louise Grimm
Why are some people so offended at our lifestyle choices? Acting as though we have criticized them, when it has nothing to do with anyone but ourselves. Many restrictions are health related. Forced on us and not a choice at all.
I can be sure of an unsubscribe or two, when I write of food sensitivities or a smoke allergy. To diesel smoke along highways of the Americas actually longer than to second-hand tobacco smoke. Or perhaps it is because I also deplore those I’ve lost because of air pollution. Unlike many, my asthma is not caused each spring by pollen and if you have that affliction, you have my sympathy.
It was certain foods I tracked down over quite a long time which alerted me to what I dare not eat. Citrus my daughter and I must eat sparingly. One of my sons—like his father who reacted to a small excess of the fruit—dares not eat any amount of red banana. Colors in artificial form as flavors also, make me ill. So do certain forms of preservatives formulated with sodium. My meager selections at potlucks and from restaurant menus are not meant as attack on you.
That luscious salad and dessert were long avoided not because of the animal-product gelatin, but due to the petroleum product colors and flavors. Please don’t fault me that I’ve had a choice of limiting what I eat—or not joining in group outings at all.
Gradually over decades on health advice from documentaries and other news reports I cut back on use of animal products and only since single with approval of my doctor have slowly gone completely vegetarian. No, that has nothing to do with you! Nor am I suffering from deprivation, the change being gradual. People raving over succulent fast food restaurant hamburgers intended to make me suffer, have not succeeded. Not prime rib or filet mignon. But, hamburger? Because it’s cheap, of course. So are many vegetarian selections. The finest can still be much less expensive than meat and meat products.
When I was young and I’d never heard of the term, my aunt was lactose intolerant; since then one of my grandsons—no relation to her—is also. I have known people highly allergic to shellfish—some to crabs and one to oysters. Two women of no relation to each other allergic to pork. Not the preserved products. Any kind of pork. These people were not trying to offend anyone when they were each hauled off to the emergency room for treatment.
My younger brother was allergic to bee stings. Dangerously so, though he successfully worked outside all his life. It was not bee venom that took him, but like our mother, partially the effect of cigarette smoking. My request that you refrain from tobacco smoking upstream, has nothing to do with your life choice, but is self-protecting of mine.
Taking the venom allergy of my brother and a sensitivity noticed in my other of two sons, I would not dare attempt a vegan diet, so dependant are those dishes on soy products. I use carefully selected soy sauce sparingly, knowing of people who have died from peanut allergic reactions—and reading of this happening with soybeans also. Monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed protein and unidentified “natural flavors” I must avoid entirely. Or be sick for days.
I refuse to allow people who eat high cholesterol, heavily salted, or sugared to the extreme foods—or who cannot no matter how hard they try give up tobacco—foist their guilt upon me. Nor is my somewhat excess weight your fault.[Anne Grimm is a professional freelance writer and columnist, currently living in Washington. <firstname.lastname@example.org> http://www.willapabay.org/~anne]