There is some kind of misunderstanding that happens when someone learns about my allergies. Usually, this comes from the same kind of person who thinks one isn’t living life until they have had a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or that they’re not being spontaneous enough by not worrying about the contents a food product has.
“You’re missing out,” people tell me.
“That’s unfortunate,” others say.
“I’m so sorry,” some offer.
“What can you eat?” is an utterly annoying question that sometimes happens, but I do see and understand where they’re coming from.
When I was first diagnosed with allergies, I was given nothing but a packet containing exactly what I couldn’t have and wasn’t told about a rotation diet until the second or third day of shots. I was recommended a life with grilled chicken and steamed vegetables, all seasoned with salt. I was told I couldn’t have any candy and had to give up bread.
However, in time, I learned allergy-friendly candy exists, and I do OK with wheat bread. I’m still on the lookout for a yeast-like substitute that doesn’t turn dinner rolls into biscuits, but I do have bread on occasion.
I’m not missing out on peanuts and tree nuts (including coconut). I first discovered my peanut allergy whilst eating a peanut butter jelly sandwich. Thereafter, I discovered the breakfast biscuits I was eating and loved so dearly also gave me problems. Soon enough, I discovered an allergy to almonds through Almond Joys. I’d have difficulties breathing after eating Nutella. While coconut always bothered me, I could have it in small amounts—but soon, Mounds and other treats including coconut wound up giving me problems.
The time I almost drowned is what anaphylaxis feels like to me; it’s what I felt when I first noticed my inability to breathe after eating my last-ever peanut butter and jelly sandwich wasn’t normal. It’s the gasping-for-air and oh-no feeling, mixed with all kinds of regret.
I didn’t have my EpiPen then, but my Albuterol inhaler worked…and my next doctor visit ended with me being told to stay away from all the nuts.
You don’t really forget things like that.
I’m not missing out on ice cream or cake… I don’t eat ice cream often, I’ve started to care less for cake.
A few years ago, I read a study about how the brain acknowledges smells of life-threatening allergens as something it needs to react to and send out signals for; the person thus recognizes the smell and/or taste of something as revolting as possible to the point they can hardly stand it. The more a person consumes that allergen, or is around it, the more grotesque. The doctor compared this reaction to that of a skunk, in that the person’s brain reacts with as much alarm as a threatened skunk. I’ve looked for the link, but can’t find it. :/ If I come across it again, I will link to it.
The allergens that have slowly repulsed me over the years: peanuts, coconuts, tree nuts, milk. I can tolerate cheese to a minimum, but it’s getting to where even eating it is unsettling. The smell of peanut butter makes me feel like I’m going to be sick; for this reason, I can’t stand Wowbutter—it works out for the best, though, because Wowbutter’s made with soy, and I’ve a huge soy allergy. I can still have it—in small amounts—but I do plan to eventually cut it out of my diet completely.
I’m not missing out, because the life-threatening allergen-containing foods turn me off. They may look good on the outside, but otherwise, I don’t care. Having people wave what they believe to be decadently delicious simply annoys me.