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Am I odd?(18 Posts)
I am nearly 40 and have a severe allergy to nuts since the age of about 8. I had some near misses in my teens and decided that from then on I wouldn't eat out and always take my own food to parties, wedding etc. This has always been met by others as a very strange way of life until I met my now husband who took it all in his stride. I have had a lot of criticism from others especially in the work place who used to nag me all the time for not eating out. Now I have children at school I have started to receive invites to dinner etc and I am beginning to question if I am right. It just seems the most scary thing in the world to trust someone else to prepare food that could contain food that could put me in a dangerous position especially as I have been let down in the past. Does anyone else live like me? I have now received an invite to a birthday party in a small restaurant. What would you do? I don't think the person who sent the invite knows of my allergy as I try and hide as much as possible. I used to be a great at pretending to eat birthday cake etc that was handed out when I was younger rather offend people! I hate making a fuss!
Hum I am beginning to think by the lack of response then the answer is yes....
I don't think you're odd, not at all. However, it does sound like your alllergy is making you socially isolated when this may not be necessary.
We all have different ways of dealing with risk. At the moment, I take food everywhere small son - he has a combination of allergies which it make it very difficult to cater for him.
I'm training ds to check ingredients, and not to be afraid to ask about cross contamination. At parties, he always had his own special bag of safe food, so he doesn't miss out, but we also check to see if any of the other food on offer is safe for him. We did take him to pizza expressa of months ago because they have really good allergy information. He was really excited about that.
Ds would totally understand your fear. He is five years old, and cautious without being paranoid, but he had a reaction to some plain chips in a shopping centre cafe recently, and even though he had eaten there without incident dozens of times before, he now totally refuses to go there again.
I'm not saying you should take crazy risks, or move to far outside what you are comfortable with, but it might be worth researching some safe places to eat and sticking your toe in the water a bit. Most people are more clued up about nut allergy than e.g. milk allergy, and you might be pleasantly surprised by how many new options are available to you.
Reading back what I wrote earlier, and realised I didn't answer your question.
Think I would phone or call into the restaurant, explain about your allergy and ask what options are available. Make sure you speak to the chef, not just a waiter. If after taking to them you are confident they can cater for you, then go ahead If you don't get a good vibe from them, the situation becomes more complicated.... but there will almost certainly be something on the menu that you can es g. Even if you end up eating nothing but a side salad and/or plain chips, at least you will be able to go.
Good luck with this.
Thanks greenbananas. I wish I could trust others but find it hard. On your advice I did call the restaurant last night and wasn't impressed with the response. When I asked if they could cater for me the chef said that she would try her best and then said that nuts aren't difficult to avoid. But when I looked at the sample menu there are lots of nuts so not terribly reassured. I told her of my concern of cross contamination and she didn't seem to think it would be a problem. After of years of not eating out (even our local chippy uses nut oil) I just find the whole scenario just too daunting but I guess maybe this anxiety is a separate issue that I need to address.
there are ways of handling this, and if your allergy is only nuts it does make things slightly easier.
Obviously dont eat in indian or chinese, thai places, pick an italian or steak type place and choose a plain non sauce type meal.
eating out is something your family do need to do, it gets easier the more often you do it, and you gain more confidence in asking the allergy questions.
why not try someplace this half term?
I have coeliac disease and I'm dairy and soy free for DS who is allergic.
I don't think you are being silly at all. I am exactly the same but will eat Nandos and a fish and chip shop near us as they are on top of things and I have never been ill. I check every time before ordering.
I dont eat at other peoples houses ever and take my own food everywhere. I have risked it too many times and made us ill. Contamination is a complete nightmare and I don't feel comfortable putting that responsibility on others. Lots of people are completely unaware of the extent you need to go to.
You are not odd .
My daughters allergy list is extensive and her reactions were life threatening(gut not anaphylactic ).
We do not eat out or allow others to cook for us .For me the risk is too great . I don't care how others perceive me , I choose to ignore the looks.
My daughter is 2.I have always served her siblings the danger foods and so she has learnt what she can and can't eat .I want her to have the confidence to say no in the future.
I agree with greenbananas - I don't think you're 'odd' at all, having a life-threatening allergy is very scary. However, I do think it's a shame to let it spoil your social life. My son is 6 and has life threatening allergies to milk, wheat, eggs and nuts but we still eat out. I do find it scary but I really want to him to live as close to a 'normal' life as possible and don't want him to miss out on anything. I do still tend to take his own food to parties as I don't think it's fair to expect other parents to try and cater for my son when I know how difficult it is to find things he can eat. I believe that more and more restaurants are getting better at catering for allergies these days and many chains have allergy info available online.
Thanks for all your replies. It is really interesting to see how everyone deals with it in different ways. I know it seems to others that I miss out on all a lot but most of the time I don't give it alot of thought. I love cooking and because my dh travels alot for work he is actually sick of rich hotel food and glad of home cooked food. My dd has allergies too so it makes it even more tricky. Can ask if those of you who do eat out if you eat food that states may contain on the allergy advice? Because to me eating out carries the same risk where as the food I cook at home is all cooked from scratch .
I also have a severe nut allergy and easy out all the time. Most restaurants have become very aware of allergy issues over the past decade or so.
There are some foods that I am wary of. I always make additional checks over rustic looking bread in restaurants and I do generally avoid curry and some sorts of chocolate and if a friend is cooking for me I remind them off my allergy and of common hidden nuts (eg in pesto). I carry an epi pen but I've never actually had to use it.
So I think that your precautions are not really necessary and are probably limiting your quality of life quite a lot but you aren't being ridiculous or anything.
I eat food with nut allergy warnings of its fairly general but I would avoid using tongs in a supermarket bakery, I don't eat crunchy bars as I've had mild reactions to them in the past and I don't get things like bombay mix or lose products from a health food shop. My DC and DP also know to avoid nuts so that they can kiss me.
DS has multiple food allergies and carries an epipen. We eat out all the time. Most restaurants will have experience of catering for people with allergies.
To all those that eat out safely, do you go to restaurants with allergy menus only?
I have big problems eating out as a coeliac and I'm often ill. Even in places with an allergy menu I struggle...
No. Most places nowadays flag up nuts on the menu and if they don't I just ask if the waiter can check with the chef that the food i want is safe before I order.
Oh and in answer to the OP's concern, I would just go to the restaurant, but in her situation I would phone the restaurant and explain about your allergies and ask what food would be suitable so that you are confident about going in and ordering.
It is easier to go to restaurants with an allergy menu, but we go to other restaurants too, even in other countries. I've found most restaurants are used to and willing to cater for allergies.
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