College can be pretty tough sometimes, but add food allergies to the picture and things are sure to get even more complicated. As someone who has been allergic to peanuts and nuts all her life, I am all too familiar with how challenging and annoying food allergies can be. Here are some struggles that every person with food allergies can definitely relate to.
Like it or not, “no, thank you” has become your catch phrase due to all of the times that you have had to politely decline food that was offered to you.
But those few people who are aware of your allergy and give you food that you can actually eat are angels.
That little silent prayer you say right before you read the ingredients on something that looks really delicious: (“please”).
“May contain traces of” is easily one of the worst combinations of words in the English language.
Whenever you can’t eat something that all of the people you are with are having, you get constant looks of concern and sympathy directed towards you no matter how many times you assure everyone that it is not a big deal.
As a desperate attempt at changing the topic and getting people to focus on something else, you have ended up blurting out some of the weirdest things.
No matter how many times you explain it to your friends, people who do not have allergies seem to be incapable of fully grasping the concept that just because a food does not have what you are allergic to directly in it, doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe for you to eat.
When you are considering dating a guy, he must first pass your “allergy quiz” with flying colors so that he does not, you know, kiss you right after eating whatever it is you are allergic to.
And if he would rather spend time with peanut butter than with you, he is not the one.
You have needed to bother people with questions about ingredients so many times that at this point you are starting to annoy even yourself.
Despite having lived with your allergy for your entire life and being totally used to it, you still have those occasional moments of breaking down into a “life is not fair” rant/cry. Because, well, it isn’t.
Having allergies limits the employment opportunities that are available to you. Pretty much anything that involves working directly with food is out. This is unfortunate because not only does it make finding a job even more difficult, but you may have been a highly talented ice cream scooper and the world will never know.
Those times when you are at a restaurant and wait a solid ten minutes for your waitress to return from checking on a food item for you just to find out that you cannot have it:
Regular doctors appointments are a breeze compared to your yearly exam at the allergist’s office. There is always that sliver of hope that your food allergy may have improved. Yet, again and again, your hopes are crushed. You will still walk into next year’s appointment just as optimistic though because if it were completely impossible, why would they need to keep testing you?
On the (only?) bright side, the many baked goods and slices of birthday cake you have had to pass on over the years has likely left you healthier and in better shape than you would have been otherwise. Not that this was what you were thinking about while you were standing there watching everyone else dig into that triple layer chocolate cake last week, of course.
Food allergies are definitely not the worst thing in the world to be dealing with and most of us who have them can only dream of what life would be like any other way. At the same time, they do not make things any easier–especially while away at college. But for all of you collegiettes with allergies, hopefully this article helped you to feel a little less alone.