Ah, comments like this really bother me. I was reading a book about fasting by Jason Fung and at one point he says that people who are not willing to eat at weddings and the like are “party poopers” or something along those lines. I put down the book and haven’t picked it up since, because the comment just bothered me so much.
I don’t eat at birthday parties, weddings, work potlucks, lunches, office parties, lunch meetings, staff meetings, celebrations, or most other events because I have life-threatening food allergies. Unless I know who has prepared the food and/or know its exact ingredients and that there’s a low risk of cross contamination, I don’t eat it. I’ve had people attempt to provide safe food for me and still reacted because they did not understand cross-contamination or some foods contain unexpected ingredients. I either eat before going and socialize only, or I bring my own food and eat that.
The fact that I do not eat the food available does not make me or anyone else a “not really a joiner” or a “party pooper”. I actually think society is far too obsessed with what other people are eating. Sure, offer food as part of the fun to those attending, but often when I go to these types of events people are so obsessed about the fact that I’m not eating and ask me multiple times if I’m sure I don’t want anything to eat. I am way more relaxed and enjoying myself way more when I’m eating food that I’ve prepared that I know will not result in an allergic or blood sugar crisis than I am eating mystery food wondering if I’ll be injecting myself with an EpiPen or struggling to keep my blood sugar in a safe range after eating.
What I wish most is that people around me would just let me handle my own food situation, either not eat at all, eat food I’ve brought, or advocate for my own dietary needs depending on how I assess the situation. The idea that people may be watching me and thinking negative things just because I’m choosing to prioritize my health is really disturbing. Everyone is there to socialize, presumably, and it annoys me sometimes that every single social event also has to have food attached to it.
No, please, no… A food allergy is a real, serious, potentially life-threatening medical condition, just like diabetes, and lying about it just spreads misconceptions and makes things harder for those of us who live with the real thing. If you say that you’re allergic to something when you’re not, but then turn around and eat a dish that has that ingredient hidden somewhere in it, or eat something off the same plate the food you’re “allergic” to has touched, you’ve just made things more dangerous for people with real allergies. When we say we’re allergic, we need people to understand that it means that if we eat something with a minute trace of that food, or eat something that has touched that food, or use shared equipment or gloves or cutlery that has touched that food, we will have an unpleasant and possibly life-threatening reaction. Just tell the truth and say that you have diabetes and don’t want to spike your blood sugar and leave it at that.