Food Allergies, Work Event

Next week, I’m making a presentation about my food allergy coaching practice to a medical group in Boston during their lunch hour. And in all of my preparations, I overlooked that seemingly and obvious detail: lunch hour equals lunchtime. Lunchtime means food, that I need to eat, during my presentation.

Now what.

My contact very considerately inquired what might I be able to dine on safely and what could he order for me or how to arrange it best for my safety. After quickly considering my options, I made the most logical conclusion: bring my own, shelf-stable and safe food, from New York.

The alternative was of course doable: get the name of their caterer, talk about my food allergy needs, go over menu and options, recheck the day of and then take that leap of faith that all of my due diligence paid off. Or, more worrisome, mistakes were made and I would have to go without lunch. (I, of course, always have a safe snack on hand, but that's not lunch.)

But skipping lunch is not an option; that gets me into low blood sugar zone which is a whole different set of (bad) issues. I need to be food allergy safe, I need to not be worrying about every bite during my presentation and bottom line, I need to eat.

So, I replied via email that I would bring a shelf stable lunch (Eden beans and rice) and asked if there was a microwave that I might use. He replied yes, there was one available.

Seems easy right?

What makes it easy is that I know what I can and cannot eat, I know where my safe eating boundaries are and what my emotional needs are – feeling and being safe is about your dietary and physical needs as well as your emotional. Knowing all of this and being able to communicate it clearly is one of my definitions of food allergy confidence.

So, have you had a work event recently that you needed to navigate the food situation? Did you feel confident?  Where were there hiccups or questions? How might you have been able to do it better? Where were there successes and triumphs? Please, share! 


bdenehan said…
Hey! As a fellow allergy queen, navigating corporate america, I too run into issues like this at EVERY office luncheon, holiday party, and business trip. With my severe allergies to eggs, nuts, dairy, shellfish, and avocado finding lunch-time foods is ALWAYS a nightmare because, as I'm sure you know, the typical "sandwich" selection is deadly. On my first business trip with my company we went to an office in Philly, where luckily they had an in building cafeteria, so when the lunch cart came with preselected options, I quietly was able to slip out to the cafe for a roasted veggie wrap. Since then, everytime we are heading there, the meeting organizer will send me the catering company info so I can do the call ahead&check twice leap of faith dance. Its not the easiest, but I have found that when my extra large salad and soup arrives, all the rest of the room peeks out from behind their dry assorted sandwiches with envy :)
Yes, I just always bring my own food everywhere due to my multiple allergies. However, on a recient trip to Walt Disney World, I was shocked I hardly had to use any of it! I contacted Disney ahead of time and the results were amazing. I have a post on my blog if you want to read more

Love your site!

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