Crazy Things People Say

I think I have heard it all and I hear more of it this time of year than any other time:

OMG You can't eat anything can you!

What's wrong with you?

It must be horrible to not be able to eat bread!!

I would just die if I couldn't eat pasta.

Don't ask (insert your name here) to the party she/he can't eat anything.

I'd invite you to brunch but I know you can't eat anything.

I'd love to have you over but I'm afraid I might kill you.

Problem: They make you feel like a genetic freak.

Solution: Maybe they are secretly jealous. Most food allergy sufferers I know are trim and slim due to avoiding all those bloat-inducing allergens. We are simply more in tune with our bodies. Someone once told me I was radical because I don't eat things like Chicken McNuggets. I think food in funny shapes is extremely radical . . . don't get me started. Honestly, my solution to this problem is to just spend as little time as possible with people who make me feel bad about myself. I nod, smile and move on . . . 

Problem: They feel like eating certain foods in front of you might make you feel bad.

Solution: I have run across many empathetic people that are really supportive. I have lunch with friends who sheepishly ask, "Is it okay that I eat this pasta with you?" Or "I really want this slice of cheesecake but I don't want to make you feel bad." Of course it is. After years of having food allergies, you just get used to it and your tastes do change. Plus allergy-free food has come along way and there are some truly yummy alternatives. If you are new to being gluten free (or dairy free, etc.) and feel that it won't be okay for a while then maybe wait until it is before you "out" yourself publicly.

Problem: They fear they might kill you with their cooking. 

Solution: If you have life threatening food allergies then I suggest you make your own food and if possible make enough to share. I do not expect my friends or family to prepare for me a dairy, egg, soy, wheat and gluten free holiday dinner. I have brought black bean brownies and my own dehydrated crackers to parties and no one even realized they were allergy free. In fact, I usually end up sharing my recipes because of the positive responses I get from them.

Problem: You get asked out or invited a lot less because of your food allergies.

Solution: I think not only are food allergy sufferers left out but also healthy eaters. I just try to communicate that I am more than happy to bring my own food or find something I can eat. The truth is I always find something to eat. 

With a little bit of planning you can still enjoy the holidays just as you did before you discovered your allergies. In fact, maybe even more so because you won't feel horrible after eating. This is how to have your allergy-free cake and eat it too.

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