Having food allergies isn’t fun. I’ll put that out there right now. I don’t enjoy having to read the food labels on everything and being that girl at restaurants.
“But, Nicole,” you say, “the title of this post is ‘The Benefits of Having Food Allergies.’”
Why yes, my observant friend, yes it is.
You see, I can complain (and I do at times, like above) about having food allergies (for those that don’t know I’m allergic to wheat, soy, corn and peanuts and am lactose-intolerant) and not being able to eat things like this amazingness, but in learning how to live with them, I’ve discovered it’s not all restrictions and sad faces. There’s a plus side to everything, including having food allergies!
- I eat better.
Reading ingredient labels is pretty much the least fun thing ever, so I tend to choose foods that can’t possibly have any hidden ingredients (like fresh fruit, veggies, plain oatmeal, nuts, seeds and proteins) over processed goods.
- It makes me more creative.
If I want something like pizza or ice cream, I have to get creative with it. Fortunately, I like to cook and experiment in the kitchen, so my food restrictions only mean I have to be more imaginative than most. What can I sub for flour, soy sauce, creamy caramel? It’s like a game show straight out of The Food Network! Not all experiments end up in my favor (case and point), but when they do, it’s glorious!
- I can teach others.
While I don’t enjoy explaining to people what I can and can’t eat, I do enjoy sharing healthier options to crowd favorites and telling people about new foods and flavors I’ve discovered during my kitchen experiments. For instance, my mom now loves making “ice cream” out of frozen bananas and Will eats zoodles!
- I challenge chefs.
I really don’t like being the annoying person at the table asking for this dish but without that and can I have this instead and can you be sure to tell the chef no butter? However, in finding the positive, chefs make the same thing all night long. Sometimes for weeks at a time depending on how often they change their menu. I like to think that someone with food allergies challenges them to get creative with the dishes they’ve made a million times over, and I like to think they appreciate it. Ok… that might be a stretch, but humor me ha!
- I get excited about the little things.
Every now and then, I’m pleasantly surprised. I find a packaged good on the shelf that is allergen free (hello, everything in this post) or a restaurant surprises me with a special dish like the strawberry moose I got in Grenada. I get pretty gosh darn excited when something like this happens. Yummy food? And I can eat it?! YESSAH!
Silver, meet Lining.
Also, quick side bar: Remember when I went to Grenada?! Well my first post for The Daily Meal (the publication that sent me on the trip) is finally live! If you want to learn a little more about my trip, the island of Grenada, and things to do there, I’d love for you all to check it out and give it some love :). I should have a few more articles rolling out over the next few days, so I’ll be sure to share those with you, as well!
Do you live with food allergies/dietary restrictions?
Have any positives come from it?