I’ve got minor food allergies. I’m allergic to soy. I’m intolerant of bell peppers and have a nightshade sensitivity. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but it can be such a pain! I love tofu but I feel like my vegetarian options are limited sometimes since I can’t have so many of the soy products.
People have often never heard of a food intolerance, so to keep things simple when I’m out, I just explain that I’m allergic to soy and bell peppers. One of the problems I’ve run into over the years is that soy is in everything! Bell peppers are in a ton of things, too. There are so many things that I would never think to ask “does this contain bell peppers?” when we’re out at restaurants. I have to constantly and closely read labels, or I’m in agony for hours.
I’ve had an aversion to bell peppers my entire life, so it’s not like I feel that they are a great loss. But the fact that I can’t always taste them in my food? That’s a very bad thing. I’ve been halfway through eating a meal, only to discover a bell pepper in my food. At that point there’s really nothing I can do other than brace for being ill for anywhere from 2 to 8 hours.
Soy is more insidious. It’s in everything! It’s very hard for me to find products without soy. Most of the health / breakfast bars that I used to enjoy contain soy. I can eat and enjoy That’s It fruit bars (they’re great). I’m experimenting with BumbleBars, which are ok. It’s hard to find a tasty protein / meal replacement bar that doesn’t have soy and that tastes good.
I’ve been told that as you get older, your allergies / intolerances get worse. I know mine certainly are. Where I used to be uncomfortable with my allergies, I now end up in sheer agony for hours. Sometimes they can trigger a migraine.
However, I know a lot of people just say ‘I’m allergic but it’s no big deal.’ I do want to say, that may not be true! Sometimes the repeated exposure to a minor allergy can trigger a massive reaction and land you in the hospital.
Recently I went out to dinner with Ray and I made a point to ask the waiter if any of the vegetables in the ‘Chef’s Vegetable’ had bell pepper. He said it did, so I could substitute for anything else I wanted. Unfortunately, my main dish had bell peppers in it, but it was listed nowhere on the menu. I took one bite and realized that it had bell pepper in it, so I stopped eating it and asked the waiter to confirm. He went to the kitchen and then came back, his face was red as he apologized profusely. They then made me up another dish, without bell peppers in it.
I thought I’d escaped being sick, but just that one bite had me in pain and sick several hours later. I then spent 4 hours miserable and in pain.
Anyway, the reason for this post… I know many of my friends have food allergies and shrug them off, but since they seem to escalate the older you get, I would urge you to reconsider. What can start out as a minor allergy can eventually escalate to you needing to carry an epi pen with you.
Do you suffer from allergies or food intolerance? How do you handle it?