A self-proclaimed “allergic girl” and Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Sloane Miller has lived with life threatening food allergies since she was born.
In the midst of a job transition, Miller said she thought, “What is it that I really want to do? I know so much about food allergies and I am a mental health worker, and looked around and saw that no one was offering supportive services to this community, and thought to myself, I can do it!”
So in 2006, Miller started her own blog, Please Don’t Pass The Nuts, to “serve this market with the gifts that I have, which is the knowledge base about food allergies and how to live your best life and communicate your needs in a way that can be heard.”
Miller, who shared her story in a forum at LIM College on September 3, is not alone with her food-related allergies. She explained that four percent of the adult population of the United States—nine million people—share the same affliction. After hearing those staggering statistics, and receiving such positive feedback from the food allergic community about her blog, Miller realized that she “was offering something that all of the sudden there was a huge need for.”
She decided to expand her operation, and in 2011, she wrote the book Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well With Food Allergies to share her personal experiences.
Allergic Girl provides people with food allergies, along with family and friends, with the tools to be able to live their best life. Miller emphasizes the importance of learning how to express your needs in the most effective and approachable way possible. She presents readers with insight into ordinary things, such as dating and eating out at a restaurant—and shares how those situations can often be daunting, unless, of course, you know how to properly confront them.
“I think there is that feeling of risk—and not medical risk, an emotional risk," Miller said. "How do you take an emotional risk, where you are right now? Not 'I should be the girl that is able to do this,' but, 'I am the girl that wants to do this.'”
Although Miller is in her own right an extrovert, she acknowledges that many of her readers may be the exact opposite.
“I really encourage people to find their own way to get their needs met, and be the most effective person that they can be in this moment," she said. "It’s really about being in the present and saying, 'this is what I can do right now, and this is how I can be an effective person.'”
Miller explained that “if you are shy, me telling you, 'well you should speak up to the manager and tell them your entire life story before you sit down to eat,' doesn’t work.”
Instead, she suggested, call the restaurant ahead of time to make sure that the menu is suitable for you, or perhaps have a trusted friend do it for you. Miller expressed that there is always going to be a restaurant, or even a person, who does not accept your personal needs, and that is okay. There are many other restaurants in Manhattan, and there are certainly many other fish swimming in the sea to accept you for who you are.
Whether you have a life threatening food allergy or not, Miller’s take-charge message resonates to any challenges that one may face throughout life. She explains that while the book has a primary focus on food allergies, “I think is more about effectiveness training.” Allergic Girl provides positive and uplifting advice on how to live a happy and fulfilled existence, along with a profound emphasis on always making sure to push yourself to be the most effective and take-charge person that you can be.