Sign this allergen declaration before you can eat here

I have had quite a few issues eating out in the past with my allergies. But even I was shocked when visiting Leaf in Manchester for a second degree dinner.

As usual I told the server about my allergies, she stopped me and said the manager needs to take my order separately. I got use to this, so didn’t think much of it. When the manager came, she was carrying a allergy sheet for the food which is what I was expecting. But she also had a form which I needed to sign!

Yes if I wanted to eat at Leaf, I would have to sign the document to free Leaf of any responsibility of any allergic reaction I might have! The manager explained multiple times certain foods are from external suppliers and can’t be guaranteed as nut free; regardless of me saying trace is fine; she wasn’t going let me order unless I signed.

As usual, I actually read the declaration/wavier, which at the time seemed more like a disclaimer. But it was written to resolve Leaf of any responsibility in the unlikely chance I have an allergic reaction, end up in hospital or even die. As I signed it half knowing this can not be enforceable and part of me loving to see this as a court case in the UK. I signed it with a Red pen, which I remember being a issue with contracts.

I ordered the Chorizo in Redwine sauce as a starter which based on the allergy menu contained nuts (It was just Chorizo, Redwine some herbs!). My main was basically steak with veg and little potatoes with no potential nuts. The cheese cake also no nuts or coconut. So I was fine! No allergic reaction.

Next day I spoke to a few people. Some said I was being discriminated against and wondered if they would get people who are physically disabled to sign something just encase? Vivid lounge staff pretty much all laughed about the whole thing, suggesting they might do the same just for me alone.

Regardless I thought it was all ridiculous and I wondered if this was worst or better than being turned away from Home Sweet Home ages ago?  I understand there are people with far worst allergies but signing something to cover the restaurant’s ass is just shocking! It really didn’t fill me with any trust of what is going on back in the kitchen, to be honest. As long as you are told especially by the manager, that should be enough. I get accidents do happen but this feels so wrong and left a horrible taste in my mouth (pun intended!).

I was willing to get up and leave but as everyone had ordered, but its unlikely I’ll be back…

Happy Birthday fun and woes

life

I think it’s important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy Paula Cole

Some fun things on my birthday today… Yes I’m one year older but still feel like 23.

The Listening Project
Fi Glover introduces a conversation between friends whose different outlooks on life don’t affect the strength of their relationship at all. Another in the series that proves it’s surprising what you hear when you listen.

It happens that BBC Radio 4 played the Omnibus version of the listening project today on my birthday. The Facebook reaction is even more fun and enjoyable to read, with friends of Kate’s saying I should be taken to Gotland.

Thanks Vivid Manchester but yes coconut will kill me… Not quite the best birthday present for someone allergic to many things. Its the thought which counts.

Don’t worry its not the first time something has been put down in front of me and had it pulled out right in front me for allergy reasons. To be fair its better than the result of being very ill or worst but its hard watching others enjoy what you could have had.

Peanut Allergies are killer, so are baked beans for me

This Video Explains Why Peanut Allergies Are So Dangerous (found via Lifehacker)

Great video and I’m now subscribed to their youtube channel, which has lots of food related tip bits. Love for them to do one about tuna chunks non fish allergy paradox I have.

But watching the video which i’m going to send to anybody who dobhts my allergy or claims i’m just fussy. I dont get that so much now a days, especially since the EU brough in this law, forcing food outlets to take things seriously or get sued!

Which reminded me what I was thinking while reading this thought catalog post, 12 Things People With Nut Allergies Can Relate To.

A hesitation to trust waiters/ waitresses. “Are you sure this doesn’t have nuts in this?” you’ll ask them skeptically (and even after you’ve gotten the green light on your order, you slant your eyes at them). They supply an assuring “I just double- checked with the kitchen and you’re good to go.” You un-tense, and smile, and proceed to inhale your food.

Too many times this has happened in the past, and you are literally on a knifes edge to throw the dice and hope or leave the restaurant. Now in the EU, if anything happens I can clearly state I told them and look what happened! I do feel very happy we

Of course the get out clause is the trace or they can’t count for the cross contamination in the kitchen. But at least its now not down to the waiter/waitress, which is a very good thing! You only have to look at the tragic death what happened in Manchester just as the EU law was coming into effect.

I still remember the story of eating out with friends in the Northern Quarter of Manchester at a recently opened spainish restaurant. I asked the waitress if the desert had nuts and she claimed to have checked. So it came and I believe I put my fork to the desert when the manager grabbed it away from me, saying it does contain nuts. Close shave!

However my lovely thoughtful friends decided to ask whats going to happen to the desert now? Manager says it will go in the bin. Of course they said they would find a home for it. And shared it between them selves, right in front of me, while I sat saying what lovely friends they were, and how I hated them all…

To be fair this is after the EU law as well but lucky the manager stepped in because nuts is certainly the worst of all my allegies. Luckily its been a long time since I’ve had a allergic reaction to nuts but following my last prick test (yes thats what they actually call it) with no less than 14 different pricks in my arm.

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But my reaction to peanut/satay sauce in Tokyo serves as a reminder of what could happen if I get too loose with my allegry. I’m usually ok with trace amounts but as the doctors have said its likely to get worst as I get older. No epi-pen yet, but one day soon…

Till then…

Benadryl is the bomb, and will always be there for you

There is another stellar piece about allergies on thought catalog, which I wanted to share. Some key points…

We are often uncomfortable trying new food.

Please don’t push us to try unfamiliar foods if we are noticeably uncomfortable. We can become especially nervous if the food is from an unknown source, if we aren’t sure of the ingredients, if we are traveling somewhere with much different food than we are accustomed to, or if allergens of concern could be in close proximity. Often times, you’ll find that we don’t have the same curiosity towards new, exotic food as you do.

We know that it sucks.

You know what makes it worse? Constant reminders.

“So, wait, you’re telling me that you’ve NEVER had lobster?! Oh man, that sucks!!!”

I am fully aware that it ‘sucks’. What are you trying to accomplish here? Feelings of guilt? Frustration? FOMO? It’s not as if I can use your remark as inspiration to seek solutions to my lobster-less life. There is no option for self-improvement here. Many of us have come to terms (reluctantly so) with the fact that we will never (ever) be able to eat lobster or oyster or Peanut Butter Cups or [insert allergen here], despite how much it ‘sucks’.

Although to be fair my body treats all my allergies as poisons, especially fish, hummus, smelly nuts such as peanut and the killer baked beans. So I’m actually feeling sorry you all have to eat that stuff. Yes I would like to have sushi but I can have it if I’m very very careful and at a vegan restaurant.

The allergy cards translated to Portuguese worked very well and I had no reaction from memory..

Preparing for allergic troubles in Japan

Allergy pictures

I previously wrote thinking about going to Japan…

I’m expecting at least one allergic reaction and the chaos which will come from not being able to commutate what’s happened.

Because of this, I’m prepared with multiple ways to communicate my multiple allergies.

  1. I have printed allergy cards written in Japanese and English from this site.
  2. I have the same cards on my paper white Kindle
  3. I have images with a red sign indicating this might be a problem for each type of food I’m allergic to

Its not perfect but I also will have a stack of antihistamines and my inhalers to give me time to get somewhere and puke my guts up in private, without my throat closing up. I’m hoping a trip to JR Tōkyō General Hospital will be avoided but if so I got the details.

If things go really wrong, I know to dial 119 and try and shout Tasukete – 助けて  …if I can.