Hi there! My name is Faryn and I married a man with a life threatening peanut and tree nut allergy. We have been together since 2009 and my life has certainly changed.
Prior to meeting Ryan, I ate nuts and peanuts all the time! I never had to read food labels, could travel to wherever I wanted, and used whatever beauty products I pleased. I had never known anyone with a nut allergy before and did not understand the daily fears/anxieties that people face.
Before dating Ryan, we would carpool to our summer jobs together. One day, I was running late and brought a Special K peanut butter snack bar in his car. I didn’t think anything of it but he asked me to immediately throw it out. This conversation led to the awkward conversation about him kissing girls in the past. He mentioned that whoever he dates cannot eat nuts because he could react upon kissing them or being intimate with them. Fast forward a few weeks later when we shared our first kiss. I tried to prank him by stating that I accidentally ate nuts earlier in day. Bad decision! The look he gave me was one I will never forget. From that point forward, I quickly realized just how serious his allergy was and began to empathize with his constant anxiety and fears surrounding food.
With this knowledge and a little research about couples with food allergies and whether or not he could react, we made the joint decision that I would abstain from all peanut and tree nut products. It does not stop at that - we do not go to certain restaurants (particularly Asian), travel across the Atlantic ocean, or get sweet treats outside of our apartment. Because communication with restaurants is crucial, we try to form positive relationships with food establishments that are accommodating by posting about them on our Instagram account and returning to the restaurant frequently.
Flying is an exhausting and nerve-racking experience. I give Ryan the window seat and he often puts his hood up to avoid smelling nuts. Passengers are allowed to eat whatever they please in such confined quarters with recycled air. If the airline permits (only a few do), we will pre-board to wipe down the tray tables and the airline may make a nut allergy passenger announcement. However, there are no guarantees that the airline will comply with protocol, that the staff will follow through with requests, and that passengers will comply with any instructions.
Other unexpected issues my husband faces are at parties or social gatherings. There is zero control over the situation as people love to serve things containing nuts and people also love to eat nuts with their hands. Subsequently, people typically greet you with handshakes or kisses on the cheek.
While the aforementioned issues are very much a reality in our relationship, I wish people would understand that we are not special. We are not asking that others accommodate us all the time; rather we hope that people take the time to be educated and compassionate. This is not a choice, fad diet or even a religious obligation. A remnant or dusting of a nut product could send Ryan into anaphylactic shock or even death.
My friends often will say things to me like, “Wow! You are strong. I would never be able to date someone with a nut allergy! I need my nuts...” My response is that there are worse things in life like having a physical disability, mental handicap, cancer, missing limbs, etc. I love him and wouldn’t want it any other way. Ryan is strong willed and careful. He has only had a handful of reactions in his lifetime because he doesn’t take risks to “try something new” or because something looks so delicious that he can’t resist. Having a food allergy unfortunately means playing by the rules, reading food labels every single time, and a lot less spontaneity in every day life.
In order to spread awareness about food allergies and also give credit to accommodating restaurants, we document our nut free journey on Instagram. Follow us @TheNuttyCouple for more information :)