I have always loved to eat, cook and bake, so I was crushed when I found out about my food allergies in 2006. Avoiding eating certain things for the sake of staying alive means I can no longer enjoy some of my old favorite dishes. But! That doesn’t mean I have to stop making them for the people I love, right? So poo on food allergies (though having knowledge of them – either for yourself or someone you know – is a rather good thing) and I still can cook. Just not necessarily eat what I cook.
I also haven’t let my food allergies stop us from going out to enjoy good food at restaurants. Yes, I’ve got to ask a bunch of questions and inform the wait staff of certain allergies, but restaurants are generally pretty good about dealing with food allergies as long as you let them know.
It has been quite an experience since first learning about my allergies because I had eaten all of these foods all my life. I endured countless stomach aches and emergency bathroom stops during those years and just attributed it to having a very sensitive stomach. There were days when I had to go home sick because I was keeling over in stomach pains. And as an adult, I began to develop what seemed like dermatitis and psoriasis where I would break out into rashes all the time.
I highly recommend getting a food allergy test to everyone. It has changed my life tremendously. Although it has drastically changed what I eat, I no longer have the extreme stomach pains and skin problems. Below is a list of all the things I am allergic to. I am still discovering more and more things that I seem to have a low tolerance to so it’s not a complete list, and yes, sometimes it’s easier for me to tell people what I can eat vs. what I cannot eat!
- banana (I’m also allergic to latex)
- bell peppers
- fennel (it’s almost like celery)
- honeydew melon
- kiwi (again, related to the latex allergy)
- legumes (i.e. beans) (but maybe not all legumes because soy doesn’t seem to bother me anymore)
- poblano peppers
- tree nuts
Peppers (bell, poblano, etc.) are the ones that will make me go into anaphylactic shock, so that’s the one big item I have to tell waiters/waitresses about whenever we go out because some restaurants like to use crushed red pepper flakes as a garnish. Tomatoes are another big thing, especially when we go out to Italian restaurants because most times, restaurants don’t list every ingredient that is in a dish on the menu (that is a pet peeve of mine by the way – don’t even get me started).
Luckily I can still eat things like meat, seafood, dairy, and rice otherwise I would be miserable. It is still hard for me to accept the fact that I can’t eat potatoes anymore because I used to be known as a french fry addict (no joke!). I do miss being able to eat a lot of ethnic foods rich in spices and flavor like Indian, Thai, or even Korean food (the irony!). But as you can see by this blog, I can still find a lot of places to enjoy delicious food in and around the Boston area (thank goodness for that!).
Please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any allergy related stories, tips, or questions. I am always fascinated to hear what other people are dealing with in terms of allergies, and it’s always reassuring to know that I’m not the only one out there!
ETA on 2.1.11:
I have a lot of friends who like to cook and bake that ask me: “What CAN you eat?!” So here’s a list of the things I know I can eat:
- fruit: grapes, oranges, lemons, limes, blueberries, pears seem to be okay, and peeled or baked apples don’t seem to be too bad of a reaction (I’m still a little unsure about that one though)
- veggies: brussel sprouts, broccoli, bok choy, lettuce, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, garlic, mushrooms, ginger, spinach
- grains: rice, wheat, flour
- all meats, seafood, and dairy (thank God)
- no nuts but I can eat seeds and I love sunflower seeds (thank goodness for sunflower butter – tastes almost exactly like peanut butter to me!) and pepitas (pumpkin seeds)