I am beyond grateful for all of the restaurants who have chosen to take allergen-free options seriously. While not every establishment can be totally gluten free or free of any other allergen, there are a few things that restaurants do that make diners like me feel safe and welcomed.
It can be a pretty rough experience to go out to eat when you have a food allergy or other illness that requires you to avoid certain ingredients. Having developed celiac disease after 19 years of "normal" life, I can get frustrated with the newfound fear and anxiety that eating out sometimes causes me. "I could be fine", you think to yourself, "or I could end up living in the bathroom for the next 2-5 business days." That risk factor is a pain in the ass, so every time I find a place that can alleviate those negative feelings, I am a customer for life.
I want to tell the world about the best event ever (if you've got food allergies)
I'm talking about the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo! Coming to a city near you, this year's expo's start in Glendale, AZ and end in San Mateo, CA. (Dates and ticket links at the end of this post!)
Do you like snacks? Do you like being informed about allergen free foods and cutting edge trends within our community? Do you want to eat safer? Do you like free samples? Do you like not feeling like that weirdo with the food issues? Then you should be there!!
A girl I watched grow up posted something on Facebook that made my heart hurt.
"To the worker who questioned my medical diagnosis,
You had no right to look at me after I told you I had acid reflux and say "I'm too young for that". You have no idea that for the last 6 years I have suffered every day from functional dyspepsia. That I don't dare go anywhere without an arsenal of stomach medication on me in case I need it. You don't understand the pain of being only 19 and having to leave school because you feel so sick every day that all you can do is lay in bed and try not to move. You don't know that I cry myself to sleep because I don't know if I'll ever feel better. Fun and school? Forget that when you go to the doctor weekly and have to stay in the hospital because you're symptoms are so bad. Don't question the food I put in my body when I can only stomach plain crackers and alka seltzer because the thought of any other food makes me gag. You don't have any idea how much it hurts to have every test run and have every result come back normal. To have your symptoms questioned. To be terrified to eat. To look weak because it's only a stomach ache and why don't you eat some tums and feel better. Next time you question someone and their medical diagnosis maybe think about how deep your words cut."
And it made me think about how difficult it is to be sick but not look sick, or be sick but not be considered old enough to have that illness.