Food Allergy 101: We still relax. Just not when everyone else does.


What if my food allergy was a real, live person? And what if I could talk to him about what he's taught me over the years? Every Thursday, I get that chance...

BLOG POST #298 — I’m standing in line ready to board the train from 30th Street Station in Philadelphia to my home in Lancaster. There is a long line, of course, as there always is. Mr. A., my allergy, is standing behind me.

“Hey, going home for the holidays, huh?” Mr. A. says.

I remove an earbud and nod. “Yep. Semester is over.”

He smiles. “I guess now you can take a break,” he says. “Take a break from your blog. Take a break and chill. You deserve it.”

I shake my head side to side.

“Take a break?”

“Yea,” he says. “It’s the holidays. People with food allergies should also take a break, let loose, put their guards down, and parrrrrrty like everyone else. You can think again about food allergies after the New Year. I’ll still be here.”

The line starts to move, and I pull out my cell to show my ticket to the conductor. I board the escalator going down to the train platform. Mr. A. is still hovering behind me.

“Yes, people with food allergies deserve a break,” I say. “But as you taught me many times over. It’s all about timing. We still need to relax. We still need to let go. We still need reset. We just don’t necessarily need to do it when everyone else is doing it.”

I walk off the last step of the escalator and, putting my earbuds back in my ears, make my way to the quiet car.

JJ Vulopas is a senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at Follow him on Instagram & Twitter @thelandofcan.