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[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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    “…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.”

    For real. It’s a hard thing to get across to people.

    You seem to have a great handle on this. You recognize your allergies, you know how to deal with them, you don’t want to be coddled… but you also accept that it’s not easy.

    Posts like this are important to inspire others with food allergies to live their lives to the fullest, and take charge of their choices surrounding food.


    I also have issues with rice! Its a HARD one when glutens is a problem as its the most popular alternative. I have had good results, tho, for some unknown reason to brown rice over white. I just need to be aware of how much and make sure I don’t have it multiple days in a row. I also have EXCELLENT results with wild rice. I was told once its a GRASS and not really a rice. That must be it, as it doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve heard that sushi places now do brown rice if requested. Just a thought, in case you can do brown rice.

    I totally understand your desire for understanding and invites, regardless of your ultimate participation. When visiting my mother, she will immediately refuse invitations made to myself before I even have a chance to speak up saying, “Oh, she can’t eat out because too many foods bother her.” I’m 52…I can speak for myself, Mother, thank you very much. And I DO eat out. I just am picky about what I can/can’t order. But the SOCIAL aspect of any invitation is MUCH MORE important than the food eaten, or not eaten. I can always eat when I get home!! : )

    Meaghan verri

    Xox just for you! I hate food allergies and kudos to you for opening up about it. I feel like I keep my 2 boys in a bubble at times (they have the food allergies) and when people don’t understand, I am their only voice until they get older. The invite issue still bothers me…we see it a lot. No one should feel left out! It’s ignorance…

    I have been in your shoes many times because of my children. I avoid the items they can not have. That’s not a big deal…it’s keeping them healthy and happy is what matters most and that includes social interaction with other human beings in their lives!! Let’s be hopeful that people will educate themselves as we head into a new year soon.


    I agree about the invite thing. If I don’t get invited because they think it’ll affect my food allergies, I’m hurt that they just think of me as the girl who is allergic to everything. Most places I can find something, and if not, I suggest another place, or decline. Also, it is hard to get people to understand that you can sometimes die from these foods. I was at a restaurant the other day and I told them I could die if my food had barbeque sauce on it and the waitress got this surprised look on her face. My food came out without offending sauce. But it’s hard to get people to realize this is a real medical condition, and it is detrimental to the person’s health. It’s not just sniffles or a runny nose. It’s breathing problems, or your throat closing up, or even blood pressure droping dangerously. I’ve learned to just say no, no matter how rude I may look. You have to take control of your health and not worry about hurting the feelings of others.

    Nichelle Walton

    I grew up with rice as a staple in my diet. I also grew up with years of digestive problems and eczema. I finally made the connection 17 yrs ago when I couldn’t smell it cooking during my pregnancy. I could no longer eat it. I tried it again occasionally, with resulting GI issues. It even showed up intact 3 days after ingesting it on a medical scan! I am still figuring out where the ingredient is in my favorite foods and eliminating it from my diet. I am sorry you have the food dramas you do. I understand. Me and my kids have food allergies, theirs are life threatening. Mine are just a pain, literally. Keep doing you. Maybe we can start a special food allergy frozen food/ convenience food line.

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