Exaggerating Food Allergies Is No Big Deal

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food allergies exaggerated
A Welcome Sign for the Allergic
If you are currently alive and speak to other humans on the planet, you know someone with food allergies, or food sensitivities. Perhaps you didn't when you were growing up in the halcyon days of the 1980s, but guess what? That's all changed, people, and it's time to stop saying, "In my day no one was allergic to peanuts!"

Which is why this research being published by the Jaffe Allergy Center regarding the disparity between people who claim to have food allergies, vs. those who actually do, is kind of annoying. It seems that some people may be exaggerating about what foods they are allergic to at the dinner table Because while only three or four percent of Americans have food allergies, around twenty percent make the claim.

For those of you ready to to be pissed off, here is your excuse. But for those of you with food allergies, or food sensitivities, you kind of get what's going on here, don't you?

As someone who has Celiac disease, I don't have a food allergy, per se. I have an autoimmune disease. But I don't distinguish between the two when I'm going out to eat and have to explain this to the waiter. After all, he could give a crap about my medical problems, he just wants to know what I'm not okay to eat on his menu.

I also know a lot of people who have bad reactions to certain foods, yet they haven't been diagnosed with a "food allergy." Still, they can't eat even a little taste of lobster without getting sick. Is their physical reaction any less dramatic because they don't have a food allergy label? Yes, in that they don't die. But should they be forced to suck it up to not annoy other diners? It's much easier to say to someone, "I'm allergic to lobster." Rather than, "Eating lobster means I'll have explosive diarrhea in your bathroom all night long."

The researchers do admit that many people who claim to be allergic, do have food sensitivities. Which is incredibly unpleasant as well, if you've ever experienced that particular kind of physical reaction. But for some reason people get really irritated by other people who can't eat certain foods. As if that person purposely is out to ruin your good time by refusing nightshade vegetables. What is it to you if I can't eat wheat due to an allergy or an autoimmune reaction? Really? And who are you to judge someone as not being allergic enough to avoid your world famous peanut butter cookies? Would you rather be relieved of the pressure to be considerate of others at the cost of someone's life?

I realize not everyone thinks food allergies are a load, but if you do -- you need to get over it. It's not about you, it's about the sensitive person's digestive and/or immune system.

Do you have a food allergy?

food, food allergies, eating out

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Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I'm allergic to avocado and it bugs when when people say I can't really be allergic because I've never been tested. Considering I've gone from just vomiting when I eat it to having an asthma attack and watery eyes when I sit too close to guacamole and getting a rash if I accidentally use a lotion with avocado oil I'm pretty sure it's an allergy.



On the other hand, there are a lot of people out there using the allergy excuse when they're nowhere close to allergic. Loads of people say they're allergic to something to try and make sure the kitchen doesn't put it in their food because they don't like it. That's not OK. Restaurant kitchens need to put a lot of extra work in to creating an allergen free meal from cleaning utensils to shutting down grills so they can be cleaned not to mention studying all the ingredients if it's a less common allergen.

Melis... Melissa042807

I know I have intolerances but I've never been officially diagnosed as "allergic" so I don't claim to be. And then some of my food omissions are by choice for my health. I try to keep it low-key. I don't like having a lot of fuss made over me. 


My 2 year old son might have a peanut allergy but we're not sure yet. All we know is any peanut consumption results in immediate and violent vomiting so we tell the church nursery workers and restaurants to please not give him peanuts because they make him sick. We want to have allergy testing done but don't know yet if our insurance covers it or if we'll have to pony up the dough. 

shera... sheramom4

Our local school district now requires a medical certification for food allergies or sensitivities because it is a big deal in a classroom setting to have parents claiming allergies when there is none and some parents were using the term "allergy" as a way of preventing their children from eating certain foods or preventing other parents from bringing non-preferred (by the other children) food into the classroom. For example, a parent doesn't want their child to eat chocolate and was claiming an allergy to prevent other kids from bringing chocolate treats into the classroom instead of simply bringing a treat for their own child and allowing the other kids to enjoy. In one quarter we went from my youngest's classroom having ten kids with allergies or sensitivities to one when this policy was put into place and the other parents admitted it was easier to say they had an allergy or sensitivity instead of having their child miss out because they didn't want them to have something.


And I agree about this out in places like restaurants as well. It takes an incredible amount of work in any public setting where food is served to prepare food ro prevent an allergic reaction and using the term in a case with no allergy or sensivity is not okay.

Flori... Floridamom96

"I realize not everyone thinks food allergies are a load, but if you do -- you need to get over it. It's not about you, it's about the sensitive person's digestive and/or immune system." And this is the reason people in your situation have such a difficult time getting people on your side. It's all about you, right? Good grief, will the narcissism never end?

Lynette Lynette

people don't take you seriously if you tell them you or your children have food"sensitivities".  Then they think a little won't hurt or contamination won't hurt.  Oh my gosh they are so wrong!  Gut renching pain wrong.  Horrible eczema flares wrong.  So yes I say food allergy.  And then many still don't get it.  So yeah. 

nonmember avatar JustMe

I totally get what you are saying (I have friends with sensitvities and one with Celiacs, also some allergies in my family) What I DO have an issue with is HONESTY... I don't CARE WHY you won't eat the food, just be real. Here's why: I like to cook I have a LOT of foods I can make and even more variations (to accomodate your preferences when needed) but if you have eaten food at my house and NOT told me you don't like something only to LATER (after you have eaten said food at my house) tell me you are ALLERGIC and will DIE if it touches the serving spoon.. I will accomodate you but I will always think you are a liar and will never want to cook for you again. If you had upfront said, "Oh, I don't get along with that food" I would make you something else and note that for the future, that's polite, if you are eating at someone's house inform them before but don't LIE, is it really that hard to NOT lie?

jasmi... jasmineg86

why not just not order something with your allergen present? i get asking to be sure, but i've seen people take restaurants through hell when in all actuality, they really shouldnt have been there. there are certian foods i legitimatly cannot eat with extreme sickness and guess what- i dont order them or go to places where the entire staff has to cater to my needs above an entire restaurant. i'm still alive. its ok.

PonyC... PonyChaser

I don't have a problem with it until it starts getting out of hand - like Sheramom's situation.


I get the inconvenience and sometimes downright danger of food allergies - my dad suffers an anaphylaxis reaction to both chicken and fish. So I get the whole "are you SURE the chef doesn't put chicken broth in the potatoes? Why dontcha go check, just to make sure... oh, he does? thanks!" bit.


It's the people who think they might have an allergy, so they inconvenience everyone else. The parents who don't want to test their children for a peanut allergy, so they just say Little Johnny is allergic, and now the entire school must be peanut-free. Or the people who want laws made, or entire restaurant chains to change their entire menu to accomodate a specific "sensitivity" or allergy that is the problem. If you can't eat at a restaurant chain, I'm sorry, you'll have to live with it, don't make it so nobody else can enjoy it.


That's abuse, and that needs to stop.

nonmember avatar Kristi

Yup, I've lied and said I'm allergic to something when I've never been tested for it. I've tried pesto 2 times, from 2 different places in my life. Both times my throat started feeling odd (not really sure how to describe it sorry) and I spent at last 3 hours after coughing constantly. From 1 bite. So I'm going to assume I'm allergic to pine nuts. It's not important enough for me to get tested, since I just make sure that I don't eat them. I however don't order something with pine nuts... but I do verify that what I'm ordering doesn't have pine nuts and tell them I'm verifying because I'm allergic. If people just took my word for it that I react badly I wouldn't have to, but I tried that before, it doesn't work.

Jespren Jespren

The reason why I see this as a problem is, as othered mentioned, 'allergic too' gets used as 'don't want to eat/don't want my kid to eat' which is not only a lie it's a dangerous lie, because people get complacent. When Tom, Dick, and Harry all *say* they are allergic to peanuts but what Tom and Dick mean is 'i don't like peanutbutter' then people see their friends, who they typically trust, who are 'allergic' to something eating foods that contain it or traces of it, they start to think it's safe. So eventually Harry, who really *is* allergic to peanuts, will get fed something 'harmless' to Dick and Tom (say the granola bars Tom ruetinely eats which have trace peanuts in it) and have a bad reaction. Pretending to have a medical condition, any medical condition, lessens and cheapens the real condition, and causes trouble for those who actually have it.

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