Worst Part About Having a Food Allergy
I grew up in a mostly celiac home and was diagnosed with my tree nut allergy at age 3 so it’s safe to say I am no stranger to food allergy limitations.
Honestly, I used to think having a tree nut allergy wasn’t that bad. As long as I stayed away from foods clearly labeled with nuts I was totally fine. The bumps in the road started to happen in my adult life. At a certain point I started to notice as healthy eating trends increased so did the frequency of seeing tree nuts on an ingredient list.
So, “what’s the worst part about having a food allergy,” you ask? I wish the answer was simple but it’s not. There’s not one universal “worst part” ,and the response is different for everyone.
Food allergies are 100% out of our control yet they dictate how we feel on a daily basis.
“Anxiety/not being able to eat casually or spontaneously/having to plan, research and carry medication.”
“All of the anxiety/food fears that I can’t turn off.”
“The fear we (my family) has around not being able to eat nut products. We try to make lemonade out of lemons and enjoy things like nut-free butter. It makes me appreciate the things that I CAN eat more.”
“Never feeling 100% safe.”
“There’s no universal protocol. Everyone has varying levels of severity and non-allergic people often assume what is safe for one person will be safe for the next.”
“The infamous ‘oh so you’re allergic to nuts jokes that guys have subjected me to.”
“Overcoming the feeling of not wanting to be seen as high-maintenance by the people around you. What feels like anxiety to me, sometimes looks like rudeness or pickiness to others who don't understand and it can be hard to stick up for yourself sometimes.”
“I can never eat out. Ever. Also, I have to sit out on social eating.”
“Feeling limited! And having to ask a million questions before trying something new.”
“Fear of my daughter missing out. Holiday’s are so hard right now.”
“Wanting to live a dairy-free, grain-free lifestyle but unable to eat/drink nut flour/butter/milk.”
“Traveling/language barrier.” @allergygirleats talks a ton about this!
“Being the only one who cannot eat anything in a social setting.”
Your contributions to this list validated my fears, worries and anxieties. While these responses make me feel strong and supported, they also make me feel sad because they’re struggles we will continue to go through. With this platform I hope to educate and build a community that is inclusive of individuals with food allergies.
In the meantime, let’s surround ourselves with the people who are mindful, cautious and concerned.