Things You Can't Do When You Have A Nut Allergy

Look. I have a peanut/tree nut (all freakin’ nuts, people) allergy, and I’m not writing this for sympathy. I know it sucks-I’ve lived with it for nineteen years. I’m writing this because I want others to understand the general anxiety that comes with something as simple as a food allergy, and to realize that accommodations should be made. I am looking to bring awareness.

Therefore, before you ask your friend if they’d like to go to the Ice Cream Parlor or exchange Halloween candy, be aware that they may be unable to partake in activities that everyday people take for granted. The following is a list of things someone with a peanut, tree nut, or just NUT in general allergy can’t do.

 

Eat at a buffet.

Why yes, the thought of endless rows of delicious food does sound rather appealing, (especially when it comes to endless plates of pasta in my opinion). And yet, because of the fact that cross-contamination can occur WITH EVERY OPTION IN THE RESTAURANT, buffets are a no-go for someone with a nut allergy.

Sit at a bar.

Ever notice the heaps and heaps of nuts and shells scattered along bars? Apparently, alcohol and nuts go together. And I wish this wasn’t a thing.

Go Trick or Treating.

When I was eight or so, my Mom didn’t let me eat my entire bag full of candy because there were a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups inside, touching and sliding against all of the other candy. Talk about heartbreak.

 

Eat or even walk into Steakhouses

Even though I’ve never personally been (I wonder why?), the floors are coated with peanut shells. That’s just unsanitary.

 

Fried Chicken (Chic-Fil-A)

This chicken is rumored to be pretty good, maybe because it’s fried in peanut oil. Peanut oil is tricky to deal with for people with allergies, because it isn’t always as visible or noticeable as the shells on the floor. Please, please be careful with peanut oil.

Eat at a friend’s house.

I only eat at someone’s house when I know for 100% certainty that their kitchen was cleaned, the pans and dishes and spoons were sanitized, and every single ingredient that was used to cook the food. Talk about anxiety.

 

Eat Chinese or Thai Food (or even go in).

Another place known for being confusing/vague about what’s in the food. Many lawsuits have been filed against Chinese and Thai places for causing (sometimes deadly) reactions in unknowing customers.

 

Sit at lunch tables.

When I was in elementary school, all the way through junior high, I had my own designated lunch table that was “peanut free”. No Smuckers sandwiches on my side of the room! These tables also had to be washed specially in between the lunch periods, just for safety precautions.

 

Shake hands with strangers.

I don’t know if a stranger has just consumed a Snickers bar (and licked their fingers), and I play it safe when it comes to greeting others. Also, I’m sort of a germaphobe (I have the right to be!)

 

Eat samples at stores.

My boyfriend is notorious for tagging along to Whole Foods with me, then disappearing for the entire trip to sneak as many samples from the tray as possible. I am a sample virgin, because who knows whose hands have touched that little cheese cube?

Valentine’s Candy.

Every year, I am reminded of how cute the trays and hearts of chocolates look, and even how much fun it would be to exchange conversation hearts. Candy is notorious for being the worst when it comes to allergies.

Eat from bakeries.

The last two really hit me where it hurts, as a sugar addict. Cakes, cupcakes, breads, muffins, donuts, croissants, pastries, cookies, biscuits, rolls, brownies, pies, and everything else in the sugary realm that smells like heaven, are off limits. I tell myself that I’m saving the calories, but really, it just cuts to the quick.

 

Eat at ice cream places 

Again, this is so unfortunate for people with allergies, because I’ve grown up lusting over the hundreds of options, the unique flavors and toppings. Ice cream places are at such a risk for cross-contamination though, but most soft-serve cones are *usually* safe to eat.

Overall, I wanted to share this list to spread recognition that people like me exist, and to not get offended when someone with allergies can’t eat with you.