Food Allergies — The Funny Side

Let’s all admit it: food allergies are a pain in the rear…but there’s a funny side. (You knew I’d find it.) Somewhere in the middle of playing 20 questions with the waiter, chef or host about the ingredients of their food, you have to just start smiling, because otherwise you’d whine and cry.

Some of my usual questions:

Do you make your fries and your onion rings in the SAME fryer?
Is there any flour / soy sauce / teriyaki sauce in that?
Is there gluten in your wasabi?
Will you change your gloves before you make mine?
What brand of ketchup do you use?
You promise not to flip my eggs with the same spatula you use on the pancakes?

It always makes me feel like a high-maintenance pain in the patootie. But the fear of wretched migraines keeps me at it. Usually, I just eat before I go to the party, or I ask the waiter to have the chef TELL me what I can eat.

However, when you first start cooking with a food allergy, it works about like this:


Do you or anyone you’re close to have any food allergies? Is it the high-maintenance or the low-maintenance kind? What is your favorite awesome-for-food-allergies recipe? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

p.s. The hip surgery countdown has begun! I suffered through four torturous sessions of PT, learned how to use the crutches and now I’m counting the days to the 19th. ALL tips and suggestions for the first month are welcome.

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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32 Responses to Food Allergies — The Funny Side

  1. emmaburcart says:

    Oh, yes, I know about food allergies. Mine are severe and annoying, especially since people haven’t always heard of them. I get, “I’ve never heard of an apple allergy before.” And it is so bad I can’t be around anyone else eating them in a confined space, either. It makes the wheat allergy seem like nothing. But my friends are now getting good at letting me know if a menu looks like it is “Emma Friendly” food. It is hard to find the balance between being annoying and taking care of ourselves. I think it helps to always have snacks in my purse.🙂 Good luck on the hip surgery! I have no tips other than, rest and take care of yourself.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Holy wow, Emma! I promise to NEVER eat an apple around you. And dang, aren’t apples in all kinds of things? Like, what is the most surprising food you cannot eat?

      Thanks, and I’m sure I’ll be good as new in no time.😉

      Like

  2. K.B. Owen says:

    That clip was hilarious! As far as your questions go, we have a friend with a gluten allergy, and when we go to a restaurant with her, it’s just like that! Sounds like a Perry Mason interrogation: “Isn’t it true that, on the night of the 15th, you used the pancake spatula to flip the eggs?” LOL.

    I’m just glad you found out about your allergy and things have improved for you! I can sympathize with food allergies: I had a ton of them as a kid (which I had allergy shots for and thankfully grew out of): tomato, dairy, chocolate, nuts, tuna. I’d rather kiss a toad than drink soy milk. Ugh. But the current state of my bone health has definitely suffered from lack of calcium as a child.

    Then there was the social aspect. Food allergies weren’t as common then as they are now, and I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb. Imagine a kids’ sleepover without being able to eat chocolate ice cream, or pizza! Back in the 70s, that was the staple food of American kid sleepovers. How embarrassing to be stuck eating a sandwich. Ah well.

    Good luck with your surgery, Jenny, and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help long-distance!

    ~Kathy

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’ve heard of all of those kid allergies of yours except tuna. Wow, I’ll bet you felt like a pain. And I don’t think people knew then that so many of the greens are loaded with calcium, so they wouldn’t have thought to sub the meat with those. Geesh.

      Best thing about my gluten allergy? If I really NEED pizza, I can still have some…it’s just got to have GF crust.🙂

      The surgeon told me today my “hard down time shouldn’t be more than 2 weeks, and that’s not that bad, so I should be fine. Y’all KNOW I’ll give the shout out if I need stuff. And I might even get to make the Hubs blog. Wowzers, that would be exciting!

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  3. That’s awesome, Jenny. We did one of those elimination diets with my daughter to rule out gluten intolerance…torture. Pure torture. And expensive too.

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  4. Pingback: A Gift For Those With Food Allergies | Kait Nolan

  5. Kait Nolan says:

    Oh my GOD, I laughed so hard I cried. I have EVERY ONE of those dairy substitutes in my pantry.

    As to post surgery suggestions–have a good cooler available that hubby can stock with drinks and individually packed snacks so that you don’t have to go hobbling into the kitchen and try to carry anything. I did that everyday for hubby after he broke his leg.

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  6. Jane Sadek says:

    What I love about you is that you laugh!

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  7. That was hilarious! My mother-in-law used to be lactose intolerant, was allergic to eggs and diabetic, so she couldn’t have sugar. I’m allergic to pollen and, oddly enough, sea water (I break out in hives when I swim in the ocean.) Lucky for me, my food cravings make me happy, not headachy. My hubs is diabetic, so my life is not without puzzlement, however. And he’s allergic to chocolate and strawberries (which kind of works out well for me. I get it all.)

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sea water? I’ve NEVER heard of that one, Pauline. I wonder if it’s the kelp? No SCUBA for you.🙂

      Being allergic to chocolate is simply unfair…do you have your own “secret stash?”

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  8. Cory Imhof says:

    Oh boy do we know about food allergies in this house. I’m allergic to soy (and probably gluten) and my hubby is allergic to dairy, beef, lamb, cranberries and wait for it… Marijuana!! When going out or going to someone’s house we eat ahead of time, bring our own food and carry activated charcoal and allergy tablets everywhere. We look menus up ahead of time, know our favorite insider blogs about hidden allergens at our favorite places and read labels constantly. For example, did you know the sweeten motion sickness instant chewable tablets with milk sugar??! WTF??? When my hubby gets exposed he is sick for days, diarrhea, migraine, asthma, rashes its awful!! Did you know Starbucks uses soy lecithin in their green and black tea as a preservative and flavor enhancer (so does Lipton and celestial seasonings.) when I drink something with soy, especially on an empty stomach it’s coming right back up in about 20 minutes. I cristened the rhododendron outside the church front door last summer after some tea… It was not pretty😦 I check brands I dont buy often, such as cough drops, every time. I only need them occasionally but now Hall’s & Ricola both have soy lecithin in them, JERKS!! Often times, if a product is “butter flavored” or even a certified vegan product, it still has sodium casinate, which is the milk protein, casein, twisted with a bit if chemistry to make it more versital. Guess what has that little devil is in… Vegan cheese!!!?? WTF?! They use sodium casinate to help it “melt” and create an improved cheesy experience. Oh for crying out loud, really people?!! Make your dam cheese out of fermented cashews and get over yourselves! I could go on, needless to say we read labels, take 20 minutes to order, and recheck our favorites incase they go over to the dark side.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Okay, so now that I’ve read THIS? You’re going right to Mother’s Market with the Hubs the minute you get here so I don’t poison you. Then YOU will tell me what we’ll all be eating, because soy sounds like the most UNFAIR allergy ever.

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  9. ericjbaker says:

    Yikes. The comments here are horror stories. I feel bad for the folks who have to jump through such hoops just to get a meal down without getting sick.

    When I was a kid (back when owning a VCR gave you bragging rights at school), I don’t remember so many people having food allergies. Have diagnostics gotten better or has the quality of the things we put in our bodies gotten that bad?

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I don’t remember this many food allergies either, Eric. But I’ve had migraines since I was 5 years-old, since about the time they changed the wheat back in the 70s. Coincidence? Once I went off gluten, the best side effects, besides being able to raise my arm (after two years of frozen shoulder) was the migraines went bye-bye. Love it!!

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  10. L. E. Carmichael says:

    Thanks for the hilarious video, and good luck with your surgery. I took care of my Dad when he had his hip replaced. You’ve probably heard all the regular stuff, like only using chairs with arms and having a stool to sit on in the shower. Beyond that, I recommend bendy straws, to make drinking while lying down easier. Extra pillows for propping up various body parts help a lot. Ask your caregiver to bring everything you might need overnight to a table by your bed so you don’t have to get up looking for stuff. And try to keep your sense of humour. I bribed Dad with chocolate to make him do his physio!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I didn’t hear about the shower stool. *makes note* I had to do four pre-op PT sessions and I cried during two of them, which I found horribly embarrassing, but I have a good feel for what I’m in for. Chocolate is a fine idea…

      And you KNOW I’ll be keeping my sense of humor about it.🙂

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  11. Love the video and so sorry you have to deal with all of that. What a pain. But, you are correct, living with migraines isn’t fun so you do what you have to do.

    As far as the surgery goes, just keep telling yourself that you’ll feel so much better when it’s all over. That’s the prize at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box.

    Hang in there. We’ll be thinking about you.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You know me, Patricia…I just ask the 20 questions and trust the chef won’t want to poison his or her patrons. It’s a win/win. Best of all, when I’m in a Disney anything, the chef comes out to your table and tells you what you can have. It’s stellar.🙂

      Just saw the surgeon this afternoon – more on that later. It was a rather hilarious visit. I’m in good hands.

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  12. carbozombie says:

    I don’t have allergies, but I have a friend who does. I really feel for her and all that she goes through. I wish you all the best.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Why, thank you! I’m thinking I have a pretty easy life after reading what Cory goes through up there. Geesh. Tea?? Are you kidding me? Who’d have thought tea would need some soy?

      Like

  13. Loved the video.
    I’m allergic to eggs, kidney beans, green beans, potatoes and, oh, yes, wheat and casein. I usually forget to double-check for one of those when I’m ordering in a restaurant, especially when it isn’t an ingredient that is normally in something. Then when my soup comes and, well, whoever heard of kidney beans in tomato bisque, I feel like a shmuck having to send it back. I try to warn friends before I come over for dinner, and hope they won’t hate me when I pass on most of what they’ve prepared. Usually, I offer to bring a dish, so I know there will be something there that I can eat. Broccoli, anyone? Luckily, I can get by with small amounts of milk products and wheat, unlike you. Still, the resultant asthma attacks and ear aches are horrible.
    I’ve learned to cook without all of these ingredients (love millet now, but it took a few years) and I’ve also learned that most commercial allergen-free products taste as bad as this video suggests!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      OMG, you get an EAR ache when you eat milk and wheat? That’s dreadful. I don’t know why that seems almost worse than the asthma, but it does. At least there are tons of asthma meds.

      I haven’t really tried millet yet. how would you describe it?

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  14. I suffered from all kinds of allergies as a kid. Dust, grass, trees, smoke, food, etc. Being a kid and allergic to peanut butter and chocolate sucked. Was on allergy shots for years. Know what happened? Stopped taking the shots and all my allergies went away. Never had them since.

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  15. OMG YES!! This is exactly how I feel some days! Great video and wishing you a speedy recovery from hip surgery!

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  16. charismaloy says:

    Meals are fun in my family. My baby sister is deathly allergic to dill. As in “Healthy Choice microwave meals are seasoned with dill, so don’t open that box until I have left the room please. Oh, you can’t do that courtesy, then it’s a good thing that we are in the lunch room adjoining the ER because you better call an intubation team” Yeah, her coworkers were terribly understanding. Often our other sister was on the intubation team, since both of them were ER techs at the same hospital. Then there’s me. All by myself, it could be considered a severe allergy; next to my sister, I consider it mild. Egg yolk will either curl me into a ball for three days (plus another three to recover once the reaction has passed) or cause projectile ejections from all available orifices. We recently discovered that Xanthum Gum has the same effect on me, so trying to accommodate the wheat allergy in the house is REALLY fun, as I can’t handle two of the primary replacements for gluten. The Paleo diet works well to keep us all eating the same thing (saves on dishes).

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  17. Kilian Metcalf says:

    Hope your surgery goes well. As a former rehab nurse, my advice is to be aggressive in controlling the post-op pain. Pain stresses the system and slows down healing. Take pain meds *before* you go to PT, and rest afterwards. Get lots of good sleep. Since anesthesia and pain meds cause constipation, you will be constipated the minute you wake up. Ask your doctor to order you some Colace and start it the day of your surgery. Grapes and prunes are good laxatives once you get home. You *will* be constipated, but by anticipating it and preparing for it, it won’t be so bad. So, less pain, more poop means a happier, swifter recovery time. Good luck with the surgery. Every patient I’ve had says they wished they had done it sooner. Even I felt that way after knee replacement surgery.

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  18. karenmcfarland says:

    Jenny, you know that you have my complete sympathy. Sometimes I think that food is the enemy. It makes me so frustrated to know what they’ve done with our food. And it’s so expensive to eat good, or should I say, real food? Because actually, that GMO modified food is not real food or not the food that our bodies were intended to eat. Thus all the health problems we are seeing. And you are forced to focus on it everyday because it affects your everyday life, because let’s face it, eating is a necessary part of our life. I must say that you handle it very well.

    So, you are heading under the knife next week? My thoughts will be with you my dear friend.

    ((Hugs!))🙂

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  19. Glad you did some crutch training. I fell on the ice in 2003 and had to have surgery on my knee. The crutch training made my life a whole lot easier. One thing is…keep large zip top bags handy, along with a fabric tote, for getting food, drinks (obviously drinks in bottles), and other things from place to place. Just wrap the tops around the hand grip things on the crutches, and you’re good to go.😀

    I HATE having a food allergy when I have to eat somewhere besides home. I get tired of people acting like I’m being a diva or something, but you know what? I hate the asthma-like symptoms I get – for days – after a cross-contamination episode. If I was okay with breathing trouble, I’d pig out on my favorite pizza rather than going through it because someone was too lazy to use the right spatula. (yes, my attitude still sucks a little, lol)

    Looking through the comments, I had to laugh at the ‘more flours’ in the pantry thing. I have narrowed mine down a little. Pamela’s baking mix makes really good waffles, if you add a teaspoon or two of vinegar to the milk and egg mixture. My super picky autistic son raved for days about how good they were, and now he wants them for supper all the time. The dumpling recipe is also very close to the real thing, if you make them about the size of a lemon. Any larger and they don’t taste as good.

    Better Batter flour, with the biscuit recipe from the Art of Gluten Free Baking website, produces a biscuit all but identical to a real buttermilk biscuit. And it works just fine with coconut milk if you happen to find your regular milk spoiled a few days ago. Still working on the perfect pie crust, but I’m going to try the one on the the Art of GF Baking when summer is over.

    Glutino pizza/french bread mix is by far the best I’ve found (so far) for pizza and mozzarella cheese sticks.

    My favorite recipe for allergies? It’s the one I take to all parties and reunions now. If someone is dairy free, they’re tough out of luck. I just peel, rinse and slice a bunch of potatoes (depends on the size of the pan you’re using). Then I make a cheese sauce using corn starch, milk, butter, salt, and cheddar cheese. After that, I slice a bunch of GF turkey smoked sausage. Mix it all in the roaster pan, cover, bake at 400 degrees for about an hour – maybe two, depending on how many potatoes you’ve used. Uncover and bake a little longer until it starts to brown, and there you go.

    How’s that for a very non-specific recipe? It’s really good, and I don’t bring home many leftovers.

    Another is cooked rice, Swiss cheese (mix into hot rice so it melts), and lots and lots of pepperoni (quartered). Bake at 350 until hot and beginning to brown. Yum.

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