But Really Though Goes Nuts – Navigating Fast Food with a Food Allergy

There are many layers to my anxiety onion but the most threatening one is that I will be poisoned by my severe peanut allergy. In my 25 years of life, I have been to the ER for my peanut allergy 3 times. The earliest was at the age of six and the most recent was last November.

This allergy makes eating a high risk activity. Sweets are not safe (I’ve had friends’ moms accidentally feed me peanut cookies and I’ve accidentally microdosed myself with Mothers English Tea Cookies). I’ve had to cut out entire genres of food (no Chinese or Thai takeout). My own parents have fed me things that had “hidden” peanuts throughout the years.

Deadly little things 

To complicate things further, in my early 20’s I also developed an allergy to soy, shellfish and a sensitivity to sesame. My food allergies/sensitivities have forced me to learn a lot about the food manufacturing industry and how to identify safe brands/ places to eat. Below are a couple chain restaurants that in my NON MEDICAL I AM NOT A DOCTOR opinion are amazing at accommodating my food allergies.

In N Out 

A classic that passes the Emily test. In my experience (and according to their website) In N Out does not use peanuts, shellfish or tree nuts in any of their food. Soy is found in their bread, spread and cheese from the looks of their allergen menu so be on the lookout if you have any sensitivities to those.  


Chipotle’s reputation has taken a nosedive since the news a couple years ago but as someone with food allergies it’s always a safe place for me. This may seem obvious but after having an allergic reaction at a local mexican chain due to peanuts being in the fryer I’m quite hesitant to eat at mexican restaurants – especially if they serve mole. While I know Chipotle is not authentic by any stretch of the imagination it does not make me sick which makes it a winner. According to their website Chipotle does not have peanuts, tree nuts, sesame or shellfish in any of their ingredients. I’m a huge fan of the burrito bowls!


(Pro tip with any pizza place is to see if the dough for the crust is processed with peanuts. I am baffled at how many places risk cross contamination with their ingredients). Patxi’s is a deep dish pizza chain that B fell in love with in Santa Barbara. I am not crazy about deep dish – but I am crazy about not going into anaphylactic shock and Patxi’s is a peanut/tree nut free pizza chain. They even have a gluten free crust and vegan cheese for anyone with additional dietary restrictions.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell was my first true fast food love. While a cheese quesadilla can now have an adverse effect on my tummy at least I know almost all of the items on the menu won’t kill me. My current TB go to is a crunchwrap supreme with black beans instead of meat.

Looking at this image is making me itchy…

Like I said before, I am not a doctor/allergy specialist but these are the tried and true chains that have worked for me. I always, always ALWAYS double check the allergen menu and with the restaurant before ordering. I also try to ALWAYS carry my epipen if I am going somewhere new to eat. I hope this helps you navigate the world of food allergies if you have any or know someone who does!

One thought on “But Really Though Goes Nuts – Navigating Fast Food with a Food Allergy

  1. You are so great and I am so proud of you. I thing that more people should be aware of food allergies and what is safe for them and what is not. I so like the idea is you get to say, I can’t eat that. If others have a problem with that, that’s their problem. You spoke out and are taking care of yourself. I think you know that Grandma Martha, has food allergens, no wine, no aged cheese, no citrus and bread with yest. She is affiliated by mold, smoke and heat along with to much sun. We have left restaurants, hotel rooms and canceled trips. But it all worth it, because she too takes care of herself. I think that because I am not effect by any of these allegers it has been been a learn lesson for me, In excepts and empathy. After, 48 years of marriage, I too am learning more all the time. Keep speaking out so others can do the same thing and know they are not alone and is ok to ask questions that will keep them safe.

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