With every new food option appearing around the corner, it often gets pretty challenging for some of us who don’t just have it as easy to eat anything without digging deeper into its history of food ingredients.
Whether it’s a food allergy, lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity or even a chosen lifestyle like being vegan/vegetarian; what we all share in common is not simply doing with whichever food we find on hand. Growing with them or into them, each scenario has got its own struggles of either having to find substitutes, taking medications or maintaining a healthy lifestyle that won’t make you feel lesser than anyone around you.
As the lactose intolerant I am, it often gets too overwhelming specially knowing that you can’t enjoy most of the food options people usually obsess over; like a cheesy pizza with my favorite show on, a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy night, my mother’s signature béchamel pasta or a hell lot more options (basically anything that has the slightest bit of milk in it). Though, the hardships are never just limited to people with certain conditions. Because, despite our food culture and the numerous Egyptian vegan dishes we have around such as koshari, taameya and mahshi; many vegans and vegetarians -especially those transitioning- still find it challenging to live around all that temptation while feeling accepted and having as many food options as anybody else does.
However, here is the happy news, we learn to get used to it. Whether it is an allergy, an intolerance or a new lifestyle, just as the human instinct we are built with functions, we adapt and we even start making the most out of them. Personally, I started viewing my lactose intolerance as something that is keeping me away from consuming a hell lot of chocolates and gaining weight. On another note, vegans/vegetarians know that they have a purpose and a good cause behind what they are doing and the challenges they face only make them believe in how far they would go to support their ideas and choices.
Luckily, there are just way too many food options out there and the pool just keeps expanding with a lot of alternatives such as lactose-free milk, veggie burgers, gluten free desserts etc. and that can’t work in anyone’s favor but us. Yes we might come off as the high maintenance friends that can’t just eat anywhere sometimes, but in a way that just kind of makes us special, doesn’t it?
Therefore, it is important that we don’t just embrace and accept the fact that we might be different, but also live while always trying to find a way to make the best out of it and maybe even like it.