Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving is almost upon us...

Well, I'm often asked how people with "my allergies" (and yes, that's often punctuated by an eye roll) handle the holidays. It kind of makes me laugh a bit. Most people have visions of me sitting at a table filled with food, staring longingly at the turkey while I look at my clean white plate and mope.

On what planet? Let us get this straight immediately. I keep writing this and maybe, if it can effect just one person, I'll have gotten through. I can eat. I like to eat. Allergies are a hindrance but they don't have to rule one's life!

It's quite simple. One (me) asks the hostess what they will be preparing. Together, because Thanksgiving is a holiday spent with family (who at this point in my life, all my family is used to my "pain-in-the-assery"), we work out what I'll be able to eat (i.e. - please no paprika on the turkey, and a baked potato in the oven alongside the mashed that are cooking). Believe it or not, outside of having an alternative to butter on the table for me, so that I might eat a roll and said potato, that's about all the accommodation that's necessary. For me, it's as simple as a baked potato and some margarine.

If I can make any point here, it is to TALK to the family/friend/restaurant that is hosting your holiday dinner ahead of time. You're S-O-L if you show up without speaking up (and that's not the host's fault, it's yours)! Know your limits (no gravy for me), and then sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself! The key is to discuss all of these things beforehand. Remember allergic guests, holiday dinners are extremely stressful. No host can make everybody happy. Asking that you not be killed, however, is well within your right!
I'd be remiss if I didn't provide you with a fail-safe plan to survive Thanksgiving on the off chance you can't discuss the meal ahead of time (and this does happen). Eat only what you can, even if that's just a small salad or a plain roll. Then eat when you get home, because you know what the ingredients are and you know that the food is safely prepared. Remember, an obnoxious comment or two about your eating habits is far better than having to use your Epi-Pen and/or visit the hospital (and this is an Allergic Diner cardinal rule!)
Gobble Gobble,
Your Allergic Diner

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