In my previous post, I got to tell you more or less the beginning of my life as a person with allergies.
I am aware that the fact that I have allergies does not define me as a person but it certainly defines many aspects of my life.
Unfortunately for me, my allergies got worse and worse over the years. I’m allergic to the LTP protein found in almost all vegetables and fruits.
It is not a protein that can be broken down with heat or cold or mechanically. So basically, if I cook them, I’m still allergic to them. If I chop them, nothing happens, and the same if I freeze them.
The question that everybody asks now is: what do you eat? To be honest, I’m kind of sick of answering it. I understand it’s interesting to people so I try to answer the question: everything else basically.
If you don’t wash the pot perfectly after cooking on it, and if I cook in the same pot later on, I will probably have a reaction. That is the cross contact that I talked about in my previous post. That is what makes me wash everything twice when sharing utensils. That is what makes me stressed if you are cooking things that splash next to me. That is what makes me suspicious when you move your food and then just stick your vegetable-dirty spoon in my pot to “help” me.
The following is written as a way of showing a bit of my daily life. In order to create a bit more awareness and be a bit less judged. I don’t want you to pity me. I want you to understand me. I want you to just accept my choices without me having to justify every movement. I want to be comfortable with myself.
It is tough to do common things sometimes. I haven’t eat in a restaurant in years and I don’t think it will be possible.
If one thing is sure: all societies gravitate around food. In basically all celebrations there is food representation. It is inherent of culture and location. Another way of traveling is tasting. A way of celebrating is sharing food.
I sometimes feel the social pressure of this. Everybody asking: why aren’t you eating? Why aren’t you drinking? If it’s the host of the party asking, they feel offended and I feel embarrassed. It is not that I don’t want to, it’s that I can’t.
Some people just don’t get it. Others just bother you all the time about it (with different levels of malice). Most look at you with pity.
It is hard not to feel misplaced in many social gatherings/situations. It is a real challenge to explain the same thing over and over. Most of the time I try to avoid these kinds of situations but you cannot do that forever. You cannot run away and hide under a rock, at least not forever.
There are many studies on how allergies affect your body but very little is written on the psychological effects of having the disease. Of feeling misplaced and different.
It affects the person with the problem and also those around you.
The mother scared to leave their kids at school because the other kids have “venomous” foods with them.
The person you live with getting used to having stricter cleaning rules and paying more attention to the way they cook and handle the ingredients.
Your friends that give you chocolates before realizing that it is not an appropriate gift.
It has also changed the way I travel. The fact that I might not be able to read the labels always makes me carry more food than clothes everywhere. And instead of just going to a hotel, if the stay is going to be long, I need to have a place to prepare my food. A room with a kitchenette usually does it, but they aren’t easy, or cheap to come by.
Sometimes it’s challenging to be different. And I shouldn’t be complaining. I’m aware of the problems of other people. Really big problems out there. But I have to live with mine everyday.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you.
Wish you all the healthiest of lives.
Please feel free to share your thoughts. Sharing is caring. 🙂