This blog post is different from most.

It's not about going to food festivals, traveling around and discovering a country's cuisine, nor is it about shopping around the markets and showing beautiful pictures of the local produce and market vendors.  No, this is a personal story about my relationship with food.

I've been fascinated with food for many years and while I consider myself a "foodie," the term itself makes twitch a bit.  Mainly because the term has been so widespread and used for anyone who likes to eat.  As with most general terms, you can break it down even further and categorize it.  It forced me to think more in-depth of where I belonged, of which sub-sector I fit in best.

Sure, I love to eat and I remember the days of beating out a boy in high school in a pizza-eating contest well over 10 years ago, or how it's just impossible for me to say "no" to an offer for food, but times have change and I have evolved.  My relationship with food is not about quantity, it's about quality.

In this day and age, it's easy to get tempted by all the products that line the shelves.  There's no denying that it makes eating (sometimes) easier, convenient and that some of the foods actually do taste good.  But what scares me is wondering what all those preservatives are doing to our health, in the short-term and more so, in the long-term.  Remember that Breyer's ice-cream commercial back in the day?

Our diet, the way in which we eat (not to be mistaken for weight-loss), is an integral part of our health.  For the most part, I had always opted for the more healthy options.  If I am to put a label on what type of foodie I am, it would be a health-conscious foodie.  Fresh and local ingredients are my preferences and I'll do my best to keep it that way.  But even when you're eating healthy, it doesn't always agree with your health.

My lifestyle has, more or less, done a 180 here in Australia (for those who don't know what a 180 is, it means a complete change) but my eating habits have not shifted as much.  As my time here winds down and I prepare to move back to the States, I took a critical look and realized that my health had suffered, even when I was eating healthy.  My energy levels have been low and while all the stresses and changes that life throws at you can be a part of it, what you intake will also affect it.

By working with a naturopath, a form of alternative medicine, we looked at how much food can affect one's health.  The naturopath highly recommended that I take what's called a "food sensitivity test."  While a food allergy is more extreme and has a much quicker reaction time and more extreme reaction, a food sensitivity on the other hand is slower and a less noticeable reaction.

I fought in my head.  I didn't want to take it because if I had become sensitive to something, I wouldn't know how to deal because I love food so much and omitting something I currently eat would be tough.  Whether being vegan has become trendy or just more apparent, I could never do it.

I fought some more in my head and finally, after much resistance, decided to take the test.  If it's my health in hand, it's better to know earlier than later.  In addition, a food elimination method would take too long and would require attention I don't have at the moment.  I would just have to repeat to myself and remember that it was just to be used as a guide and that it's a sensitivity and not an allergy.

After a bit of anticipation and some days later, results have come in:

I told you there weren't going to be any pretty pictures..
Definitely not what I wanted to see.  Dairy products (including my beloved cheese!), nuts (really?!?), beef (luckily, I don't eat much of it anyhow), wheat (oh my bread!), and chocolate ranked high on the list.  It's heartbreaking really, but what gets me by is that it's temporary.  After about 2 months, I'll be able to slowly reintroduce these foods and see how I react.  

Eating healthy is not only key but also eating the way that your body needs to is also important.  We're all built differently, inside and out, and one size doesn't fit all.  Though we may see a lot of commonalities cross over, we really are unique and our diets need to be reflective of that.  On the bright side of things, it'll give me the opportunity to research and play with different ingredients that I may not have yet tried to create more spectacular meals in my life and find more good eats around this world.