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Holiday Food Allergy Blues

It’s going to happen. You could be the most upbeat, glass-half-full, thankful-for-what-you’ve-got person, but it’s going to happen. Probably around the holidays. Probably at a party or a family event. It might sneak up on you at the buffet table or maybe it will hit you when you see the festive dessert tray.

It’s the Food Allergy Blues.

For people with food allergies, intolerance or celiac disease, the holidays are hard. Appetizers at parties are full of wheat and dairy. Dinner hosts might feel put out to accomodate one person’s special diet. And let’s not forget all the treats — cookies, candies, pies — laden with the most common food allergens. I suspect that this is the time when people with food intolerance (vs. a serious allergy) are tempted to cheat, and if they do, feel miserable. Other people avoid going to parties in the first place because it can make them feel down about their situation.

But here I am to give you a pep talk and tell you that we all feel this way at some point (even me, and I’m one of those people I described at the beginning!) I know it is really Polly-Anna of me to say this, but if food allergy/intolerance/celiac is the only thing you’ve got, think about how lucky you are that you don’t have something more serious.

Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, was asked in a recent interview, “What do you tell your patients who are diagnosed with celiac disease?”

He answered: “I tell them, ‘I do understand your feelings, but let’s say I have the power to trade your celiac disease for any other autoimmune disease, which you would rather have? Cancer, diabetes, Crohn’s, cystic fibrosis?’ They say, ‘Well, I will keep the celiac disease.'”

So be strong, fellow food-sensitive people! The holiday season will pass, and while others are making New Year’s Resolutions about what not to eat, you will already have that one covered!

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