What’s in Your Purse? Restaurant Allergy Necessities

allergy supplies in my purse

This post recommendation comes from my friend Kelly. For months, she’s watched me pull a wide variety of allergy-related items out of my purse every time we go out to dinner. It must be like watching Mary Poppins unpack her carpet bag!

So here goes. I carry:

  • Stevia packets – I’m a Southern woman. You do not want to get in between me and my ice tea.
  • Sea salt – Table salt has an anti-caking agent that’s derived from corn. So I carry a small Tupperware container of sea salt.
  • Digestive enzymes – I don’t eat without them! I carry a small amount in an old prescription bottle.
  • Prescription antihistamines – I don’t need these everyday. But in case of emergency, I feel safer having them with me.
  • Vitamin and herbal supplements – I take them at mealtimes so I carry a small pill organizer with my daily supply.
  • Condiments – Depending on where we’re going out to eat, I carry my homemade mayo and honey mustard dressing in 4 oz canning jars. Honey mustard is great because it’s not very perishable, but you can’t beat my mayo for sweet potato fries. 🙂
  • GF Croutons – This is a new one. I’m testing low carb recipes for croutons. So this weekend, I brought grain-free croutons to brunch. The recipe will be posted when it’s ready.

Yes I get weird looks and questions from the wait staff but no one has been rude. I actually think this makes them take my allergy concerns more seriously. If I’m willing to haul all of this stuff around with me, I’m not just being picky.

I don’t know how men with allergies manage in restaurants without all this stuff. So I’ve shown you mine. It’s your turn. What’s in your purse that makes it easier to eat at restaurants?

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19 Responses to What’s in Your Purse? Restaurant Allergy Necessities

  1. Sara says:

    I feel sillier now that you have posted this, but here’s what I take in with me.

    A large ziploc bag with childrens, dye free liquid Benadryl, children’s dye free liquid Iburprofen, an epi-pen, Benadryl capsules, Benadryl pen (to give myself a Benadryl shot, if needed), and sometimes herbal tea.

    I ask the hostess, the wait staff, and/or the manager if they are ok with my allergies. I have had a few restaurants say no. I have had more say yes.

    Once at the table, I ask for a dish of lemon wedges. Wedges, not slices. I explain to the waiter/waitress that if I have an allergic reaction, the lemons will immediately REDUCE the swelling. [I suck on the lemons to stop the throat swelling and I rub the lemon on my hives.] I also tell them to immediately bring a glass of milk. The milk coats the mouth, the throat, and the tummy and helps with the awfulness of the meds/allergic reaction.

    I found that when I do all of this and explain that cross contamination COULD kill me, I get excellent service. The waiter/waitress usually earns a 20-35% tip. (I try to avoid restaurants that serve killer food.) 🙂

    I have in the past, taken in my own water bottle, my own tea, and my own homemade condiments. No one has said anything.

    • I don’t know why you should feel silly. We all have to take precautions in such a dangerous place for food allergies.

      I like the tip about the lemons. I use magnesium oil for hives, cramps and headaches.

      I’ve also read that activated charcoal (in capsule form) can stop or minimize a reaction if you take it quick enough. I have not tested this myself. I understand that it works by binding itself to the food in your stomach. It will also block the absorption of vitamins and minerals so you only want to do this if absolutely necessary.

  2. Tamar says:

    When I remember, I have shoyu packets with me (gluten free soy sauce). I have a lovely collection of aspiring, advil, migraine meds and antacids. And a water bottle. Bigger bags always have granola bars, soup packets, tea bags (throat coat, etc), and vitamins. X

    • I always have tea bags too. They came in handy when I was traveling in Montréal. I ordered my thé glacé and they brought me a can of Nestle ice tea! Oh no no no. That’s just wrong on many levels! I had them bring me a glass of ice and a cup of hot water and I made my own ice tea!

  3. Kelly says:

    Yea!! Thanks for the post and the shoutout.

    • This was a great idea for a post! I’m glad to see it’s generating such great comments. We can all learn from each other.

      You know my philosophy about eating out is that it’s about the company I keep. I can certainly make better, safer food at home. So I guess my standards for a restaurant meal are pretty mundane. Just give me plain grilled protein, simple veggies, and guacamole if at all possible. 🙂

  4. Rachel R. says:

    RealSalt’s manufacturer (Redmond) actually has some itty-bitty containers of salt. They’re very nice for carrying in a purse or diaper bag!

    Thankfully, we don’t have food allergies (just intolerances), so we don’t have to be quite so concerned about negative reactions during a meal. But it’s still helpful to hear, from the experience of those who have been doing this for a while, what you all do to make eating more palatable but still safe!

  5. Kristie says:

    These are great ideas! I will pack my own salt for Disney World! 🙂

  6. Linda W. says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of stuff to carry around! I carry Benadryl and leave the eli-pen in a cooler in the car because I’ve never had an anaphylactic reaction. I don’t worry about sweetener because I’m allergic to tea anyway. I don’t worry about mayo or dressing either, just eat my salad plain, just greens actually. It’s not very good unless I’m at a salad bar where I can find a variety of ingredients.

    A waiter once referred to my salad as wedding night salad: naked, hold the dressing!

    I was unaware that salt contains corn. My corn allergy is “mild” so maybe that tiny amount isn’t a problem. I’ve had to give up corn chips and grits, though, which has left me feeling deprived sometimes but has helped my, uh, digestion.

  7. Wow, I have considered carrying salad dressing with me to restaurants, but I just haven’t done it yet. Thanks for sharing at Simple Meals Friday!

  8. What a great idea for people who have allergies. I would have never thought to carry those items with me. Thanks for sharing with us at Simple Lives Thursday; hope to see you again this week.

  9. Danielle says:

    We are familiar with carrying many allergy-related items as well. We carry/have carried homeopathic remedies, essential oils, Benadryl (hate that stuff), homemade salad dressing, homemade ketchup, and sea salt. 🙂 All in the name of allergies. Thanks for sharing your list with us at Savoring Saturdays, and best wishes! <3

  10. Thx for linking up at the thoughtful spot!

  11. It’s always good to be prepared, thanks for sharing this. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!! Laura@Baking in Pyjamas

  12. swathi says:

    Very useful post, thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop.

  13. JessicaT says:

    I don’t feel so bad now carrying around organic sugar and sea salt. We rarely eat out, but I also use it at my in laws… so far no one has questioned me! They know I “eat weird” anyway.

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