Because I have celiac disease, allergies, and difficulty swallowing because of my throat abnormalities, there are many foods I cannot eat or should avoid because they trigger coughing and the risk of aspirating. This is a list of some of them.
  1. All products containing rye or wheat gluten; bread, pasta, cookies, cake, muffins, thickened soups, gravies, pancakes, pastry, tortillas, and most desserts. Gluten can also be found in sauces, gravy, so I'm continents, and even candy.
    Notable exceptions; corn tortillas, crème brûlée, pudding, mousse
  2. I have a severe allergy to shellfish and although shrimp was my trigger, the allergist suggested avoiding all shellfish because the reaction was life-threatening. So that includes shrimp, lobster, clams, muscles, and scallops
  3. Bananas in any form
  4. Apples in any form, including apple juice and applesauce, included as a sweetener in many products, especially muffins and cakes
  5. Strawberries in any form
  6. Tomatoes, including tomato sauce, paste, juice.
    Tomatoes are often "hidden" in many soups, condiments, and sauces
  7. Most gluten-free bread and cookies because anything that crumbles is difficult for me to swallow.
    Notable exceptions; other gluten-free products such as pasta, muffins, and products second with cornstarch such as gluten-free gravy or gluten-free soup.
  8. Most salads are difficult for me to swallow unless I cut the pieces very small. Leafy greens are one of the most difficult things for me to swallow. Chopped salads would be great except they are often prepared in advance and contain items listed above that I am allergic to such as tomatoes or salad dressings containing gluten
  9. When we eat at a restaurant they almost always have fish, chicken, or meat, vegetables and starches such as potatoes or rice. I just have to make sure I have my food prepared without any sauce that might contain gluten or one of the foods I am allergic to.
    In the US and the European countries I have visited, restaurants in cities or highly populated areas are aware of and sensitive to allergies and want to please their patrons and keep them safe. Manny now have gluten-free menus if you ask. Asia was more difficult.
  10. For traveling with food allergies I generally prepare ahead by printing some food allergy translations for the countries we will be visiting. You can find these on websites such as or
    My daughter, how also has celiac disease and is a vegetarian, and I used the brokerfish site to print out allergy information in the native language of the countries we visited when traveling in Asia. Several times they bailed us out, especially me because shellfish is used so extensively in coastal cities like those we visited on our cruise.
  11. To look at the positive side, here are some of the many things I can eat; potatoes, rice, vegetables and fruit (except the ones I'm allergic to, of course), fish (except shellfish), poultry, meat, cheese, eggs, milk products, nuts, oatmeal, and gluten-free packaged cereals such as Cheerios, rice crispy's, and most of the Chex cereals.
  12. Wouldn't you love to invite me for dinner?!? My friends and family now not to worry about it. I have been dealing with this so long that I am very good at rolling with the situation. I usually bring something gluten-free and if all else fails I can just eat that. This pasta dish would kill me: gluten, shellfish, and tomatoes; a triple whammy!
    It is safer to eat in a city restaurant in the US or Europe than to go to a friend's house for dinner, because many people don't realize is that gluten is hidden in products you might not suspect. The same is true for some of my allergies. Friends and family have thought, for example, that sun-dried tomatoes or apple juice would not be a problem for me. So I much prefer to bring my own and work around what they have prepared, because there usually are a few things I can have.
  13. My daughters mother-in-law is a retired registered dietitian and excellent cook. Although my daughter and I have assured her many times she does not have to work around our food issues, she always makes versions of the food she cooked that are gluten-free and vegetarian for my daughter.
    And she actually manages to work around all my food problems to serve me a beautiful meal whenever I visit. I know how difficult it is to prepare one meal for a large family gathering, never mind three variations of it. But it makes her happy to do this for us and we are incredibly grateful. I "protested" a few times but now I just accept it and enjoy the love. It is wonderful that we get along so well with our son-in-law's parents, and that she does this for my daughter and me.
  14. So this is a little glimpse into what it's like to live with food issues and swallowing problems. If you read this far, thank you so much for your perseverance. You are very kind, and I love you! ❤️