I unfortunately am one of those people who are allergic to too many things, such as cats, some dogs, dust, pollen...basically everything. You can catch me poppin' some Claritin every morning before I leave my house. But luckily, the only food I am allergic to is the Macadamia nut. Living in Los Angeles, I don't really come into contact with Macadamia nuts in restaurants. With the places I go to and the meals I tend to choose, I never really have to worry about it. It isn't a common ingredient in LA. But, my family and I go to Hawaii every summer, and that is where I have to be careful with every meal I eat. 

Those Damn Hawaiian Host Chocolates: The Allergy Discovery

I have been going to Hawaii every summer pretty much since I was born. In Hawaii, Macadamia nuts are everywhere, from cookies, to chocolates, to the crusted mahi mahi, and even in the oil where the french fries are cooked. Being a child and seeing chocolate covered Macadamia nut samples being handed out in a majority of the Hawaiian shops can be exciting and the highlight of my day. I of course always wanted some free chocolate, but I always had a bad reaction afterwards. I would break out into a skin rash, like hives. I would also have gastrointestinal issues such as stomach aches, nausea, vomiting, and yes...diarrhea. Nothing to be ashamed about here! It took my family and I a while to realize that it was an allergy. We knew it couldn't be food poisoning, because they too would indulge in the chocolates. We eventually figured it must be an allergy since no one experienced the reaction like me.  

I Haven't Gone to the Doctor...

I never actually went to a doctor regarding my Macadamia nut allergy, especially because in Los Angeles I don't have to worry about it being a prevalent ingredient. Of course, if it were a peanut allergy, I would obviously go to an allergist and receive all the necessary medications just in case I had a reaction. Although Macadamia nuts are tree nuts, I am not allergic to any other nuts, which is a relief. Of course, when I get my annual check-up, the nurse typically asks any updates on allergies. Whenever I mention Macadamia nuts, I assure them I am not allergic to any other common nuts, and they say to not worry. I just have to remember to stay mindful and careful whenever I may come into contact with them.

Be Careful Eating in Hawaii, But Enjoy The View

As mentioned before, I really only have to worry in Hawaii/Hawaiian restaurants (which there aren't many in my area). Unfortunately, the Macadamia nut is such a staple ingredient in Hawaiian cuisine. When choosing an entreé in a restaurant, I must scan the menu description to catch the word Macadamia. If I am skeptical about a certain dish, I will ask my server and I just pray that they're knowledgeable and truthful! This food allergy doesn't really have an effect on my everyday life, just my once a year vacation. Yes, it sucks going to Hawaii with this allergy because I miss out on a huge chunk of eating. I must avoid the airline snacks, the Honolulu Cookie Company's delicious Macadamia nut cookies, the fresh catch of the day in some restaurants, and even the banana pancakes topped with chopped mac nuts! It is so worth having to miss out on a huge portion of Hawaiian cuisine, because just being on the island is enough. It is beautiful, scenic, peaceful, and my happy place. Living with this allergy is doable and easy, and I am blessed enough for it to not affect my everyday life.