Most of my family and friends understand that I have an intolerance to both gluten and dairy. But when I try to explain my other food intolerances and allergies, I lose them quickly. I try to explain that it’s easier for me to bring my own food than for them to worry about finding traces of the multiple foods I can’t eat. Especially when those foods can come in many disguises.
My list goes something like this:
Wheat, rye, barley, rye, soy sauce, malt, dairy, honey, tree nuts, peanuts, honey and agave. I have added soy recently, but not because I am allergic. I believe it messed up my thyroid so I am limiting it for now.
How can you ask your loved ones to shop for you when you have such a long list of foods you can’t eat? Or how do you explain to a server or chef in a restaurant about the long list of foods that are off limits. The easiest way is to carry a card listing those foods.
I tried to find a card that was not only free, but that was customizable. I could not find such a card online. There are many websites that offer free and for a fee food allergy cards, but they can’t be customized. It’s either wheat and milk, or eggs and milk, etc. I do not have allergies except to nuts and peanuts. If you want a gluten intolerance card, you can’t add other food intolerances. Hmmm, I thought, I might have to take things into my own hands and make one.
I fired up my word program and selected a business card template. I came up with this:
I don’t have any blank business cards at the moment, but I printed these out and will carry them in my purse. Next time I go out to eat I can just hand one of these to the server and ask them to give it to the chef. I also wanted to mention that I carry an EpiPen. My husband knows I carry it and knows how to use it. But in case he is not with me, I am covered.
Allergen alert cards are a great idea, but I hope that in the future they will not only be free, but customizable for all food allergens and intolerances. There is an app, but the reviews are not good. I am hoping that one that actually works will be developed.
Having one of these will give peace of mind and the ability to have a safe dining experience.