In case you didn’t know…
[This AllergyEats Blog entry was written by Melissa Freixas – I like the message at the end, so stick around for it!]
Dining Out – or Not – with “Weird” Food Allergies
My birthday was not super this year, for various reasons it was not. Why it wasn’t is not important, I chose to not have a party and I chose to not go out to eat. I’m choosing to not go out and eat more often not just because of financial reasons or a location may be too far. The main reason is due to my food allergies, I have weird ones. There are only four when it comes to the food, two more when it comes to semi environmental related ones. I’ve listed them below.
Places that serve a lot of rice or cook it often I can’t go. Sushi is always out of the question, it is seasoned vinegared rice as a nice lovely lady from Japan gave me a lecture on for 20 minutes. The ice cream social held during the week at the Arden Mall Market Place, is not a safe venue for me. Oh, Rice bran oil is used to fry a lot of foods at restaurants too. Found in mentos, skittles (some), tic-tacs and can often be found in some breads. Can also be found in some cosmetic products. Found in some soy, almond, and other nut milks. Sake bombs, are out of the question. Domestic beers (Bud, Coors, etc.. I’ve got to be careful as well and they’re just awful)
Food allergy number 2 chicken, a lot of restaurants cook this meat, this meat is too much like tofu as well, it is used and abused so much that it’s become a tasteless entity and is often stuffed, fried, baked, roasted with something or many things. It’s high in protein, but has little nutritional value unless you raise the darn bird yourself. This is also something that is added to a lot of salads, soups (stock, broth or fat) and often added to roast turkey dishes at restaurants. The two birds are not the same, never have been, never will be. FYI, I’m allergic err… very sensitive to the egg yolk of chicken eggs too. I can have as much egg white as I desire, prefer it baked though.
Olives, this includes the oil. Luckily this is used at few locations, but I still need to be careful. Often used for breads, pasta, tomato sauces, occasional frying and panini grills. Also found in soaps, lotions and some herbal remedies. Squaline is olive derived.
Mango, easiest one to avoid with few exceptions. Found in various Indian Foods, cosmetics, a lot of smoothies and desserts.
I’m also allergic to Aloe which is considered edible, found in a lot of sunscreen, lotions, soaps, make-up, some foods, mostly topical stuff, baby wipes, hand wipes and more. This has become an overused product.
Lastly, I am allergic to hemp/marijuana, smoked, baked, inhaled, eaten, digested, used in salves, lotions, shampoos, etc… I can’t even be near the plant without having breathing issues.
All of the above can cause and have caused serious issues for me. Few friends have witnessed them and personally I do not feel I should have to risk my life to prove that I’m allergic to them. I do have an epi-pen, but I’d prefer not to use it. I’m probably allergic to the darn stuff in it. While people complain about the above allergies I’ve got more allergies to medications that can be given to me, than food.
A little bit can cause a lot of damage to my system and I prefer others to not cook for me without consulting me first. Read everything if you’re not making it from scratch, a lot of items have at least three of the above in them. With that said, I do LOVE the above foods, I LOVE my life and ability to live even more so. If folks wish to give me a gift for whatever reason, then take me to the farmer’s market, a gift card is fine. Drag me somewhere I can take photos and bring a picnic lunch. It’s easier than you think.
There are a lot of other foods I can have and if something needs to be eliminated in the future I’ll deal with it. Don’t make the decisions for me, I choose where I go and if I wish to go. You’re not saving me from getting harmed by not inviting me, the reality is that I prefer the invitation over not being invited. The same goes for kids, you’re not saving them from not inviting them, they’re being isolated.
For the parents out there, inform those around you of what your child can and cannot have. Remind these folks each time, they’re human and they do forget. Gently remind them that your kid could die if saying, “my kid is allergic to that” does not work. It’s not easy to think outside of your lunchbox and when you’re forced to do so, it seems very limited and can cause one to feel isolated. You don’t have to understand or relate to the problem, just be aware of it.
I take what others are allergic to very seriously, I am also human and I can at times forget as I already have to deal with my own food allergies. I take in to account diet preferences, raw, vegan, vegetarian, and various religious dietary restrictions. I know the difference between a wheat allergy and a gluten allergy as well. I thank the gods I don’t have either, I feel for those who do. Me not joining you or not taking you up on an offer for free food is a matter of survival.
So what do you think of Melissa’s post? There’s certainly a lot to digest here (okay… a little pun intended). I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments – just click on Reply or Comments below.
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