Onion Allergy: Not As Rare As You Might Think

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We will talk about something I’ve been thinking a lot about. How much food allergies suck!

Over the last few decades, I discovered an allergy to onions. As well as all the things associated with them, there are more than you think.

With any food allergy, you must monitor what you eat, where you eat, and how things are prepared.

It sucks having food allergies, and if you have one, you know. The good part is that awareness is spreading and it’s much easier now than ever before.

Many people will argue there aren’t allergies but sensitivities.

To them, I understand there are more people that have food sensitivities. Regardless, why would you want to eat something that will rec havoc on your internal systems?

An example is lactose-intolerant people. For those that are, I’m sorry about my last post on the best cheese.


Food For Thought

I couldn’t help myself. That’s a good headline, if I have to say so myself.

Let’s go over some of the random thoughts about food allergies.

As we just covered, they are becoming more and more common. I remember growing up when people would say you were lying or just simply not believe you.


What they didn’t realize is what happens.

If you have food allergies, it means that you have an immune system reaction to certain foods.

This reaction can cause various symptoms, depending on which food you’re allergic to. It’s important to know what to do if you have a food allergy to avoid problems.

Some allergies are worse than others.

If you search on Google, onion allergy is not as common as initially thought.

HealthLine.com reports that it is more common to have an onion sensitivity than an allergy.

It’s interesting, to me, that my Mum and Grandmother also have onion intolerances. But mine has morphed into where I cannot breathe (with certain onions).

I feel for those with allergies that are truly awful, like corn and peanuts!

For years I have learned to adjust what and where I eat so that I don’t have any issues. But for things like corn and peanuts, it is in everything.

Living with Food Sensitivities

There is a lot of confusion surrounding food sensitivity and food allergy.
Keep in mind a food sensitivity refers to an adverse response you might experience after eating a particular food. These are the reactions to foods that are not usually harmful.
When you have a food allergy, you get an allergic response to specific foods.
The most common symptoms include hives, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.

Allergies can evolveevolution-foods-can-too

Having discovered the onion allergy in childhood, I never knew it would evolve into what I deal with today.

I think sometime in college, I discovered that garlic started to cause allergic reactions.

That’s a major bummer, mainly because I was used to the onion and have learned to live without them. But garlic, come on!

Take a step back and think about everything you currently eat. I bet many of them have onion or garlic in them.

For example, I can no longer eat garlic bread, Doritos, many “green” drinks, ketchup, BBQ, pizza sauce, alfredo, hummus, etc.

Dealing With An Onion Allergy

My onion allergy started so long ago that I honestly don’t think about it much. Yes, I have had onions in the past, and they were good.

That also means I know what I’m missing out on.

To make a long story short, we discovered that I couldn’t eat onions anymore during a birthday party.

It was summertime, lots of playing outside, and best of all, having BBQ.

The interesting part was I’ve had these burgers before, but this time was going to be life-changing.


After enjoying the tasty burger, I realized I had difficulty breathing. And as they say, the rest is history.

Just imagine, you are enjoying a wonderful meal when all of a sudden you cannot breathe.

It’s not that you got something stuck in your throat, in fact, your throat is just closing up!

Talk about scary!

I thought that was bad.

Then, many years later, I was in college eating one of my favorite pasta dishes. Something that I have had many times before.

This is what is interesting about allergies, they can take hold at any time.


As you may guess, when it comes to garlic, I have an intolerance, but I’m not allergic.

It was then that I started looking into this whole onion thing. It didn’t take long to learn they were both in the same family.

Well, damn.

Interesting story

A few years ago, I was ordering dinner at a Chinese restaurant.monks-serving-food

I’ve grown accustomed to always saying, “No onion or garlic, please,” with everything I order.

The waitress replied that it was no problem and then asked if I was a Buddhist. 

Since this issue has been part of my life for so long, I wondered why she would ask.

Our waitress said it had something to do with “stinky vegetables” or something.

I later learned there are a few reasons why Buddhists avoid eating pungent roots.”

Click the above link, “pungent roots,” to learn more.

Improvements Over The Years

As I mentioned above, it’s been great to see improvements in food allergies. Let’s look at how businesses are working with those with food allergies.outdoor-dining

The best and most important is that restaurants actually cater to individuals with food allergies.
Many restaurants have even altered their menus to accommodate those with food allergies.
It’s been years since I’ve heard any wait staff saying, “You can’t taste them (referring to onions).”
I no longer need to be annoyed and reply, “Oh, that’s great information, but I value my ability to breathe and would rather they be left out of my food.”

There are also food companies that are even starting to cater specifically to onion-sensitive people. They call it “sensitive,” but it’s better than nothing.

Every so often I’ll receive a message from friends. They always send photos if they find something that says “sensitive formula” or similar.

The only issue with these new products is that they tend to be twice as expensive as regular Prego, which has its version now. 

To give Mum props, she has perfected making marinara sauce. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that.

Do You Have Any Food Allergies?

With all this said, you learn how to cope with any food allergy you might have. 
With a food allergy, you quickly learn what restaurants are safe to go to. Better yet, you learn when to eat at certain places. This is due to cross-contamination during busy periods (such as pizza places and sandwich shops)
Living with food allergies can be a challenge, but it is not impossible.
There are many ways to manage food allergies and lead a healthy life. With a little bit of planning and some help from your doctor or allergist, you can manage your food allergies and live a happy life.
It would be nice to try an onion ring and, more importantly, have hummus again. But just like with many things, you learn to live with it. 

Now it’s your turn. Do you have a food allergy? If so, how do you cope with having a food allergy?

Please let me know if you know of any onion-free foods, like hummus!


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2 thoughts on “Onion Allergy: Not As Rare As You Might Think”

  1. Ah, this topic is a part of my daily life … yes, EVERY day.

    Just seeing the photo at the top of this blog caused me tummy distress. I joke … but just a little.

    You brought up a good point that food allergies/sensitivities evolve over time. The severity can increase, and the list can grow. When I was a child, there were only two things I was allergic to. Now I have a list … yes, an actual list. It’s ridiculous.

    Once you are aware of a food issue, the most important thing is to be vigilant.
    Avoid it as much as possible. That may mean giving up some of your favorite things. Also, potlucks are no longer fun. In fact, I avoid them as much as is socially acceptable. The risk is too great to become ill, so it’s not worth it. There have been many potlucks where I just have some bread.

    This also involves spending more time in the grocery store. I swear I have spent hours standing in the isles reading every single ingredient of every item. Even if it’s a product that was safe the last time I bought it, I still read everything, because companies change their recopies all the time.

    You are correct that restaurants have evolved over time, by being more accommodating when it comes to food allergies.
    It is extremely frustrating when they say something like, “You can’t taste it”. Also, I still have to be very specific and say no onion POWDER or garlic POWDER. No onion or garlic anything. None. Zippo. And, yet, there are times that my meal will arrive with chives or scallions. Really?

    On a positive note, my friends and coworkers have been kind about my issues. When at a friend’s house for dinner, they will change a recipe to accommodate me. I have one coworker that is super diligent and examines potluck food to inform me of anything suspicious.

    I do miss many foods that I love. My list includes many fruits, and nuts.
    Gone are the days of picking up a seasoning packet for tacos. Using those was so quick and easy.

    I have perfected a couple recipes of my own for marinara sauce and taco seasoning.
    Ketchup is still elusive.

    The struggle continues…

    • Food allergies are the worst. Having a list is awful. It takes only a few things not seem so bad.

      I laughed at potlucks. Add to that list buffets (unless it’s breakfast, there are some “safe options”).

      OMG! Why do companies change their ingredients? It’s so annoying because anyone with food allergies knows this well. The first that comes to mind is Prego!

      It’s good to have people in your corner looking out for you. Just last week, a few of mine went to breakfast. They told the waitress they would give her $20 to put an onion in my omelet.

      I know joking is all fun, but the bummer part (for me) was there were onions in it. We were all shocked. I hate sending food back, but in that case, I had no other option…well, I guess I could not have eaten.

      And I would agree with you 100%. Your recipes for pizza sauce, taco seasoning, and many others are the BEST!


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