Acceptance – accepting that you have food allergies is a big step to leading a positive life. It sounds obvious, however if you have grown up like me from a very young age being ‘different’ you can kick against this and take risks as you get older because you cannot accept the situation. You have to try to think of it as part of your ‘power’ – look at me, I’ve created a business out of it! Do I wish I didn’t have it? Yes I do. Do I accept it? Yes I do. In the same way that someone has to accept being diabetic, or short-sighted, or overweight, or in a wheelchair? Acceptance will help you be positive.
Choose friends wisely – when you accept that you have this and it becomes a normal part of your conversations, you will soon find true friends accept it too. After a while they simply flex their behaviour around food choices around you quite naturally. They don’t see it as an imposition. In fact they can use the opportunity to get me to bring the food!
Speak up – remember however bad you feel, there are more and more people out there with allergies and the numbers are growing. The more people like us speak out, lift the cover of the kind of discrimination we feel, the more action will be taken to improve our quality of life in all environments. Don’t be afraid to call someone out for bad behaviour to you in that restaurant, hotel or café. Be firm, be clear, don’t be abusive however be heard!
Think bigger – if you want things to change for people like you and me, don’t sit around and wait for change. Be part of the change. Don’t allow a petition for getting adrenalin auto-injectors which needs 10,000 signatures to be taken seriously, just get 71 names. Don’t just speak up in a single situation, take your voice wider, speak to your local MP, take part in research and consultations. Step forward for all of our sakes.
Know your worth – above all, know that you deserve to live a great life and take steps to do so, even if those steps have to be slightly different to others. Having anaphylaxis and allergies is not great – however look for the opportunities around it. Educate yourself around good food and nutrition, use safe snacks, learn to cook, share great recipes and gradually the conversation will be around nutritious, healthy food suitable for everyone rather than something tasteless for us ‘allergy bods’. By being outwardly positive yourself you will inspire others which in turn will inspire you. I’m trying to walk this walk myself. It has its challenges however I intend to keep on walking.