I LOVE FOOD! Yes, in all caps. I cook or bake probably 5-6 times a week. My freezer is filled with food I've even made for later, and I'm the first person friends and family call when they have some sort of cooking emergency, or need a recipe, or of course, want me to cook for some event or party.
Trust me when I say, it was a total blow to me when I found out I was lactose intolerant and then a few years later, that I had additional major digestive issues with eating certain foods for which I have to take medication every single day for the rest of my life. It does tend to make things a lot more difficult, and I get frustrated, and even angry about it sometimes, but you learn to deal. You have to sit there and be careful with what you eat because as much as someone else is like, you "should" enjoy or like this, you know if you partake in that one moment of temporary pleasure in eating something, you will regret it dearly.
Here are some things to remember when dealing with people you know have allergies or food intolerance or whom you become aware have them.
1. We're not making it up
The worst thing is when someone accuses us of making it up. I get it, some people do that stuff, but so what. That doesn't mean everyone is faking it, and so guess what, you shouldn't assume someone is faking when they say they have an allergy or intolerance. You can literally end up killing someone with severe allergies or putting them in the hospital. It isn't a game we're playing to try and make things difficult for you or to be picky about what we are eating. We have to deal with this and we don't have a choice in the matter.
2. Please don't constantly bring it up
It may be new to you, but it's not new to us. We know our allergies/intolerance. We don't need you to share with everyone or continuously make some huge deal out of it. Us telling you, is not to get some sort of pity party response from you. It's for informational purposes so perhaps you won't be offended or hurt by our lack of eating something you bring or prepare.
3. If you can't be bothered, tell us
Trussst when I say, we're used to having to fend for ourselves, a lot like vegetarians (except they have a choice, we don't). If you can't be bothered to make dietary changes in whatever meal you're serving to accommodate us or you simply don't know how, then by all means, kindly inform us that you'd like us to please bring some items that we can eat or that are safe to eat for us or you'd like us to pass on some education to you, about what we can eat.
4. Don't just flat out exclude us
Again, going back to number 3. We're used to having to fend for ourselves, however, it is extremely rude for you to prepare an entire meal with the aforementioned knowledge of our allergies/intolerance that you know we can't eat and not warn us or ask us to bring something we can or provide an alternative. (Obviously if you didn't know beforehand, you didn't know). You wouldn't do this to other guests, say if a guest didn't drink, you wouldn't say not provide at least some water as an alternative for them to drink. This is being a bad host, and a bad friend or family member.
5. Don't just assume, everyone with an allergy/intolerance is the same
Everyone always seems to think they are an expert on what you can and can't eat because they knew some person one time, or they have a cousin somewhere with "something similar." Even with the same exact allergy or intolerance as someone else, people's reactions to certain foods can vary. Some are a lot more sensitive than others to certain foods, some can flat out not even touch anything that's even touched the offending food, other can handle certain foods with the aid of medication. Just be respectful as with anything else. You don't need to again, bring all this attention to the person or person with the allergy or slap food away from them or constantly warn them about something unless they are unaware you've added the offending ingredients. They know what they can and cannot eat.
6. Do encourage the person and try extending a kindness to them
It is so nice to hear someone just encourage you when you're dealing with any kind of health situation. You are very lucky if you never have to deal with it yourself, but for those struggling and dealing with it everyday, it can be very hard, and you do deal with so many ranges of emotion about it. I remember going to a friend's wedding where she provided welcome bags for everyone with all these treats, and in mine she'd made sure that all were safe to eat. She didn't have to, but she did, and it made me feel so welcome and included that she'd thought of me in all her wedding planning without me saying a word. You don't have to go that far, but just being considerate and planning meals and restaurant outings on occasion that the person with allergies/intolerance can actually enjoy goes a really long way.