I Get Shit for Being Allergic to Coffee

It's no fun when you have food allergy.

However people tend to show some form of sympathy towards you upon learning your condition.
"Oh poor thing"
"That's a terrible thing to be allergic to"

Sometimes, insensitive remarks.
"My, I don't know what I'll do if I can never eat lobster again"
(you'll survive, like the rest of us)

But when it is an uncommon allergy, you receive more than just a sceptical snide, you get thrown shades by people left right and centre.

What do I mean? Let's me give an example.

Girl A and B walk in to cafe, sit down and place an order. Girl A tells the waiter, I'm severely allergic to gluten, so please inform the chef to make sure my salad and sides are absolutely gluten free. Girl B asks Girl A, "I didn't know you were allergic to gluten". Girl A replies: "Oh I'm not, but I'm on this gluten free diet so I'm just lying to get what I want." Waiter overheard, roll eyes, proceed to serve non-gluten-free meal with no complication.

Repeat 5 times with 5 different customers with the same request. In walk a 6th customer who is truly allergic gluten, after taking order, the waiter turn around and spoke non-too-discreetly: "I bet you want bread with that gluten free salad".

Did she deserve it? No. Did she receive sympathy? Definitely no. What else can she do but goes online and rant about it.

Like this frustrated celiac disease writer who has a life threatening gluten allergy.

Wait, what do you mean it's not common? If it's not a common allergy, why would there be so many gluten free, soy free, lactose free products on the market? Because of allergy liars of course, which largely outnumbered actual allergy sufferer.

Now I'm not allergic to gluten, but I do possess a fairly uncommon allergy, albeit a fairly mainstream food product: coffee, more specifically, caffeine. But no matter how I deliver this news, I see a figurative eye rolls all around. And I'm not alone, many allergy sufferers like this one shared the same experience.

"Yea (laugh) but you can drink tea/coke"
Is my most common response from people whom I've informed on why I have to politely refuse that cup of coffee at the end of a meal. They can be old/new friends, relatives, acquaintances, waiters, even baristas at Starbucks has given me the eye rolls!

What's worse? I have been served caffeinated food without knowledge and ended up with rashes all over the next day. Thanks TWG for not informing me that your cakes are caffeinated even after I told your waitress I was allergic to caffeine hence had to insist the caffeinated tea you serve in your set is not consumable. I had to resort to harmful addictive steroid cream to stop my itches the following days.

Most times I just refuse without offering any explanation (despite the risk). It does make my life easier, it's when it's being insisted upon that I had to play the allergy sufferer card and I do not enjoy it.

I shouldn't need to feel shamed for having allergy, but that's how it is.


3 kissed Nicole

  1. Nicole, the products are on the market because there is an industry which profits from spreading false information about allergies and intolerances which suck in gullible people who do not have real problems. Your situation is different. A rash after coffee is not suggestive of caffeine allergy but rather an allergy to a protein in the coffee bean or other source material containing caffeine.

  2. Wow, I didn't know that people lie about allergies... Maybe sometimes they confuse food allergies with food intolerance.

    But that said, I feel that waiters (or anyone who is bringing/offering food) should listen when people say they don't eat / are allergic to / are intolerant of some kind of food. I mean, even if that person is lying, there is obviously something that they do not want in their food, and we shouldn't be tricking them into consuming it.

    P.S. I think you did mention to me (when you were in Lyon) that you didn't drink coffee. Since I don't drink coffee either (I don't like the taste, and recently it seems I'm somewhat intolerant to it because it gives me diarrhea... sort of), I didn't think much about it. Like I said, we shouldn't be forcing people to eat things.

  3. just out of curiousity— how come you're not part of nuffnang's bloggerati? (: