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  • Jessica Carrillo

Allergy Living Means Creative Living

One of the the things I have learned early on was that allergy living means creative living. Here’s what I mean by that: people living with food allergies are really good at improvising and making a type of food out of new (safe) ingredients. In fact, a great example of that happened today.

This afternoon my little brother wanted to have pizza for lunch pretty badly. My little brother doesn’t have food allergies, but growing up with me, he has lived like he does. My house has always been very allergy free for me. We don’t have any types of nuts in the house at all. Despite my brother having autism and a few other learning disabilities, he has always been really good about my allergies.

He knows exactly what I can’t have, and often times he will even avoid my allergens when he is at school and away from me. While I appreciated it so very much that he is like this, sometimes I wish he didn’t have to be, for his own sake. When he wanted pizza today, I wished I could have just called in a pizza for him that we could all eat. But unfortunately, ordering pizza is not something I can personally do. We could have just ordered a pizza for him, but instead my fabulous allergy mama bear came in with the most brilliant idea!

My mom is really big about making sure when we eat as a family, that everyone can eat everything that is served. So instead of ordering a pizza, she decided we should make one. Inside our pantry, we pulled out a few tortillas, and spread them out on our pizza pan. We pulled out a can of ragu sauce and some mozzarella cheese from the fridge. Throw them all together, add some pepperoni and olives and our “pizzas” were ready to be baked. We put them in the oven for five mins and they were ready to eat. It was so quick and easy, and surprisingly, really good too!

The pizzas we made for lunch today really got me to think about how creative my allergies have forced me and my family to think when it comes to preparing food for me. We’ve made peanut free peanut butter cookies by substituting peanut butter for soy butter. We’ve made banana nutless bread, soy butter sauce instead of peanut butter sauce for our homemade egg rolls, and so much more. So many of our best food combinations have been improvisations that we probably wouldn’t have tried had I not had an allergy.

It can be really easy to get down thinking about food allergies and the limitations that they can create. But today I got to focus on a few positives, which was a nice change. I have discovered a really caring community in the community of allergy sufferers like myself. I discovered my favorite chocolate brand, Vermont Nut Free because of my allergies.

I have found a certain amount of empowerment by talking about my allergies and what daily life can be like with them. It’s okay to feel frustrated by allergies, I know how it feels. But today, this happy little moment brought on by a makeshift pizza reminded me that there are a lot of things that are shaped by my allergies that aren’t always so bad.


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