Comedians Stand Up For Food Allergies – It Must Be Taken Seriously

 

SPOTLIGHT On Los Angeles based comedian Steven Garza who discovered he was allergic to shellfish at the age of nineteen. He joins other comedians and performers to ‘Stand Up for Food Allergies’ next Tuesday night at The Comedy Store in La Jolla.

When did Food allergies come into your life?

“Food allergies did not cross my mind until I was returning from a surf trip up the west coast with a friend at nineteen years old. As a child I was an extremely picky eater, which may have saved my life in hindsight. On our way back to San Diego we stopped at a restaurant owned by my friend’s uncle. He served us jumbo size shrimp which I had never tried before. “Seems harmless” I thought. I scarfed them down and didn’t give it another thought until we were about an hour outside of San Diego. My throat felt funny, but passed it off as an oncoming cold. By the time I arrived home my entire body itched. Eventually the itching stopped and was replaced by swelling… massive swelling. My dad rushed me to the emergency room where my face looked like I was a prize fighter who just went twelve rounds with Tyson and began struggling to breath. Luckily, we arrived in time to be treated. A doctor asked me if I had eaten anything unusual. Bingo! I’m allergic to shell fish.”

How they have changed you?

“I am extremely aware of what I eat and what ingredients are included. I’ve had several occasions where I can’t eat at a particular restaurant due to shell fish being cooked on the same grill. Reading of ingredients has also become routine for me.”

What is the hardest thing about dealing with food allergies?

“You always have to be aware of what foods are around you, not only for myself, but with others around me. I’ve done a lot of traveling and spend most of that time worrying about my next meal and if it will have shell fish in it. This was especially difficult in Japan where everything seemed to be served with shrimp as if it were some kind of condiment. It gets uncomfortable when a friend eats shell fish around me and I have to ask them to wash their hands. Adults don’t like to be told to wash their hands.”

 The message you would want to send about food allergies?

“My life definitely revolves around food allergies to some degree. I’m constantly on guard worrying about what I touch and where I go. It was even a concern when I first met my girlfriend. I had to make sure she wasn’t a fan of shellfish or we’d have a big problem.”

Describe the activity you and your family will do when a cure for food allergies is found?

“This question plays in my head quite often. I’ve always wanted to try lobster. I hate those Lobster commercials on T.V. where the steam rises from the lobster shell and they top it with a buttery creamy sauce. Ahh! It looks so good!”

 

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