By Jessica Defreitas

#OhhMoments: Meet 25 year old Nicole Johnson, who's taking her food allergies on the road with her

25 year old Nicole Johnson, shares how she doesn’t let her tree nut allergy stop her from travelling the world in this week's #OhhMoments!

“My name’s Nicole Johnson, I’m 25 and originally from the UK but recently moved to Toronto.

At around the age of 6 or 7 years old I experienced my first allergic reaction to coconuts. My journey was a little different to others. After years of having mild to severe reactions to foods that contained tree nuts, I went to my doctor as I suspected I had a nut allergy. The response I received from my doctor at the time was to write a food diary whenever I ate foods that gave me a reaction. By this point I was very clear that I knew it was nuts but the doctor refused to test me for it. It wasn’t until and my second year of university that I plucked up the courage to go to a different doctor, who immediately ordered blood tests and it confirmed that I was allergic to all tree nuts.

My diagnosis impacted my family as they we weren’t able to go to certain restaurants or able to cook certain dishes which they love, for example my mum loves Thai food which unfortunately includes coconuts in many dishes.

Additionally, during the years that my nut allergy wasn’t confirmed we would try and avoid dishes with nuts in as much as possible, however, there were times that my family would buy certain foods that don’t have clear labeling or I wouldn’t check properly and have a reaction. So over the years I learned that if I am unable to clearly see the ingredients or someone isn’t confidently able to tell me a dish doesn’t have nuts then not to eat it.

One of the biggest challenges for me having a food allergy is travelling. I love to travel to different countries, and I have a love for languages, but it can be challenging finding safe foods whilst travelling.

I recently came back from a trip to Thailand with my boyfriend, which previously was on my list of places to never visit due to many Thai dishes containing coconuts. I learned when travelling to always bring nut free snacks, such as which Ohh! Foods, but also bringing translation cards were life saver for me to be able to communicate the severity of my allergies to people. I’d like to thank Ohh! Foods for providing safe snacks for me to eat.

After moving to Canada, one of my concerns were whether I would be able to find inclusive snacks that I would be able to eat, but also more importantly snacks that I can take with me when I travel, as safe food options aren’t always easily available.

My hope for the future is that food allergies are taken more seriously and that we won’t have to hear any more lives being lost to food allergies.” – Nicole Johnson

To follow Nicole on her journey around the world, check her out on Instagram @allergiesontheroad, for more travel and allergy related content!


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