Since I was a baby I have had my allergy. It has run my life. I’ve never used my EpiPen but I have had many incidents where I broke out in hives because something wasn’t labeled or someone was careless and forgot.
When I was young I ate everything. I ate things that were healthy and things that were unhealthy. Both, in not so moderate amounts. I gained a lot of weight. In 6th grade I was 121lbs and told I was overweight by my doctor. By 9th or 10th grade I had reached somewhere around 180lbs. I was still very comfortable with myself despite the comments I would hear from students at school or family. But once I reached I high school I was more concerned about my nut allergy for some reason. I’m not sure what event in my life flicked a switch in my brain, but during high school I became very germaphobic and very health conscious about my allergy. If a product said “may contain nuts” of any sort I wouldn’t take the chance.
For example, I had eaten M&M’s all my childhood. They always say “may contain nuts”. But in late high school, I dropped every snack, candy, etc that listed that warning. Doing this caused to me lose a lot of weight of course. I wasn’t trying to lose the weight, (after I did though, I am now at a healthy weight for my age and height and very happy with how I look). Cutting out these items has benefitted my health in a way.
But on the other hand, cutting out those products left me to a limited selection of snack foods that I wasn’t afraid to eat. And let me tell you, afraid to eat. I was afraid to try new foods, restaurants, or eat what I used to eat when I was a child. I stopped eating while I was out with friends or at their homes. If I went out to dinner it had to be somewhere where I had a meal that I knew was safe and I trusted the establishment (with how they prepared foods an cleaned their dishes/utensils etc). It got bad. It’s still bad, I am still this way. I have limited restaurants that I will go to because I am too afraid to go somewhere new because I don’t trust it. I don’t want to live that way, it’s tough.
I try really hard to try new foods and to go to new places to eat. In the last year I have added to new restaurants to a list of places I am comfortable eating at. To be honest, that is a big improvement. I hope that I can improve more, because my eating habits have gotten unhealthy. I would like to eat more of a variety, I would like to not be afraid of food from people’s home cooked dinners or unfamiliar restaurants.
I am not going to let my allergy rule my life anymore. I am working toward no longer being afraid and being able to live life allergy safe.