1. A hesitation to trust waiters/ waitresses. “Are you sure this doesn’t have nuts in this?” you’ll ask them skeptically (and even after you’ve gotten the green light on your order, you slant your eyes at them). They supply an assuring “I just double- checked with the kitchen and you’re good to go.” You un-tense, and smile, and proceed to inhale your food.
2. Anytime your friend or SO explains your affliction to one of their friends or family members, you know what’s coming next… “Oh, yeah? Then what are you doing with this guy?!” Yep. Got it…because Rachael’s a nut! Right? You endure their joke politely, laughing as if it’s the first time you have ever heard it. Got to love dad jokes.
3. Alternating with family members and friends who gets to be the “nervous one”. You freak out about a possible reaction and your parents/friend/boyfriend tell you you’re imagining it. Your parents/friends/boyfriends ask you to remind the deli counter guy you can’t have mortadella a second time and you’re the one insisting it’s fine.
4. This conversation:
“I am allergic to nuts.”
“Like all nuts?”
“Yes, all nuts.”
“I’ve heard peanuts are a legume.”
“Yeah, I’m not allergic to those.”
“OH. Do you have an Epi-Pen.”
“Have you used it?”
(Doesn’t matter what the answer is)
“Oh. I have a cousin who’s like, allergic to smelling nuts. Is yours that bad?”
*People without allergies also are fascinated by “how bad your allergy is” but don’t always understand the variables (but then, you don’t really either).
5. Getting arbitrarily nervous when eating at new places. But what if it’s a walnut hot dog! (thank God that’s not a thing).
6. Holding grudges against specific foods because you associate them with allergic reactions. (Yes, you understand that Mrs. Freedman doesn’t use nuts in her brownies, but that doesn’t mean you want to eat any.)
7. Constantly hearing from anybody over the age of 30 how nut allergies are a new phenomenon and how in the days of yore, every kid brought hazelnut covered walnut cakes to school for their birthday…or something like that. (Then they talk about anti- bacterial soap, vaccinations and autism.)
8. Feeling left out of the Cliff Bar/ health bar craze. Really the health craze in general… How am I supposed to be a prolific hiker if I can’t have trail mix!
9. Also Nutella…What’s the big deal?
10. You’re not sure how to feel about people with “gluten allergies.” On the one hand, they share your struggle… on the other hand are gluten allergies even real?
11. When people are vegan, vegetarian, or “gluten-free” by choice you can’t help but wonder why people would choose to place restrictions on their diet. You hate being annoying at restaurants and other eating establishments…WHO WOULD CHOOSE THIS LIFE! (You are also still awaiting the day when you encounter the unicorn that is a vegan person with a nut allergy).
12. Benadryl is the bomb, and will always be there for you.