In January 2013, I was diagnosed with a ton of allergies. That summer, I was diagnosed with many food allergies. I received allergy shots for quite a while, but the same annoyances stuck over and over again: the same questions, the same wonders, the same comments.
1. “You’re allergic to everything! What do you eat?”
I choose the ‘lesser of two evils’, as some may say. For example, I’d rather go with Fettuccine Alfredo (milk, lactose, cheese, seasonings, etc.) than something with tomato sauce, because not only am I allergic to tomatoes, I have acid reflux tomatoes affect as well. I’d rather feel dizzy, lightheaded and altogether nauseated than spend the next few days dealing with cramps caused by nosebleeds and coughing up blood.
However, people freak when a person says, “Ah, that makes me cough up blood. I’m not in the mood for that,” and they immediately assume you need to go to the hospital ASAP and “get that checked out”. It’s just the acidity that causes all that coughing-up-blood-and-having-nosebleeds nonsense. Promise.
2. When you’re expected to be 100% allergy-free
Aside from being lactose intolerant, I’m allergic to molds, dairy, yeast, berries, and malts. Airborne allergies extend further, a list I’m too lazy listing but will offer upon request.
Molds include “fruit that cannot be peeled” and all the seasonings — seasonings are herbs, and herbs are molds and mold-forming.
Honestly, if you really think me being 100% allergy-free is gonna make my life better, you should definitely go on a bland diet consisting of fresh fruits and veggies with no seasonings (including to your meat) and tell me how it goes. If you’re not bored after about a day, give it a week. And then a month. And then a year. And then consider that for a lifetime. Oh, did I mention? No lettuce, either… (Thus, no living off salad.) Vegetables should only be what you can peel as well.
3. “You’re not lactose intolerant AND allergic to dairy. There’s a difference.”
Actually, I am allergic to milk and lactose intolerant. I have symptoms of both, and I’ve been tested for the milk allergy. Saying I’m allergic to dairy is easier than saying I’m allergic to milk and lactose intolerant and allergic to dairy because it’s mold-forming.
4. The assumption that you’re really just a picky eater
Eating out is a pain. It’s even more of a pain when you say you’re allergic to something and the waiters bring out your food with that anyway and say, “Well, it comes with it, so…”
…or when your Starbucks barista accidentally adds whipped topping to your Mint Chocolate Chip Frappuccino and just scrapes it off when you say you didn’t want it, which leaves that top part contaminated with ALL THOSE ALLERGENS.
Allergies are different from desires. When onions touch a picky eater’s food, they can just take it out; whereas when peanuts touch anything a peanut-allergic person is to consume/touch, it could be the end of the world as they know it.
5. “Really? What happens?”
I hate when people ask for my symptoms. I also hate talking about feelings and feeling as if I need to prove myself. When someone asks for my symptoms, I can never tell if they’re really just curious, or if they’re actually nosy. Some of those symptoms are embarrassing, so please don’t put me on the spot and make me feel as if I need to answer. Just take my word for it.
Other times, I don’t know what would happen. For example, all I know of my nut allergies is that I can’t breathe. Who knows what will happen next time I consume them?
The more an allergen is consumed, the more risk I am putting myself at. Last year, I officially swore off all nuts after realizing how much worse my nut allergy was getting — I can no longer have things that ‘may contain’ and/or ‘have traces of’ any nut products without having difficulties breathing, though I used to be completely fine.
6. When you weren’t always allergic
I used to eat all nuts. I used to have a peanut butter sandwich everyday. One day, I couldn’t breathe after eating it. I used my inhaler, and things were fine until I had another peanut butter sandwich. Adults can develop allergies to foods they consume later in life; allergies don’t stick only to children and childhood.
My blueberry allergy was discovered when the blueberry muffin mix my mom used began using real blueberries instead of artificial ones. (Thus, I’m not sure if I ever ate blueberries before my allergy was discovered, but this is another example.)
7. “Can you eat that?”
…can you not mind your own business and let me just enjoy food?
8. The assumption that your food allergies are to thank for your weight loss/current figure
To make things clear:
- I am not trying to lose weight, at least not directly.
- Food allergies have nothing to do with my weight loss.
- I have been flip-flopping on this weight gain/weight loss scale for years.
I have an eating disorder. There is a HUGE difference, and this is also the reason I choose to not completely go allergy-free. The disorder stems from childhood and is, subconsciously, a way to punish myself. It’s on auto-pilot, and I can’t actively control it until I realize what it’s doing. I’m working on it, and you need to stop complimenting my weight. The last time I weighed myself, I was actually at the minimum for my age/height…
9. “Can you tell the difference?” “Are your allergies better?”
If I had a penny for every time someone asked me this, I’d be a millionaire.
If I had a quarter, I’d likely be a billionaire.
…I prefer the quarters, please.
(But really, I should start charging people when they ask me this. 25 cents for asking + 25 cents for an answer.)