There are so many awesome supporters of us allergy-affected folk. And to you I say - thank you so much! Your ongoing kindness, support, consideration and inclusiveness helps us to have a normal, healthy life.
However, there are some people who could really do with a splash of consideration towards the allergy-afflicted.
And to these people I have the following things to say ...
- No one chooses to have food allergies (or have coeliac disease).
- It's not by choice that we're limiting the foods we eat.
- We would LOVE to just rock up to a cafe and grab a meal, to drive through our local McDonald's and grab some take-out, or to have a spur of the moment feed at the local Chinese takeaway.
- The reason that we don't "just eat it anyway" is because this shit makes us sick, and for some of us this can lead to cancer.
- It's not in our freakin' heads! Food allergies are real.
There's a real grieving process when you're first diagnosed with food allergies. It absolutely sucks balls to go from eating whatever you like, to having to take your own food, ask a million questions or miss out on the good stuff at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
It's a big life adjustment being diagnosed with allergies, and
the people around you play the largest role in whether you stick to your diet and feel included in social occasions; or mess up, get sick and are left feeling like a social leper.
How can you be supportive of an allergy-affected buddy, partner or workmate?
- If your allergic buddy makes you a meal, don't whinge about the lack of gluteny goodness/added processed tastiness in your dinner. Be appreciative that they've cooked for you (ooh free food!)
- If you're going out for a meal, try and choose somewhere that your allergic buddy can safely eat.
- Don't pressure your allergic buddy to eat food they shouldn't, or say things like "one bite won't hurt". It will, so stop it!
- Encourage your buddy - it's not easy saying no to good food, and every "no thank you" to something deliciously dangerous is a win for their immune system.
- If you're holding an event with food, make sure your buddy has something safe to eat, or allow them to bring their own food.
For partners and parents of allergic folk
Being diagnosed with food allergies can affect the whole family, because it changes where and how you eat.
It's tough to have to change your lifestyle because of someone else's health, but if you really care about your significant other, you'll be their cheerleader, encouraging them to eat well, because if they're healthy and happy, your life too will be enriched.
Also, keep in mind that if one of you has a food allergy, there's a chance that your children will also develop a food allergy sometime in the future. And you've got to show the kindness to the tinier allergy-affected folk!
Be their cheerleader!