Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nuts and Social Events

This week, Lynn and I are wrapping up our series on nut allergies.  We hope that you have enjoyed our stories and been of encouragement to you.  Do stop by Lynn's place today too to hear what she is sharing about nut allergies and social events!

Our culture revolves around food.  

Nothing makes you realize that more than having a food allergy.  
Now, suddenly, you are aware of every time we encounter food.  
And, it can be overwhelming.  

Nearly every time you enter someone's home, you are offered food or drink.  
Business gatherings involve food.  
Holidays include lots of foods.
Game playing afternoons/evenings have munchies.  
Movies have popcorn {often popped in peanut oil}.
Fairs have food {again, often using peanut oil}.
Malls have food.
Parties have food.

And, the cultural expectation at these events is that we eat.

That very cultural expectation is on a head-on collision course with someone who has a food allergy, and that is the most challenging aspect of social activities when you have a food allergy.

People expect you to eat.
People want you to be able to eat.
People feel badly if you can't eat.

And, it's tough.

This has been the hardest part of having a food allergy for me, especially because food becomes an important part of say... interviewing for a job!  Food plays a key role in your job -- and it can be incredibly challenging to navigate that with a group of perspective employers!

So... here's where I hopefully offer you some encouragement about having a nut allergy and being at a social event:

(1) Talk to your family and friends about your allergy.  Let them know what it is and what it means for you {where is your current comfort zone?}.

(2) Eat before you head out somewhere and always carry a snack with you!

(3) If you feel comfortable; bring a main dish to a pot luck, and ask to be first in line.  Grab some of your safe food before the risk of cross contamination.

(4) Should the event arise where you need to go out to dinner, say on a job interview, inform the hosts of your allergy and ask if you might be able to suggest a restaurant where you can eat.  For me, when I interviewed, I suggested Olive Garden -- I know that I can eat there because they do not use nuts.  Their desserts are the only foods with nuts in the restaurant and those desserts are not prepared on site; they are shipped to the stores prepared.

(5) For a game night -- ask you host to refrain from serving nutty snacks, especially while playing games.  This minimizes the risk that nut proteins will be transferred from other people's hands on the game pieces or cards. I often bring a snack along too that I can share with others that I know is safe for me to eat.

How about you?  What do you guys do to manage having a food allergy and being a part of a society that expects us to eat?


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor; just a girl, sharing her experiences about having a nut allergy.  Please check with your local Olive Garden {or any restaurant!} if you wish to eat there to make sure that it's safe for you -- don't take my word for it.


  1. These are some great tips. I have really enjoyed reading your thoughts on nut allergies. It has been very encouraging to read how you have dealt with your allergy. Thank you for sharing all your thoughts and ideas.

  2. Wow..transferring allergens to game pieces. That is ridiculously overwhelming!! I would never have even considered that problem.


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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