Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

5 Things People with Food Allergies are Tired of Hearing

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at OK State chapter.

Thanksgiving kicks off the eating season and the season of seeing relatives I don’t always visit with.  Shortly after Thanksgiving, we get to Christmas which means lots of parties with lots of food and my dad’s cousins and their families I barely know and then we get to New Years and have more food and drinks.  All this sounds great, unless you’re like me and are allergic to eggs, dairy, and wheat.  Then, all of the food and people asking questions about what you are and are not eating can get a ~little~ overwhelming.  Whenever we have family get-togethers, I always have to bring my own separate food because I can’t expect everyone to change what they’re eating because of me.  This can get difficult sometimes and makes people who can eat whatever they want feel the need to give me advice on how I should handle my food allergies.

But it’s not just extended family around the holidays that constantly make these comments, at some point anybody I get to know finds out about all of my food allergies and typically say one of the things on this list. And I get it, it seems like A LOT and when I first got diagnosed, it felt that way too.  But by now, I’ve heard it all before and I’m just tired of giving the same responses to the same questions and comments ALL THE TIME.

“So, like, what do you even eat then?”

Uhhh, food? My usual response is something along the lines of, “oh,  I don’t know. Salads.” But, honestly, there are so many products that exist now that I can pretty much eat whatever “normal” foods I want if I get the gluten-free and vegan version. I also just cook a lot of my own meals so I know exactly what goes into it and can make versions of nearly any meal.

“OMG! I would DIE if I couldn’t eat (*insert food here* – usually pasta, chocolate, or cheese)”

Sorry, but I really don’t care and don’t want to hear it. I know. It sucks. But avoiding all of these foods is better than trying to cope with the consequences of eating them. Thankfully, I don’t have a life-threatening allergy, but tons of other people do. Imagine telling someone who could die if they eat something that they should want to die if they can’t eat it. Sounds pretty awful now, huh?

“Wow, I thought about giving dairy/gluten up because I heard it’s a really good diet.”

I definitely never decided I wanted to be allergic to anything. It’s not my choice for dieting. Any dietary restrictions – vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free – are always presented as new, trendy diets, but that doesn’t necessarily make them healthy for you.  There’s plenty of junk food that is allergen-free. It’s all about how you approach what you eat that makes the difference.

“What happens to you if you eat something you’re allergic to?”

Well, thankfully, I don’t die. I’ll answer that I get congested and develop a rash and that it messes with my stomach, but that’s not really something I want to go into. I’ll also explain that the reaction triggers inflammation which causes migraines for me.

“Come on, can’t you just try a bite? It can’t hurt you that much, right?”

Honestly, even a little can cause me pain for the several following days. So, no, as much as I would probably love to try whatever you’re offering me, it’s not worth it.

Ann is a senior at Oklahoma State University majoring in nutritional sciences. She is also a personal trainer and in her free time likes to relax and watch movies.