Allergy bullies

A lot of times, people like to pick on the odd one out in a group. Naturally, I’m usually picked for that because of my allergies. People have picked on me for having allergies. They have threatened to give me nuts whenever I got on their nerves. People have touched me after they had nuts and laughed. Whether or not they understand the seriousness of what they are doing doesn’t matter. They endanger my life and hurt my feelings when they do that, and I’m not alone. I know people with allergies who have been bullied, and it isn’t just kids.

This is a link to an article about a Panera employee who filed a lawsuit against Panera bread for unfair treatment with his allergy. Read the article, it is horrendous what these people put him through.

Until next time!


Peanut butter ban?

I am quite the frequent on allergy blogs and websites, and I always find a common subject in them is the debate about whether or not peanuts should be banned in schools. So, seeing as the topic is unavoidable, I figured I would weigh in on it.

So essentially the two sides are this: Some people say that peanut butter should be banned because it is unsafe for kids with allergies. Others say that the just can’t give up peanut butter for school because that is the only thing they will eat. Honestly, I think both sides are kind of ridiculous, especially the second one.

First, I don’t think peanut butter should be banned in schools. If people love peanut butter so much that they can’t wait eight hours until after school to eat something with nuts, who am I to deny them something they love that much. Besides, it just isn’t realistic to ban nuts in a school. Schools have hundreds of children, each of them bringing snacks, lunches, etc. It just isn’t realistic to be able to prevent all of those children from bringing nuts, because there are just so many products with nuts out there, and there are so many people to keep track of.

Second, come on. People die from food allergies. Do you really want to risk someone’s life for a stupid sandwich, or candy bar, or something? If the answer is yes, then by all means go for it. But seriously? Are foods with nuts really the only foods you can eat? I get by just fine without nuts. I don’t know, it just seems weird. It’s like giving a child something that could potentially kill someone because it is convenient, or because they like it. I just don’t get it, but I don’t get the other side of the argument either.

I suppose if I were to pick a side, I would go for something in between. Like I said, if you really want nuts that much, go for it, but eat it responsibly. Don’t eat it near someone you know has an allergy. Wash your hands afterwards. DON’T THROW YOUR PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH ACROSS THE TABLE BECAUSE YOU DON”T WANT IT (yes that has happened to me before). That’s all. Eat it, but watch out for your allergy friends.

Until next time!


Why I dislike the word: allergy

The word allergy sort of defines me in a way. I am a child with an allergy, and my entire life is sort of built around the fact that I have such an allergy. However, I just don’t like the word. It just isn’t specific enough for me. An allergy can mean so many different things. If someone goes up and tells you “I have allergies,” you have no idea what they mean. When someone tells me they have an “allergy”, I typically find their “allergies” fall into one of three categories .

The first is just seasonal allergies. The weather changes, and people start to sneeze, or their eyes water, etc. These are just super mild reactions to one’s environment. The next is a food intolerance. When people eat what they are intolerant to, they get sick and barf and that’s about it. The final type of allergy is like what I have. If I eat nuts, my throat closes, my heart stops, and I will die if I don’t use my epi-pen.  I will have an anaphylactic reaction if I am exposed to peanuts or tree nuts. Anaphylaxis is a reaction over several systems that could cause death.  Anaphylaxis requires an epi-pen.

This is precisely why I don’t like the word “allergies.” It can mean so many things, from having a runny nose when going outside to literally dying within minutes of eating something. That’s why people always have to clarify. For example, I don’t just have any allergies, I have “anaphylactic food allergies.” But seriously? Half the people I come across don’t know what the word anaphylactic is and I have to explain my allergy to them. You know, the all too familiar: “If I eat this I die” speech.

There should be a general, easy to remember (and spell) term for my allergies. Like mega-allergies or something like that. It would just cause a lot less confusion, because right now, when someone tells me that their allergies are acting up, I don’t know whether to give them a tissue or a shot of epinephrine.

Until next time!


Nutty about Disney

My mom is beginning to schedule a Disney trip for next year, and I’m pumped! I love that place, and it got me to thinking about what my favorite things about Disney are. I love the rides, the characters, and the food most of all. As a kid with an allergy though, I know that whenever there is food, you have to worry about your allergy. However, I feel so much more comfortable in Disney.

Whenever I am at a Disney restaurant, the chefs always come out to talk with me about my allergy and what foods I can have. They always prepare special allergy safe meals for me, which is great. Disney is awesome with allergies, and while I haven’t been there in a few years, I have been reading up and it just seems like they are getting better and better! Now, many of the restaurants there even have allergy safe menus for people with all different kinds of allergies.

This is great for me, because the food is so good! Even though I have an allergy, my love for food rivals my love for almost anything else. At Disney, I feel like I can really pig out and eat pretty much anything I want there (with a few exceptions of course), and you know how I said in an earlier blog post that I never get desserts in restaurants because they are almost never safe? Almost all the restaurants in Disney are notable exceptions to this! It feels really good to just have a place where you can feel a little bit more confident about your safety, and to me, Disney is that place.

To top it all off, I was looking up stuff about Disney a couple of days ago because I am so excited for my trip, and I came across a line of food products that Disney just began making about 10 months ago, called “snacks with character.” It is a group of food products sold in Disney stores that are safe for a laundry list of different allergies. I found a picture of one of their products.




These are just a few of their products. They are safe for a whole bunch of allergies, including nuts, soy, and gluten. Some of their products are even okay for vegans. On top of that, they look absolutely delicious!

With a bunch of allergy safe foods and accommodations, Disney really is the most magical place on Earth!

Until next time!


Nuts everywhere!

Cross contamination is a big deal and is the cause of a lot of allergic reactions.

So what exactly is cross contamination? Well, imagine someone is sick, and they sneeze on their hand and use that same hand to open a door. Now the doorknob is contaminated with germs. If someone opens the door again and touches the germs on the doorknob, and then rubs their eye or something, now the germs are in that person’s system and they could get sick too.

It’s the same dynamic with cross contamination, except instead of germs, one is dealing with their allergen. Taking the door handle situation again, imagine someone eats a peanut butter sandwich and then opens a door, putting some of the peanut proteins that are on his hand and putting them on the door. Then, someone allergic to peanuts opens that same door, gets those peanut proteins on their hands, and rubs their eyes, or eats something using that hand. Bam! Allergic reaction. Allergies are a lot more complicated than just avoiding foods with your allergen.

One time, I ate at an Italian restaurant and had a dish with sautéed mushrooms. I had a reaction and later found out that the pan used for the mushrooms had also been used for sautéing nuts earlier and hadn’t been cleaned well enough. It just shows how you should never assume that you are 100% safe at any restaurant.

Cross contamination is the cause of many allergic reactions, and it’s always important to consider a possible cross contamination scenario when eating out. For example, whenever I order steak at a restaurant, I always make sure to request that it is made on a separate pan, because the grill that is used to cook the steaks could have peanut oil on it from the marinades used on other steaks. I always ask that they use clean utensils, because the same knife that cut a PB&J sandwich could be used to cut up my pizza, or spread butter on my pancakes, etc.

It’s always important to consider this when you, or a friend of yours has allergies. Always take that extra step to ensure your safety.

Until next time!


Peanuts vs. nuts

One of the most common questions I get from my friends who know that I have food allergies is “If you are allergic to peanuts and nuts, aren’t peanuts a type of nut?” Well, I honestly had no idea. So, I decided that for the sake of the blog, I would look into it.

Apparently, the name peanut is misleading, because even though it has the word nut at the end, it isn’t a nut (lost the bet on that one). It is in fact, a legume. Due to the fact that I had no idea what a legume was, I decided to look that up myself as well.

According to the internet, legumes are leguminous (figures), meaning they are a part of the pea family. This means that the peanut is actually closer related to a pea than it is to a nut. I suppose it does have pea in the title, but it isn’t like walnuts are closely related to walls, so I had no idea. A little lesson for everyone I guess, including me.

Until next time!


Death by chocolate

I am super excited! My birthday is in ten days. That’s right readers, in ten days, I will be fifteen years old! Now that birthday time is coming around, I can’t help but think about birthday cakes, ice cream, cupcakes, etc. I can’t help it, I just love desserts, especially around holidays! However, as delicious as they are, they are likely the most dangerous foods a kid with a food allergy will come across.

Of all the foods I have come across, I find it the hardest to find safe desserts. Whether it be cake or ice cream, a lot of desserts contain or are processed with nuts. For example, I never have desserts at restaurants. This is because a lot of times they aren’t made inside the restaurant, but purchased from a factory that manufactured nut products.

It isn’t impossible though, to find safe desserts with allergies, even if you have to make them yourself. My mother has always made my birthday cake for me, and it is delicious, and peanut free. She even makes the frosting herself, because believe it or not, even cake frosting are commonly unsafe. So, for my readers, my birthday present to you is her yummy frosting recipe. I plan on posting other recipes to in later dates, but this is by far one of my favorite foods ever. I can eat it by the spoonful (and sometimes I do!)


For 24 cupcakes

Beat 2 cups butter until smooth

Add 2 teaspoons milk and 1 Tablespoon vanilla

Slowly add 8 cups powdered sugar and continue to beat until fluffy

That’s it!  Yum!

Until next time!



Allergy info part 1: Hidden ingredients

One of the main reasons that I wanted to start this blog was to educate people on the craziness that is having a food allergy. While many may know about food allergies, or know people with food allergies, it is very difficult to truly understand what it is like unless you have an allergy yourself. So, this group of blog posts are designed to put you I my shoes. This post will be dedicated to teaching you all of the different places that allergens can be found in.

A lot of people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that I can’t have the food they’re offering me. They say things like “What? It’s not peanuts!” or “That’s crazy! It doesn’t have peanut butter in it!” The reality is that someone like me with a nut allergy has to avoid more than just bags of salted nuts and jars of peanut butter. To put things in perspective, I am going to list some foods or products, and I want you, my readers, to guess which one’s, if any, might be unsafe for someone with an allergy to peanuts and nuts, like me.

Pizza, hand lotion, dynamite, pretzels, bread, spaghetti sauce, ant traps, milk, soap, pepper (as in salt and pepper, not chili peppers), alcoholic beverages, and chili.

All right, of the products that I’ve listed above, the ones that could contain things that are unsafe for me are (drumroll please): all of them! That’s right, not only do I have to avoid a bunch of food products, but also a bunch of things that have nothing to do with food at all! For example, hand lotion and soap commonly use shea butter, which comes from nuts. Ant traps have food inside of them (which is how they poison the ants). That food commonly contains nuts. Dynamite is literally 2% peanuts! Not that I’m planning to eat dynamite or anything, but it just shows how many places allergens can hide.

If you are still in disbelief, feel free to contact me and ask about something on the list and I will be happy to explain why it is on there. I hope this opens your eyes like my eyes were opened when I first got my allergy.

Until next time!


Thinking about school part 2

So my last post was devoted solely to reflecting on my high school experience in the cafeteria. However, a lot of the issues that arise with having an allergy in school comes from outside of the cafeteria. A lot of times, classrooms can be dangerous for kids with food allergies as well. Snacks that students bring in could have something I’m allergic to, there could be an activity done in class that involves food, class could be after lunch, allowing people that haven’t washed their hands after eating things with peanut butter to contaminate things, or a whole bunch of other crazy unpredictable factors.

It’s not all bad, though. It all depends on who teaches the class. Like all other people, some teachers get your allergy, and some just don’t. It doesn’t mean that those are bad teachers, they just don’t get it.

Considering how many hours I spend a week at school, teachers that try hard to understand my allergy and include me in activities are one of the biggest reliefs to me when it comes to my food allergy.  I will admit that even after dealing with allergies at school for ten years, I feel bad when there are activities that center around food and everyone is enjoying it but me.  I also feel nervous that I might have a reaction.

I had a teacher during my freshman year of high school that was one of the best teachers with my allergy that I have ever come across. There were no snacks in her classroom, she always e-mailed my family whenever she was going to bring in food to the class, even sending photos of the labels. She always let me know in advance if there was an event in school that had food, so that I could actually participate. I really liked her class because I always felt safe there. They are a safe place in a sometimes unsafe environment.

Until next time!


Thinking about school

So, a week of driver’s education has made me think about school a lot. Summer represents a lot of freedom for a kid with an allergy. Meals are always safe, because they are made in my home, which doesn’t have any nuts at all. I go to a lot of places, but I always check to make sure they are peanut free. It is a pretty stress free period of time.  School introduces a whole myriad of problems to the equation, and the event yesterday made me reflect on the problems of my first high school year with my allergy.

One of the most dangerous places for a child with an allergy to be is a school cafeteria. It is literally a room filled with dozens of things that could kill you. Throughout elementary school and middle school, I had a peanut free table that I always sat at. While that allows some safety from peanuts, it introduces some other problems too. Sitting at the peanut free table, I was never really around anyone I would normally sit by, and I found it very hard to build strong friendships when I couldn’t use my lunch period to sit by my friends.

So, during my eighth grade, my family and I decided that I was old enough to sit at my friends’ table. Thus, my first year of high school was my second year that I wasn’t sitting at a peanut free table. Of course, a whole bunch of issues arise from this as well, most of them involving my allergy.

I am old enough to know what (and who) to avoid in order to keep myself safe when it comes to my food allergy, but that is only half the battle. I am simply not safe if the people I sit next to don’t take precautions with my allergy. I’m not asking for them not to eat nuts by me, because I can understand how easy it is for a parent to just whip up a peanut butter sandwich for their kids for lunch. However, sometimes I am exposed to dangerous situations because of my friends.

During my eighth grade class, I have experienced what it was like to be in the crosshairs of a game of “throw the peanut butter sandwich to the kid across the table because I don’t want it right now.” Needless to say, it didn’t really end well. During my freshman year of high school, sharing food happened a lot, so the passing and throwing of food, some containing nuts, to other kids happened a lot. Of course there is always that one kid, no matter what table I sat in, that brought a PB&J sandwich to lunch every day and thought it funny to tell me how delicious it was.

I was also exposed to bullying at the lunch table. People who don’t know any better are constantly “joking around” about my allergy. During my first year of high school, I found it difficult to go a whole lunch period with out someone “joking” about feeding me nuts. They don’t realize that that isn’t a joke, but a threat to my life. Sometimes I feel like even my friends don’t really understand how dangerous my food allergies can be.

I know this was a long post, but I feel better now that I wrote it all down. It’s just kind of frustrating, worrying for your life on a daily basis just because you want to sit by your friends at lunch. Luckily, I think it’s getting better. Near the end of my first school year, events like the ones I mentioned above happened less because my friends were learning more and more about my allergy by being around me. That’s why I truly feel that if others know more about your allergy, it makes you safer in the long run.

Until next time!