Gifts for Your Friend With a Million Food Allergies

Illustration by Angelica Alzona.
Illustration by Angelica Alzona.

You may have a friend who you’ve recently experienced as annoying. This friend suddenly couldn’t eat dairy products, and then, soon after, gluten; eventually, she began having trouble digesting onions, and raw vegetables, and alcohol, and starts saying things like “leaky gut” and “healing energy treatment.” She complains constantly. She gets teary-eyed at restaurants.

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You can’t help this friend. Sometimes, it seems as if no one can, not even her gastroenterologist, who is like, “idk!” She is alone in a smoky abyss of unsympathetic first-world problems. But you can give her a nice holiday gift! Here are some ideas.


It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow

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At this point, your friend has leaned all the way in to the bougie side of life. She is her own worst enemy, and she doesn’t care anymore. Gwyneth Paltrow, whose trendy and restrictive dietary life once puzzled and amused your friend, has now emerged as one of the only cookbook authors with recipes insane enough to match her eating requirements. (Amazon, $19.27)


Gluten-free/vegan cookies that don’t taste like shit

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The bar is admittedly low for your friend’s taste buds by now, existing, as she does, on brown rice pasta and extremely bitter chocolate—however, Lucy’s Cookies manage to taste almost normal without using milk or wheat products (or eggs?!), which is frankly almost impossible. (Lucy’s Cookies, $10.62)

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Fancy vegan cheese

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Your friend misses cheese. Wouldn’t you? Luckily, vegan cheese is booming business these days, and it’s becoming less and less disgusting. This sample cheese box from Dr. Cow, whose cheeses are made from raw cashews, got high marks from Food & Wine. (Dr. Cow, $85)

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A very good book

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Your friend needs to be distracted from her own stupid problems. Myths to Live By, a collection of fascinating lectures delivered in the ’70s by legendary mythologist Joseph Campbell, will give her something to talk about besides her colonoscopy results. (Amazon, $11.05)

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A vape

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She just wants one, okay? (Pax, $199.99)

DISCUSSION

By
Kaizykat

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be less of a physical disorder and more of a mental disorder. I’ve been like this for the last three years. I’m scared that anything I eat will make me sick.

It started off with my body suddenly developing IBS or something like it. Since then I’ve lived my life in this teeny box over what I can and can’t eat. And since I’m scared of any sort of stomach or intestinal distress, I keep to what I know is “safe,” even if it’s just a handful of things.

The holidays are hellish. There’s so much food that I’m scared to eat. It actually makes me suicidal at times because I want it so badly. Then I feel like scum because I’m like this and why can’t I just be fucking normal?

I can’t find a psych that will work with me on my issues. The last one just gave up on me and left me with no support and no self-help system in place.

Hopefully it’ll be easier getting back to normal if I can get my meds changed. I finally realized, after 10 years of being scared of side effects, that anti-nausea medications are a thing and that I could take them.

Sorry to dump this here, but I needed to get it out of my system. The chances are good that if your friend is self-limiting their diet to an extreme that they are going through some issues and probably have more scorn for themself than you could ever have for them.