I am severely allergic to all nuts, dairy, eggs, and all seafood as well... yeah so basically I can't eat anything. Luckily, this is an inconvenience I have had to deal with since the day I was born, trust me, my mom can tell you all the horror stories about my allergic reactions growing up. While you think it would be easy to manage a healthy diet by now, its actually very difficult, at-least it has been for me. If you have food allergies maybe you can relate to some of these constant hassles and funny/chaotic incidents that come along with having allergies.
1. The constant phrase
"OH MY GOSH YOU CAN'T HAVE ______" My response is always "you name it, i'm probably allergic to it." I get this one almost any time I hangout with new friends or when I hang with people that don't know me super well. Does this happen to anyone else with allergies? or is it just me considering I'm the "poster child" for food allergies according to my allergist. But seriously... people are always so shocked when I tell them I can't eat pizza or ice cream, it's honestly like they heard the most shocking news in their life LOL. Maybe its just because I'm used to not being able to have that stuff you know considering i've been allergic to it my whole life.
2. Never knowing what/where to eat
This is definitely one everyone can relate to but I feel like its even harder for people with food allergies. 95% of the time I can't eat where my friends or family want to go which can be frustrating at times. My friends and family have always been GREAT about making sure I have had something to eat if I was going to a restaurant I can't eat at. I cant tell you how many times I have walked into fancy restaurants with a Zaxby's bag in my hand... you should see peoples faces, its honestly hilarious. Luckily I have the BEST-EST friends in the world and they always speak and stick up for me which is even more funny. But hey, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do and sit back while your friend politely screams at a waitress about how I cant eat anything on the menu. Again... does this only happen to me haha??? Allergy people let me know seriously.
3. Having to sit certain events out
I don't know about anyone else but I have definitely had to sit multiple events out due to some of my allergies. It gets old and embarrassing at times to sit around your friends and just watch them eat. You know now that I think about it, it actually is just creepy... so yeah sometimes I like to just sit things out and that's okay! It also could just be the introvert in me though haha. There are certain restaurants I have to stay away from as well like Texas Roadhouse or Logan's because of the extreme amour of peanuts everywhere. While I can be around foods I'm allergic to, I don't like to take the risk just to stay safe.
4. You can only get like one thing on the menu
This one is definitely the biggest hassle. When I say I can only get one thing of the menu i'm a over exaggerating a little but seriously ordering more than just some french fries or even just a drink at a crab shack is just too much of a risk. Some people with allergies could probably handle the effects of cross contamination due to how severe their allergy really is but like I said, I am severely allergic to seafood so say I want some french fries and they were fried in the same fryer that previously contained shrimp...well that brings me to my next point.
5. Unexpected hospital trips
To finish that sentence, I would go into anaphylactic shock and have to go to the hospital. This has happened so many times I can't keep track. say I ordered some french fires and made the waiter/tress aware of my circumstances. Sometimes the food would come out fine and I would have no problems but other times even if I did mention my allergies, I have received my meal and ended up leaving the restaurant because the reaction starts after one bite for me. it seriously takes the smallest amount to trigger a reaction. This doesn't just happen with meals, I have had TWO allergic reactions to two different smoothie places (you'd think I learn), Popsicle's, heck! even my own sister even fed me a brownie when I was two that led me to the hospital. Mistakes happen, human error exist its fine i'm alive and well but it can be a scary situation and I try to avoid it as much as possible but sometimes plans change right?
6. Reading the ingredients on EVERYTHING
I always double, even triple check the ingredients before I even think about eating something because chances are I probably am allergic to it... you would be surprised how many things are contained in certain dishes. Its like... do you realllllllly need to put milk or have traces of milk in chicken noodle soup? I don't know that just seems quite odd to me but like I said you never know, always better to be safe than sorry!
7. The slight perks
Did you know that having food allergies is considered a disability? I mean I didn't really think of it as a disability when i started thinking about college and dorm life. I am so extremely lucky to have been able to live in a dorm room with a full kitchen in it. It was so helpful this past semester to be able to cook my own meals without the fear of a reaction occurring. So while it isn't the best having food allergies, there are good things that come of it like...
8. Saving money
I'm not sure about others with allergies, but I feel as if I don't spend as much money on food considering how limited my options are sometimes, especially while at college. So that's always a nice perk too, you know how much us college kids love saving every last penny.
9. Staying in shape, uh kinda
I was a chunky kid. Growing up my mom and I just kind of had to figure it out along the way. We visited many dietitians, allergist, and befriended others with allergies in hopes to find some dishes I would enjoy but never had much luck. I continued to eat my chips because I was terrified to try any new foods because I was scared that I would have a reaction. The older I got, the more I trusted my doctors, and then I was more willing to trying different things. Going to CofC has also broadened my food options. I began eating many vegan meals because i'm allergic to dairy and eggs so it was a perfect alternative. While I was headed into my freshman year I really thought I was going to have a rough time eating at the dining halls and finding things at the corner stores that I could eat but I actually found balanced meals. Instead of gaining the "Freshman 15" I ended up losing some weight my freshman year. I was eating more balanced and healthy meals and didn't want to spend money on snacks a lot so that also helped... don't get me wrong though, I definitely had my fair share of nights where I would eat an entire sleeve of Oreo's (which are vegan btw!!!!). It was nice to shed a few pounds though without even realizing it until now honestly, but were only like two weeks into summer and I already am taking midnight trips to the pantry... shhhh...
10. The best perk of all
Last but definitely not the least, the perk of being me. I look at my allergies now as something that makes me unique, something that makes me, ME. I use to get upset due to some of the obstacles having allergies required me overcome but I wouldn't be the same person I am today if I wasn't allergic to everything under the sun right? I choose too focus on the good things that have happened to me because of my allergies rather than focusing on the things that are expected to happen to a person with major food allergies.
I hope that you were able to either relate to some of these incidents or at least learn a few things from all of this! It is shocking how many individuals are unaware of the fact that every 1 in 13 people have food allergies, according to; FARE, "Food Allergy Research & Education." If you want to read up on FAQ'S visit the FARE website or click here https://www.foodallergy.org/life-with-food-allergies/food-allergy-101/facts-and-statistics