News and views from the Allergy & Free From Community

‘A day in the life - 6th form with severe allergies'

20-01-21 Poppy Saunders, Will nut Contain

Most people are diagnosed with allergies at a very young age, but for some weird reason, my body decided to develop allergies at 16. I suddenly became anaphylactic to nuts and allergic to dairy and gluten. These were foods that I had eaten all my life and had never imagined I would be allergic to. Before I even had time to process this new change in my life, I was thrown into a world of EpiPens, reading food labels and everything else that comes along with having food allergies. Suddenly everyone else around me had finished handing round the share box of sweets before I had time to check if it contained my allergies, or as if the ‘lean in’ for a kiss isn’t awkward enough without me having to say, ‘sorry you haven’t eaten nuts in the lasts 4 hours have you?’ If you had told me a year before a kiss could kill me I would have laughed, suddenly this was my reality.

When starting the sixth form, I wasn’t interested in being different to my friends. I was in denial about having allergies and didn’t want to accept that I had to deal with it. I felt alone and didn’t realise that there were so many other people going through the same thing.

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The Cure - Identity and the hypothetical


20-01-21 David Robson, Coeliac Man

Those of you who saw the title of this and were hoping for my thoughts on seminal English new wave band The Cure are, I’m afraid, going to be disappointed. Although I will say that Friday I’m in Love is a total banger. No, instead I’m talking about a different kind of cure.

One of the questions I get asked the most, aside from “can you eat this?”, is that if someone discovered a cure for coeliac disease, would you want it? I always find this really tricky to answer. For people diagnosed later in life, who have experienced years of eating whatever they want and know exactly what they’re missing by cutting gluten out of their lives, I imagine it’s a fairly straightforward decision to say yes, they would take the cure. For me, however, it poses a dilemma.

Having had coeliac disease for all of my conscious life, it’s a massive part of who I am and, in many ways, has shaped the person I am today. As much as it would be a revelation to finally experience why everyone bangs on about gluten-filled bread being so much better than gluten-free, I think it would come at a cost. I’m in my 30s now and pretty content with who I am as a person. 

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‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire’... WHERE?

17-12-20 Thalina Houghton, Allergies in Bold

As you meander through the mulled wine and hot chocolate scented market, you encounter a stall that isn’t as inviting… ‘chestnuts for only £5 a bag’. Hmmm, you think to yourself, maybe I’ll miss them out this year so you continue weaving your way through (of course this year with the two-metre rule, may not be so much of a challenge) and you stumble across another uninviting stall… ‘will it be camembert or cheddar, what will it brie?!’. You not so unsurprisingly miss that one out too.


Still being carried by the smell of mince pies, the current of the crowd whisks you into a corner where you encounter an over-excited elf rustling raffle tickets inches from your nose. ‘Buy a ticket to be in with a chance to win our Christmas special pies! Filled with crispy cooked turkey’ - nice ‘layered in gravy’ - yum! ‘Topped with cranberry’ - ooo! ‘And cased in a stilton based pastry’ - oh…maybe not then.

Politely declining, you immerse yourself back into the crowd.

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Thalina Blog
Experiences, advice and opinions of our guest bloggers are their own and not of The Allergy & Free From Show.

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