5 Back to School Tips with Food Allergies

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I know I am late on the “back to school” themed posts, but these are things that will help you understand what is happening to your body and everyone else around you. Cause, unfortunately, having a severe food allergy in your teens, will be the most trying time in your life. I hope you learned a thing or two. Stick around and read somethings that didn’t make it in the video.


Your body will not respond to the world, like ordinary people’s bodies react to the world. But that doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing as others. Respond to the world like you need to and try every day to be kind to your body and yourself,  even though it might be harder for you than most. Having a chronic allergy or a food allergy doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you. It means that your body responds to the elements of the earth differently. It’s more sensitive, and being more sensitive doesn’t mean something is wrong; it means that it has a standard on what elements to let in. In all, your body is booshy, stuck up, only looking for the finer things in life.

*If you remove yourself from eating out this can apply to you.*

Some people don’t understand that eating out is about the social experience as much as the food, and if you eliminate the food, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to go to an eating out event for the social experience. We all need to socialize, right?

But that being said, you are probably going to encounter these types of people when they first meet you in eating out settings.

  • The person who doesn’t care
  • The person who overcompensates, they will go the end of the earth trying to find something you can eat to calm their anxiety and then get overwhelmed. This might take hours.
  • And the one that pity’s you

I prefer the one that doesn’t care. But because a lot of people will respond to your food allergy in various ways. To protect my mental health, I limit eating out to just with friends. Or I’ll go to a social gathering with friends, so it isn’t too awkward. If you need more tips to live a less awkward life, check out Nickely Challenged Etiquette: Eating out or my  Food Allergy Etiquette Tips.

Being socially crippled doesn’t mean you cannot socialize. But being aware of how your food allergy makes others feel, will help you navigate the social scene a bit better.

I do emphasis this because it will help with your transition. But, by saying that, that doesn’t mean that my food allergy discovery was smooth. I had to convince my parents after getting severely sick, twice to take my food allergy seriously. And they did, well for a while. They gave me money for food when I was in college, even though I paid for a meal plan that I couldn’t use. You will know more about the video. I appreciated it, but a year later, they wanted me to get off the diet when I went back to Kenya to visit my Cucu (grandmother). I swear it’s a balancing act of caring enough for you not to die but not caring enough, so people do not find out you have an allergy.

But in a positive note: this last year I meet wonderful people in my internship and my temporary job. They didn’t want to exclude me, and they didn’t care too much about my severe food allergy. “It was like, okay, so what do you like to watch?” I swear to sweet baby Jesus, that was a blessing. I also was very close to one of the fellow interns called Tammy, and well, it was magical in that department. She even helped me through an anaphylactic shock. I swear after that friendship, I have a new standard on how people should treat me. Cause well; I come with a lot.

Using your resources is detrimental to your health. If you have accepted #1 “You are Different,” then this won’t be a problem. Even though my school didn’t get me off the meal plan, forcing me to move off-campus. I didn’t use my resources; I didn’t know I could claim disability for my nickel allergy. Most of the time, I would come home so tired and had to sleep like 12 hours to even go to school and maintain my high GPA. Hampton University used coal or something that would make me light-headed by the end of the day.

*if you have a nickel allergy then living near a factory is terrible for your health*

In other words, chronic fatigue became my best friend; it even caused me to get the worst anaphylactic shock my senior year in front of my peers and teachers, can you say embarrassing. My teacher was so kind enough to extend my assignment with a decreased grade, but he said I should have been on disability, so if I got sick or the chronic fatigue was too much, I could have gotten an extension.

Also, if you have a nutritionist, uses it, I know Syracuse University has one. I would say maybe see a counselor, so you can adjust well since the university is seriously too stressful for life, and now you are dealing with a chronic allergy. *can you get a break*

I would emphasis you join a Facebook group that supports your allergy, and if there is none, definitely start one. *If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask*

If you have a nickel allergy join these two groups: The one I started Nickel Allergy Group & Gilda aka The Reluctant Health Nut’s started Low Nickel Diet & Lifestyle -Living & Eating Well with Nickel Allergy/SNAS.

In all actuality, you may not be able to do everything, but don’t limit yourself until you figure out what the situation is. My severe food allergy in college prevented me from studying abroad because I didn’t know the housing situation since I needed a kitchen. In all, that doesn’t mean you cannot do it. I can live vicariously through you. But when you are doing fellowships that pay for meals, you can ask for a refund because there is no way you can be accommodated. If this cannot happen, I hope your parents can help you with the finances for food since fellowships can be daunting in their workload. In all, the only thing I didn’t do was study abroad, but I don’t think I missed out, I was a McNair Scholar for a summer at the University of Rochester. Had a week-long presentation conference in North Carolina, which I had to meal plan for. I don’t recommend this, cause you might have a minor anxiety attack trying to figure out how much food will sustain you. Also, a two-day Graduate Exposer Orientation at Ohio State, which they accommodated me, not with the food but the hotel with a fridge and microwave. The only school which didn’t was the school I was in, Hampton University, but I did make it work. So not all schools are like that.

So life doesn’t come in the guidelines that mankind has put forth. Your parents might not be proactive about your allergy, your doctor might not take it as seriously either, and people may not want to accommodate you, even if your life depends on it. This is an unfortunate truth I am learning to live with. Since I see the world in my eyes, and I always try my hardest to make someone feel accepted, included, and understood. But no, the white picket fence, a husband or wifely or even both,  2.5 kids and the dog… *scratch out the dog,  I am allergic* is a myth, a façade that people amplify to think this world is a better place and rainbows show after rainy days and people genuinely care.

Not to damper your life, and I am not saying this so you can be sad that this is the world we live in. But in all actuality, everyone is looking out for themselves, so they end up neglecting everyone around them.

So the point of this sad violin I am playing is that, if you know this, then you know how to keep yourself alive, from having an allergic reaction, or out of the hospital, or even homeless. (if you have roommates that are trying to poison you intentionally)

All you’ve got is you and only you; you are the only one who can speak up and tell people you demand them to care about your life. Since I don’t eat out, I eliminate the guessing game, but for people who eat out and have one allergy, even though you have informed the chef and restaurant about your allergy, you might need to be persistent and have them double-check. People lie, forget, or they don’t know the severity of an allergy to take it seriously.

I took this advice by not letting anyone cook for me without me having an eagle eye on them. My sister poisoned me; she added tap water to my meals without telling me for almost a month, which made me have added more nickel to my body, causing me fatigue was unbearable couldn’t stay awake for more than 5 hours. But in all, they aren’t bad people, just naïve people, who don’t know the consequences of their actions. Well, long story short, my body has never been the same since.

So, in conclusion, all you have is you, and if you have supportive people, hug them for me, and if you need to tell your family, not to cook for you, do that. Because seeing your self suffer through an allergic reaction makes you feel guilty about betraying your body. So be kind and loving to you, even if it’s only you doing it.
So that is it? What did you think? Did I miss something?

Tell me so that I can include it in part two. This is a new spin on back to school tips with food allergies, but I feel like it was much needed, don’t you agree?

Well, if you watched the video, you saw me crying, Arg! I’m a bit of an emotional creature. Well talking about acceptance is emotional to talk about since we all crave it but somehow don’t give it or receive it from others. A bit of a contradiction, I might add. But it’s up to you to have self-acceptance.

So, what will make me happy is for you to live the most authentic life you can possibly live. When I say possibly, I mean in a way that you don’t cause your life more harm, like being in the wilderness and just forgetting society. *I have contemplated that, but what will I eat*

And if you hate your allergies, hate them, don’t suppress your feelings.
Lastly, you are a Super Hero, cause you to try day in and day out, every second, every minute without knowing how your body will react, and after every reaction, you still don’t give up. So keep trying, we can try together!
Love, kisses and unicorn poop.
And stay Beautiful!

It is a person that is not afraid to be themselves and doesn’t bash anyone else who is living in their truth. So be you, be beautiful even though you have allergies, illness, or whatever makes you think that you are less than human. Again, just because your body responds to the world differently doesn’t mean you need to conform to the world’s ideals. “Check out the Body Project by Alexandra”

For Suicide Prevention month: Be a listening ear to someone in need and/or send a lovely comment to the hate comments!

Written by Barbara Njuguna

Neurotically Nickely Challenged😫, food lover 🍱, social explorer🧘🏾‍♀️, & trying to navigate this adult life as nickel free as possible😓


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