Review: Allergic Girl by Sloane Miller
If you have seen the movie Hitch, I'm sure you will remember the scene where Hitch (Will Smith) and Sarah (Eva Mendes) go on their second date, with Sarah's boss and his wife, no less. They are all taking a cooking class, and a waiter walked around with samples. Hitch and Sarah try a sample and talk about how delicious it is. Fast forward a few moments and Hitch is asking everyone if it's a little itchy in there before his ear has swollen twice its normal size and the scene cuts to the drugstore where Sarah is frantically running around trying to find the Benadryll. The next thing you know Hitch and Sarah are walking around the city and Hitch is holding the bottle on Benadryll with a straw inside, drinking it like a juice box. As someone with food allergies, this scene was completely relatable; I don't even know how many gallons of Benadryll I have consumed in my lifetime. Sloane Miller, a food allergy counselor, blogger and an owner of food allergies herself, uses a lot of humour and real life situations in her entertaining and informative book, Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies.
After reading this book, I not only learnt a lot about myself, but I learnt many strategies about how to navigate my allergies in a non-allergic world. I learnt that it's okay to ask for help. When I was a kid, some friends of mine didn't even know I had food allergies because I didn't want to be different; elementary and high school were hard enough without the addition of not being "normal." I would never raise my hand when teachers asked if anyone had food allergies when some sort of food activity came up. People always seemed to forget or not understand, so I would get discouraged and stop telling people once again.
Being a food allergy counselor, Miller had many tips and tricks for navigating the world with food allergies. From how to tell a restaurant your food allergies to make sure you are heard to what to do at family and work events where food is present and not everyone understands food allergies.
Miller included many resources as well for help with food allergies and presented many real-life situations that either happened to her, her friends or her clients to show that it can be done. Things like asking for help or explaining your needs to people so you can feel safe are things that people with food allergies need to practice and will eventually become second nature.
I thought this book was so great, I'm going to go out and buy my own copy. It's a great resource to have as it includes strategies from pretty much any situation where food allergies come into play. I also learned something completely new about food allergy strategies, which is Chef Cards, a laminated card with a picture of the foods you are allergic too on them, which can be given to waiters or chefs so there is no language barrier (especially great for travelling) and your allergy needs are clearly stated. I will definitely be placing an order for a set of cards.
I think this book will become an immensely helpful resource for me and I encourage anyone with food allergies to give this one a read, I think it will be a great experience for you.
Do you have any books about food allergies you recommend?