I was forced to sit on my own table at school because I’m allergic to FIFTY types of food… teachers did not want to take a risk

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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A woman who is allergic to 50 types of food has revealed how she was forced to sit alone in the school canteen because teachers were too scared she’d have a reaction.

Mia Silverman, 20, from Boston, has an array of potentially life threatening allergies.

Her allergies range from those that are common such as nuts and dairy, to more specific ones including certain food colourings, spices and natural flavours. 

After being bullied throughout school and having to take extra measures to keep safe in her day to day life, Mia now makes videos on TikTok to educate others and create a safe space for others with extreme allergies.

The 20-year-old student, currently living in New York city, goes by @theallergicgirl on TikTok and Instagram, where she boasts more than 120,000 followers across platforms.

She spoke exclusively to MailOnline about the struggles she faces and how she remains positive and continues to advocate for herself and others.

Mia Silverman, 20, from Boston, is allergic to more than 50 different foods, all of which have the potential to be life threatening

Mia explained: ‘I faced a lot of bullying in high school. Kids would make jokes about sneaking nuts into my food to see what would happen, which is really messed up.

‘In Elementary school they had a no nuts table in the cafeteria, and I always sat there alone, which was kind of sad. 

‘I would not always get invited to parties or hangouts with friends because I have my allergies. 

‘When I would go to social events, I’d always feel kind of left out, because I have to bring my own safe food with me.’

‘We’d have like little parties and stuff at our school like a disco dance or something, for our grade and I had to bring my own stuff because nothing was safe for me there.

‘I just felt left out a lot and very lonely in high school because people in high school are not really mature and it wasn’t until I wasn’t university when I started making actual good friendships. 

‘My friends are super accommodating to me but it wasn’t like that until college’.

She added that while her immediate family are ‘amazing’ with her mother trying out new recipes for her, and her dad opting for the same meal as her when they eat out, some extended family ‘don’t know how to accommodate’ her.

Mia's allergies range from those that are common such as nuts and dairy, to more specific ones including certain food colourings, spices and natural flavours

Mia’s allergies range from those that are common such as nuts and dairy, to more specific ones including certain food colourings, spices and natural flavours

Mia said: ‘They’re not really willing to learn, and they just don’t really care. They love me. I know that they do love me but whenever we are invited to these family events, it makes it hard for me. 

‘I go but I have to always bring my own food. I just feel left out, even though I’m there, and I’m invited, like everyone’s eating all these nice things that’s cooked there, but I can eat any of it. 

‘I have to bring my own chipotle burrito, or my mom makes something herself, which sucks for my mom.’

Mia’s allergies were discovered because she was a ‘very colicky baby and no one knew why’. 

She explained: ‘I would always have stomach aches from the things I would eat.

‘But then, one day my dad came home from work and brought home these cookies that had nuts in them, immediately I like ate one and went into anaphylactic shock, which is the first time I’ve ever experienced that.

‘My throat was closing up, I was red, I couldn’t even talk, I couldn’t breathe, I was throwing up. It was really awful.

‘My parents didn’t know what to do that had never experiences before. So the called 911 who came and they gave me an EpiPen, took me to the hospital.

She says the doctors she's seen have been 'excellent' and 'really tried their best' to help her, but her case is 'very rare'

She says the doctors she’s seen have been ‘excellent’ and ‘really tried their best’ to help her, but her case is ‘very rare’

‘They ran lots of tests and blood work and they found all these allergies that I had.

‘They’re like, okay, your daughter has all these allergies, good luck, figure it out’.

From this point, as Mia grew up she continued to gain more allergies, outgrowing only three in her life which were gluten, soy and coconut.

She says the doctors she’s seen have been ‘excellent’ and ‘really tried their best’ to help her, but her case is ‘very rare’.

When she goes to the doctors or checks her health portal, the student is labeled as a ‘medically complex patient’ – with one health expert she’s been seeing for five years, believing she may have some kind of auto immune condition, but equally there’s a chance it could just be bad luck.

Some of the foods Mia is allergic to

  • All nuts
  • All seeds and their oils
  • All fish and shellfish (except cooked tuna)
  • Peaches
  • Kiwi
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Mango
  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Eggplant
  • Zucchini 
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Uncooked dairy
  • Eggs (except when cooked in a cake) 
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee 
  • Some food dyes – orange, yellow and red
  • Tarragon
  • Sumac
  • Smoked paprika
  • Wine
  • Sulfates
  • MSG 
  • Anato
  • Carotene
  • Lupine
  • Some natural flavours and artificial flavours

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Mia said: ‘Having food allergies can be very anxiety inducing. It just sucks sometimes and for the longest time I was dealing with mental health issues, I was anxious a lot and depressed.

‘I saw a food allergy psychologist when I was in high school and she’s changed my life, where I’ve now been able to have these healthy coping strategies to manage my anxiety.’

However, going out to a restaurant is still a struggle, as her friends and family can go out wherever they want, but Mia has to call ahead of time, ask to speak to the manager or the head chef and make sure they can accommodate her.

She revealed: ‘It’s always like a lengthy process trying to find a safe restaurant to eat at. My food allergies are mostly life threatening. 

‘My most serious allergy I would say, is nuts, all nuts, and almost all the seeds, especially sesame seeds. 

‘I’m severely allergic to all seafood and fish, except for tuna, and eggs and dairy. My dairy and egg allergies are a little bit bizarre as I can have eggs if it’s cooked in something like cooked in a cake, but I can’t have it on its own for some reason, and same with dairy. 

‘I can have dairy if it’s cooked in something, or like cooked like on like a pizza, but I can’t have it like in a like a glass of milk or on its own, because when you cook it from this is my doctor says when you cook the dairy or the eggs at a certain temperature, it kills the proteins that I’m allergic to.’

She added: ‘I’m allergic to some food colorings and certain preservatives. When I say they’re life threatening like I mean it. I will experience something called anaphylaxis where my throat usually closes up or swells up, I will usually get hives, stomach aches, nausea, and throw up.

‘Those allergies that I listed are the most common ones in the world, like the top allergens and so they’re often presented everywhere. 

‘Some of my more weird allergies I have are coffee and chocolate and again, certain food colorings that are kind of like orange, yellow food dye is really bizarre. I’m allergic to watermelon, which is weird, as is mostly just water.

Growing up was also tough for Mia, as she disclosed she used to get bullied a lot as a child, and still gets online hate now

Growing up was also tough for Mia, as she disclosed she used to get bullied a lot as a child, and still gets online hate now

‘I’m allergic to smoked paprika, but it has to be smoked. Also MSG, which is a preservative found in like Asian cuisine, usually and it’s also found in  Doritos, at least American Doritos have MSG. I’m also allergic to cherries, apples, peaches and kiwi.

‘And those also can be life threatening, depending on how much I have of it. For example, smoked paprika has sent me to the hospital one time in high school. For breakfast they were serving breakfast potatoes, and they had smoked paprika. I had like 5 little potatoes, and I had to go to the hospital because I went into anaphylaxis.

‘They’re basically all life threatening but some of them are more severe than others like, if I have like a little touch of nuts like if it touch something that can send me to the hospital immediately.’

Another area of life that’s affected by Mia’s allergies is travel.

She explained that she always has to try and go to countries with good healthcare in case of emergencies.

The allergy community advocate recently went viral and got a lot of negative comments for a TikTok video she made, where she filmed herself ordering a smoothie and triple checking it had no nuts and the blender had been cleaned with soap and water.

Trolls wrote: ‘every servers worst nightmare’ and said she was ‘rude to the employees’, adding: ‘I hope you at least tipped big to compensate for being rude’.

She explained: ‘When I filmed that video, it was for the purpose of trying to normalise food allergies and to inspire others to eat out.

The 20-year-old student, currently living in New York City , goes by @theallergicgirl on TikTok and Instagram, where she boasts more than 120,000 followers across platforms

The 20-year-old student, currently living in New York City , goes by @theallergicgirl on TikTok and Instagram, where she boasts more than 120,000 followers across platforms

‘I just wanted to spread awareness and help people by showing, hey, you can order a smoothie, it is possible and it is okay to ask multiple times, because people don’t always know how to sanitize a blender. 

‘People are calling me rude, and I was so confused because I even apologised for triple checking. It just showed me how there’s so much ignorance. If it’s rude for me to  care about my safety and health… Wow, that’s that’s a serious problem we have in this world’.

Mia added: ‘You can be polite, but also be assertive at the same time, because food allergies are like no joke. It is life and death for people like me.’

Sadly, she said she wasn’t surprised by the backlash and she gets ‘at least one comment on every video’ of someone just saying that she’s ‘being rude or annoying’, or even that she should kill herself.

She affirmed: ‘People are just ignorant and that’s why I do what I do to try spread awareness to get those people to learn that like, hey, we have the right to advocate for ourselves. 

‘It’s not rude to care about our health and safety and our livelihood, because essentially, when we order at a restaurant we’re putting our lives in their hands, the the chef’s hands or the waiters hands, and that’s that can be risky.

‘That’s why you have to ask couple of times to double check to make sure, are you gonna sanitize this blender, or are you gonna make sure to cook this item on a clean surface – I post those videos to show that like to normalise it.

‘I also feel people like me who have a lot of allergies often feel guilty and embarrassed for having to order this way and having to double or triple check – and it’s not a bad thing. it’s actually a good thing to triple check, because you never know, mistakes do happen’.

Mia believes that this is why she needs to keep sharing her journey on social media to help other allergy sufferers know they’re not alone.

She said that documenting her struggle with allergies has helped her on ‘a personal, selfish level’: ‘to feel proud of myself that I actually have  been able to use it to help other people.

‘I receive messages from teachers and allergy moms and dads, and people who don’t even have allergies just thanking me for what I do, and I just feel so honored and grateful that I have this platform to educate other people, spread awareness and help.

‘It can feel very lonely but truly you’re not alone. If you have allergies, there’s a whole community of people out there. 

‘When I was younger. I wish I had someone to like look up to with my allergies but I never had that, and now I get to be that person for so many people.’

Mia has no plans to stop making videos and will continue to raise awareness and educate people who suffer with severe food allergies. 

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