When Benadryl Won't Cut It: Common Food Allergies

I have a friend who, for whatever reason, recently grew out of her lifelong food allergies to citrus, nuts, berries and shellfish.

Realizing this, she immediately went to a Thai restaurant and had shrimp Pad Thai, something she'd previously been unable to eat due to life-threatening allergies to almost every ingredient. She still had an EpiPen in her purse, just in case, but all went well and she had a hell of a time, I'm happy to report.

It made me reflect on how lucky I am that I don't have to have detailed conversations with my waiter on what, exactly, is in my food, and that I don't have to carry around a shot of epinephrine to stop my throat from closing in case of anaphylaxis due to accidental ingestion of allergens in my food.

Common food allergies vary throughout the world's regions. While I can say I could live with a few of them -- eggs, for example -- there are others that would just really throw a wrench into the gears of my life. Here are five food allergies that I would find especially terrible:

5- Berries

Strawberries and raspberries are two of my favorite fruits, so this one would be tough. Strawberry allergies are the most common of the berry family of allergies, but people can also be allergic to blueberries, blackberries, etc., although allergies to certain types of berries don't fall into the list of the top eight most common -- milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, shellfish, soy and wheat. Regardless, not being able to have fresh strawberries in yogurt with granola or smoothies or pie would not be fun.

4- Nuts

While many children who have allergies to tree nuts do grow out of them, being allergic to nuts puts a severe hamper on the variety of cuisines you can ingest. Again, my friend who used to be allergic to basically everything but air simply couldn't eat Thai food -- one pan with a remnant of peanut oil on it would be enough to have made her allergic head explode.

Cafeterias in public schools now have a total ban on any peanut product in their lunch lines, just in case a student has an undiagnosed peanut allergy. Lawsuit, anybody?

Allergic reactions to nuts can be some of the most violent, so not only would I not want this one because of my love for cashews, trail mix and peanut butter, but also for the potentially fatal reaction if consumed.

3- Soy

So many food products have soy in them, and if you are allergic to it, it can really be a headache looking at what you can and cannot eat.

That would really be the main thing making a soy allergy such a nightmare: soy products, along with corn products, are in so many of our foods, and we don't even realize it.

Also, I love tofu. All the way around, this one would be a real clusterfuck to contain.

2- Shellfish

In my top five favorite foods, both shrimp and scallops make an appearance. To be honest, lobster is great, but I can take it or leave it -- though it's usually left just because of the ridiculous price of market lobster.

Not being able to have a buttery, seared-on-the-outside-almost-raw-inside scallop dissipate across my palate in all of its heavenly, bivalve-d goodness just sounds miserable.

My mom used to be heavily allergic to scallops. She didn't give two shits, though, and would routinely get hives on her arms and let her legs and feet swell up just to be able to eat them.

Maybe a little excessive, but scallops sure are good.

1- Gluten

No pizza. No bread. No beer.

No beer?! I just couldn't do it.

Gluten sensitivity can include any number of adverse reactions to wheat, including celiac disease and wheat allergy, but they are similar in that the only treatment is a gluten-free diet.

Symptoms of gluten sensitivity in all of these conditions can range from diarrhea to weight loss, malnutrition and stomach/intestinal pains, among others.

Seriously, though. No beer? Couldn't do it. I'd have to resort to taking shots of Imodium between beers.

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Sam Brown