Dear Restaurants I'm Not Trying To Be Annoying, I Just Have Bad Allergies

Dear Restaurants I'm Not Trying To Be Annoying, I Just Have Bad Allergies

I have to stop and think before I eat anything, because my next reaction could be deadly.

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I love trying new foods and exploring different cultures so it was no shock that when I studied abroad in Rome, Italy that I was going to taste everything. During the second week of my trip, while visiting the Coliseum with my class, I had a reaction. I remember my stomach being in knots, wanting to lie down, and then being hurried into an ambulance. I spent a long five hours at the hospital where I was told I just had food poisoning. Another reaction at my cousin's house in Italy, left me with the thought that maybe something else was happening with my body.

Blood tests, a couple more severe reactions later, and an official scratch test finally gave me closure. I'm allergic to shellfish, fish, and seafood. My doctor told me my test showed that the next time I have an allergic reaction it could be life-threatening. I had lived 20 years of my life, allergy-free, and not at all worried about the ingredients in the meals I ate or which factories the chips I snacked came from. I had the pleasure of eating without even thought, but now, eating has become more of a task than an enjoyment.

Every restaurant, every meal, every snack I want to eat, I first have to go through a checklist. I have to see if they serve any kind of seafood. I have to ask if they cook everything on the same grill or if their fries are fried in the same oil as their seafood. The long menu that I was originally handed becomes shorter and shorter as the waiter explains to me how everything in the kitchen pretty much touches. I have to cut out restaurants that I use to always go to and avoid events that serve anything seafood related. I feel bad because I have to remind my friends, my family, and everyone around about my allergies.

Restaurants when I ask a bunch of questions while ordering or hand you my "chef card" that states my allergies, I'm not trying to be annoying. I'm scared about eating and having a reaction. I'm uncomfortable that I have to ask so much from your establishment. I'm nervous you won't take me seriously. So just remember when someone comes in and ask more questions than you want to answer, and expects what you to give what you might call "special treatment", that they aren't trying to be annoying. You may think they're on some special diet, or just being picky (and I'm not saying that they couldn't be) but maybe they're allergic. So allergic that they have to carry their EpiPen wherever they go and constantly have to be on alert with everything that they touch.

I have bad allergies. I really wish I didn't because my life would be so much easier. I would rather not have plan my life around the food I eat but if I didn't, I couldn't eat at all. So I'm sorry if I'm annoying, I really don't wanna be and I hope that you can understand where I'm coming from.

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A Girl And Her Ben And Jerry's: A Love Story Turned Disastrous

My relationship with food and what it's taught me.

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These words are coming to you from a coffee shop where no, I did not order a chocolate croissant and type away with greasy fingers like I may have a year ago. They're also coming to you from the mind of a girl who got on the scale this morning, hated what she saw, thought of all of the holiday food she could've declined, and quickly opened her phone to Google, "Can I lose ten pounds in a week?"

That girl knows she sounds insane, but hey, there's a lot else on my mind -- going back to school in San Diego in a week, seeing all of my friends, and feeling like the holidays hit my health way harder than I wanted or intended them to.

But a year ago, this girl would have been looking forward to heading back to school, seeing her boyfriend and diving into a pint of Ben and Jerry's with him (our favorite), baking, going out to eat with friends, and living with very little regard for what I was putting in my body. Did I know what I was doing to myself? Deep down, yes, and I could feel it. But on the outside, I didn't act like I cared.

My journey to where I sit today is complicated and difficult, but it centers around something I've discovered about myself in the past year, and that is my incredibly difficult relationship with food.

Since being home for the holidays I've been trying to get out for runs when I can. On a few of these runs, I've let my mind wander and it's helped me trace where my relationship with food stemmed from. And once I placed it, it was astounding to me how it had impacted my life and my choices.

My parents have never been poor eaters. In fact, how they fed us and were role models for healthy eating is quite remarkable to me, looking back. Milk was a dinnertime staple, as was a vegetable every night. Fruit was always part of breakfast, as was a good fruit juice. Wheat bread was commonplace, and white bread was not a typical purchase. There was a candy cabinet we had, but it was kept high up and we couldn't reach it until we were tall enough. On top of that, I watched my parents make good changes to their health while I grew up. And now, they continue to strive to be healthy and active.

When I was a Junior in high school, I made a major change in my activity and began rowing competitively. It was at that point that food became such a reward system for me because the levels at which I was burning calories through long practices meant I could eat massive dinners after practice and continue to stay in shape and even lose weight. I didn't need to care about calories, because most of the time, I needed to consume more.

When I got to college, I continued to row. Recruited to be on the team, I worked hard to make times and standards. But crew became extremely difficult for my mental health, and looking back I know that I experienced bouts of depression through my first year of school. My anxiety was high, and being away from home didn't make it easier. Slowly, food became an ultimate comfort. With everything so different and challenging in my worldview, food remained constant. But that wasn't visible because I was training 20+ hours a week and packing on muscle, so any weight gain from meal plan food in excess seemed almost trivial. It was all muscle, right?

Fast-forward to my second year of rowing. I was feeling hopeless under the pressure to compete on my team and was plagued by anxiety. Going to practice wasn't a joy anymore, but I continued to train and eat like an athlete because the caloric deficit allowed me to. It all came to a tipping point, though, and I left the team.

The following year would prove very difficult. Issues in my personal life and the change that followed leaving student-athlete life did a number on me, and what I thought would be an escape from the athlete life was the opposite -- my anxiety was ramping up and my living situation fueled its fire, too.

Rowing was a life change in high school, it was a life change in college, and leaving that life was another change I wasn't ready for. But one thing that remained constant? Food.

Half a year after I left that team, I recall one night walking into my bedroom with a pint of ice cream (yes, just for me, and I'd probably finish it in less than an hour) all while rationalizing the poor eating habits that became an endless comfort during a hard sophomore year of college -- I'm young, I should live my best life and eat what I want while I can.

Getting on the scale didn't really help that rationalization.

Through several failed attempts, I recognized that I needed to get fit and lose some weight. But it wasn't until I saw my scale blink 2-0-0 that I became concerned. I tried apps, smoothies, all kinds of stuff and it wasn't working, because my food relationship was toxic and on my end, misunderstood.

Six months later, I'm happy to report that I made some changes. I lost the weight, feel like a new person, and now I know a lot about food. I found a diet that worked for me and truly, made me feel amazing and energized. But I'm still sitting in this coffee shop reflecting on what I saw on the scale this morning.

Mental health, life's obstacles, and my perspective on food came together to create a very toxic relationship with consumption that I still deal with. I have a major sweet tooth, often call myself a "bottomless pit" when it comes to eating a big meal, and generally just LOVE to eat. My mind centers around food when I'm eating next, and I can even tell you exactly the snacks I'll have on my road trip back to school this weekend. Fortunately, I've planned out healthy snacks!

I know that I'm not alone. I can imagine that so many struggles with the urge to have a sweet treat, the satisfaction that comes from an amazing meal, or the comfort that comes with good food if your day was difficult. And I want you to know that despite weight loss, my food relationship hasn't entirely changed for good. Not every day is easy, and I'm not perfect. But I'm growing in other areas -- self-control, balance, willpower, and knowing what is and isn't good for me. It's an ongoing battle, but one thing is for sure: I won't give up, and you can't either.

I took photos of myself along my journey, and one that haunts me is the day one photo. Looking back, I couldn't believe who that girl was and what she had allowed herself to become. Many old photos now have me thinking hard about the changes I've made and how thankful I am for them. And while it represents a lot of struggle, I also love that day one photo. Because it not only shows my progress but my bravery and decision to start and not give up. Whether you struggle with sweets, battle an eating disorder, need to make changes, or you've gotten to a healthy place, one thing will remain true: Giving up in the struggle to take care of yourself isn't an option. Keep going.

Food and I will always have a complex relationship, but I'm happy to say I've decided who wears the pants -- it's me, I'm in control, and I'm going to keep going. My health is priceless, and so is yours. Not every day is easy, but reflecting on obstacles overcome, I choose to keep trying.

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10 Tips To Keep You Healthy Because The Outbreak Of Germs Is Literally Inevitable

There is a high chance that if you are reading this you are or have already been sick this school year.

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I have been in school for two weeks now, and so far the experience has been amazing! Great friends, fun classes, AMAZING food at the dining halls, and of course the spread of bacteria and highly contagious colds.

That took a harsh turn.

But it's true. This is the time of year where everyone gets sick. You are away from school for about three months, and then you all are put into one building with thousands of other infected humans, which in the end leads to the spread of germs. It is inevitable, and unless your immune system has the superpowers of Superman, you don't have a chance of not getting sick. Right now I'm battling through a what I believe is to be a sinus infection. I did not go to the doctor's office on campus because 1) I have no idea where it is and 2) I feel like I got hit by a truck every time I wake up, so I really don't feel like walking a lot. It all started out with my throat feeling extremely sore, and then gradually my nose started to get congested. You should see my trash can in my dorm room, it is FILLED with tissues.

So why am I making this article about germs? Well, there are a couple of reasons as to why I am typing this. 1) Everyone should be aware of how to stay healthy this time of year 2) I really do not have another topic for this week and 3) Being sick is all anyone is talking about in my friend group so that's what you all are going to get.

I'm going to give you TEN different ways to make sure you stay healthy during this season so that you do not receive any germs nor spread them to other people.

1. WASH YOUR HANDS

I feel like this is a very simple concept. You should have learned this back in preschool. Always use soap, use cold water to kill the germs, and take your time! Seriously just wash your hands. Especially after using the bathroom. Listen, no one wants to come in contact with a person who does not wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Your hands contain more germs than a toilet seat does. So imagine those two being combined! Disgusting.

2. COVER YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU COUGH/SNEEZE

If your school didn't show you those ridiculous tutorials on how to cover a sneeze, then you were failed as a child. Seriously, no one wants feel the warm texture of mucus or germs blown on them when you cough and/or sneeze. That is probably one of my worst pet peeves. DON'T COUGH IN YOUR HANDS! That is unsanitary and just completely wrong. That is exactly how diseases and viruses are spread. Do the Superman sweep! When in doubt that is the best move to do when you cough or sneeze.

3. GET REST

Sleeping is one of the best ways to regenerate your body. I get it, you're busy with school work and extracurriculars after school. Taking a 30 minute nap or getting to bed early will help you feel better. If your body feels tired, then it won't be able to fight off the germs infecting it. Common sense. Don't stay up late stressing about an assignment or watching YouTube videos (guilty of that) because your body will not have the time to get stronger in order for you to feel better.

4. EAT HEALTHY FOODS

I'm guilty of this. Ever since I came to college I have been eating so unhealthily and it is not okay for my body. I try my best to, but if I see a grilled cheese with fries, you bet I am going to get two plates of those for my meal. No but in all honesty, eat some fruits and vegetables. It will not kill you to eat a small bowl of grapes or eat an apple on your way to class. Eating healthy gives your body the nutrients to fight off germs to maintain a healthy immune system.

5. DRINK TEA

Okay, I am not a huge fan of tea, but it helps so much. If you have a bad cough or sore throat, tea is 100% the way to go. Suck it up and drink the tea. I promise you it will make you feel better in the long run. They literally make a specific kind of tea for the throat. I totally forget the brand name, but you could probably go to any grocery store and find a box of tea bags for your throat.

6. HUMIDIFIERS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND

I cannot tell you how many times I have used a humidifier to feel better. Plug that sucker in at night and it'll make the air less dry. It cleanses your respiratory system and truly I believe it works. You can even buy a tiny one for about fifteen dollars at a pharmacy store that you can use whenever. You fill it up with water, and put your mouth over the device and use it for as long as you want. I use that whenever I have a bad cold and I love it. HIGHLY recommend this utility.

7. STAY HOME

Dude, if you're sick just stay in bed. This obviously ties in with my tip on getting rest, but if you're sick why go out in the world where there are more germs? You don't want to get more sick and you don't want to get anyone else sick. This is basically common courtesy. Take the day off of school or work, and rest up!

8. HYDRATE OR DYDRATE

Water. H20. Aqua. You need it to survive. Stay hydrated! Water clears out all the yucky stuff in your body, and it is good for you. Also, your body is made up of a lot of water so you might as well fuel that up. Always have a water bottle on you and fill it up when it gets empty. Water = good. No water = More sickness for you.

9. SEE A DOCTOR

Set up an appointment and get those meds to feel better! The amount of Claritin and other medicine I have taken the past few days is ridiculous, but I am feeling better! If you think you have a small cold and you want to get medicine at your local pharmacy, do it. It is worth the money and you obviously want to feel better right? If you feel like you have something serious, schedule an appointment at the doctor's office to see what is wrong. It is worth the trip.

10. EXERCISE

Ew. Working out. I know, not a lot of people like to do this, but it helps! I'm going to the gym with a few friends after I finish typing this because I know it will help me feel better. You don't have to go to the gym for hours on end, but getting outside for a walk, or going to lift weights creates a stronger body for yourself. Even if it is just thirty minutes a day, exercising can help you maintain a healthy immune system.

I really hope these tips help those of you who are sick. If you haven't gotten sick yet, don't worry you definitely will. And when that happens, come check out this article again for some healthy tips! Really though, try to stay healthy and clean the next few weeks. Colds and viruses are going around, and you don't want to get caught in the middle of that. Stay healthy!

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