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When I was growing up, my brother had a friend who was deathly allergic to peanuts. I remember being amazed that his mother couldn't, for example, eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and later kiss him on the cheek. When he would come over for dinner, we would have to make sure that the food we were making hadn't been manufactured in a place that processed peanuts. I remember thinking, Really? It's that big of a deal? (I was five, maybe, and not the most knowledgeable or sensitive, ha.)

Now, of course, I'm older and understand a lot more about how serious allergies can be. My boyfriend's mom is allergic to everything under the sun, and I can't imagine keeping track of all those allergens - and still getting adequate nutrition. I want to have her over for dinner sometime, but I';D have to make two separate meals because I'm positive I wouldn't be able to come up with something that would fit into both my vegetarian diet and her allergic one!

So, my question is - if you or someone in your family suffers from a serious food allergy, how do you deal with it? How has it changed the way you eat? And what kind of resources have you found helpful along the way?

Laura Hogg asked this
July 19, 2011 at 8:14 AM

A:

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I have very little experience with food allergies. The main thing for us is that my husband is allergic to sweet potatoes, which is a bummer because we both really like them.

When I do get them for myself (for meals I eat at work or in a chip form) I make sure he recognizes that they're in the house, and keeps his distance.

It's nothing compared to your boyfriend's mom's situation, but every now and then it's a little unnerving. When we were on vacation last month in Philly, the B&B was serving these really good muffins with breakfast. About 15 minutes after eating half of one, the hubs was anxious, irritable, and a bit itchy. Fortunately, he figured it out pretty quickly, and confirmed with the innkeeper that the muffins contained sweet potatoes.

I've learned that when we go to stay somewhere like a B&B, and they offer a spot in the online reservation for 'special notes', I need to include his allergy along with my no pig meat preferences;)

Katie from SLN answered
July 19, 2011 at 8:48 AM

I recently discovered that I have food allergies. You know those freeze pops that everyone loves to enjoy in the summertime? I am allergic to those. I am not sure what ingredient set me off, but my throat began to swell and I could barely breathe when I tried to eat one this summer. It was scary and sad at the same time. I could be allergic to some sort of chemicals they use in those. Who knows.

I am also allergic to pineapple. My reaction to this food is not as strong as to freeze pops. My tongue starts to feel sore and hurt if I try and eat pineapple, but I can still enjoy them.

What I've learned to do is to avoid foods that could be life-threatening (freeze pops) and manage the amount of foods that cause irritation (pineapple).

And on a final note, freeze pops are not in the least bit nutritious, so it's not a bad allergy to have.

Bri Luginbill answered
August 17, 2011 at 2:37 PM
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