My dd's body cannot tolerate highly processed foods that have additives and preservatives. She is on the Feingold diet (you can google it if you're not sure what that is) and eats only whole food and foods that are all-natural if minimally processed (like crackers).
She is 9 years old and I find it really difficult to help others understand that her diet doesn't contain fast food, rice crispy treats, and confetti ice cream. She is a chowpup and enjoys food all all types and cuisines, but she's been eating it all of her life, both from choice and necessity. When she was breastfeeding, she had the same problems, and I had to go through my own elimination diet when she was just brand new to this world.
However, an intolerance isn't an allergy. It won't KILL her, but it makes her life miserable (headaches, bowel problems, horrible eczema). People seem to understand, for example, gluten or lactose intolerance and respect it. I don't see that same kind of response when I say, "She can't eat processed chicken nuggets and hot dogs. No, salad is not the answer unless the dressing is all-natural. Yes, she eats ice cream... if it's ALL NATURAL. No, the birthday cake with red frosting is NOT okay."
It's like a child who doesn't eat crap food (whether that is preference or need) is some sort of weirdo and most people I encounter don't respond well to it. She is going on a 2-day field trip soon and when I said she couldn't eat the processed food offered by the food court, they said it would be impossible. She would have to eat it. So, they are able to accommodate the kid with lactose intolerance, and the kid with gluten intolerance, and the vegetarian kid, and the child who keeps kosher and the one who eats only halal, and of course all of those with allergies... but you can't accommodate my kid.
So because her restriction is to eat only GOOD food, it's not something they can deal with. How can I explain that her restrictions are just as important as the kid who will be in the bathroom for 2 hours if he eats dairy? How do we educate the public that these are real issues, too... it's not a kid just being picky? (or, I guess, it would be the *reverse* of being picky because she eats everything from mussels to duck tongue and every fruit and vegetable in between, but can't/won't eat processed chicken nuggets.)