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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 4:27 pm
Posts: 300
Location: Montreal
Last night my best friend whom I have grown up with and who has grown up knowing about my allergies had a get together last night and it was an awful experience. I did not have any reactions but it was just very difficult emotionally. We were supposed to be playing board games but before we started she wanted to have food. There was an entire table full of things, none of which I could have and I had to watch for half an hour as everyone (the other people also knew I couldn't eat the food) said, "oh, this is soooooo good", "hey guys, try this", "wow, I'm already getting full but I still want more".

One of my favorite articles from Allergic Living was the one that spoke about the emotions behind having food allergies. I didn't feel like it was too much to expect that perhaps my best friend might say, "hey what can I get you for tonight?". On top of it, even if she forgot that, at least a little sensitivity to the fact that hers and everybody else's reactions to how good the food was might possibily make me feel really bad. I would never go up to a homeless person and tell them how much of a good night's sleep I had in my comfy bed, even though I am not exposed to homelessness every day so I did not think that a little sensitivity/compassion/thoughtfulness on her part was too much to ask for.

I find as I get older, I am starting to realize who my really good friends are and who are not. It is a difficult situation since I have known her my entire life and if I mentioned it to her she would get defensive. I think I won't go to any more food involved get togethers at her house anymore... :(

Just needed to vent...

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Associate Editor at Allergic Living.
Allergies to all nuts and legumes except soy and green beans.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2948
Location: Toronto
I have a close friend who's a really great cook and, because he knows food so well, he really gets the ingredients issues. So eating at his place is a treat. I also have a close relative for whom the cooking repertoire is limited - so I try to help her with what's safe for me, and not. And I also get her to mention a few things that she really wants to make - that maybe I can't eat – and now will know to avoid.

If it's a good friend, I think it's worth discussing your difficulty with the evening – preferably after you’ve had a chance to cool off, so the chat won't be too emotional and make her feel defensive. But in your shoes, I'd deflect a little - e.g. I should have reminded you that ....

I’ve come to not expect too much of other people's cooking – your friend know your allergies, but maybe she hasn't had to deal with them often as the cook? Maybe she forgot while planning? Even with best friends, I always remind ahead of time.

Here’s my eating at others’ houses plan of approach:
For really close friends, I'll discuss issues such as ingredients of ingredients. I have an e-mail that I can forward that helps them to understand some examples of ingredients to watch for e.g. I can’t have mayonnaise (soy); alcohol in sauces, marinades, Dijon mustard (white wine/alcohol intolerance). You might want to try breaking it down like that.

I never just arrive expecting the menu to be ok. I either discuss it ahead of time, or for people I don't know well enough, I'll politely explain that they shouldn't worry, but I may need to bring along my own dish. (I'm there for the socializing.) If it's a cocktail party, I usually just eat something ahead ot time, rather than following around a hostess acquaintance about what's in this, what's in that. She likely won't know the details any way.

Good luck with it. It sounds like you have some teaching ahead of you with your friend.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 4:27 pm
Posts: 300
Location: Montreal
Thanks a lot for the advice. I will definitely take it to heart and start being a better teacher. I guess I can't equate what happened with lack of caring on my friend's part. Like you said, even your closest friends need to be reminded.

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Associate Editor at Allergic Living.
Allergies to all nuts and legumes except soy and green beans.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:03 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I find, too, that some people (particularly ones who don't cook) have absolutely no clue what ingredients are in various foods. I went to a party once where the host asked the hostess if brownies contained eggs or nuts in them (I had other allergies at that point, too, but those two were obviously good reasons to refuse brownies) Seriously, he had no idea. I don't think he's into baking. LOL!

Are your friends aware of the safe alternative snacks that you can eat? There might be a chance that they don't know what they could buy instead. I hope for your sake that your friends are just being thoughtless and they didn't mean to be insensitive! It definitely helps to have supportive friends when coping with food allergies, but it takes awhile for people to 'get it', I find.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:34 am 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 4:27 pm
Posts: 300
Location: Montreal
I think that was probably the case and she didn't know what to buy. There was no cooking involved, it was all prepared stuff. The brownie situation that you had kind of just proves to me that there are some people who do have a hard time making connections and I guess my friend, not wanting to chance it maybe, just didn't get me anything at all...
There are definitely some improvements I will need to make on my part as far as helping out and making suggestions is concerned but it makes me feel better to know that other people have similar types of friends who, I agree, are thoughtless not insensitive. Thanks :)

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Associate Editor at Allergic Living.
Allergies to all nuts and legumes except soy and green beans.


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 Post subject: Friends and food
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:40 am
Posts: 3
Location: New Brunswick
This is the thing I hate most about having a food allergy, Unless people have to deal with a food allergy on a daily basis they just don't get it!

I feel very left out and isolated from friends because eating out and dinner out is such a HUGE part of the life experience. Even when I do summon up the courage to go out dispite my food allergy the constant badgering from people of "what your not going to eat anything?" get tiresome. I'm becoming a bigger believer in if you didn't make it yourself Don't eat it! I rarely eat out.


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