All over the world, people are faced with food intolerances and allergies. Some can’t eat peanuts, others are lactose intolerant. All of these come with their own challenges and hardships, with some being harder than others.
At Bluffton University, one student faces a rather difficult food intolerance. Sophia Volpe, a first-year student, has an oil intolerance–this means that she is not able to eat any foods made with cooking oils.
“I started having symptoms when I was in seventh grade, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my sophomore year of high school,” Volpe said.
Despite the symptoms that started earlier than the diagnosis, Volpe said that it took her, her family and the doctors a long time before anything was diagnosed.
“In the beginning, it was really hard; I had to give up foods that I was used to eating for foods that were new to me,” Volpe said. “When I finally realized that the foods I once loved were making me sick, it was easy to give them up.”
For many families, a new food intolerance could cause problems and could be hard to adjust to. For Volpe’s family, a solution was easily made.
“It wasn’t that hard because we didn’t eat out much to begin with. Rather than having my mom cook something else different for me, I would cook my own food for dinner,” Volpe said. “If we were having grilled chicken, she’d make it for the rest of the family, and I would make mine separate and without oils.”
Like any diagnosis for food intolerances, Volpe had to make adjustments in her life that weren’t easy when it came to sports.
“Since I was a part of multiple sports teams, I always had to be cautious when I went out to eat with the team,” said Volpe. “If we went to a restaurant, I’d have to check the menu and the ingredients for foods I could eat.”
Not everything relating to the food intolerance makes life hard for Volpe though. She often finds pleasure in cooking and enjoys cooking different foods to try out.
“Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables are a staple in my diet,” said Volpe. “I also make a lot of jambalaya, sausage, turkey burgers, salads and oil-free stir fry.”
Even on campus, she is able to find foods at Marbeck that she is able to eat without problem. Anytime the main dinner has vegetables, she is able to fill her plate up.
“I also can eat the grilled chicken they have there, anything at the salad bar, fruits and eggs without oil in them,” Volpe said.
Having this food intolerance has caused Volpe to get creative in what she makes. Over the years, she has learned many different recipes for foods that everyone enjoys with oils.
“I often make ground turkey nachos, where I make everything by hand, even the tortillas. I also make my own baked fries in place of french fries,” Volpe said. “When I really want pizza, I make zucchini pizza; for my desserts, I am able to have vanilla almond milk ice cream.”
Despite her food intolerance, not only has she become quite creative, but she has grown from it, as well.
“Although it was a challenge to figure out what I could and couldn’t eat, I am thankful for the food intolerance because it has made me more creative and happier as a person,” Volpe said.