I got the smack laid down on me yesterday for my WTF Wednesday post. I thought it was funny that my bottle of Woodchuck Hard Cider was labeled “Gluten Free.” Despite the comments about serious food allergies and definitions of “gluten” I still think it’s funny.
I also still think food allergies are annoying. I think most people claim to have a food allergy when really, they just don’t like certain foods or those foods cause them a minor irritation. That’s not the same thing as having a real food allergy.
According to The National Peanut Board only 4% of adults and 4-6% of children have food allergies. Of those only .6 to 1.5% of the United States population have a peanut allergy.
This was shocking to me since peanuts in any form have been banned from most schools. I think if you bring a single peanut within two square miles of an elementary school the punishment is beheading.
I don’t know about anyone else, but last year I wasn’t allowed to bring treats of any kind to Reese and Jackson’s preschool class. Not even store-bought treats that had the ingredients clearly labeled on the packaging. Nothing. The only treats the kids could have had to be made in the kitchen on-site. It made me crazy.
I get that some kids (only 4-6% of the US population) have food allergies. But honestly, that’s not my problem. When Taryn and John were little one of the students in their class was allergic to chocolate. (An affliction that really would kill me.) That child’s mother provided the teacher with treats to keep in the classroom in the event someone brought in chocolate. She handled it, because it was her issue.
Most people don’t do that, they expect everyone else to handle their issues. I wouldn’t mind that so much – if I knew the issues were real. But most times, they’re not.
A few months ago I volunteered at a conference for our church. One of my shared duties was to manage the meals. We got an obscene amount of dietary requests. It became a joke, we thought for a while about just serving plates of Fritos – because they’re vegan. My friend Tammy and I worked hard to make sure all dietary requests were met. The hotel managed to accomodate everyone – but it was a lot of work. When it came time for people to pick up their box lunches we had them all labeled with the specific request, but not the name. As people handed me their “special request” tickets I asked them what was their request. More than one person said, “I don’t remember what I wrote.” or “Can you look it up, I don’t know.”
That’s not a food allergy. It is however, highly annoying.
You can’t just decide you’re allergic to something. You have to go to a physician and be tested. Just because your kid puked the first time you gave him cow milk doesn’t mean he’s lactose intolerant. Just because she choked on a peanut, doesn’t mean she’s allergic to peanuts. You have to go to a doctor and get that checked. Then checked again, because 85% of children grow out of food allergies.
I had an allergic reaction to penicillin when I was a kid. Most of my life I declared myself allergic to penicillin. When I was 32 and pregnant with the twinkies my obstetrician said, “there’s a blood test we can do to see if you really are allergic.” I did it.
Who has two thumbs and isn’t allergic to penicillin? This gal.
The few people who are truly allergic, as in they would have a serious medical reaction to eating certain foods – should avoid those foods. They should read lists of ingredients. If you’re really allergic to gluten, yeah stick with hard cider or wine instead of wheat or barley based beers. Whatever, just shut up about it.
Didn’t some politician say we’ve become a nation of whiners? Stop whining, you’re probably allergic to it anyway.