All Apologies

PathVacations and getting out of town requires planning and food preparation when you have food allergies and intolerances. Food you need on hand for your road trip/flight. Food you need to carry with you when you’re out and about. Meals when you are away.

My first weekend was with some of my fellow gluten-free food bloggers. It was a great weekend, but I was struck by my friends apologizing to me for making or bringing something I could not eat because of my multiple allergies. My friends, of all people, know what it is like to accept not being able to eat what everyone else is eating. There were a handful of things brought/prepared that I could not have. I was not upset about it. There was plenty of food for me to eat.

My next few days was with friends in Washington, D.C. There is a chain of Italian ice/gelato shops nearby that they love. I passed on it pretty sure that the gelato was not safe and unsure of the Italian ice. I would rather be safe than sorry, and I really was full from dinner. They sat in their living room eating theirs while we were talking telling me how horrible it was and apologizing for eating something I could not have in front of me. They finally stopped the apologizing when I told them they don’t have to, several times. A few days later they were apologizing again because Jerm came home from work with cupcakes a co-worker brought in to celebrate his birthday early.

The tail end was spent with another friend in Manassas and her husband. I fixed dinner the first night. She and I went out the next night while he was at a draft for his fantasy football league. The last night, the hubs cooked. I was lying down in the guest room after returning from the Renaissance Festival (adrenals needed some recovery time). I already let them know I would make my own salad dressing because theirs had soy and wheat in it. When I finally came down about an hour later, salmon was being cedar planked (oh, how I love thee, cedar plank salmon), veggies were made, and the hubs came to me with questions. He bought a dressing at the store and asked if it was okay. It was. Next he handed me a box for a gluten-free bread mix for approval. He already had it mixed and ready to go and I had to let him down easy. There was whey and a couple of other milk derivatives in it. He was apologetic several times and I had to keep telling him it was okay. I stopped counting after three apologies that night.

I was also struck by the offer to cater to me after the apology during the first weekend. I have eleven different food allergies/intolerances. Had I not been tolerating yeast from my allergy treatment a month ago, it would have been twelve. That twelfth, like gluten, takes a lot of different foods off the table. It is extremely doable. I know my friend’s hubs had good intentions the last weekend when he bought that bread mix to try to make me feel included. I’m pretty sure he bought it on a whim while he was at the store. I do appreciate when people want me to feel included, but my multiple food allergies make it difficult and I don’t expect to be catered to since they are difficult for people who aren’t used to food allergies.

I am used to my life riddled with food allergies. I am used to passing on foods I once loved. I am used to bringing food with me to make sure I have enough to eat when I’m at someone’s house not used to dealing with food allergies. Not cheating with these Debi-allergenic foods when I discover them is integral to my recovery and health and journey. I remove these things then move on with life as if it was always that way.

I don’t expect anyone to apologize to me for having something I can’t have in my presence. If you can have something, by all means, eat it without guilt while you’re with me. I don’t expect anyone to cater to me. I understand that we all want family and close friends to make an effort to include us and our food needs. However, my food needs are such that it is hard for Chaz to keep up and we live in the same home. It is easier for me to prepare a meal and take it with me to a party than to try to get the host to make things without cross-contamination.

Go on, no apologies or catering.

Unless it’s my birthday.

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5 comments

  1. “I remove these things then move on with life as if it was always that way.” That’s definitely the healthy way to go, Debi. Even if there’s temporary mourning when additional intolerances/allergies pop up, to go forward we absolutely have to focus on all that we can eat and not try to find products that magically don’t have all the ingredients we need to avoid. I’ve found that we always find new ingredients and recipes we would never have considered before when we do this. It ends up being a joyous thing! Although I must admit that *usually* I’d rather folks apologize and care though than be oblivious to my food needs. The *usually* caveat is when folks use the apologizing as an opportunity to practically make a scene and point out how different one is. I’m pretty good at bringing a halt to the “poor pitiful you” talk though. 😉 I find it can be a great opportunity to enlighten folks and show them how one can manage one’s special diet with grace. And like you said, it hardly becomes special after a bit … it just is the way you eat. 🙂

    Shirley

    • I would rather they care, too. But I’ve found if I care about them caring more than they really care, it’s a huge disappointment when I discover they don’t care. Which is why I just like life to go on, I’ll take care of my food needs (since there are so many even if I’ve been able to add things back in) and IF they show they care enough to ask, then I am pleasantly surprised. 😀 I think that sometimes we get too stuck in expecting EVERYONE to care when that’s too high of an expectation. I know I’ve been fortunate in working with people who cared enough to ask me questions, make accommodations, and not treat it as a huge joke. Not everyone gets that and I’ve found when I take that expectation away when it comes to family, it makes it so much easier for myself and there is no resentment if anyone acts as if they don’t care. 😀

      • Well said! I totally agree on having too many expectations; that’s why I liked your other post so much and had to share. There are some folks who would have gone to your friends’ house and really expected them to come up with meal solutions with all those intolerances/allergies. Then they would have been greatly disappointed when they didn’t come through. That’s just crazy. I think we have to put ourselves in others’ shoes and not get too freaked out about anything. We have to look out for ourselves and it shouldn’t be a martyr thing. Love these discussions, Debi. Thank you!

  2. Pingback: Letting Go of Food Paranoia «


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