Coming to university with severe food allergies was one of the things I was most worried about. I have a long list of food allergies and finding the right places to eat can be tricky! Sharing a kitchen and eating in a large dining hall meant a lot of things could go wrong, so I had to be even more mindful than usual.
I will go into anaphylactic shock if I consume peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame seeds (which means that if I eat them it can be fatal). I keep an Epipen on me at all times, I read the ingredients on everything, and if there aren’t ingredients (like at restaurants) I have to ask.
Luckily, Vic College’s Burwash Dining Hall puts labels their meals (which is honestly how I chose what college to go to). In first year, this made it much easier for me to find food I could eat. In second year, they took the labels away, so I went straight to the Victoria College Dean of Students and Food Services and asked for them to put them back up (thankfully, they did).
Now day-to-day food is one thing, but to find a restaurant to eat at that is allergy-friendly is a whole other struggle. So, below are a few places near campus that offer safe options:
Sorelle and Co. This is a cute cafe on the edge of Yorkville, and amazingly, it offers peanut, tree nut, and sesame-free options. This is the first coffee shop that I could actually eat at (and it’s so close to campus too). Sorelle offers a lot of other allergy-free and gluten-free items, and they don’t taste bad at all! This may be more pricy than your regular Timmies but the fact that I can eat their is worth it for me.
Famoso. This is an Italian pizza place just past Bloor and Spadina. To ensure that the food you order is allergy-safe they use completely new ingredients (for no contamination) and clean the oven and other utensils before cooking. This option means a lot to me, especially when a spare sesame seed can be the difference between life and death!
Jumbo Empanadas. This is a tiny restaurant in Kensington Market. It’s not particularly known for its allergy awareness, however they only sell empanadas. I know that I’m not allergic to any of the ingredients that go into empanadas, and since they don’t make anything else, there’s no chance of cross-contamination!
Toronto restaurants also tend to have online menus, so I like to check out what they serve before I go. If they use a lot of what I’m allergic to, I usually avoid it. Allergies can be difficult; I hope some of the options I listed can take a little stress off of your next meal if you have allergies too, and if anyone knows any other allergy-friendly places I would be delighted to hear about them!