The stupid things people say about food allergies

Next week my workmates are going to be celebrating the Melbourne Cup with awesome food and beer. I can't eat any of the food at the venue, and I don't drink (because it messes with my blood sugar level). My workmates are LOVELY! Like, seriously super inclusive and kind, and were really encouraging of me attending. 

I know I could go, and usually I would, but this time I'm actually considering just giving it a miss and staying in the office. 

Discussions of the Melbourne Cup celebration led to an amusing (to me anyway) comment from a couple of my workmates that I know many of you allergy-folk will relate to (it's number 5 in the list below). 

And it also got me thinking about all the other weird, funny and scientifically impossible things people have said to me about food allergies in the past. 


"Oh, I get a tummy ache when I eat <insert food here>, but I just eat it anyway."

Food allergies are an immune response, and if you genuinely do have a food allergy and continue to eat it anyway, then maybe you're not that smart. Also, many food allergy responses are much more severe than a bit of a tummy ache.

"Gluten-free? That means you can't eat meat eh?"

No, that would be vegetarians (or vegans) who don't eat meat. I'm a HUGE fan of meat.

OMG a bacon truck!

"One bite won't hurt you."

Yes it will. How about I eat the bite, but you suffer the consequences?

"It's because your parents kept you too clean when you were a child."

Nope. That's not what science suggests. 

When you're pressured into going somewhere that doesn't cater for you:

"You can just hang out [while we eat and drink]. It'll be fun."

Nope, it's not fun watching you eat and drink while I sit in the corner. 

"So that's why you're so slim." 

Err, no. That would be genetics and eating well. Fun fact: Gluten-free food usually contains more sugar than regular gluteny food. A lot of allergy-free processed food is worse for you than the cheaper, allergy-containing products.

"My charcoal oven will burn the gluten out"

Yes, that's a real conversation I actually had with someone. All I could do was laugh at this one, and suggest to his coeliac granddaughter that she NEVER EVER eat over at grandpa's house.

"In my day there was no such thing as food allergies."

Yes there were, many were just un-diagnosed. There has also been an increase in the number of reported severe allergies in recent years, and scientists aren't sure why. That doesn't mean that food allergies aren't real, or that we're all a bunch of pansies who need to harden up like they did back in 1952.

"But you used to be able to eat <insert food item>."

Yup, food allergies can develop at any age, it's very annoying.

"Oh my god, I'd go crazy if I couldn't eat <insert food item>."

You probably wouldn't, you'd just adapt and get on with life. But thanks for your helpful, supportive and encouraging comment.

Who knows, maybe next week I'll change my mind about attending the Melbourne Cup party, and just smuggle some of my own food into the venue (and eat it when the wait staff aren't looking). I do love a good excuse to wear a fancy hat after-all


I'd love to hear from you! Post me a comment and tell me what funny things you've heard said about food allergies!