Enjoying life?

Recently, I was invited to dinner at a fancy Chinese restaurant and as usual, I came prepared with a packed meal from home. The other guests were mostly people I’d never met before and as always, there was much curiosity about my food.

One exchange went like this:
“Are you on a diet?”
“No, I have food intolerances.”
“To what?”
“MSG, additivies, preservatives, colourings etc. among other things.”
“You’re not enjoying life to the fullest then!”
“I’d enjoy life even less if I was feeling sick!”

A perfect example of why there needs to be more public awareness and understanding of food sensitivities. The person obviously couldn’t understand that it was not that I had chosen to go on a diet because of say, excessive vanity, but that I was trying to avoid unpleasant food reactions. 

I’ve also decided that on days when I have enough energy and am prepared for a verbal battle, I should stop sneaking my own food in restaurants and eateries which have a ‘No Outside Food’ rule, and talk to them about allowing me to eat my own food whilst I accompany my friends who are placing orders. This is one very important means of raising awareness and Singapore has a long way to go in this respect. Many F&B staff don’t seem to have ever encountered food sensitivities, give me an incredulous look. If I decide to take the risk to order something, I’ll ask ‘please tell me ALL the ingredients that are in this dish’ but many times they’ll either forget to mention even major ingredients (much less the seasonings and toppings), or have absolutely no clue what goes into the powder/liquid/packaged-something.

I’ll repeat the phrase – ‘take a risk’ :P. No thanks, most of the time, I’d rather play it safe, stick to my homemade food, stay well and enjoy life.

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5 Responses

  1. hey thats exactly how i feel about eating out!
    i have been “scolded” by hawkers for requesting poh piah without bean sprouts, cucumber and egg, given dirty and funny looks for requesting vegetarian bee hoon without the gravy / cabbage, and the list goes on,

    and even my own parents and in-laws keep asking me what’s wrong with me and telling me to “relax” and “it cant be that bad”.!

  2. Hi CP, I had a feeling you would share my sentiments :)! Hope you have been well!

  3. hi niceties,
    i’ve been busy – trying to learn allergy free cooking from my mom! :) just back from tanjong rhu resort in langkawi last month – the chef prepared everything allergy-free for me, i was so happy!!! (i forwarded them a list of my allergies prior to arrival) :)

    and yes, i understand EXACTLY how u feel :)

    hope u’ve been well too!

  4. Sympathies on having food intolerances. I used to be allergic to MSG, artificial colouring, flavouring and all artificial preservatives. I was a teenager at the time so I had no idea how to deal with the social aspects of this condition.

    My mother, bless her heart, tried her very best to provide me with excellent healthy allergen-free food 24/7, but I still felt like an outcast and got labelled “weak”. Thankfully, I grew out of it in my early 20s but it was due to my mum’s extensive research that put me on a high-greens habit (barley green and pure chlorophyll powder daily) which helped to strengthen my immune system.

    I’m so glad that you have found your groove in adulthood and you are making such creative gluten-free nosh.

  5. Thanks a lot for sharing, Astrorainfall. I will look into high-greens and glad to hear your intolerances have been overcome. There’s hope yet :)!

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