Drinking responsibly with food allergies
Let’s be honest; drinking plays a huge role in socializing. I was always nervous about drinking and getting drunk as a teenager because I was worried about losing control. I thought there was nothing more embarrassing than showing up in the ER having an anaphylactic reaction because I ate something while drunk. As a teen, this hypothetical scenario was a nightmare for me. Thus, I was always the designated driver and liked the freedom of being able to leave a party whenever I chose.
But there does come a time when you decide to drink, and as much as you may want that to be spontaneous, a plan is always good to have. I thought I would share what I learnt from the first time I got very drunk. It’s sort of a been there done that now what can we learn post for you today. I’m writing this and looking at you allergy teens!
Being drunk and in control with food allergies
The first time I got drunk I was 19 (legal drinking age in Ontario – where I was living). Call me square or call me safe you decide. The first time I got for real drunk I was 21 and I’m still embarrassed about that night, but that night showed me a lot about myself and my friends.
The first thing to address is that I am a control freak. In college, I didn’t drink very much or go to parties. There is this thing about college parties where your friends want you to get drunk. They encourage you to drink drink drink – this always made me uneasy.
My super drunk night was one of those nights. Since it was rare for me to go to a party, people wanted to see me get drunk. I did, and it was not pretty (I’m leaving it at that 😉 ).
Hangover aside, that evening taught me two things. First make sure you have good friends, surround yourself with people who care and listen. Those friends who wanted me to get wasted were also there to hold my hair and help me get home safe. I can still remember that night; there was a bathroom full of college students enjoying the Kortney had to much to drink show and at the same time getting a lesson on food allergies. They wanted me to eat some bread to ‘soak up’ the alcohol, I saw this as an opportunity to school them on why that was not possible. And if you can believe it some people remembered that night and brought up my allergies in other situations. A little embarrassing but seems I got my point across.
This brings me to the second thing I learnt; you are in control of your allergies. Even if you aren’t 100% in control due to intoxication, you can still stand up for yourself. You need to be confident in knowing what you can eat and sticking to that! Because trust me, people love to eat when drunk and you shouldn’t be embarrassed to say no.
Drinking is part of growing up and like anything with food allergies preparation is key! Here are my tips on how to prepare for a night out. From college to today I still follow these tips.
How to drink responsibly with food allergies
Before you go out:
• If you are going bar hopping, call the bars ahead of time to make sure they don’t serve your allergens.
• Eat a big meal before you head out. Carbs are king.
• Pack your allergy kit & some snacks.
• Make sure to have food at home in case you get the munchies. If your friends all decide to indulge in greasy food after a long night, it’s always good to know you have a fab snack waiting for you at home. My favourite ‘go to’ drunk food is cereal or leftover pasta.
• Make sure at least one person you are going out with knows about your allergies.
While you are out:
• Wear your medical alert ID and don’t forget your allergy kit (keep it close the whole night – not at coat check).
• If you are going to a house party, take a survey of the space, check if and where there is food, and find your safe corner for the night.
• Don’t try any new foods – stick to what you know.
• Drink alcohols you know are safe & avoid mixed drinks.
• Don’t share cups! This means avoid drinking games that involve sharing cups like beer pong. Be smart about any games you decide to play.
• Drink water along with your alcohol – rule of thumb for every alcoholic drink you have, drink one glass of water. This will slow your drinking down, without drawing any attention to it. Or have a water bottle with you at all times.
• Know when to leave – make sure you feel comfortable and if you aren’t then there is no harm in heading home early.
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Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!
good tips – food allergies bring another aspect most don’t even think about! I wasn’t really a fan of losing control either 🙂
Thanks Kristina. From the other allergy folks I’ve chatted with I think it is pretty common to not want to lose control.
Such great tips! I bet people don’t realize they can call ahead and check for allergens.
It may seem strange to a bar to have someone call to ask if they serve peanuts, but it is a make or break for a night out for me. Honestly nothing more frustrating than trying to find a new bar with a group of people.
Great post Kourtney. What part of Ontario were living? That’s actually where I was born.
I am from Toronto 😀 Where were you born?
I love that you are addressing this Kortney and that you are so honest about it! I think people forget how heightened risks can be when drunk, and especially so with things like food allergies.
Thanks Alisa 🙂
These are all great tips! It is so important for one to consider BEFORE finding himself or herself in an unsafe situation and not thinking clearly. I love that you’re addressing this topic head-on!
Thanks Tiffany. It feels like one of those subjects that is awkward to talk about, but it’s a reality we have to address and when we have food allergies it is important to know what you are getting into.