Lily: What grade are you in? What are your food allergies?
Allergic Butterfly: This year, I’m a senior in high school. I was diagnosed with food allergies about five years ago. I’m allergic to milk by contact and wheat and soy by ingestion. I also have severe Oral Allergy Syndrome, which means that my body mistakes the proteins in fresh fruits and veggies for the similarly-structured proteins in the pollens that I’m allergic to. It’s scary because I can eat a fruit one day, but the next day have a reaction.
Lily: What is the best part about going to high school with food allergies?
Allergic Butterfly: This will sound weird, but the best part about having allergies in high school is the food. My friends like to joke about how much I can’t eat, but my packed homemade lunch is much better than the lunchroom food they eat. I also get to bring my own food to class parties and on field trips. So much better than the school’s food!
Lily: What is the hardest part about going to high school with food allergies?
Allergic Butterfly: Even though I love getting to choose my food, it’s hard to sit in class watching while everyone else is having a pizza party. Even when I bring my own food places, someone always [jokingly] asks if I’m sure I’m not allergic to it. I have to remind myself that they don’t understand how uncomfortable it is to be around my personal kryptonite.
Lily: Tell me about your blog “The Allergic Butterfly”. What inspired the name and what made you decide to create it?
Allergic Butterfly: When I was first diagnosed in the eighth grade, I didn’t know anybody else with allergies (except the “weird girl” who ate her lunch in the office because touching a table with peanut butter on it could kill her). 1 in 13 kids under the age of 18 has allergies, but most of the kids in elementary school with allergies were never in my class and had outgrown them by the time I was diagnosed. This meant I was on my own, trying to navigate allergies without abandoning all of the parties and social events I was used to. Everyone always called me the social butterfly, so I became the allergic butterfly. I found myself reading other teen’s allergy blogs a lot, and I eventually created my own based on my nickname. (And in case you were wondering, I now know about 10 kids in my school with food allergies.)
Lily: If you could give teens in your situation some advice about high school what would it be?
Allergic Butterfly: High school is hard, even without allergies. You have to try to balance grades, sleep, and friends. Just don’t be afraid to meet new people and try new things without fear. Spoiler alert: this is your last chance before you have to be independent and, *gasp*, responsible. Figure out who you are and what you love; the rest will follow naturally.
Check out her blog here: http://allergicbutterfly.blogspot.com
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