Should Allergies and Intolerances be linked together?

Angry Dude Fires Back About Food Allergy/Intolerance Term

When I recently posted about what restaurants did wrong in 2013, folks in the allergy/celiac community flooded my inbox with their own horror stories.

Did I hear from anyone in the food industry? Nope. Not a peep.

However, Dine Aware, a company that trains and certifies restaurants in understanding and addressing special dietary needs, sent me their new video. Thrilled to see a company making a difference for those of us with food allergies, intolerances, celiac disease and other eating issues, I tweeted this last Saturday evening:

Within minutes I got an unexpected response from an angry dude in the UK.

Tell me that FAI doesn’t stand for Food Allergy Intolerance . . . not  to get on my high horse but shit like that is the reason people don’t take allergies seriously.

Huh? It took me a while to figure out what Angry Dude was so worked up about. (Words of wisdom: Do not debate on Twitter when you are cooking dinner and late for a hockey game.)

Apparently, Angry Dude doesn’t like Dine Aware’s use of the term FAI.

Referring to allergies and intolerances as one and the same makes me angry, which I assume fai stands 4 . . . I think making up dodgy acronyms for anything just sounds a bit twee/lame :-/  . . . what’s going to get a sterner message across to the food/service industry?   . . . “You can kill me” or “you might make me feel rough for 3 or 4 days”?

Yikes! According to Angry Dude, we have to tell restaurants we will die to get them to leave off the cheese or the breadcrumbs or the __________ (fill in your allergy or intolerance here).

Though Angry Dude said he has food intolerances himself, I got the impression he didn’t think intolerances were on an even playing field as life-threatening allergies. I’ve run into people like him before. And not to get on my high horse, but . . . even though my allergies and my kids’ intolerances won’t kill us, we deserve to eat in restaurants and in campus cafeterias without getting sick! My oldest son’s intolerance to dairy won’t kill him, but a reaction will make him horribly sick and he’ll probably miss a day of work. Eating a smidgen of soy will cause my esophagus to painfully constrict, making me feel like I’m choking. A couple croutons in a salad won’t kill my youngest son or me, but gluten will wreak havoc on our bodies and can cause serious consequences, possibly death, in the longterm.

I told Angry Dude as much.

He held his ground. The term FAI watered down the message to restaurants and would be sneered at, he claimed.

Giving myself a few days to calm down, I re-watched the video this morning. Three woman–a young professional whose social life is impacted because she can’t eat out, one who lost a daughter to anaphylaxis, another who feels anxious to eat in restaurants–speak eloquently and clearly. Those of us with dietary restrictions worry when we eat out; a Dine Aware “seal of approval” would give us the confidence to frequent restaurants. Good for the food industry, good for the consumer.

The acronym FAI doesn’t make the message less effective.  I hold my ground, Angry Dude.

Angry Dude Fires Back About Food Allergy/Intolerance Term originally appeared at Adventures of an Allergic Foodie.

I’m Obsessed with Food!

I’m always thinking about food.

In fact, you could say I’m obsessed with food.

For a woman who’s struggled with weight issues all her life, this doesn’t seem like a good thing. But when your body reacts negatively to wheat and soy and corn and dairy products, you can’t help but think about every morsel that passes through your lips.

My health depends on it.

A recent week-long trip alerted me to how food obsessed I’ve become.  Before I could even step through the airport doors, I planned what to pack in my lunchbox that would pass TSA inspection. (Last trip, they confiscated my almond yogurt and peanut butter!)  Then, the entire time I was away from home, I had to constantly think about what the host was serving and how she was preparing the food.

No, I can’t eat a croissant with butter or that sausage that isn’t labeled gluten free.  And by the way, could you not serve the fruit on the same plate as the rolls?

I didn't look this happy when I was grocery shopping for food allergy food!

I didn’t look this happy when I was grocery shopping for food allergy food!

Before I finished breakfast, I was already planning lunch and dinner. If we were eating out, I jumped online and researched the restaurants through apps like AllergyEats. I followed up with a call to the staff to review my allergies. Sometimes plans were changed. If eating in, I had to negotiate a meal that included something allergy free for me to eat.

Of course, it isn’t just when I’m travelling that I’m thinking about food.  My desk is covered with books and magazines and articles related to food and health and cooking.

Books about celiac disease and food allergies

I can never just read one book at a time.

Every morning I read blogs and tweets about celiac disease and food allergies. I belong to multiple support groups and organizations.  I try to stay up on the latest news about CD, leaky gut, and eosinophilic esophagitis. I keep this blog and associated Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest accounts. I write reviews of cookbooks and restaurants and test food and products designed for allergic foodies like me.

I guess you could say food has become my passion as well as obsession.

I love meeting other allergic foodies! Please “friend” me on Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter–I’ll reciprocate!