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Awesome Friends With Food Sensitivities

I just got an email notice about the captioned meetup group with this description :

''Ever gone to a potluck and only been able to eat what you brought? How would you like to go to a barbecue and be able to eat almost everything there? How about an amusement park trip with an understanding group you can share snacks and thrills with? Hi! My name is [Jane Sensitive] and I have multiple food sensitivities and food allergies including lactose, gluten, fruit, corn, and others. I also have hypoglycemia and IBS, so needless to say, outings take effort..."

I'll cop. For the most part, I'm not that sympathetic because I've known people who say they have this many food sensitivities simultaneously, and they've been extraordinarily particular (not just as pertains to food), attention seeking folk with apparent control issues, so I tend to think much of this sensitivity is psychosomatic.

So my question is, are you, or do you know, someone who is an otherwise really reasonable and agreeable person who legitimately has this much trouble with food?

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  1. This is actually the meetup group that I started. I would have hoped to be e-mailed directly with questions rather than in a forum such as this without my knowledge. However, if it starts a dialogue about food allergies and food in general, so be it. I did not e-mail the original poster. Meetup e-mailed her about the group because she marked an interest in food, nutrition, etc. I do in fact have these food sensitivities and believe myself to be a reasonable and intelligent person. I created the meetup group so people could get together in a non-judgmental atmosphere, because so often people don't understand and it can be tiring explaining all the time why you are not eating. My pet-peeve is picky eaters. I feel like if you can eat it then don't complain. Taste wise, there isn't much I don't like and you kind of have to be open when it comes to some gluten free/dairy free food. Picky eaters and fad dieters just make it harder for people with legitimate issues. I've been on a long journey to health and being able to speak up for what I need.

    1. My mom could be one of those people. She was having issues and she went to the Dr and did a prick test for allergies/sensitivities. Results came back with her being sensitive to almost everything. Gluten, dairy, shellfish, etc. She decided that it included too many of the things that she likes to eat, and unless the reactions got more serious she would continue to eat what she wanted (in moderation). So far shrimp and escolar are the only thing she avoids.

      6 Replies
      1. re: viperlush

        That's funny. Just about everyone I know who goes to get one of those allergy tests done at a doctor's office comes home with a mile long list of things they never knew they were allergic to nor ever experienced allergic reactions to.

        And they also come home with long lists of medications they can take and things they can buy to make their environments as hypoallergenic as possible. :P

        1. re: inaplasticcup

          Kind of makes you think, do we really want all these people w/ "allergies" to get theses tests? They might come back w/more "allergies" and get validation for their pickiness.

          1. re: viperlush

            as a parent with a child with food allergies i can confirm that the percentage of false positive with both skin prick tests and blood test are high. our allergist (who practices at Los Angeles Children's Hospital) has confirmed this and advises to use the test results as merely a guide. he says the real test is by ingestion. if you eat it and don't react in anyway then you're ok and ignore what the test says. my son tested positive for soy and i knew he wasn't allergic. he also tests positive for egg and he can't eat egg straight up like a scramble but he can eat it baked. if he does consume too much baked egg product then he gets eczema. i know for a fact he's allergic to cashews as he reacted upon touching them. so the real test is with ingestion and contact. i belong to a support group of parents who have kids with food allergies. one parent has a child who has gone to the hospital 3 times with full blown anaphylaxis but tests results are negative to all the foods tested. talk about frustrating.

            1. re: trolley

              That child's doctor should be recommending an elimination diet, where you really just start bland and slowly add different foods. Unfortunately, there are only so many things you can test for and there are so many preservatives and such in our food supply that it could almost be anything.

              1. re: trolley

                The best comment I ever heard from an allergist is that skin tests are not for finding out what you're allergic to -- they're for finding out what you don't react to. Allergic reactions also stack, so if you're having a reaction to one thing, you may react to something that is normally not a problem. (My dad has to avoid basil during certain times of the year when his hay fever is really bad).

            2. re: inaplasticcup

              I'm lucky, then -- my allergist peppered me with questions to narrow it down to a half-dozen things to which he suspected I might be allergic to, then just did a scratch test with the most-likely suspects -- 8 or 9 on my forearm.. (Bless him - he said he does it this way to save the discomfort of covering you with scratch tests for things that probably aren't the problem)

              The ones he was pretty sure about swelled up like bee stings -- so we got to the point quickly and with as little discomfort as possible.

              In my case the worst offender was dust mites -- but taking the big and expensive step of making my home more hypoallergenic (more, not totally - we still have to live!) means I sleep through the night, every night, and no longer suffer from chronic sinus infections. WIN.

          2. I have a friend I met in school a few years ago who is seriously allergic to dairy, seafood, eggs, wheat and nuts. Even just traces of these foods would be enough to cause a severe allergic reaction. This makes it very difficult for her to eat anything at restaurants or at friend's houses.

            It definitely isn't psychosomatic.

            And by the way, she is an extremely nice person to spend time with and very soon after we met we became very close friends. =)

            Oh, and on a slightly unrelated note, i also have a friend who thought she was allergic to a certain food dye (because her mom thought so) until we were in grade 5, so she could never drink orange soda (eg. Crush). Finally, when we were out skiing together, she bought an extra-large cup of orange Crush and almost made herself sick drinking it because she had just learned that she wasn't really allergic to red dye... she was allergic to dust.

            1. I admit, I do find it hard to believe that a person could be "sensitive" to such a large number of basic, unrelated food groups. My ex, when we were dating, once told me he was allergic to fruit. I asked what kind, and he said, "All kinds." I nearly passed out from my eyes rolling that far back into my head. BUT, this does bring to mind what I later realized, was that his diet in every other respect was so horrendous (literally Mountain Dew and dollar menu for every meal) that as soon as he tried anything natural, it triggered a sort-of-detox, which flushed it. From that experience, plus others, I often wonder if people who claim such a wide variety of food intolerance really do have some kind of reactions, but are wrongfully associating correlation with causation? Also, I notice a lot of people trying to incorporate various forms of elimination diets, and describing it as "allergy" rather than a dietary experiment or lifestyle choice.

              Of course, there are always the obnoxious attention-seekers, but as lots of other posters pointed out, they're usually easily spotted (like my ex-sister-in-law, who claimed she was allergic to onions, but only if they were in large chunks). People with true allergies generally don't want the attention, they just want to at least *appear* to eat normally.

              1. I definitely know some people who are just difficult, but then there are others with food problems that are legitimate, not psychosomatic. One of my friends is a vegetarian with allergies, which is pretty difficult for her. Another has a ton of allergies. Both of them will eat nearly anything that won't make them sick. The non-vegetarian is actually known for eating stale, expired, and otherwise gross food. She also always tries to eat the food she's only moderately allergic to, although her husband is constantly trying to stop her so that she's not miserable later.

                I'm lactose intolerant (of the gassy variety, not the diarrhea one, so if I have some the consequences aren't all that bad, but I do prefer to avoid it) and my stomach seems to have decided that it doesn't like digesting much fat, which is rather more painful than the lactose problem. I'll admit that I'll eat dairy if that's what is served, although I try to minimize my consumption. It's mostly just embarrassing. And tragic, because I adore milk. As for the fat problem... no matter how hungry I am (including the curled up in pain sort) I cannot have pizza or similar foods. I end up sobbing in pain and then return to a state of desperate hunger. Meh. I usually don't remember to tell hosts that I have any sort of food issues, because I can usually find something to eat. Whatever the vegetable dish is, it's usually not going to trigger any problems other than tasting bleh if prepared certain ways. If I cannot eat anything there, then I simply wait until later to eat. The worst was definitely when I younger and we'd be served pizza at summer camp, and the only accompaniment was cesear salad with 5x too much dressing. Then I got very, very hungry. I was so overjoyed when I figured out that the pizza crust was safe to eat, and proceeded to beg it off of everyone who didn't like theirs. Hardly a good meal, but finally I could quiet my rumbling stomach.

                1. Worked right away,but have to find gloves that are not Latex,or not more touching onions.lol

                  1. me,I will tell you a few things,beans,strawberries,lettuce,cow's milk,melons, eggs, wheat,corn,and everything in the mustard family,the lastest is Latex, so apart from not eating most stuff,I have to bring my own and also had to go and buy new clothes without Latex products in them,life isn't very much fun then I love food and cooking.
                    To-night I discovered that peeling onions caused my hands to burn,poured lime juice on them,sure hope i wasn't allergic to lime,so far so good.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: moptop27

                      Ack, moptop! Did the lime juice alleviate the burning?

                    2. My dd has food intolerance. It manifests as severe, debilitating eczema. It's so INCREDIBLY hard to explain a food intolerance where the person won't DIE if they eat the food, but it makes them miserable for days and days. In my dd's case, the culprits are food additives, preservatives and artificial coloring/flavors. (For dd, she actually LOVES the foods that she can't have and it is very difficult when she wants cakes and candy at parties where all the kids eat crap food. So for dd, it's a very, very difficult situation where she WANTS to eat the foods she cannot have.) It's not an allergy. But it's just as serious. Other people using "allergy" and "intolerance" and "sensitivity" as excuses for what is actually just "picky" really irritate me, as it makes everyone desensitized to those that have real issues. If someone says they have an intolerance but they don't know anything about the Feingold Diet... I know it's not really an intolerance because they would be miserable enough to have done their research and would know about this extremely successful diet.

                      My own allergies are coconut and mussels. Neither anaphylactic. Both give me hives and cause me to... um, expel the foods from my body any possible way, if you get my meaning. I L.O.V.E. mussels. The smell of coconut makes me salivate. I only wish.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: velochic

                        My grandfather also had some weird kind of intolerance to mussels. He loved them but they HATED him! He would often eat them anyway and suffer later. He just couldn't help himself because he loved them so much!

                        1. re: Muchlove

                          Tell your GF to be careful, my shell fish allergy started as just a nasty reaction to scallops, then oysters, then mussels. And now to the point that even a "Ceasar" with clamato will dam near kill me.

                          I do think that as we become more toxic in our environment...so goes our bodies.

                          Perhaps 50 years ago these things might have been unheard of or unusual, but now they are able to kill a little kid with peanut butter smeared friends.

                        2. re: velochic

                          That is a broad declaration. I have intolerences. I do not know the feingold diet. I have done research. I am not a faker - I would love to eat wheat, dairy and chicken eggs. Occasionally I do - and I get sooo sick.

                          1. re: coastie

                            The Feingold diet wasn't originally for food intolerance (and there's probably more skepticism than not for its original purpose - ADHD - among the medical community). It's not surprising you haven't heard of it. If it's now being recommended as a catch-all for food intolerance issues, that's news to me. Plenty of people with intolerance to various foods try to avoid preservatives, food coloring, artificial sweeteners and the like without referring to it as the Feingold diet.

                          2. re: velochic

                            @velochic: I think it's absolutely legitimate to call your dd's food intolerances 'allergies'. To me, an allergy is if the immune system consistently has an adverse or over-reaction to something. it isn't defined by severity or a particular response. I don't mind it if people who have a physical response to certain foods call it an allergy, even if it is a mild one like transient diarrhoea or something like that.

                          3. I think there should be a circle of hell for people who LIE about having allergies because they don't want to eat something.
                            Because then, others don't know who is being a drama queen and who has a legit problem.
                            My sister has serious food issues. Certain foods give her hives. She has autoimmune problems and has seen a reduction in symptoms by eating a very restrictive diet. Anyway, her problems are real, they are confirmed by doctors, and they suck.
                            My sister-in-law is "allergic" to whatever she doesn't feel like eating. I won't say on the Internets what I think about that.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: rusty_s

                              do yourself a favor and tell her what you think in person, you will feel so much better! Next time you are eating something, ask would you like so of xxx side dish to go with that or are you allergic to it tonight?

                              it really does feel good

                              1. re: rusty_s

                                I put people who lie about having legitimate food allergies in the same category as those who park in handicapped spaces because they're too damned lazy to walk 10 feet further.

                                In Europe there's usually a sign attached to the handicapped spaces "If you take my space, please take my handicap, too"...and I feel the same about people who hide under the guise of allergies.

                              2. Unfortunately my mom fits this description to a T. She has had auto-immune diseases for most of my life that has made her hyper sensitive to most foods. Even plain chicken, if she eats it too much will start giving her headaches. I will say that due to her real sensitivities over years and years, she has become a bit paranoid about new foods. Thankfully my hubby and I have a good sense of humor when she orders because she sounds like Sally (from Harry Met Sally) times 100:} Believe it or not, she and my dad literally yesterday moved into my house. Why? My mom's house was making her ill (this was confirmed by several doctors). The contractor had done a horrible job when renovating and as a result, they had been breathing in mold for the last 4 years which further eroded her immune system. HELP!!! (;} )

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                  Mould is killer! Perhaps after a good de-tox period her sensitivities will recede. I live on the "Wet Coast" and have notice over the years that in the long wet winter I do have to be hyper vigilant bout keeping the house dry. Many hot roaring fires.

                                  Good Daughter Points to you Nicole.

                                2. I feel for people who food makes ill. Good food is suposed to make you feel fantastic.

                                  I have no patience for people who create drama at the expense of others.

                                  Phone the restaurant ahead of time to find out what can be done...don't demand it in the middle of service.

                                  Be come a regular at a place, be polite and staff will work with you to create a great meal.

                                  Bring your own food to a family dinner/pot luck and enjoy your friends.

                                  And love what you can it.

                                  1. I have a very good friend who wont eat MSG, HFCS, and just about everytime we eat at a new place, come down with "stomach issues" and wont go back.

                                    When I pointed out that there is MSG and HFCS in a TON of things he eats on a regular basis, there is always some excuse. I try to make it a joking matter, but it can be rather annoying when we eat out together or travel/grocery shop together and he is disecting labels (and costing me more $ because he has to buy the "no hfcs" ketchup. ugh

                                    1. The person I've met who had the most restrictive food issues was going through a long process of identifying what was making her feel so crappy. They had narrowed it down to an extreme sensitivity to all types of mould, which gave her some really weird restrictions - she could eat nuts, for example, if she washed and toasted them herself - plus some blood sugar issues, so she had to eat very regularly. She basically only ate what she could make herself, and only from very simple ingredients, but she wasn't obnoxious about it, she'd just bring her tupperware container of home-made stew with her, and quietly eat it.

                                      I have met people in the annoying-and-I-don't-really-believe-them category. Often they have *some* real issues, but have self-diagnosed an eclectic range of sensitivities that have never been backed up by a diagnosis. This can tie in with trendiness (like gluten right now).

                                      It's particularly annoying when they make a huge fuss about not being able to eat X, but the next day they are perfectly happy eating X. This is particularly true for the more psychosomatic variety, like people who insist on a MSG allergy, but it only affects them when they eat Chinese food, and they will happily chow down on snack foods loaded with the stuff. Or people who claim gluten intolerance but never bother reading a label - all they mean is that they don't eat obvious wheat.

                                      The people I've met with real, serious issues are usually fairly low key about it. THey read the labels carefully and will phone ahead to the restaurant if needed to check on options or make arrangements (ie, not showing up and demanding spaghetti sauce made without onions) or will turn down an invitation or eat ahead of time to be sure. But they don't like being the centre of attention over their issues, and would rather deal with them as simply as possible.

                                      For the person described in the OP - if I were allergic to gluten and corn, I don't think I'd eat anything at an amusement park!

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                        As someone who has celiac disease I must assert myself at restaurants QUIETLY to ensure there is no gluten in the ingredients and no cross contamination issues. I do not like the attention this disease can bring. Better yet, I call the restaurant in advance if it all possible. It can be frustrating to those of us who absolutely cannot have any trace of gluten without serious consequence to see people who are on a GF kick just for fun or supposed weight loss. Label reading is a huge part of my life and it always will be. If there is a risk of gluten or cross contamination at an event I will not put myself in that situation (i.e. wedding receptions or amusement parks!). I have no choice but must be extremely strict. Always! I must plan every single morsel that goes into my mouth with great care. Not easy but it can be done. Quietly without fuss!

                                        For those who are unaware, Celiac disease is not an allergy to gluten - it is an autoimmune response. It does horrid things to our insides. Long story...

                                        1. re: chefathome

                                          "For those who are unaware, Celiac disease is not an allergy to gluten - it is an autoimmune response. It does horrid things to our insides. Long story..."

                                          Yes--out of curiosity, is there an actual gluten allergy that triggers "normal" food allergy responses like hives, acute GI upset, or possible anaphylaxis? I typically hear people use "Celiac" and "allergy" interchangeably--I'm assuming just to emphasize that they have a severe need to avoid gluten at all costs.

                                          I saw a Chinese herbalist/acupuncturist some years ago and she insisted I give up gluten forever, despite testing negative for Celiac's multiple times. She said it is common practice in Chinese medicine, as they believe the processing of "modern wheat products" has caused many Americans to develop "gluten intolerance" which can manifest in a variety of systemic maladies. She said no matter what, if people present with chronic GI upset, it's one of the first things they recommend.

                                          I respected her opinion and the decades (centuries!) of research put into this theory, but I did an elimination diet years ago and found eliminating gluten for a long period didn't help me at all (I have a chronic autoimmune disease of the endocrine system, and a variety of somewhat serious GI diseases from birth).

                                          Anyway, I'd be curious to hear what someone who probably knows much more about this than I do would think about said theory?

                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                            out of curiosity, is there an actual gluten allergy that triggers "normal" food allergy responses like hives, acute GI upset, or possible anaphylaxis?
                                            there's no real blanket allergy to all gluten, but wheat allergy is one of the most common of all food allergies, and those with it will experience the classic immune-mediated response if they ingest wheat...but not necessarily other gluten-containing grains such as rye and barley.

                                            I have a chronic autoimmune disease of the endocrine system, and a variety of somewhat serious GI diseases from birth
                                            there's actually a high comorbidity of Celiac with other autoimmune conditions...it's one of the first things i discussed with my last endocrinologist, who was horrified that none of my prior doctors had addressed the issue in light of my thyroid disease and chronic lifelong digestive issues.

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Okay--makes sense about the allergy thing. I had my first ever allergy panel run last year. I saw they ran a wheat test, but was told that it was different than Celiac testing. Was curious about it, but didn't ask. Thank you for the clarification!

                                              Yes, I know about the comorbidity of Celiac disease in autoimmune patients. Luckily I had a great endocrinologist who was very diligent about monitoring my blood through adolescence. He'd test all sorts of things on a weekly basis--I probably gave a couple pints of blood per month for 4+ years! It's a shame you weren't tested earlier and had to suffer all that time--I had similar experiences with my GI stuff. Wasn't officially DXd until my 20s when invasive tasting was deemed suddenly appropriate, despite being "nicely" tested since I was 8 or 9.

                                              Thanks for the info! Pretty interesting stuff to learn through this thread.

                                      2. I had a friend in high school who was allergic to peanuts, milk, citrus fruits, pork, blueberries and, until she was 16, wheat. I remember when she was able to start eating wheat products and thought that wheat bread was oddest tasting thing. But there was never any drama about it. I invited her to my birthday party one year, and she called ahead to ask about the menu and offered to bring some food for herself if that made it easier.

                                        1. My MIL is neither reasonable nor agreeable and she claims to have multiple food sensitivities to which we must all cater. She makes restaurant staff miserable. So yep, she definitely falls into the attention-seeking category you described.

                                          I do think that unless a person has a sensitivity diagnosed by an actual MD, there probably is a big mental health component to their symptoms. I'm not saying the symptoms aren't real, just that there's probably some other underlying issue. If you focus on yourself long enough, you will eventually find something wrong!

                                          My son, OTOH, does have a life-threatening peanut allergy, which he states matter of factly and that's it. However, he's also really, really picky, but will cop to that and not try to claim it's an allergy. If he hates the food he's served, he won't complain (unless I'm the one who served it). He'll just not eat it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Isolda

                                            I'm lactose intolerant (it also runs in my family). Never been diagnosed, but have gone to GI docs who basically told me if it bothers you don't eat it. I stay away from dairy and don't make a fuss about it.

                                          2. Aaack. I can't imagine being the co-ordinator of one of their meetups. The overlapping and singular exclusions of a mod-large group would leave my head spinning.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: DuchessNukem

                                              That is an excellent point! Just coordinating schedules with friends is hard enough. Adding all that to the mix....wow.

                                            2. My boyfriend is allergic (deadly kind) to tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and then eggs and milk when they aren't in like... cake (baked goods are fine-- proteins are denatured or something. It's mysterious, and when he tries to explain it people often give him a "what" face.) But we can go out to eat basically anywhere (Thai is iffy what with all the nuts, but everywhere else is basically fine) and he's very easy-going and not at all picky about food. (In fact, we often don't even bother to tell people he has allergies, he just eats things that don't contain them.) Other people are always much more worried than either of us are (case in point, my family still has to ask him if he can eat things like plain pasta all the time. Yes, yes he can.) But he also actually had allergic reactions as a child (I.E., it wasn't a "let's test this kid for no reason" kind of thing) and his family never treated him as a pariah or like he needed to be coddled, so he has no issues with food. (Reading over my shoulder her just said "It was easier to have food allergies back before everyone had food allergies (or thought they did), because people weren't nearly so over-cautious and freaked out about that kind of stuff. My mom just taught me what to avoid, so I did.")

                                              But y'know, he's also the kind of guy who thinks it's funny when I joke about making him peanut-butter shrimp cake for his birthday, so hey. Not everyone with food allergies is an uptight nutcase (although I have certainly met people of that variety as well)-- my University bred folks with allergies like wild for some reason, so I've met lots of very happy, normal, well-adjusted people with allergies and sensitivities and totally healthy relationships with food... as well as those who are like AHH I'LL DIE IF I LOOK AT A PIECE OF BREAD THROUGH GLASS and then don't read the labels when eating candy because of course CANDY couldn't have gluten in it. *rolls eyes* People with food allergies are just like everyone else-- some of them are normal, and some are... not. I think you probably just don't hear as much about the normal ones, since they don't tend to yell about their allergies as much.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: HJSoulma

                                                ...or start meetup groups based on them? :P

                                                1. re: HJSoulma

                                                  "I think you probably just don't hear as much about the normal ones, since they don't tend to yell about their allergies as much."

                                                  I think that's the crux of the whole matter -- there are those who scream "look at me, I have problems!" and then those who just quietly say "sorry, I can't eat this, but I'll have seconds on that."

                                                  The problem is that for those with genuine, medically-recognized sensitivities, it is a matter ranging from pretty extreme discomfort anywhere to a horribly painful death.

                                                  Those who claim gluten sensitivity or any sort of allergies to cover up the fact that they simply don't like it are causing more problems than they're solving, because when so many people aren't genuinely affected, they just say they are, it densensitizes the rest of us.

                                                  When inviting people for dinner the first time, I always ask what the sensitivites/allergies/can't stand items are -- it makes my job easier, and it makes it easier for my guests to relax and enjoy themselves.

                                                  I routinely cook for vegans, vegetarians, folks who follow any of several sets of religion-oriented dietary restrictions, and people who are *legitimately* allergic to nuts, dairy, and shellfish....so I can find a way around darned near anything -- except narcissistic entitlement and control-freak childishness.

                                                  1. re: HJSoulma

                                                    I just wanted to chime in again since my post is in clear support of the OP (which I've learned now must mean original poster - takes me forever to figure these things out), and I am in support given his/her post.

                                                    I have both friends with "real" food allergies (the deadly shellfish kind, etc), which I am perfectly happy and willing to "cook around" so that everyone can enjoy the meal/party. I also have kids in the neighborhood with allergies (nuts, etc) that I ALWAY take into account at neighborhood functions and even label what I put out at parties with ingredients I know to be allergy issues so that the kids and adults can eat around whatever they need/want to.

                                                    This is VERY different from the type of person I know to fit the OP (now I've used it twice in one post) description. This person is allergic to at least 20 different ingredients, most of which have little to no connection and it constantly grows.

                                                    Being allergic to 20+ items, having to have a grand inquisition with each waiter, and having to storm into the kitchen of every restaurant to speak directly with the chef to review allergies and confirm that they understand the allergies and know your table number . . . . this is when it becomes psychosomatic and not about "real" food allergies . . . just to give some perspective on what I think the OP (three times) meant to me.

                                                    1. re: thimes

                                                      Masterful use of the term, thimes. :)

                                                    2. re: HJSoulma

                                                      "It was easier to have food allergies back before everyone had food allergies" - I love that line!

                                                    3. I keep coming back to this post. It's hard to deal with the awesome friend versus all these food rules thing as far as responding. Good friends and family members do not set the bar so high that no one can make the grade. So, I would certainly do everything in my power to make my home comfortable for others, but some people (including family) can change it up and on a dime so that it's no win.

                                                      I have a family member who does food attack everyone. I tried really hard to adjust and meet her rules and standards. Now that it is down to hot dog weiners (no buns), potato chips, boiled chicken no seasoning, and rice, well . . . I can't figure out the healthy in that. I can provide those few foods but put a bowl of fresh fruits out and get the big sigh eye roll about me being insensitive, although everyone else is starving and glad to have a fruit bowl at least.

                                                      Yes. I am a good cook. No. I don't have anyone over now. Yes. I do need to regroup and have family and friends over who do like to eat. If you have a real food Natzi in the fam and get burned over and over, then it can mess with your head.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: CyndiA

                                                        Food attack - that's hilarious, Cyndi.

                                                        "Awesome Friends With Food Sensitivities" was actually the name given to a meetup.com group by its founder who wrote the group description I quoted in the OP looking to find other friends based on shared (and numerous) food sensitivities.

                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                          Whew. I can imagine the dinner conversation if it's anything like the stuff I hear. Apparently some foods cause hyperactivity while others cause neon colored feces and others result in chapped bottoms . . . and you get the picture (hope you were not eating while reading).

                                                      2. My SO has food allergies however we never share them - he simply chooses other options. A funny situation - In my profession I was reviewing applications for long term care. I had an application that noted an allergy to soup. I called the referring organization and questioned it however was told point blank the client had an allergy to soup. Despite much conversation they didn't sway on their diagnosis. Crazy.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: juliewong

                                                          I think "allergic to soup" may be one of my favorite disorders EVER. That is amazing.

                                                        2. i have Celiac disease and fructose malabsorption, i'm seriously intolerant to soy, and wickedly sensitive to salt. and it truly SUCKS...particularly because i love food! i've found that those of us whose food options are restricted out of necessity for genuine health reasons are often less difficult or loud about it than picky eaters who just *choose* not to eat entire food groups or cuisines.

                                                          i can't stand being the one who makes it difficult for everyone else to enjoy their meal so i tend to go out of my way to make sure that doesn't happen. if dining out with friends, i choose the restaurant whenever possible. they all know i'm a total food geek so the task usually falls to me anyway, and this way i can be sure to choose a place where i'll have at least a few options and won't need to make a federal case out of it when ordering. regardless of who picks the restaurant, i always look at the menu in advance *and* notify the restaurant of the gluten & soy issues ahead of time (the fructose thing is easy to manage by avoiding certain foods, and i just request that my food not be salted when i order it).

                                                          if i'm going to someone's house and i don't know if there will be anything safe for me to eat, i have something before i go, and usually stash a snack in my purse or the car in case i'm starving when i leave.

                                                          for family holidays & celebrations when i'm NOT hosting and doing all the cooking i'll bring at least one or two dishes that i can eat.

                                                          when i'm hosting - whether it's a large gathering or dinner for one or two friends - i cook for my guests, not for me, but 99% if the time i can come up with a menu that's naturally free of all my triggers and still caters to their preferences. in fact, those who know about my limitations and have been guests at my table are always surprised by how easily i can pull together a seemingly "normal" (and delicious!) meal that i can safely enjoy with them.

                                                          it's only a problem if you make it one.

                                                          1. I have a particularly awesome daughter (ok, maybe I am biased!) who has a food allergy. She is allergic to raw fruits. Fruits cause facial rash & swelling, mouth & throat itching. You wouldn't believe how often I hear the list": "what about apples? oranges? kiwi? surely she can have pears? peaches?" etc. Nope, no fruits. Trust me, you don't want to deal with it, she & I surely don't. Now, to be fair, she can be dramatic about some things, but never foods. And, after all, she's 10 - the drama years are just beginning!

                                                            I do get annoyed by people who claim allergies when they just do not like something. There are a number of foods I avoid due to unpleasant effects due to a medical condition. I don't make a scene, I find something to eat or eat later. I don't think my food issues are anyone else's problems, and I am raising my daughter to act the same way. I know I have annoyed one family member by refusing (politely) to eat the main dish she served, but I was as inobtrusive as I could possibly be, and ate bread, salad, sides as I was able. I don't want to offend her, but she cooks things I am unable to eat, so I don't see a way out of that one.

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: elfcook

                                                              I also think it is rude when a host pushes food on a guest, or notes they didn't eat something and says "What you don't like my cooking?" or "You should just try it, the way I make it is really good."
                                                              It is really unfortunate if the dinner table becomes some kind of battle ground.

                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                Similarly, and in response to the person above who complained about allergy/sensitivity sufferers who detail the symptoms (and I agree, I don't want the details!), I also think it's rude when the host or dining companions press for details about what happens if that person actually eats it. It can make for awkward conversation if someone demurs to describe it, and the host keeps pressing.

                                                                1. re: escondido123

                                                                  I don't think that's ever happened to me before, but I agree that would be most awkward and unpleasant.

                                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                                    That happened to me when I was a teenager and didn't know how to speak up for myself. I have hated cheese since I was a child. I slept over at a friend's house. Her mom made baked chicken fingers (which I ate a lot of) and a cheese casserole- which I passed on. The mom never said anything, but my "friend" kept pushing me to eat it, and acted as though I were insulting the mother by not tasting it. Gee, who's making it into an issue now? If someone actually were to be insulted, I probably would just look at them like they're crazy. Honestly, how else can you respond to that kind of behavior? The exception of course is if I were in a foreign country. I'm hopefully visiting Croatia with my friend who has family there. He promised to let them know of my cheese aversion, but obviously if they forget I will do my best not to insult them. Truthfully though I still wouldn't be able to eat cheese, even if a 90 year old nana had slaved over her stove for 10 hours and looked at me like she was about to cry. I'm sorry- it's just not possible:} [I will spare you the horrific details of what my body would do if I did manage to choke down that bite]

                                                                  2. re: elfcook

                                                                    I have this problem! I don't think it's an allergy but rather a sensitivity (unless her throat is closing up- that doesn't happen to me). Many raw fruits (peaches, plums, apples, cherries, kiwi...) make my throat itch like crazy and my eyes water. As I can still breathe on occasion I will eat these fruits and then yell at my husband for letting me eat them:} Usually a hot cup of tea afterwards will help. It's so annoying! I honestly can say I'd rather get the same reaction from chocolate so I can have my raw fruit! I don't think it's an allergy because I can eat cooked OR frozen versions of the same fruits- no problems. Perhaps some enzyme prior to cooking/freezing causes the itching/burning in my throat?

                                                                    1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                      During watermelon season I've learned to keep a couple of benadryl in my pocket. It's actually all melons im allergic to, but watermelon is the one I have the hardest time saying no to. I don't know about cooking, but I do know I can't drink midori either.

                                                                      1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                        I have the same exact allergy and I've found macerating the fruit works like freezing/cooking it for me. Maybe it would work for you, too.

                                                                        1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                          my mother has a similar allergy to stone fruits - can't eat them raw, but can have them cooked. Unfortunately, the problem has started to expand to other fruits as well (strawberries, melons), particularly when they are quite ripe.

                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                            My mom can't eat raw pineapple but she can eat it cooked. It breaks her mouth out in blisters.

                                                                      2. I think its all about who u are. If your a drama queen( king) you'll be dramatic about this
                                                                        I just cope.....sometimes I don't eat much - not my hosts problem. If they ask I'll tell but I don't want to be a burden, its embarrassing. When I have people over I cook normal food for them. My food problems are mine not theirs.
                                                                        An email like the one you received is pretty weird and attention needing, i think

                                                                        1. When the "food sensitivites" change day by day and week by week and month by month . . .

                                                                          Example - I don't have x and it's on the "fine to eat/drink list." Then I have it, and it's on "no no." I pick said item up again, and it's a problem item after it was requested the time before when I did not get it after being told it was off limits the time before and after. Fine when I don't have it. Not fine when I do have it.

                                                                          I do have some food problems, but I keep them to myself and adjust. The freshener spray on salads at restaurants rips me. While I love salads, I don't eat them out. I know that not all restaurants spray the salad and veggies, but I don't chance it. But, I don't mention it. I just eat the things that don't get me.

                                                                          1. I have to say, the one person I know with an extensive food "allergy" list (and it is VERY extensive) is also "particular, attention seeking with apparent control issues".

                                                                            I also believe the majority of her food allergies are psychosomatic. Wish I could say I believed differently but have to side with you on this one.

                                                                            19 Replies
                                                                            1. re: thimes

                                                                              Absolutely. We all know this person. In addition to some of them having "psychosomatic allergies" many are just picky eaters who just dont want to have to say they dont like a bunch of stuff, so its easier to say they "can't eat it" David Chang has told some hilarious stories about such claims in a few articles, my favorite of which was the lady who claimed to be allergic to salt.

                                                                              1. re: thimes

                                                                                For years my dad had people convinced that he was severely allergic to any pork product (or even items cross-contaminated, such as pancakes cooked on a grill where bacon had been, etc.). I discovered through a cooking "oops" that he in fact could eat pork without any detriment, though I neglected to tell him that afterwards.

                                                                                From that time on, I added ham, pork, bacon, etc. to meals when I wanted to without telling him about it and he did just fine with no negative side effects. It is not my practice to lie or be sneaky about food like this, but he could be totally irrational and would have worked himself into a state of extreme gastrointestinal distress had I confessed so I have continued in my treachery.

                                                                                1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                  My sister i law does not eat any red meat; she says that it is just gross. One morning she brought some chicken sausages to my house for a brunch. She said they were her favorite. I turned the package over and read the ingredients and discovered the sausages were stuffed in pork casings. I didn't tell her.

                                                                                  1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                    I hesitate to reply, but I will. I am one of those people who has chosen not to eat pork (I made the choice over 20 years ago, and I made the choice concurrent with the choice to stop eating another food to which I had a significant digestive sensitivity). No great fanfare - it was a simple life choice. I don't make a big deal about it, if you serve pork, I'd just politely decline and eat the salad, chicken, whatever else you served. I've also eaten pork products on a number of occasions when it's served to me simply to keep the peace, though I would prefer not to.

                                                                                    I would be truly shocked, and deeply dismayed, if I found out a beloved family member was surreptitiously sneaking me pork simply b/c they 'knew better' than me. It's my life choice, let me have it. If it didn't fit their lifestyle, then they could simply not invite me over to eat. But to be treated in this way especially by a trusted family member would really disappoint me.

                                                                                    1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                      I understand what you are saying, Cachetes, and I agree in principal. You would have to know my dad and his eccentricities to understand my reason for doing this. I would never put his health at risk or interfere with food choices made for religious or other personal beliefs. My husband is a vegetarian and I take great care to make sure I eliminate things that can sneak in meat products (like soups, things with animal stock, etc.) even though he isn't that diligent.

                                                                                      I have chosen to weigh being deceptive over something I know is a non-issue in reality vs the practical matter of feeding the whole family. I cook for my brother, mother, daughter, husband (vegetarian) as well as my dad and myself. My best meatloaf recipe contains pork and ground beef and that's what I make. (Veggie-boy husband has to fend for himself on those nights).

                                                                                      Sadly, my dad has developed dementia to such a point where now he doesn't really remember anyway.

                                                                                      1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                        Oh my, with all of those people, your cooking challenges are of a whole different scope. I imagine there must be days where you wish you could just hire a chef and be done with it!

                                                                                        1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                          Yes, challenges indeed. Most of the time I enjoy it but when my after-work schedule is busier than usual, I would love to have a chef! One that doesn't mind accomodating everyone's needs and preferences!

                                                                                          While challenging, for sure, I feel very blessed that my parents have been able to live with us and that my daughter is able to have such a close relationship with them.

                                                                                        2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                          Our condolences to to all of you who have family members who have suffered or are presently suffering from dementia. Unfortunately such discussions are off topic for this board. We have removed the off topic replies; thank you for understanding.

                                                                                    2. re: thimes

                                                                                      Yeah, I know someone like that too. No gluten, dairy, soy, vinegar, wine, I could go on. I also believe most (if not all) of her "allergies" are psychosomatic. She thinks she's allergic to something if "it makes my face break out" or "it makes me feel tired." Her "gluten allergy" used to drive me crazy, especially - she's one of those people who will make things really difficult for the kitchen because of her no-gluten rule yet will eat a cookie for dessert. Thank the stars, I never see this person anymore.

                                                                                      I personally have no food allergies but am definitely sympathetic to people who really have them - my husband is severely allergic to bell pepper and I'm always watching out for them like a hawk. But people like my former acquaintance - I have no patience for.

                                                                                      1. re: uwsister

                                                                                        She must be the twin sister of a friend I had (past tense) who wouldn't eat cheese with animal rennet. I made him a separate veggie pasta with vegetable rennet cheese and then saw him eating brie that I had out. "don't eat that! it's not strictly vegetarian!" "well, yea, but it's brie." He also claimed to be allergic to onions but not to green onions or garlic.

                                                                                        And then I have a friend with a gluten allergy and who is also a vegetarian. I'm happy to cook with care for her--cause she has an actual allergy as opposed to being a liar. Of course, I'm a kosher keeping mostly pescatarian with a ridiculous list of what I will and won't eat. (I try to keep it simple for a host--I tell them if there's one vegetarian thing to eat, I'll be fine.)

                                                                                        1. re: lrhr

                                                                                          I'm vegetarian and I don't eat cheese with animal rennet. Just saying.

                                                                                          1. re: Muchlove

                                                                                            the point was, I believe, that Irhr's "friends" claim one thing but do another. Unless you're posting that with one hand on the keyboard and another hand around a wedge of animal-rennet Brie, I'm not sure why you're stating it. (not snark, sort of a "okay...and?")

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              Sorry, I thought the post was saying it was in some way weird and unheard of.

                                                                                              I'll go back in my corner! :P

                                                                                              1. re: Muchlove

                                                                                                I use veggie rennet in my cheese, I'm not vegan or vegitarian, but it's available, and I can see no difference in product, so why not make it?

                                                                                                Plus it's nice do something for friends who other wise don't get to eat to much mozza.

                                                                                            2. re: Muchlove

                                                                                              Sunshine got it right. My ex friend claimed to be a strict vegetarian and I was more than happy to make a separate dish with the type of cheese he would eat. Then he ate the regular rennet brie. With gusto. Simply because he liked brie enough to not care about the origin of the rennet. So, he was a situationally strict vegetarian. He also conflated foods he didn't like into allergies. Which makes him a liar in my book.

                                                                                              1. re: lrhr

                                                                                                That would have really bothered me. You went to the trouble to make him a dish being sensative to his food restrictions and he ate the regular stuff. Not only did he waste your time but what if you had only made so much for the non vegetarians? Should they go hungry because he is "situationaly vegetarian?" It sounds selfish to me!

                                                                                                1. re: joe777cool

                                                                                                  My brother's mother in law was invited to my house for dinner.. She said she could not eat anything with garlic in it, so I ditched my first menu to create one that was garlic free. The day of the event comes, and she doesn't show. When I asked my brother why not, he said she was concerned there would still be garlic in things. Last time I invited her for dinner!

                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                    ugh.... how ignorant! My MIL is a pain in the rear when it comes to "spicy" (basically anything with garlic, pepper, added salt, or any herbs/spices in it)...at first I would try to accomodate, then even plain food wasnt to her liking (plain chicken/steak cooked until all moisture is gone). Now any party we have I will provide some hot dogs/hamburgers and she fends for herself.

                                                                                                    Sometimes the more you go out of the way for people the more they expect it and the less they appreciate it.

                                                                                                2. re: lrhr

                                                                                                  Simply because he liked brie enough to not care about the origin of the rennet. So, he was a situationally strict vegetarian.


                                                                                                  I worked with one of those. She shoved her vegetarianism down our throats but it all went out the window when we ordered pepperoni pizza for lunch. Somehow, she had no problem with that.

                                                                                        2. I think it is important to separate food allergies from food sensitivites from not liking the flavor of certain foods from just been a picky eater. I have no food allergies or sensitivities but cilantro tastes like soap to me and I don't like organ meats. If someone specifically asks me if there's anything I don't eat, I will say so, but when something has a lot of cilantro I just try to work around it which can be tough sometimes in So Cal with all the Mexican dishes. But I would never give a list of what I don't eat unprompted. I think it behooves guests to work with what their host serves and if their allergies are severe, to bring their own food, since I wouldn't assume my host could make a meal that I would deem safe. It is also just rude to sit down at a table and begin to talk about what you can't eat, don't like etc. And please don't tell me "Oh I'd love to eat XXXX but it repeats on me, or gives me gas or whatever." As someone posted here, I may be paraphrasing, don't yuck my yum.

                                                                                          38 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: escondido123

                                                                                            Extremely well-stated, escondido 123. There is a huge difference between not liking something and risking anaphylactic shock and subsequent death if eating a food allergen.

                                                                                            And as you pointed out, no one needs to hear all the lovely details as to why someone can't or won't eat a particular food. Sometimes less is more.

                                                                                            BTW, I totally agree about cilantro. I keep trying it so I can learn to love it the way others do but it still tastes like soap to me.

                                                                                            1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                              I heard an explanation on NPR. They tested people and discovered there is the soapy taste but for most people there is another wonderful taste that basically covers up the soapy taste. But some people can't taste that other wonderful taste, so for us the soap is front and center. So I no longer feel guilty or picky. PS I have found that cooked cilantro has much less of that taste so I go for jarred rather than fresh salsa if I'm buying for myself.

                                                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                Wow, that is very interesting. Does that mean we soap-tasters are extra discriminating?!? I have noticed the same thing about cooked cilantro. I had some in a spicy corn chowder a few months ago and loved it so much that I decided I had been all wrong about cilantro and started trying it frequently again, mostly in fresh salsas. Back to the soap taste again, much to my dismay. So that also explains why I typically like jarred salsa so much better. Fascinating...thanks for sharing!

                                                                                                1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                  It probably means we don't have as good a sense of taste, because if we did we would taste that other flavor and cilantro wouldn't taste soapy.

                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                    My understanding is that those of us who taste soap in cilantro ARE super-tasters with an extra 32 taste buds in our mouth.

                                                                                                    We also tend to find coffee on the bitter side and prefer it with cream and/or sugar, to tame the bitterness.

                                                                                                    And we can detect TSA in wine more acutely than others.

                                                                                                    Lastly, we tend to need less salt in our food...

                                                                                                    Any of this sound familiar?

                                                                                                    1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                                      More interesting info! Definitely true for me about the coffee. Also chocolate. I really don't care for dark chocolate and even semi-sweet chocolate seems bitter to me at times. Sadly, I can't drink wine so am not sure about that one. I do love salty foods, but have a low tolerance for over-salting.

                                                                                                      1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                                        My cilantro-hatingest friend takes his coffee black and salts his food without even tasting it first. I, on the other hand, love cilantro, and find any coffee too bitter to drink. And I prefer to put salt in while cooking, not before eating.

                                                                                                        1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                                          This NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/din...
                                                                                                          has another explanation of the whole thing, that chemicals in cilantro are also in soap! To make it less soapy, crush it first and the chemical changes. Will have to try that. As to super taster, never heard or read that.

                                                                                                          1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                                            I am also a cilantro-sensitive, and I drink coffee with tons of cream and sugar. I don't even like caffeinated sodas because they taste too bitter to me. I do not drink wine, so I can't speak to that, but I also do not salt food.

                                                                                                      2. re: escondido123

                                                                                                        My son just told me about this study. I love fresh cilantro, but can still see how other people might describe the flavor as soapy. The first time I ate it, it reminded me of bleach.

                                                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                          I think that is something a lot of cilantro/whatever haters overlook. There is a kind of (harmless) self-flattery that they can taste things that others can't. And I'm sure that's true in some cases.

                                                                                                          But here's the thing - whether you enjoy something is not only a function of your tastebuds. I can taste the 'soapy' flavor to cilantro. And I still like it. Is coffee bitter to me? Heck yes. And I drink a dozen cups a week. I'm sure some people may actually experience the flavors of these foods differently than I do, have more or less or different tastebuds than I do. But that is not strictly necessary for someone to taste the same thing that I like and find that they hate it. And vice versa.

                                                                                                          The point - taste is more complicated than what can be measured on the tongue. Associations are very important. So are your prior experiences - while one person might taste cardamom and think 'ewww, it tastes like perfume,' another might smell perfume and think 'mmmm, it smells like delicious cardamom.' They both make the same association, but have opposite reactions.

                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                            I don't have any idea if I am a "supertaster" or not, but I definitely know that fresh cilantro tastes like soap to me.

                                                                                                            I was a picky and unadventurous eater as a child (hanging head in shame). I am raising my daughter to be the opposite and have been trying to be a good example of trying new things or re-trying things I thought I didn't like. I really wish I could get past things like the soapy taste of cilantro so I could enjoy them the way most people seem to. Sigh. I'll keep trying!

                                                                                                            1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                              I think that's a good attitude to have.

                                                                                                              It's not some personal failing to dislike something that others enjoy. I don't much like tangerines or blood oranges (which are hot right now, it seems). Or peanuts. But if someone takes care to make me something they're proud of that uses one of these ingredients, I'll try to keep an open mind and give it a taste. For one, just to be polite. But also because I don't subscribe to the immutability of taste preferences. There have been plenty of foods I once disliked but now enjoy. And some I still don't. Only way to know for sure is to give old dislikes the occasional second or third or fourteenth chance.

                                                                                                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                A good friend recently told me that he used to hate cilantro. This wouldn't be so bad, but he eats at my house at least once a week, and during the summer I throw cilantro around and in just about anything. So I was appalled at myself and embarrassed and apologized for subjecting him to it for years and telling him his manners were too good and he should have said something! But he said he's actually come to like it. And then proceeded to plow through sour cream chicken enchiladas (with cilantro in 'em), and multiple helpings of an avocado/tomato/cilantro salad. So he wasn't kidding or just being polite. I'm just not sure how it happened, and neither is he.

                                                                                                                1. re: lsmutko

                                                                                                                  Awww, that is a nice cilantro story. I haven't given up yet. I don't have a lot of serious food dislikes, but the ones I do are usually textural issues, not flavor issues. I don't think I'm ever going to "outgrow" my textural peculiarities but I have no problem at all with the texture of cilantro so I will keep trying.

                                                                                                                  1. re: lsmutko

                                                                                                                    I think that's pretty common. I used to hate cilantro. I just kept "forcing" myself to eat it in the hopes that one day I'd like it. Now it's one of my favorite herbs and I can't get enough of it.

                                                                                                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                  So true. Associations are a big factor... Much like with rosewater and gin. I want to dab them behind my ears, not eat/drink them.

                                                                                                                3. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                  and I find it grassy rather than soapy -- like you went out and took a big bite of clippings out of the mower bag.

                                                                                                                  I like it in moderation -- can't have salsa without cilantro -- but too much of it just puts me off.

                                                                                                                4. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                  I read this somewhere and it has to do with your sense of smell which ultimately affects your taste buds. those people who taste soap aren't able to smell the rest of the flavors that those who love the taste can smell.

                                                                                                                  but back to what i was going to say...is that people with too many 'food sensitivities' really annoy me. those people need to just get over it. my husband had serious gut issues and ended up in the hospital. he went gluten free for a year and fixed himself. my toddler son has actual food allergies, the kind that sends you to the hospital and risk your life kind.

                                                                                                                  these people can't help being sick. my husband knew that his gut issues wouldn't kill him but it was debilitating. my son on the other hand can die from eating certain foods. then there are those who think they're allergic but when you dig deep a lot of them just think they're allergic or sensitive. i recently joined a meetup (which i truly regret) for those who have kids with food allergies. well, after the first meeting turns out the 'leader' hasn't taken her 2 yr old to the doctor since he was 5 months old! she thinks he's allergic to gluten. great! really? so i ask whether she's had him tested and she claims doctors don't know anything!

                                                                                                                  those are the people who give people with true food allergies a bad name.

                                                                                                                  1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                    trolley - I think you're describing what I think I am reading a lot of people trying to express, that so many of these people with multiple "sensitivities" don't really have documented or definable reactions. It's usually described as some nebulous effect, such as "makes me feel tired," or "when he eats it he is cranky," etc. IDK, seems like a whole lot of trouble to go to without a pending medical event....

                                                                                                                    1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                      i want to recant my initial post. as i chug along life and become more acquainted with food allergies and people with intolerances i'm starting to become more aware and that having a food intolerance can be pretty debilitating. you may not die from anaphylaxis but it can cause all sorts of problems in the long run if not addressed. i just read what i wrote initially and feel it's a bit overboard.

                                                                                                                      however, there are those who do fake 'allergies' so they don't have to eat certain foods and they give the rest of the people who truly do have issues a bad name. it's the whole one rotten apple spoils the bunch situation. i wish adults can grow up and understand that it's ok to not like certain foods. yes, it's really ok.

                                                                                                                      1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                        and those of us who aren't faking appreciate your new-found sensitivity :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                          sorry if i sounded harsh, ghg! just was ignorant. now i'm more aware...

                                                                                                                          1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                            not at all! believe me, the fakers & trend-followers probably piss me off more than they do you ;)

                                                                                                                5. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                  Yes, exactly! I really (I mean, really, really) do NOT want to hear precisely how this food affects a person. It's enough to say, "I'm sorry I don't eat that" or, if applicable, "I have a serious allergy to that."

                                                                                                                  But I do not need to know about the gross digestive symptoms. No, thank you!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                    That goes two ways... People shouldn't ask about that stuff. I have celiac disease so I can't eat gluten. I do NOT want discuss my symptoms with anyone, especially at a party or at dinner. But you would not believe how many times someone will ask me, as food is being served, "so what happens if you eat gluten?" Drives me nuts. That's personal stuff, not dinner conversation, and frankly none of their business. I need to come up with a snappy answer for that kind of question. I usually just say I get sick, and if they press for details I say I'd rather not discuss it.

                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                      Good point, Mel. I think I've probably asked someone what results from their food allergies out of curiosity, not realizing how awkward or exhausting they might find the discussion. Thanks for the reminder.

                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                        I was going to say... I've been lactose intolerant since I was about 13 and the butt of many jokes growing up. Even now, many people think it's real funny to start guessing what happens to me if I eat dairy. I never tell people I'm lactose intolerant. It's not a big deal and nobody's business anyway. But there's something about dairy products that starts people on a barrage of questions if I politely refuse a milkshake, slice of pizza, or cream-based sauce. I'm constantly surprised by how willing Americans are to discuss GI symptoms over dinner.

                                                                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                          Yep, I've gotten that question when I say I'm lactose intolerant. (Usually, I just pass on the ice cream or whatever without saying anything, but sometimes, people ask why I'm not eating it.) And shockingly, some will also ask what happens. I thought everyone was vaguely aware of what lactose intolerance is, since it's a natural condition, not a disease) for about 2/3 of the world's population. I usually just say, "You really do not want to know."

                                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                            although "explosive diarrhea" does tend to stop the conversation cold...

                                                                                                                            (even if that's NOT what happens to you!)

                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                              love it. good way to get people to drop the topic, eh?

                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                i heard one person simply say 'its wet and messy', that pretty much stopped the conversation as well.

                                                                                                                            2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                              But you would not believe how many times someone will ask me, as food is being served, "so what happens if you eat gluten?"
                                                                                                                              happened to me *just last night* when i was out to dinner with old friends i hadn't seen in more than 10 years. i've learned that the easiest response is "You don't want to know, it ain't pretty." that usually shuts 'em up ;)

                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                I know that I'm a bit late in seeing this thread, but this always annoys me! Especially at restaurants where the server asks you!! It's really none of their business.
                                                                                                                                My answer is usually "I get to spend a really fun and painful night with a bucket/toilet/etc," which tends to work.

                                                                                                                                In regards to OP question, whether these food allergies are made up/control issues, yes some of them are, but many are not. I do not have celiac's, but cannot eat most acidic foods (ie tomatoes, citrus, bell peppers, etc)- which also takes out most marinades, barbeques, ketchups, many sauces, etc. But I have been able to tolerate adding a small (teeny) amount of lemon juice to certain dishes- which people have wondering if I wasn't just making it up. My mother has even "forgotten" to mention adding ketchup to a dish before, so that I could "learn to get over it" (she only did that ONCE). Allergies, like tastes, can change over time (while many don't). For instance, I can now eat sparing amounts of lemon juice without my stomach swelling. However, I now cannot even touch bell peppers without breaking out.

                                                                                                                                Some of the ways you may not notice all of the people with food allergies, are that people who aren't creating drama find creative ways around it. For instance,
                                                                                                                                -I always try to bring a dish to a party.
                                                                                                                                -I became involved with party planning/potlucks at my office, so that I could ask people to write dish labels.
                                                                                                                                -I have complimented people on their lovely dishes, and asked how to make it before I taste it.
                                                                                                                                -Pushing food around the plate.
                                                                                                                                -Eating more side dishes/things you can eat.
                                                                                                                                -Keeping a snack bar in my purse/eating something before I arrive.

                                                                                                                                Just my $0.02, but it really bothers me that people A) have "allergies" that are really dislikes or are done for attention or B) don't take allergies seriously. Just because you don't see me in pain the moment I eat something, doesn't mean I'm not allergic. Remember, it takes 20-30 minutes to reach your stomach.
                                                                                                                                Sorry, rant over.

                                                                                                                                1. re: ponygirl87

                                                                                                                                  I agree that most people who actually have food allergies are usually not too dramatic about it and make their own arrangements. I have a severe allergy to tree nuts. In the last 4 years I've been in the hospital twice. Most people with food allergies ( myself included) would really prefer not to have them since at best they are a pain in the you know what..and at worst..life-threatening and scary.
                                                                                                                                  If I am not sure, then I pass by a dish. Eating out can be a pain in places I don't go to often.I have become an expert in reading labels and to be honest have moved away from most prepared food in the grocery store. So..people who fake allergies just because they don't like a certain food are annoying to me as well.
                                                                                                                                  What is equally ..if not more annoying..are the holier than thou people who assume that people with "allergies" ( yes..those who put quotes around the word)..are faking it or dramatic.These are the people who will lie about the ingredients in a dish to "test your allergy"...( this happened to me..!) My comment to them is that I hope you never find yourself in the back of an ambulance because your throat has closed up and you can't breathe. It's not a pleasant feeling.
                                                                                                                                  Also..pony girl is spot on. Sometimes allergic reactions don't happen right away. In my case, it happens within 10-15 minutes..my docs have said it can take up to an hour or more.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: BlueMagic

                                                                                                                                    Also..pony girl is spot on. Sometimes allergic reactions don't happen right away. In my case, it happens within 10-15 minutes..my docs have said it can take up to an hour or more.
                                                                                                                                    same with gluten sensitivity reactions. occasionally it will manifest in some way on contact (e.g. spontaneous formation of blood blisters in my mouth & throat) or i'll begin to develop a migraine or itching all over my body after eating just a few bites...but often i won't realize until an hour or two later that i've been glutened.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                      Good heavens - I thought most gluten sensitivities were intestinal in nature -- I didn't realize they'd manifest that quickly or, erm, violently.

                                                                                                                                      (I'd never take someone's sensitivities/allergies lightly, by the way - just didn't realize the full effects of gluten sensitivity!)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                        various forms of intestinal distress are common (and unfortunately i get those too). but there's a really wide range of symptoms in gluten-sensitive individuals and Celiac patients - everything from skin reactions & rashes to sinus problems to joint pain.

                                                                                                                        2. I have a colleague who has quite severe allergies and appears to be an intelligent and reasonable person. I have Coeliac's disease and even I sometimes find such severe food allergies incomprehensible, but based on my experiences and some of the shared side effects that she and I have (severe stomach swelling) I believe it can be possible to be made ill by multiple allergies. What is behind the multi-allergies is beyond my understanding, but I think it is possible and serious. then again due to my Coeliac's disease I may be more sympathetic.

                                                                                                                          Though I think gluten is more straight forward then soy allergies or some other types of allergies, intolerances, etc describing what I can or can't eat can seem convoluted (it isn't if you're more aware of what is in both 'from scratch' recipes and in processed recipes) and I can see how it seems strange. If I've recently eaten something with gluten or am around people I don't know very well I can get panicky about what is in food and it may sound more shrill, but it is just because it makes me so ill and maybe that is why the person that sent you the note seems so hysterical. I just don't think she's expressed herself very well.

                                                                                                                          For example, with my Coeliac's disase:
                                                                                                                          If I eat something with just a bit of gluten (equiv to bread crumbs in butter OR ice cream that isn't high quality and contains a wheat based binding agent) then my stomach will start to swell in about 30 minutes and within an hour I go from having a reasonable flat stomach to looking like I am 4 to 6 months pregnant. So much so that my trousers have even unzipped themselves repeatedly or if wearing a skirt I have to pull the waistband up to my rib cage to give my stomach room.

                                                                                                                          As long as I go to good restaurants (independent or mid-range places tend to know what is in the food and how it is prepared), I can eat out without issue. Chain places are harder as are picnics and potlucks. The big issue with these three occasions is these are times when food is often processed and made with commercially produced sauces, ice creams, salad dressing, etc that are made with wheat-based binding agents.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: YummaYum

                                                                                                                            Thanks, Yumma! I appreciate the enlightenment .

                                                                                                                            The Man has a similar reaction when he drinks certain wheat beers, so I can easily wrap my mind around having a sensitivity or two. I suppose in the realm of human experience, it's quite possible to have all those allergies.

                                                                                                                            Maybe I actually even know people who do but manage them so discreetly that I never hear about it.

                                                                                                                          2. I've always been a really picky eater, even into adulthood. After (not for weight loss) stomach surgery, the list of what I can eat has been severely reduced.

                                                                                                                            I'd never whine about it. I can always find something on the menu at a restaurant that I'd like and can eat. Same would apply to an amusement park with multiple options. Potlucks can be a challenge, but I always ask if a specific ingredient that may not be obvious is in it (or I smell the item if the maker isn't around).