06 May 2013

Judge Much? Arguing Food Allergies

Nearly every day I read food allergy/food intolerant boards or discussion forums, from support groups to online discussions to news feeds. Sometimes it's the article itself as much as it the COMMENTS people leave. 

This one is an outside party trying to communicate with the "norms" of the food world. 

There is humor, passion, ignorance, frustration and misunderstanding all over it. 

It just goes to show how many people are still so unaware and under educated on this subject not to mention how many people still NEED help and confidence eating out. Plus I see a major forum needed to mix and match the public opinion with people who have food disorders. 

This recent thread on Yelp was interesting to see how people really feel about those with food allergies. For the record, I am NOT condoning any of this- I often would disagree with much of what is posted here. It's appalling to me that even those with food allergies/sensitivities are STILL uneducated themselves. I was one of those and sometimes still feel I am. 

This is why not only do people with food allergies need training but so do those who serve food to food allergics/intolerant. Why is it important- once we understand it we become more sensitive and we are more responsible. 

www.yelp.com/topic/los-angeles-eating-out-with-food-allergies- This is the whole thread- but below I'm pulling out certain key conversations.  (My comments are in Red, Italics)  

Eating out with Food Allergies


Do you eat out with multiple food allergies? I'd love to hear your experiences, what restaurants do it right, wrong, care, don't care, could use improvement? Would you eat out more if restaurants catered to your needs? 
  1. Mike: 
  2. MSG gives me explosive diarrhea. (Totally common in food intolerance) 

I have to be careful about certain fish. Shellfish in particular. So id rather have it at home, to be safe. (Shellfish is one of the top 10 food allergens in world)

I hate picky eaters. (This is where the conversation breaks down and it's such a common issue we face being food allergic/intolerant. Don't say you are allergic/intolerant- unless you really are- because when you say I'm allergic to dairy but then ask for BUTTER- it really, really gives us all a BAD name) 

...allergy = picky eater?

Due to allergies, people become picky. Done.

Going out to dinner with allergies is really not that bad as long as you stick to places with actual chefs, and/or call before you visit.  This pretty much leaves out eating at Taco Bell with a Los Angeles Trade-Tech student cooking your meal.  (Great point, the more educated, professional, seasoned staff members, will generally be able to provide more "help"- but everyone in food service should take it much more seriously than they do now.- We should ALL CARE.) 

It also means staying away from Instagram, duckfaced, f*ing douchbags calling folks with allergies, picky, as if we chose this lifestyle.  May baby Jesus/Allah/Zoroaster curse you with running diarrhea every time you eat wheat... (And after so many years of being called just a picky eater... we blow up at other people- pent up rage and frustration that I really relate to- I don't care for picky eaters myself... and I'm the fartherst thing from it- I want to eat everything I am allergic to and I have and it's great. I would rather have cut off my left arm than to have to give up dairy- but I love my kids too much to abandon them, via analaphaxis shock.) 

I refuse to allow my body to recognize food allergies. 

Makes things so much easier.

With that many allergies, it's best to just prepare food yourself.

Cooking breaks down certain proteins/enzymes which are what some people react to so cooking them makes them tolerable.  I am allergic to a lot of different fruits but can eat them if they are cooked.  I can drink the fruit juices of fruits i react to if its pasteurized but not raw.  I also know someone who is like that with several vegetables.  She cant eat them raw but can eat them cooked.

Mine are avocado, fish, shrimp (but oddly enough not crab or lobster), watermelon, soy milk, macadamia nuts...and more. And if being picky means my throat doesn't close up, then so be it! I usually go to the same places, so I know things are safe. I have started making a lot more at home though, cause I tend to feel bad about "being picky".

Mind over matter. (If only it were that darn easy. So many of my own friends and family have actually said this to me for years now. I would rather eat cheese and treenuts and salmon than be sick. I love food. Why on earth would I want to get over it?)

- diarrhea, cramps, hives, upset stomach, is how most people "experience" food allergies. A smaller percentage of people cough and weeze and have asthma attack. The smallest %age have a swelling of the throat (Anaphylatic shock) but those people should be carrying antihistimine pills or epinephrine pen.

- it's not your imagination, food allergies are on the RISE due to genetically modified foods (GMOs) combining things that you may not expect in what you eat.

this article is dated (2008) but "only" 11 people died due to food allergies in 2007:

CDC page on the issue:

there are food intolerances that border into becoming an 'allergy'.

either way, it's a huge huuuuge pain.

@Stuart, the oft quoted "150 deaths per year" is from an advocacy organization. The Huffington article specifically calls it out as BS, and the CDC puts the real number at 11 deaths in 2007. I'm assuming you have a board-certified physician with your medical history on file. If not, be sure and do that. 

Mike K. says:
I bring my own peanuts on airplanes.

Want another example- Read the comments after the article,http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/31/oh-the-humanities-food-allergies-can-mean-loneliness-social-isolation-for-children-researcher/ 

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1 comment:

  1. Many of us know what food allergies are, but few of us know what Food Sensitivities are.


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