Stop complaining about your food sensitivity, be aware of those with real food allergies

Nov. 16, 2015

Eleanor Sturt
esturt@uccs.edu

Juice cleanses, vegetarian and sugar-free diets are all trending food fads right now.

I, for one, have not jumped on the media-ridden trend boat and cut certain foods out of my diet, because I actually like to eat.

I do my best to eat healthy and keep my body healthy, but new food trends that cut out major food groups such as gluten, sugars and lactose are both ridiculous and insulting.

I was born with a nut allergy – not an intolerance or a sensitivity, but an allergy. There is a difference.

Allergies are reactions due to the immune system incorrectly detecting a substance as harmful, which can sometimes result in severe repercussions.

Intolerances are due to the digestive system lacking a particular enzyme, preventing the body from breaking down a certain food. Some intolerances can be fatal such as celiac disease, which is a severe gluten intolerance.

What most people mean when they say they have an intolerance or an allergy, is a food sensitivity. This is when the body reacts unpleasantly to certain foods, maybe giving the person headaches or stomach cramps.

This reaction is not as deadly as the other two but can be equally uncomfortable. It happens for a variety of different reasons such as chemicals used in the preparation of the food, or it’s a combination of foods that can cause the sensitivity.

Telling me about your food sensitivity is insulting.

I was born with an anaphylactic nut allergy, meaning when I come in contact with this food, I get hives. If I eat nuts, my throat will swell, causing suffocation that can lead to death.

I don’t often bring this up in conversation because, well, who cares? It only needs to be brought up if a group of friends and I are going to eat, and I can’t eat at places like Chick-fil-A or Texas Roadhouse.

Other than that, it doesn’t need to be brought up because no one else cares.

But people with food sensitivities feel the need to let everyone know that they are on a low-carb, low-sugar, no meat, gluten free diet.

It is rude to complain to me that strawberries upset your stomach, but you choose to have them sometimes because you still really like them.

I don’t get that luxury.

If I eat nuts I will die.

There is no “But I can have them on a cheat day.”

I can’t even eat foods produced in the same factory where nuts are processed, because if the tiniest piece of nut ends up in my slice of pie, it will cause a dangerous reaction.

I’m not complaining about having my allergy. I have gotten used to it, and it is rarely an issue, but I am extremely tired of having to listen to these people’s problems that they actually know little to nothing about.

If you are going to say you have an intolerance, be sure that is what it is. Most of the time it is probably a sensitivity.

Educate yourself on the subject, because it can help you stay healthy. You might not have a lactose intolerance; maybe your body just can’t handle a gallon of ice cream every day.

If you approach this conversation with a little more knowledge and are aware that there are people who have serious deadly food allergies, I will be glad to talk to you and listen to your frustrations with your sensitivity. I get it; it can be pretty nasty.

Until then, stop the food fads; you’re missing out on some seriously good food.