In past years, I've discussed Surviving the Holidays with a Coconut Allergy. But, I mainly focused on which coconutty foods to avoid. This year, I want you to give yourself the gift of enlisting your family or friends in becoming your allergy advocate.
Here is how you can train others to make your life less lame during social meals:
First, show your family or friends this interactive guide on Healthline:
This guide will help them know what life threatening symptoms could possibly be caused by your allergy.
Second, dig out your PRACTICE EPI PEN and all of your other meds (Benadryl, Steroids, etc). And show them how to save your life if it ever happens to you.
Next, tell them how NOT FUN it is for you to always have to be the one defending yourself against potential allergens in food. Give them lists of foods you are allergic to on paper, or keep a list on your iPhone that you can text them.
Finally, when it's time to eat, put THEM to work. It will now be their responsibility to make sure you easily find safe food. Ideally, your loved ones should come up to you at the beginning of a shared meal or party, point out what they brought to eat, and tell you whether or not it is something that you can safely eat. Remind them that it's totally fine if they bring something you can't eat, as long as you know you can't eat it.
The icing on the cake comes when you go out to eat and your companions get the allergy menu for you, they remind the server of how serious your allergies are, or they call the restaurant ahead of time to make sure the chef can prepare something you can eat.
Allergies are rough during the holidays. Hopefully, once you enlist and train others who are willing to go to bat for you, it can be less lame. Friends who stick up for friends with allergies are showing so much needed love during a holiday; and that is a gift money can't buy.