Speaking from experience with my multitude of allergies, it forces you to think ‘outside’ the box. What can I do now, instead of going with the usual, I can’t just grab a burger or sub, that wheat allergy put a big halt to that one. So, how about an omelet with ham and cheese, nope, the egg allergy thing. Let’s make it easier and tell you that there are six food allergies, wheat, soy, peanuts, black pepper, egg, and potatoes! You saw that last one, potatoes, let me tell you it’s hard to give up french fries when you have eaten them most of your days, don’t even get me started on a baked potato with sour cream and chives.. YUM, but sadly no more. Black pepper, do you know how hard it is to find food that doesn’t have black pepper on it? But that is a story for another day for you see I was diagnosed with allergies later in life and having to give up those foods that were so good and can one can find almost anywhere is HARD.
Okay, the one thing that I never wanted to do was turn into a rabbit with eating salads all the time because it was an easy way out with all my food allergies. Don’t get me wrong, a great salad is deliciously simply and can taste wonderful, if you can throw it all together at one time and not have to read the ingredients. But I have to stop thinking like that because those ‘salads’ can save me time and money especially away from home. But with doing so I have to think about salad dressings because one of my allergens is soy. A lot of dressings are based in soy. So I learned to ask questions about everything! Plus, asked for olive oil on the side and secretly crossing my fingers that it was EVOO, I think it’s perfect for a topping on salads. Even with salads I still had to ask questions, because they could come with hard boiled eggs and croutons. A salad or two has gone back, especially after telling them of the allergies and they still got it wrong.
Learning to ask questions about my food was hard to get adjusted to: it made me feel like I was being someone that was high maintenance. I am so totally not high maintenance at all. But, I have learned that wanting to know what is in my food and not just accepting it on faith was okay. Actually, it was better than okay, when people understood why I was asking, and they knew that I needed their help, they were friendly and most helpful. Besides if they were not being helpful I was more than happy to walk out of a place, and I am glad to say to date, I haven’t had too. I have met several nice folks in doing so whom I would have never had the chance to talk to before, and it is a great experience. So, letting myself set outside the box of how things are ‘normally’ done was the best choice that I could have made for me.
So, to make things easier “TAB Street” was born from a different idea on another site that I put together. It’s good to be able to cook from home but when that moment comes you want to be able to know where an allergy friendly restaurant is located. Even when traveling is in the picture you can find an allergy restaurant and gluten free restaurant, and would you believe some restaurants have done a great job including both of them on their website. It’s great that restaurants will accommodate but sometimes you just want to do and need the facts before you go.
Big applause to the restaurants that have added that information to their websites.