I first picked up this book a couple of years ago when I was at a desperate point with my IBS and figured that if someone could handle life with severe life threatening food allergies, they could help me handle life with multiple food intolerances. It had such a strong, positive impact on my outlook that it was the first book I wanted to review… and I have to say, I got even more out of the book on my second read through.
The author is Sloane Miller, who has multiple severe allergies. She’s also a blogger, advocate, consultant and authority on food allergies. According to the inside of the cover, she “shows how a food-allergic person can live a life not constrained by what she or he can’t eat.”. She does this by using real-life examples (personal and from her practice) to show strategies in dealing with dietary restrictions in everyday life.
The book is divided into 3 parts: You, Relationships and In and Of the World.
Part one is where we get to meet Sloane and find out more about her allergies. She introduces the first one of her excellent strategies called “Team You”. This strategy, about building a personalized medical team focussed on your needs was terribly empowering. She follows this up with many other tips and tricks, including how to handle personal feelings of anxiety and shame.
Part 3 is about Relationships and she does an excellent job in outlining the various reactions that family members and others can have when you disclose your dietary needs, and how to handle these reactions with grace and strength.
She covers a lot of territory, from college room-mates, to first dates to family and work events. All of her suggestions are practical, doable and empowering (even though some require a bit of practice, I find).
I very much appreciated her chapter on finding new ways of looking at food. “Food is not the enemy”, gave me an Ah-Ha! moment and freed me from continuously waging war with dairy, when there was no way I could win.
Part 3 is called “In and Of the World” and provides an endless supply of ideas, tips and tricks and suggestions for surviving parties, celebrations, restaurant invitations and travel.
This book is a real primer on how to live with dietary restrictions. Sloane writes with humour, but you know that she’s had some scary experiences. Though her style is informal, she still shows how she is confidently certain that dietary challenges are totally compatible with living well.
Resources listed in the back are comprehensive, mostly American but with some Canadian resources thrown in for good measure.
This book totally enthused me. It gave me the confidence to try the techniques she recommends for managing her allergies. This should be required reading for everyone with dietary allergies and intolerances. Check out her blog and website (allergicgirl.com) too!
Allergic Girl By Sloane Miller
Published 2011 by John Wiley and Sons Inc.
About 250 pages