Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Celebrities with Food Allergies (4th Edition) November 17, 2020

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Just another reminder that you are not the only one with a food allergy! 1 in every 10 adults has a food allergy and 1 in every 13 children do as well.

Bethany Frankel (reality star, Skinny Girl founder): fish

Jason Mantzoukas (actor, comedian):  egg

Tia Mowry (actress):  parent to a child with peanut allergy

Zhaire Smith (NBA 76ers player): peanuts, sesame

Patrice Evra (Juventus Soccer player): eggs

Alex Kerfoot (NHL Avalanche player):  peanuts

Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons):  tree nuts

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Jon Stewart (comedian): parent to child of celiac disease.

Sean McDermott (head coach, Buffalo Bills): food allergy parent

Alan Branch (Football Player, Patriots): food allergy parent

Elliott Sadler (NASCAR driver): parent of child with peanut allergy

Courtney Hope (Bold & The Beautiful, Actress):  dairy, gluten, corn yeast

Gina Rodriguez (actress):  blueberries

Jessica Vosk (Broadway actress): peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, shellfish

Henri Laaksonen (tennis player):  salmon and possibly other fin fish

Daniel Robertson (baseball player, Tampa Bay Rays): pecans

Jameela Jamil (actress): gluten (celiac disease)

Justin Bieber (singer):  celery, gluten

Nina Dobrev (actress):  undisclosed food allergy

Heidi Collins (journalist):  gluten (celiac disease)

Britney Spears (singer and food allergy parent): son allergic to an ingredient in fried chicken.

Kylie Jenner (beauty mogul and food allergy parent): daughter allergic to peanuts, tree nuts

Holly Robinson Peete (actress and food allergy parent): four children allergic to multiple allergens

Jenna Fischer (actress):  sweet potatoes/yams

Mark Cuban (Maverick’s owner and Shark Tank investor): parent to a child with food allergies (tree nuts)

Lauren Conrad (reality TV star and designer): parent to a child with food allergies (dairy)

Blake Martinez (NFL player: NY Giants, former Green Bay Packer): dairy and egg allergy.

(All photos files are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

 

Food Allergies on the Big Screen February 12, 2018

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Sony Pictures and the creators of the upcoming movie “Peter Rabbit” are facing a backlash from parents across the globe after it was revealed that the rabbits use a gardener’s food allergy to attack and impair him.

 

Food allergies are among several disabilities that are used as cheap gags in movies and on TV.  Sometimes, such as in the movie “Hitch” and on the TV show “Modern Family,” they garner laughs because the symptoms of anaphylaxis are so severe and fast-acting that they take the audience by surprise.  Sometimes they are used to show weakness or to emphasize low social status, like nerdiness.  In a recent Party City ad slated to run during this year’s Super Bowl, having a food allergy was deemed “gross” to convey it as annoying.

 

What makes the “Peter Rabbit” use of food allergies particularly distasteful is that 2017 was speckled with stories of food allergy bullying across the world; including the arrest of two young teenagers who knowingly used a peer’s food allergy against her sending her into anaphylaxis and at least one death – that of a 13 year old at the hands of his classmates who had snuck cheese into his sandwich at lunch.

 

The exclamation point on the “Peter Rabbit” case is that the rabbits reportedly state that food allergies are “made up for attention.”  Unfortunately, this plays on some people’s already-formed perception of food allergies and undercuts how serious they truly are.

 

The use of food allergies to prompt laughter reinforces stereotypes, spreads misinformation and strengthens the idea that food allergies are a choice meant for self-importance or as an inconvenience to others.  The use of food allergies in children’s media prays on the worst fears of children with food allergies and their families.  [1 in 13 kids in the United States have food allergies – that’s nearly 20 kids – and about 80 family members – in every screening of “Peter Rabbit” who live with the anxieties of the very severe consequences that just a small crumb of an allergen can trigger.]  These children are watching their nightmare come to life on the big screen.

 

The food allergy community is accustomed to hearing food allergies become the butt of a joke. Jokes, as distasteful as they are to some, may have their place in adult-oriented films and television shows (as is the case with the movie “Hitch” and “Horrible Bosses”).  But when it’s placed in children’s programming, it becomes unacceptable.  Exposure to such imagery, dialogue and attitudes during such a formative time in their lives can affect young audiences with food allergies (and influence those without) both psychologically and socially.  It can scare and scar those with food allergies.  And, showing it “even in a cartoonish, slapstick way” (as Sony describes it in their apology) teaches others that food allergies are not to be taken seriously.  By watching “Peter Rabbit,” kids are learning that using someone’s food allergy against them is both humorous and without consequence.  Meanwhile, children with food allergies are watching – horrified – while the audience jovially cheers the rabbits on. It’s amazing that storylines, such as this one, pass through vast numbers of people for approval without being questioned for their impact on children.

 

Thankfully, Sony has issued an apology recognizing the insensitivity of the “Peter Rabbit” material.  Let’s hope that other production companies learn from this lesson.  Apologizing after the fact is the easiest thing in the world.  How can we ensure that this doesn’t happen in the first place?

 

You’re Definitely Not Alone: More Celebrities with Food Allergies September 21, 2015

Living with food allergies can make you feel isolated.  But it doesn’t need to!  With 1 in 13 people living with food allergies, you needn’t look far to have someone who can relate.  Here are a few more celebrities, politicians and athletes with whom you may have more in common than you think.

 

For even more celebrities with food allergies, check out Just When You Felt Like The Only One With A Food Allergy.

 

Politicians:

Malia Obama, daughter of U.S. President Barack Obama (peanuts)

Barbara Bush (peanuts)

 
 

Athletes:

Olympic Speed Skater, Sabine Voelker  (beef, pork, chicken)

Brian Matusz, pitcher Baltimore Orioles (peanuts)

 

 

Chef:

Amanda Freitag, chef and judge on Chopped, competed on Iron Chef America  (hazelnuts)

 

TV Personalities:

Businesswoman, and maven of everything, Martha Stewart  (lobster)

Sports and political commentator, Keith Olbermann (celiac disease – wheat)

Supernanny, Jo Frost  (shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts)

 
 

 

 

Actors:

Kerry Washington  (multiple food allergies) 

She revealed to E! News: ”Most people do not know about this but I carry an EpiPen with me almost everywhere I go because I have a lot of food allergies, like fatal food allergies, that if I eat these things, I could wind up dying in an emergency room somewhere. So I always have an EpiPen. It’s not sexy, but I’m being honest, I have an EpiPen in my bag.”

 

Busy Phillips  (soy, gluten)

 

Debra Messing  (multiple food allergies, seasonal allergies, avoids dairy)

 

Auggie Maturo, actor on “Girl Meets World” (peanuts, tree nuts, sesame and coconut)

 

Beverly Mitchell, actor on “7th Heaven” (eggs and dairy)

Kenton Duty, actor, singer, dancer  (chocolate, wheat, outgrown dairy)

 

 

Comedians:
Bill Hader; Formerly of SNL  (peanuts)

Steve Martin (shellfish)

 

 

 

 

Food Allergy Parents:

Actor, Steve Carell  (dairy)

President Barack Obama  (peanuts)

Clay Matthews  (peanuts)

Nina Garcia, judge of Project Runway and creative director of Marie Claire  (peanuts, tree nuts)

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia

Heather Locklear  (peanuts)President Barack Obama signs H.R. 2094, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act

Robert Kennedy, Jr  (peanuts)

Kym Whitley  (peanuts)

Holly Robinson Peete  (dairy, gluten)

 

For even more celebrities with food allergies, check out Just When You Felt Like The Only One With A Food Allergy.

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