As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
What do you do when you find out, as an adult, that you have a food allergy? Many years ago, I realized that I had become allergic to shrimp after a few bad experiences. I thought it was a shellfish allergy until I got deathly ill after having just a few bites of fish. So now I have this seafood allergy that I’m learning to deal with. I thought it would be easy because I’m not a huge lover of seafood anyway. But, as it turns out, a food allergy is much more serious than I ever realized.
Lessons Learned from an Adult Onset Food Allergy
#1 – Food allergies can be very serious.
Some people with food allergies need to carry an epi-pen because they go into anaphylactic shock. That’s not how I react. Rather, I get the equivalent of the worst stomach flu ever – horrible stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, chills, etc. It’s not fun. In fact, at times, it’s been downright embarrassing. Either way, food allergies are very serious and need to be treated that way.
#2 – You need to be very careful about cross-contamination, and
#3 – Eating out can be a challenge.
I’ll share a recent experience I had at Arby’s to make this point …
A few months ago, my daughter and I stopped at Arby’s for lunch. Normally I order their brisket sandwich but she ordered chicken and it looks really good so I decided to get the same thing. A few hours later while getting groceries at Walmart, I started feeling very sick – like bathroom-emergency sick. I thought back to the menu board at Arby’s and remembered that they were featuring a new fish sandwich (for Lent). Hmmm … could it be that they were frying the chicken in the same grease as the fish?
The next time we stopped at Arby’s, I told them what had happened and they were very kind and apologetic. They even offered to give me a special-made salad instead of the fries normally served with my regular brisket sandwich. It was a great salad! Unfortunately, though, what they didn’t think of (and I didn’t either) was that the few onion straws on my sandwich were cross-contaminated also. I didn’t get AS sick, but still felt nasty that evening.
The moral of the story is: when you’re in a restaurant ordering food, share about your allergy and make sure you’re ordering something that isn’t coming in contact with seafood (or whatever it is you’re allergic to) in any way, shape, or form.
#4 – Label-reading is a must!
Make sure you are turning those labels over in the grocery store! I was shocked to find that some of the products that I use in my home contain sardines! Did you know there are sardines in Worcestershire sauce and Caeser salad dressing? Me either! But I do now. I’m trying to track my food intake too, and I’m seeing that times when I eat something that contains one of these items, I don’t feel right that evening. It’s a milder version of my full-blown reaction, but it’s still a reaction.
#5 – Disney is the best place to visit with a food allergy.
When we check in at a Disney restaurant, the servers are aware that I have an allergy and always have the chef come out to talk to me. The chef will tell me exactly what I can or cannot order from the menu. If it’s a buffet, he (or she) will walk me up to the buffet and point out anything that I should steer clear of. So whether I’m eating dinner, dessert, or something special, I know I’m not going to get sick later (at least not from the food!).
It would be nice if all restaurants were like that … when you walk in and are seated, your server asks if you have any allergies they need to be aware of, and then they proceed to tell you what might not be your best choices. Either that, or maybe I should just live at Disney!
Do you have any food allergies?
How have you learned to deal with them?