The other night as I was decompressing from a stressful few days of car purchasing, I found myself on mtv.com watching their show True Life. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s pretty much MTV’s “documentary” show where they follow around young adults with different lifestyles. In college, my roommate and I would procrastinate homework and huddle around my computer watching these episodes.
The one I watched most recently was called True Life “I Have Allergies”. Which is actually true life for me. The kids in this show had severe allergies, which thankfully I do not! But I do have allergies. Aside from being allergic to penicillin, not a huge deal in everyday situations, I’m also allergic to legumes: peanuts, peas, chickpeas, snow peas, and various beans. I get an upset stomach, but what’s scarier is that my throat actually itches when I eat these foods. That’s a sign that it’s swelling shut.
As a child, I was the kid who wasn’t allowed to eat birthday cake if an over protective parent found out I had an allergy to peanuts (fyi, companies put “made in a plant that also processes peanuts” on EVERYTHING these days, including cake mix). I was also that kid who threw up in front of my second grade class after eating a peanut butter cookie. Some of my oldest friends still love to tease me about that shining moment.
Most kids have one allergy or another, so it was never a big deal growing up to say “I can’t eat that, sorry!” In college it wasn’t too bad either, mostly because one of my best friends, and the roommate I watched True Life with, was severely allergic to dairy. We would often joke about how one small bag of peanut m&m’s could take us both out.
Now after college, it seems like having an allergy is a little bit….embarrassing. I’ve had a few times this year when I couldn’t finish a dinner out with friends because there were legumes in the recipes and my throat started to itch and swell. If my boyfriend eats peanuts around me, he can’t kiss me until he brushes his teeth or else my lips swell. This past weekend, one bite of gelato that I was told was pistachio sent me to the bathroom rinsing my mouth and popping benadryl in under five minutes. It ended up actually being peanut butter cup.
I know it’s just a matter of being comfortable enough to ask about ingredients, but at this point in my life, it just makes me feel like an elementary schooler. Do any of you have adult allergies/ stories to share?