The 2017 List of Top 10 Allergy Friendly Restaurant Chains is Now Out!

The 2017 List of Top 10 Allergy Friendly Restaurant Chains is now out, people! GO CHECK IT OUT!

Having been diagnosed with an anaphylactic food allergy only a couple of years ago, I still live with the dreaded anxiety that tags along when I eat out at restaurants. It’s an anxiety that is hard to explain to people without food allergies, because they’ve (fortunately and thankfully) never experienced the terrifying feeling of having their throat start to close or having their body become covered in hives.

Once you’ve experienced those awful symptoms, it’s understandable to be worried and anxious when eating out at restaurants–especially because one of my anaphylactic reactions happened at a restaurant due to a wait staff member in their words “not taking my allergy seriously.” FOR REAL?

Since then, I’ve been extremely careful when eating at restaurants, because it’s up to the wait staff to take our allergies seriously (even though we shouldn’t have to tell people to do that, *eye rolls for days*.) Once we place our order and inform them of our allergy, we have to trust them to then efficiently communicate to the chef and then we have to trust the chef to execute accordingly.

Restaurants that pride themselves on and who prove themselves to be allergy-friendly have so much of my gratitude and respect. A restaurant should want to make sure that all of their customers are happy, comfortable and satisfied.

The restaurants on this list prove themselves to be allergy aware and friendly, which in return proves themselves to me to be outstanding places of business!

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source: https://www.allergyeats.com/2017-list-of-top-10-allergy-friendly-restaurant-chains/

So next time your friends want to go out to dinner, maybe suggest one of the restaurants on this list. You’ll eat delicious food with good company, and you can worry a little bit less 🙂

*My personal favorites on the list are Chipotle (because it’s an allergy friendly chain that offers fast food pickup) and Not Your Average Joes (because their staff is outstanding and so is their food–seriously, try their bread!)

 

This is not a sponsored post, just one blogger’s opinion 🙂

Thursday Tips & Tricks: Food Allergies At Home 🍓🍞

Food allergies are a pain 🙅🏼. They’re often hard to manage & can be difficult to live with. It’s especially hard when you live with other people. 🏡

Here’s an easy trick to help make yours and your roommates/family members loves easier: label all the food with small colored dots🔴. For example, foods or ingredients with seafood in it can have a green dot, foods/ingredients with gluten in it can be labeled with a yellow dot, etc.

It just helps everyone be more aware and helps everyone in the house live a little more stress free😌

(P.S. I saw this idea on buzzfeed! Aka the best place ever) 

My Anaphlyaxis Story

For those who may have seen my previous post, the post below is the story I wrote for the Food Allergy Resource and Education website:

I was at a restaurant and had made my allergies very well known to the waiter and the staff. However, they didn’t take my allergy seriously and made all of my food on the same station that they had made their famous fish menu item. I had an anaphylactic reaction about a minute after having a tiny bite of what I thought to be a “safe” cucumber with tzatziki sauce.

This was my first reaction since I had been diagnosed and I wasn’t sure when to use my epinephrine auto-injector and decided to wait because I thought mysymptoms were getting better. I told myself if I calmed down, breathed deep, and didn’t think about it, that I would feel better. I am so lucky and glad that I was with a close friend who drove me to the closest ER. She had actually tried to use my auto-injector on me, but didn’t know how to use it correctly. She, in the heat of the moment, forgot to remove the safety cap. And honestly, I don’t blame her. It was probably a terrifying moment for her as well. So that’s when I decided to wait out my symptoms.

I now know that when in doubt, you use your epinephrine auto-injector. I learned that you should NOT wait out your symptoms. Since then, I have taught and continue to teach all of my friends and family how to use an auto-injector. The most important thing is that you educate yourself on the symptoms and treatments, and you educate your loved ones as well.

Always carry your epinephrine. Always read labels. Never feel embarrassed or like you’re annoying someone when you ask to read a label, or you ask how they cooked something, or you ask how they cleaned their kitchen ware. Do not feel like you are burdening anyone, because it is your life and safety at hand.Know that you are not alone, also. There are always a tremendous amount of support and resources out there for you.

Food Allergy Awareness Week: My Story

I am incredibly humbled and happy to know that my story reached more than 90,000 people and shared more than 300 times thanks to Food Allergy Research & Education

I shared my story for a couple of reasons:

1. So people with food allergies learn that they need to be able to recognize their symptoms, know how & when to use their epi-pen, and to see how important it is to teach loved ones how to use an epi-pen. 

2. So that people with food allergies feel less alone. So that they don’t feel embarrassed or as if they’re a burden by asking friends, family and restaurant wait staff about cooking processes and allergens.

If at the end of the day my story has helped others in some way or another, than I feel accomplished and happy 😊
You can read my full story through the link below (I’ll also share in a separate blog post shortly 😁)

My Anaphylaxis Story on FARE.com

Tips and Tricks: Resource Pages 

  
Recently I’ve added three new pages to my blog: resources pages for headaches/migraines, narcolepsy, and food allergies.
I went through all the resources as I was choosing which were most beneficial to share (there’s a lot, because there’s so much helpful info out there!) and realized that I wasn’t even aware of half of the info/websites/etc that I shared. That means that there are so many resources for us spoonies to take advantage of: clinical trials, foundations and organizations, blogs, support groups, fact sheets, and so much more! 💻📋📝 I strongly urge you to visit some of these resources every week or so because there’s always new info for us to take advantage of. We need all the help we can get, might as well take advantage of the free help! 

What’s the Word? “Fortitude”

  
Fortitude. 

A word I love. A word I repeat in my head day in and day out. A constant reminder that I am stronger than any difficulty I am facing. 

Physical strength is great. Without physical strength I wouldn’t have been able to get up to bat every time I had a migraine during a really important game. I wouldn’t have been able to endure the multiple nurses and endless prodding by needles when my veins were being stubborn during blood drawings. It’s a strength I’ve learned how to control and can be seen by others around me.

Mental and emotional strength takes a much stronger person to master. How many plans do you have to cancel, trips you have to miss, crying breakdowns you have to endure, anxiety attacks you have to conquer, etc, does it take for one person to truly give into the mental and emotional pain of chronic illness and pain? 

I wish I could count on my hands the number of times I’ve broken down in extreme frustration, anger, sadness, the like due to health issues that piled on top of me until I felt like I was suffocating. But I can’t, because I don’t have that many hands.

It was worse in the years prior. With age, and experience, comes maturity. Lately, I’ve displayed more emotional and mental strength than I thought was capable of. It helps to have an encouraging support system who constantly tells you how strong you are. But instead of feeling like you’re getting an ego boost, you feel proud.

Proud that you are still fighting. Proud that you aren’t letting the difficulties that pile up, win. Proud that you are mentally and emotionally strong enough to show the world that no matter what, you will continue to walk through your journey with your head held high.

Fortitude is a word I repeat in my head every single day. I’ll be damned if I let my adversities beat me down. 

The Most Typical of Mondays

Yesterday was a test of my patience, perseverance, and temper. What started out as a classic “Monday Mishap” escalated into a “Monday Mayhem.”

I experienced those typical “ugh” moments that everyone faces pretty often-losing your wallet (temporarily, thankfully), dumb drivers on the road, timing mishaps and office troubles–but there was one segment of my day that just really set me over the edge.

While I’ve been making some progress with my headaches and narcolepsy situation, I’ve only seemed to take numerous steps backward in my journey with food allergies.

After ending up in the ER two weekends in a row, I’ve been eating really “safe” foods because it’s nerve-wracking to eat when you aren’t 100% sure what your food allergies are. So yeah, the anxiety is continually on the rise. So I did what any normal person would do (after a year…whoops.) I made a follow-up appointment with an allergist–optimistic that the doctor would be able to ease some of my anxiety, answer some of my questions, and bring even a tiny bit of peace to my mind. Yet, I got just the opposite.

I’ve seen my fair share of doctors and I’ve seen a few who I didn’t exactly see eye to eye with regarding treatment plans. However, I’ve never seen a doctor who made me feel so belittled, frustrated and generally pissed off before. He looked at me like I had ten heads when I asked him questions and told him things other doctors have told me. For reference, I’m very new to the food allergy world. It’s not like I’ve had a peanut allergy my entire life and know how to manage it–no I recently developed a seafood allergy–which he thinks is not even possible (what?) He spewed his BS at me, shook his head like I had told him I got my information from “The Onion” rather than from accredited doctors, and sent me on my way to get a blood test for only crab and salmon (to my knowledge, there is other seafood out there, but what do I know right?) Times like these I wish I had been ballsy enough to tell him his word meant nothing to me and walked out, but I politely left the office and went to go get stuck by another needle. (although the guy who took my blood was awesome, so super grateful for that. I’ve never had such a painless experience getting blood drawn. props to him.)

I understand that there are times when people have bad experiences with doctor visits. However, for spoonies such as myself who see doctors more often than they see most of their friends, it’s extremely frustrating. It wasn’t so much that I was sad, I was just genuinely pissed off at this guy. It was a waste of my time–and spoonies also know how valuable time spent in a doctors office is when we’re trying to find answers.

I sat in my car afterward cursing the doctor wishing I had told himself to stick his handshake where the sun don’t shine, until my dad kind of set my mind right. He made me realize that there’s really nothing to cry about. I’m allowed to be pissed off, but I have to be able roll with the punches. I have to be able to take the annoyances and learn from them. I have to try to find even the tiniest positive thing from the experience and move on to what’s next.

We’ll all have days that make us want to break things and scream to the skies yelling “Why me? What did I do in a past life to deserve this shit?” But at the end of the day, we can’t change what just happened. We have no control over what and how much gets thrown in our path. We do, however, have control over how we handle those days. We can throw in the towel and walk away cursing under our breaths. We can rage until someone fixes their wrongdoings brought upon us. Or, we can take a deep breath, calm ourselves down, figure out the next step and move forward. We can gather our patience, grab a hold our temper, and persevere on.

It’s not the destruction that’s tearing you down that will define who you are or where you go in this life. It’s how well you step over the rubble and walk through the fire.

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Give Into The Vulnerability

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I feel like people really underestimate the effect of giving into vulnerability. Without it, you would never get over that hump of feeling scared, which then would prohibit you from being able to know what courage feels like.

People who open up about their health, financial, emotional, or any personal issues are giving into the inevitable (in most cases) feeling of being vulnerable about it. It’s scary to share your story with everyone, especially when you know a lot of people just won’t care to listen. The key is to forget about those people and focus on the people who will really benefit from you sharing your story with them.

I gave into my vulnerability by starting this blog, my health Instagram account, and sharing both with friends, family, and strangers. However, I’m so glad I did. I have been given a window into other people’s lives, a lot of whom are dealing with so much more than I, and who are still a beam of light in a world so often draped in darkness.

I’ve been inspired by their courage to continue to fight, myself. When you give into your vulnerability, you will see you are capable of so much you never even imagined.

Just today, I had a follower on Instagram tell me that she loves how positive I am and that it helps her continue to fight past her chronic pain. Such a little comment means so much. It shows me that because I let myself be vulnerable, I’ve been able to help others, which only pushes me to be more courageous.