Peanuts – Two sides of the story


Sophie Guymon and Emily Bebenek

Sophie’s side:

My peanut allergy experience is unusual in the sense that I was diagnosed at two very different points in my life — ages three and 14. One year after my initial diagnosis, I passed a food test at the allergist and was cleared to eat peanuts again.

However, even during the 10-year period where I was presumed nonallergic, I avoided peanuts at all costs. Something about the smell was so unappealing to me that I plugged my nose whenever I detected it, and I refused to eat any peanut-based foods.

Several incidents made me question whether or not my allergy was really gone, but the nail in the coffin came during my freshman year of high school. My mom had prepared a salad for dinner which, unbeknownst to me, contained a spoonful of peanut butter in the dressing.

I spent the rest of the night in severe pain and discomfort, struggling to breathe through a nose that was swollen beyond recognition. My parents considered taking me to the ER, but instead opted to administer my brother’s Epipen.

Ultimately, I was fine, but a visit to the allergist two months later confirmed the re-emergence of my allergy. This re-diagnosis was actually a relief — now that I knew peanuts were a true hazard to my health, I no longer had to feel guilty for refusing them. My friends and classmates would understand that when I didn’t want their various peanut butter concoctions, I wasn’t rejecting their kindness and hospitality, I was protecting myself.

Unfortunately, this understanding is often accompanied with infantilization. People accept that I can’t eat peanuts, but not that I’m capable of avoiding them without their aid or coddling. I have never taken a trip without packing my Epipen or Benadryl, and I’m very aware of the foods that may contain trace amounts of peanuts. In over a year of college, I’ve had one minor allergy scare, which was resolved with only two pills and a long night of sleep.

In theory, someone could poison me with peanuts, but because of my sensitivity to their smell and taste as well as the arsenal of medication I carry with me this would be no easy feat. My peanut allergy most likely isn’t going anywhere, but I’ve learned to live with it. Everyone else should too.

Emily’s side:

Peanuts. They’re everywhere. Rich in protein, fat and fiber, they seem like the perfect snack. I mean, they’re even in our candy! They’re inescapable. They’re delicious.

So why is it that peanuts are one of the most common allergies? That’s just stupid. I mean, seriously, have you ever met someone with a peanut allergy? Some of them are chill about it, but the others … not so much.

You sit down and casually open a bag of peanut M&Ms or something and they leap out of their seats, shouting, “NO!! How dare you? I’m ALLERGIC!! I will DIE! Keep those things away from me! Get out!” How crazy is it, in a world of snakes and spiders and alligators, to be afraid of peanuts?

Here’s my theory: the Earth is overpopulated, right? Every year it just gets worse and worse. This peanut intolerance is simply natural selection in action. Those of us lucky enough to be able to enjoy Reese’s and PB&J sandwiches are the chosen ones. Everyone else … my condolences. Not that we haven’t tried to fight nature. I mean, the precautions taken to ensure the safety of those fragile few are extreme, to say the least. But still, there comes a point when what you have to sacrifice to survive makes you question what you’re surviving for.

This is the point where all of you will turn on me. One of my favorite quick-fix meals is peanut butter and pickle. Take half of a pickle, cut out the seeds and fill the gap with peanut butter. It’s delicious, easy and nutritious. The warm gooey peanut butter enhances the flavor of the cold and crunchy pickle. It’s like ants on a log without the raisins. It’s delicious. Try it before you come for me.

I feel for those who are marked for peanut culling. I truly do. But, as one of the higher beings granted the privilege to enjoy the world and everything it has to offer risk-free, I can’t dwell on it. Who am I to question the universe? Obviously, you’ve done something wrong in your past life, and that’s on you.

So, to my fellow chosen people, let’s enjoy! And to those cursed few good luck! May the odds be ever in your favor.

Peanuts, how do we feel about them? 

Life exec surveys the Wake Forest community to garner the feelings our student body holds towards peanuts

“They’re cool. They are convenient, I never go out seeking them but if they are in front of me, they are good. I would absolutely despise every inch of my existence if I was allergic to peanuts.” – Cooper Sullivan

“I eat peanuts when they are not in peanut form. I would feel inferior if I was allergic to peanuts. I would be the weak link. To those who are allergic to peanuts — sitting at the peanut-free table in elementary school was cool.” – Aaron Nataline

“I don’t know, they are fine. I think it was said before, but I do not particularly care for peanuts but I would not turn away from them. If I was allergic, I would feel terrible. The freaking peanut kids in my sixth-grade class hindered any opportunity for joy. My heart goes out to those who are allergic.” – Dev Chojar

Before we continue, we wish to also maintain steady in our beliefs that peanut allergies are genuine and severe — oft not to be joked about. We hold respect for those who are allergic to peanuts or hold any allergies at all. These comments do not reflect the opinions of the OGB Executive Staff and we maintain the utmost respect towards anyone with any allergy! Stay safe out there.

“I like peanuts. They are not my least favorite nut but they are also not my favorite nut. I love cashews, pecans and walnuts. Hazelnuts are especially great.” – Will Zimmerman

“I like ‘em. A solid snack option.” (We note here that Ben Conroy sits and ponders the question for quite a bit of time when we asked how he would feel if he was allergic to peanuts) “I would feel dietarily handcuffed.” – Ben Conroy

“I **** with peanuts. I like peanut butter, Snickers, Reese’s. If I were allergic, I would microdose until I wasn’t.” – Essex Thayer

“Peanuts? I don’t eat them when I am eating my trail mix. I eat absolutely everything else. When in butter form, however, I greatly enjoy peanut butter with some honey on top. You could elevate this with some chocolate too.

The mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s? I could eat eight boxes of them. However, something about the whole peanut just does not appeal to me.

If I were allergic to peanuts, I feel that I would not be able to have a lot of candies and that would make me sad. But I would not miss the physical peanuts.” – Christina DeNovio

“I like peanuts. I would not tell anyone if I was allergic to peanuts. That’s just plain embarrassing. If I died from a peanut, I deserved it.” – Chase Bagnall-Koger

“They’re pretty good. I don’t know what else to really say man, they are just pretty good. I would be really really sad if I was allergic to peanuts. I would not be able to eat Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.” – Josie Scratchard

“I think that peanuts are God’s grace to this planet. Cracking them open at a baseball game is better than the game itself. Do not get me started about chocolate-covered M&M’s. If I were allergic to peanuts, I would like that because I would be the cool person with an EpiPen and I could use that as a weapon. They are so supple and it does not hurt to bite into them. I will baptize my child in peanut oil and name my first child peanut.” – Alexandra Karlinchak