Most people take eating for granted. They do it with very little thought. They decide what they want, buy it, prepare it, and eat it. It’s not complicated.
For people with food intolerances and diseases, such as celiac disease, it is complicated. Those of us who have to avoid even traces of gluten know that having to scrutinize everything you eat is a different lifestyle.
From the beginning of my gluten-free days I knew I had to be extremely careful or I would react. But I also knew that there were other people out there—people with life threatening food allergies who had it worse off than I did.
I would tell restaurant employees that yes, it is serious, but I’m not going to die—today, right here—if I eat gluten.
Food allergies are not always life threatening, but for some people they are. The allergy can cause an anaphylactic reaction which can quickly lead to death. Such people often carry an EpiPen which is used to give a shot of epinephrine. The epinephrine counteracts the reaction, immediately giving relief from symptoms. But it only lasts 15 minutes. If medical help hasn’t arrived another shot may be needed.
Last month I had the privilege of listening to a lady speak about her experience as the mother of a son with several life threatening food allergies. I was brought to tears more than once. This seven-year-old boy needed his first EpiPen when he was three. They have had to use one a total of eight times. That’s an average of twice a year that he needs life saving intervention for a food allergy.
I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine trying to balance protecting him and allowing him to be a kid. But somehow this mom does it. And others do too.
It makes me appreciate my life just the way it is. My gluten free, label reading, celiac life.