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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The Real Way To 'Treat Yo Self' Is To Nourish Your Body Instead Of Indulging

I believe the real way to "treat yo self" is to ask, "What would make my body happy?"

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I have been interested in health and wellness for several years, but I have always struggled with committing to a 100% healthy lifestyle. There are temptations everywhere, and I'll admit, I have given into unhealthy indulgences or cravings on numerous occasions. Sometimes, I have gone through a stretch of multiple days of physical inactivity, which I justify by how much work I have or how I deserve relaxation time.

Recently, I had a realization that I (and many other people in my generation) have a skewed view of rewarding or treating ourselves. We tend to allow ourselves to satisfy our desires for comfort in every way possible.

We tend to think of a reward as something unnecessary, but we deserve it because we've earned the right to indulge.

Many young adults don't think of their lifestyle choices as having real effects on their bodies, especially long-term. But over time, our actions have consequences.

College students put their bodies (and minds) through enormous amounts of stress. Take midterm week: all-nighters to cram for exams, being sedentary with days of nonstop sitting, fast food and late-night binging to power through. And then comes the reward: a night of nonstop partying and drinking, or staring at Netflix for 12 hours armed with pizza and candy. I know I'm exaggerating, but you get the point: are these really rewards?

It's clear to me that those indulgences of "comfort foods" that I have given into have profound effects on my digestive system, gut microbiome, and much more. Those hours (read: days) of "relaxation time" spent binge-watching Netflix may have been entertaining, but were detrimental to my body's cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.

In other words, it turns out I'm not really "treating myself" if my body ends up paying for it.

I'm not telling you that you can never eat your favorite unhealthy foods or drinks, or spend a day watching TV, or whatever habit it is that's not good for you. It most likely won't affect you all that much if you do these things once in a while.

I simply believe it's time to re-construct our view of treating ourselves. I'm saying that, whatever choices we do make, we should be fully aware of the fact that certain habits are not rewards.

I think it's much better for us in the long term to fundamentally change what "Treat Yo Self" means to us rather than spend our lives trying to fight our desires.

I've finally started to understand that real "treats" are things that nourish my body. They include the small things, like making sure to get enough sleep and water, to more involved things like taking outdoor study breaks, making sure to squeeze a workout into a busy day, or cooking a fresh, clean meal for myself. When you come from a place of self-love, "treating yo self" means helping to give your body what it truly craves, which is to get into a state of optimal health.

Since realizing that our lifestyle choices have a lot to do with self-love, I came across a guided morning meditation that incorporates self-love, and I decided to try it for a few days.

One thing that tends to stay in my mind throughout the day after this meditation is the quote, "Today I'm giving love to my body."

After practicing this guided meditation every morning, I have noticed that my mindset has been shifting. I have newfound respect and gratitude for my body. I am bewildered by the amazing ability our bodies have to heal themselves, from the cellular to the psychological levels, if we simply give them the nourishment they need.

Since practicing self-love meditation, I have found it easier to stick to my goals of eating healthy foods and taking time to exercise every day. It now feels like I am rewarding myself when I choose a green smoothie over a bag of cookies. It feels like a reward, and a privilege, to be able to nourish my body, rather than indulge in something for temporary satisfaction. I only wish to share the truth: we are immensely lucky to have our own brilliant life machine that is our bodies.

It's a miracle to have blood flowing through our veins, and we should strive to treat our bodies with the love and respect they deserve. I believe the real way to "treat yo self" is to ask, "What would make my body happy?"

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