August 25, 2015

Back in Chicago – this time flying solo for a four-day work trip. It’s always a struggle because long workdays typically end with group dinners at pre-determined hot spots. My colleagues are pretty aware of my dietary restrictions and are always understanding when I have to opt out of certain restaurants, but it’s always uncomfortable to be ‘THAT GIRL’ who needs to customize her order or nibble dressing-free salads while everyone else eats tempting appetizers, hearty dinners and sinful desserts.

Luckily, they’ve been ordering lunch in at the office, which allows me to toss some home-packed safe foods into my bag (organic apples, raw almonds, avocado and pre-grilled chicken breast that I keep refrigerated in my room) and recharge my batteries without fear of spending the rest of the day in the restroom or worse, in my hotel bed.

Tonight, we went to a gourmet Mexican restaurant. I ordered the chicken tortilla soup (the least dangerous item on the menu) and had hives and horrible cramps before I was even halfway through the shallow bowl. I was forced to leave the restaurant early and walked back to the hotel alone, embarrassed and feeling like Captain Allergic Loser. After all these years, it can still sometimes feel like allergies define me.