Before I decided to write this post, I really had to vent to pretty much every friend I had without food allergies and a couple with food allergies. My apologies if it comes across as an angry ranting blog post.
As some of you may know, I have Celiac Disease and food allergies. In addition to my food allergies, I’m in the lucky [on average] 10% of people with food allergies who also has one or more airborne food allergies. This means that if there’s poor air circulation at an office in which I work, or if an air vent is blowing one of my airborne allergens directly on me, I need to wear a face mask to protect myself from the chronic pains that could ensue.
I enjoy advocating for safe foods for people like me who have to live a gluten free lifestyle with no government subsidized food allowance. So, chances are, you found me through my Instagram or Twitter account where I frequently show off all the fun new products I find and the products I frequently buy, use and love.
Sometimes, I get to attend expositions where I learn about new products, and get to see old friends. As of late, I get to also work directly with a company, or 2 or 3 at one of these events. As a gluten-free and multiple-food-allergy advocate, this is my favorite part of any and every job I have ever had: the ability to try new and safe-for-me things!
Unfortunately, the advocate lifestyle doesn’t pay any bills, and only seldom puts food on my dinner table. So I work, a lot! Day job, night job, weekend jobs, all the time and multiple locations in a single day. It’s sometimes daunting just keeping up with my own schedule, let alone being single and trying to date a guy who understands what it means to date someone with food allergies.
So, life happens, I work hard, I have fun, and I work some more.
This is where it gets tricky… I have food allergies, and celiac disease, so you can rest assured I will not knowingly poison myself and work in a non-gluten-free bread factory, peanut butter plant, or participate in a crawfish eating contest. I know my limits and when to set boundaries with food and people who handle food:
- I do know that I can shake hands with the real Justin and his amazing staff, from Justin’s nut butters, without having any type of reaction. The reasoning: they know safe food handling processes and abide by them. Yes, even my airborne peanut allergy is not affected by having conversations and interactions with any of the Justin’s staff in store demonstrations, nor at major events and expos. In fact, if I didn’t have an allergy to peanuts, I would only and exclusively buy Justin’s Peanut Butter and peanut butter cups as my main source of safe vegan protein.
I know my limits, and if I fail at protecting myself, I always have a backup plan with multiple strengths of dye-free Benadryl and as a last resort: the epi-pen. If you deal with food allergies in your daily life, or the lives of people you protect, I recommend having a plan as well. Just like a fire drill, earthquake drill, lockdown drill, tornado drill, it’s always better to be safe than the alternative.
- Being denied work because one has to live with food allergies is unlawful according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
My goal as an advocate is that nobody has to go through the struggles I have had to deal with throughout my school and work careers.
If you have had to deal with being fired or denied employment for having food allergies or celiac disease, please let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me directly.
This post is not sponsored by Justin’s, it is just my life. Justin’s does have a great, and very easy to modify for peanut allergy, cookbook: you can buy it here.