The Moment We Knew

Since the day 3- year- old me saw something new in her lunchbox at preschool, I've been officially categorized as "one of those". And by "one of those", I'm referring to another nut allergy case in this world. I mean, how could I have known that I mistakenly took my sister's lunch box instead of my own? Practically everything that we owned matched (thanks mom!) except for our food preferences... I had always preferred a turkey sandwich while my sister was a classic PB & J girl. We were traditionalists: never saw a need to switch up what we had going and enjoyed every last bite. I always had been a curious one, though, so when I saw something new in my Scooby-Doo lunchbox I approached it as a surprise rather than a problem. My head was thinking, " nut allergy ? What nut allergy ?" as my heart was feeling that this could be the start of something new.

Maybe it was because I was a toddler or maybe it was my reaction, but whatever happened after my first few bites made it clear that I claimed a seat at the nut- free table in the cafeteria. I'm thankful everyday for the true friends who told their moms or dads to not pack Uncrustables and Nutter Butters in their brown-bag lunches; if that's not love, I don't know what is.

bread, toast, butter, sweet, cream, cake
Christin Urso

After the infamous "lunch- box- mismatch" incident, we were pretty careful when it came to reading menus, LABELING sandwiches, and being the customers who actually tell restaurants of my allergy (you thought no one read that small print on a menu). While I was mourning the fact that I would never be able to share a Reese's Pieces Sundae with my mom or eat Cracker Jacks at a Yankees game, I was still a child who wanted to try everything and anything. That being said, there was a part two which cannot go unnoticed for the sake of my people: Mexican restaurants MAY fry rice in peanut oil, and you can figure out the rest of the story.

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree (Nut)

After the second experience, a trip to the allergist confirmed that the allergy didn't stop at peanuts. The doctor wrote "peanuts and tree nuts" on my charts and I was officially cut off from a world that, 20 years later, I still have to hold myself back from trying. When my sister has Nutella- stuffed French toast in front of me, a small tear is shed. When all I saw in my Halloween stash was Reeses, Almond Joys, and Butterfingers, I watched as my siblings celebrated the fact that they just scored even more. But to all of the middle school bullies who tried to intimidate me with Samoas, the best Girl Scout Cookie there is (fight me), coconuts are a FRUIT.

chocolate, cake, coconut, rice
Jami Harrison

Don't Drive me Nuts

If these puns are, I'm going to give myself a freebee and call it revenge for the amount of times people have bragged about what they can have and I cannot. I know, Reeses are the best thing known to man, I know.

Thankfully there are kind hearted people in this world who want me to get a glimpse of their world and have scavenged the shelves of grocery stores for alternatives to nut butters. For everyone out there who shares in my experiences, there are tons of recipes out there that will leave you with a little less FOMO. My mom was also a pro at making concoctions which may sound weird, but I'd still eat today: cream cheese and jelly sandwiches and ants on a log (replace peanut butter with cream cheese) are some childhood favorites.

pickle, jam, condiment
Lily Allen

When it comes to going out, it's not nearly as difficult as being vegan or gluten allergies. There are a few salads I can't have (boohoo), peanut butter pies that will never be made for me, and peanut butter on burgers that I have to pass up (and would even if I wasn't allergic), but there are plenty of options left for the nut- free population. The exception to this? Five Guys. I choke back tears saying this, but as long as the burger shack uses peanut oil, I will never be able to eat their fries. So all y'all that head there for greasy hangover food, enjoy it to the last bite. Logan's Roadhouse was another place I would not have been able to walk through the doors of and enjoy the throwing of peanut shells on the floor, but they have since been shut down due to multiple cases of slipping on shells.

parsley, mayo, salt, appetizer, fries, potatoes
Josi Miller

It's Nut as Bad as it Seems

nut, almond, meat, apricot pits, walnut
Torey Walsh

While people feel sorry for those with nut allergies, don't waste your time being empathetic for us. It is appreciated, but really I don't know what a life without a nut- allergy would be like; I remember nothing about taking a bite of a PB & J sandwich as a 3- year- old, can't begin to imagine what they taste like, and am thriving with my plain M&Ms. Regarding my curiosity surrounding the allergy, I just ask questions and have fun watching people try to explain the taste of peanut butter, cashews, pecans, etc. To this day, I imagine almonds taste like wood.