Careful Eats: Overcoming Food Allergy Anxiety

Day 18: Good Eats

Food is one of those things that seems to bring people together, or spark an emotional response in the brain. Did you eat something in 2012 that changed your outlook on food? What was it? Where did you eat it? Additionally, did you perhaps try a food that you’d been apprehensive about in the past? Or, did you try something that you thought you’d love that you actually hated?

Chicken Tikka Masala

Something that many of you know about me is that I have terrible, and I mean terrible, food allergies. Since the time I ate a peanut butter Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cookie in Preschool I have been deathly allergic to peanuts. Fast forward to the time when I was 11, throwing up in a hotel bathroom in the Philippines, where I discovered I was allergic to peas after eating some fried rice. Then there was the time when Special K bars made my throat itchy, because it had soy products in it.

Last fall I finally went to an allergist and got an official prick test after I suffered from a mysterious hives breakout that left me feeling extremely yucky. And whaddya know, I’m apparently allergic to almonds, pine nuts, mustard seed, green beans, and broccoli too (I still eat those last two items, since I’ve been eating them all my life, I enjoy them, and they don’t make me deathly ill). That’s when I finally started carrying an Epipen wherever I go, which probably should have been happening sooner but I never got around to actually getting a prescription.

My entire life I have been pretty good and careful about watching what I eat so that I don’t get sick, though there has been the occasional allergic reaction that leaves me doped up with Benedryl and itchy. But since I have such ridiculous food allergies I rarely shy away from what I know I can eat, simply because I don’t want to risk getting sick. Because who would want to be all hivey and swollen 24/7?

My food allergies do make me a little sad sometimes, because I feel like I’m missing out on some great food. But in 2012, I learned that with good friends and an attentive waiter, trying out new kinds of foods can actually be a possibility.

A couple of months ago my friend Sean invited a group of us to an Indian restaurant in Bethesda, MD to use this LivingSocial coupon his mother gave him. I have always wanted to try Indian food, but again my food allergies have always made me wary, but I decided to give it a shot.

We got there, and our waiter was amazing. I told him exactly what I was allergic to, and he made some recommendations on what I can and cannot eat. I decided to go with the classic Chicken Tikka Masala, and YUM! The food was delicious, the Naan was amazing, and cocktails were tasty. Plus I was able to share this wonderful meal with some of my closest friends, all comfy on the pretty cushions we were sitting on.

So all in all, I am pleased that I decided to go out on a limb and try something that I’ve always wanted to taste but was a little discouraged from exploring. It goes to show that in spite of food allergies, I can try new foods and actually enjoy them, without another hives outbreak. 🙂


About Rowena Winkler

Passionate Performer, Speaker and Writer by Calling, Dancer of All Good Beats, Yoga Practitioner and Enthusiast, Spiritual Trustee of the Universe, Traveler of Many Distant Lands, Lover of Derek the Logical but Amiable, Mother of Eponine/Dex/Teyla, Architect of Spoken Word Poetry, Trainer in the Craft of Communication, Unapologetic Individual, First of Her Name.
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