Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

A Sign of Holidays Yet to Come

by Giulia, age 16. Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, shellfish, and sesame seeds, among others.

If you are reading this, there is an 80 percent chance of two things: (1) You have a food allergy, and (2) you’ve had it for quite some time. I know those two points are true about me. I also know that having food allergies is a challenge, but one you can overcome. However, the worst time to have food allergies is around the holidays, when you see all the delicious foods that are tempting you to take a bite.

Well, if you are smart, you won’t give into these temptations – no matter how good they look. It’s part of the training that has been drilled into us from birth. Now, you’re probably thinking: That’s nothing new; how dumb does she think I am? But what some people don’t know is that holiday treats for people with food restrictions are popping up all over the place.

My first example is chocolate. Being allergic to nuts, safe chocolate is rather hard to come by. But this past spring, I had my first chocolate bar in eight years, from a company that specializes in nut-free chocolate. Eating candy with my cousins and their chocolate bunnies was the greatest feeling.

Another fabulous find for the holidays is all the granola bars and really great cookies that my family found by doing some easy research. By putting a little more effort into all your holiday shopping, you can find great products that are almost identical to their name-brand counterparts.

So, all you readers with food allergies: Don’t be depressed during the holidays! Between the mouth-watering substitutions you can find either at your local health food store or by carefully reading labels in the supermarket, there is no need for the blues during this cheerful time of year. Just remember to always have your medicine at the ready and not to make any of those – quite frankly – stupid decisions that tempt us during this season. After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year!
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