Sophie’s Winter Celebrations
When people think of winter, we usually imagine colder weather, spending time with friends and family at celebrations with food and drinks such as hot chocolate or candy canes. It’s hard for people with food allergies because a lot of common winter activities involve food and drink that potentially be unsafe for us. I know for me at points in my life, this has caused me not to do things with my friends or family because I was nervous about the food aspect of the situation. However, I think it’s extremely important to not let your allergies control how you spend this wonderful season because in the end, letting it overly manage your life only impacts you in a negative way. For example, if you’re going ice skating with a friend and you know that afterwards you and the friend are going to eat cookies and drink hot chocolate but you’re allergic to something in the cookie, you could bring your own or just pass on the cookie instead of not going at all. My mom likes to say, “there’s a solution to every problem” and I’ve found that to be true both in all aspects of my life, including the ones with my food allergies.
This year I celebrated Christmas with 19 other members of my family at my grandparent’s house. Every year, there is always a lot of laughs, a lot of people, and a lot of food. This can be really scary especially when people decide to spontaneously bring food without checking that it’s safe for me first. Due to the fact that my nut allergy is pretty mild and almost gone, we had a few pecan pies and a homemade buche de noel with nuts sprinkled on top. But thankfully, my entire family is good about my allergy and so the aunt who made the buche de noel with nuts sprinkled on top, also made one without nuts. I felt really comfortable eating it because I knew she had made the one without nuts before she made the one with nuts, so there would be no risk of cross contamination. Also, before I had even gotten to the house, and also while I was there, my mom and I checked with all sorts of people, companies, and boxes to make sure that I was safe. When I plan things with my friends, I always check before to see if it will involve food, and then I can easily find a solution from there, weather it’s bringing my own food, eating at a place that’s safe for me, or eating before. I think that being prepared and planning ahead is a very important part of eating so that you can (hopefully) manage to feel safe no matter where you are.
Some of my favorite winter activities involve skiing, ice skating, reading by the fire, and going for winter hikes. Most of these are pretty easy to manage with my food allergy and I will only have to think about it a little bit if at all. The only activity for me that arouses a bit of worry is skiing, only because I usually ski all day and that usually means I will need to eat lunch at the ski resort. However, I rarely eat at the restaurant that they have and I’ll usually just bring my own food and I’ll just leave it in the car or if they have a locker inside the lodge, I’ll just put it there. What I’ve found is that it’s really easy to enjoy winter without worrying to much about my food allergy because there really is a solution to any problem that comes up. I’ve also realized that if I’m not comfortable with doing something, the people I’m with will always understand and we can still have a good time. Winter is a time that brings people together and you should let it do just that while still being mindful of your allergies, don’t let them overly manage your life.