07 March 2015

Life of a Food Allergic: A Break from the norm

by Lauren Pechack, Certified Allercoach

In the world of special dietary requirements there is much talk of how clean is clean, endless label reading, grilling manufacturers about how they maintain their facilities. Delving into the minutia, constantly can make one feel a bit cross-eyed and can wear very quickly.

Then there our interpersonal relationship discussions. What soaps do they use? Did they hand wash or use the dishwasher? Is this a home I feel safe in or wary? Please don't put your lips close to my face if you've eaten something I'm allergic to.

And then there are the blessed weekends when we find a place where we feel like we belong. The last weekend was spent in Austin, TX at Living Without's, Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest.

What a joy this conference was from the every day "Norm" of allergic living. It was a bit of a break from treading through the weeds to have the opportunity to pop up and say, "hello." Hearing people's stories, was so refreshing, so varied! Some shared stories with the long batter to diagnosis, to being diagnosed years before there was much information or help, and others, just recently diagnosed desperately looking for help with their new normal. 

Most of the vendors were really fantastic. Not only were their products amazing, but they were extremely open about their manufacturing processing- which as so refreshing. I love the small companies who are driven by all the right things: openness, quality, and genuine care for their customers. Amazing stuff.

The best part was seeing the support shared. How sweet it was to my heart to see someone walk in with their friend or relative tagging along for support! Yes, please! Life has its ups and downs. Not everything is going to go my way or be perfectly suited to me, but if I have the support and care of a friend, it makes all the difference.

Much of what I saw this weekend was a direct result of that very thing. People lost in the minutia, reading labels, going cross-eyed and one day deciding to take a leap and do it for others. The micro and macro are tied and intertwined together, each individual thread embodying its color coming together in a tangled mess to create a beautiful masterpiece.

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