Yes, it’s frustrating to live with food allergies. No, this is not a personal choice of yours to avoid certain foods.
Going to parties, restaurants, and get-togethers can be anxiety-inducing for many reasons. When you live with food allergies, you may be wondering what you’re going to eat and if the food will be safe. At home, it feels easy because you can read the labels and prepare meals in a space that is free from cross-contamination.
If you’ve found yourself uncomfortable attending a social gathering due to your food allergies, you are not alone.
You may feel like you don’t want to inconvenience others. Maybe you are worried they will feel insulted. Perhaps you just don’t like the attention it brings you. The truth is your well-being has to come before any sort of social norms. If you plan on eating a meal prepared by someone else, it is absolutely necessary to inform hosts of your allergies.
As someone who lives with food allergies, this is something I deal with often when attending social gatherings. I noticed myself saying something like, “I’m so sorry, but I’m allergic to cashews, I can’t eat this.” While the intention behind the apology was to not offend the host, I should not have to apologize for my food allergy. Rewind, I do NOT have to apologize for my food allergies. Sometimes I have to remind myself. And guess what, neither do you. This medical condition is something very much outside of any allergy sufferer’s control.
You have every right to take up space when you’re with others.
Living with food allergies can make us feel so small. It feels like everyone else is allowed to go about consuming whatever they want and live life. Non-food allergy sufferers are often unphased by the food they encounter. They don’t have to extensively research and plan in situations with food. And you’re expected to partake in the same world, yet sometimes it feels like non-food allergy sufferers do not understand your struggles. This means you have to be extra careful with your own well-being and safety.
You deserve to feel safe. If you’ve been invited to a gathering, you may want to bail if it feels risky. But you deserve to spend time with friends and family if you so choose. Whether they are uneducated about food allergies or simply do not have the time to prepare a separate meal, make it easier on yourself by bringing your own dish. It may take extra time but it is absolutely ok to bring your own food. This can allow you to enjoy yourself at the get-together without having to wonder if you’ll need to take an antihistamine or epinephrine a few minutes after consuming the host-prepared food.
Use your voice.
Again, you deserve to enjoy living life the same way as every other non-food-allergy-having person. If you are put in a situation that feels uncomfortable or unsafe, use your voice. You do not have to be accommodating to others, especially when it comes to your own safety. For example, if you’re going out for a meal with friends, coworkers, etc., offer to do some research on what restaurants are mindful of food allergies. Depending on your comfort level with those you are dining with, share your concerns regarding your allergies.
Remember, your safety continues to come before the opinions of others. It may feel like you are burdening others. However, when someone cares about you they are open to understanding your world and how it can fit with theirs. If those attending an outing disregard your concern for your safety, these are people you may want to reconsider having in your corner.
Begin Therapy For Food Allergies in Scotch Plains or Branchburg, NJ
Our compassionate therapists specialize in food allergy therapy and help people navigate life with food allergies and anxiety. We will work with you so you can move forward with a more positive mindset. It all starts with these three steps:
- Contact us to get started at Brave Minds Psychological Services
- Meet with a food allergy and anxiety therapist
- Start living a life not ruled by allergies and anxiety
Other Services Offered in Scotch Plains and Branchburg, NJ
We are happy to offer a variety of services at Brave Minds Psychological Services. in addition to therapy for food allergies. For adults, we provide EMDR Therapy, couples counseling, postpartum counseling, and birth trauma therapy. Our team also offers counseling for anxiety, & trauma. In addition, our services extend beyond adults. Our caring counselors provide mental health services for teens and children. This is why we offer treatment for teen anxiety, social phobia in teens, child sexual abuse, child anxiety, and more. Our therapists also offer several options for group therapy. Our services are offered in person at our Scotch Plains and Branchburg, NJ offices and through online therapy in New Jersey.