Kelsey Wells’ Epinephrine Petition

Kelsey Wells is a fitness influencer with a platform of over 3 million followers who recently shared that she not only has life-threatening food allergies but has started a petition to mandate that auto-injectors are available in all public places, including restaurants. She is the creator of the PWR fitness program on the Sweat app, hosts live events and retreats, as well as speaking engagements all focusing on where mindfulness meets movement and is a fierce advocate for women empowerment. She is also the host of the podcast Redefine Fitness with Kelsey Wells, and for the first time is sharing her food allergy journey as well as interviewing Spokin founder Susie Hultquist and Dr. Ruchi Gupta.

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What drove your recent decision to go public with your food allergies?

I take the social responsibility that is tied to my online presence very seriously. This is a platform where I’m trying to do my part on the things I feel called to, which is my passion for health, wellness and fitness but also the things that are close to my heart, and one of those is allergy awareness. Sometimes I don’t want to post or speak about my allergies because I feel there are far more prevalent issues on a global scale. I truly believe that as humans if all of us leaned into helping in a way that we can, to the organizations that we feel particularly called to, then the world would be a better place. While I can’t help everyone and I can’t speak on everything, as someone who has lived her whole life impacted by food allergies it is my place to speak on this and I realized I couldn’t wait any longer to try and do my part.

Why now?

Every time you hear about a tragedy within the allergy community it just really shakes you because it can’t help but hit very close to home. My sister was the one who showed me the article about the dancer in NY who passed away and it just devastated me. I felt so much sorrow for her family and for her because I’ve been in that exact situation a few times in my life and I’m okay. She did everything right and she’s not here anymore. So I created a petition and I posted a reel about it.  Susie saw it and reached out and it was fate that I saw her DM because I was flooded with them after that post.

Tell us about your petition.

The petition is to mandate the availability of EpiPens in public buildings, specifically all restaurants. Just like an AED defibrillator, it is a life-saving medical device and it should be far more accessible. I feel like if EpiPens are more widely available, not only does it help in an emergency situation but it helps with the general public’s awareness and will hopefully lead to people taking food allergies more seriously.

What has been the response?

Phenomenal. It’s probably one of the top 5 posts of mine of the last 3 years and I got thousands of responses from people all over the world. We have 30,000 signatures on the petition in the first couple of weeks which is amazing. It felt really good to give a voice to that version of me that was always afraid to speak up about food allergies in the past and provide a window of relief for people who have also been dealing with this their entire lives.

How can the Spokin food allergy community help you?

I am trying to get as many signatures as possible and would be so appreciative if everyone can sign the petition—it only takes 10 seconds. Spokin was one of the first to share my reel and I’m grateful, just helping to spread the word has an impact.

You’re also now covering food allergies in your podcast, share more.

My podcast focuses on the mental and emotional aspects of health and personal fitness. This season there are 2 episodes where I specifically talk about food allergies: one where I share my story of living with food allergies and the second where Susie the Founder of Spokin, and Dr. Ruchi Gupta join me. Both episodes are now available on Apple Podcasts.

How does mindfulness play an essential role in helping you manage food allergies?

Whether on a plane or at a new restaurant, mindfulness tools are a huge untapped resource that can help people with food allergies. I use tools like gratitude journals, breath work, mindfulness and meditation to help me take control. We are always taught about what to do to keep physically safe — take 2 EpiPens with you. But we aren’t taught about what to do to protect our mental health and these tools have helped empower me.

One of the many jobs you also have is as a mom, does your son have food allergies?

He does not, my doctors really encouraged us to expose him to allergens sooner rather than later and a little bit more often, particularly nuts. It was not safe for me to do that so we worked out a plan with his dad and grandmothers to help us navigate that in a safe space when he was a baby, and they were so supportive and understanding. Now that he is older we still do not keep nuts in the house, but will make an exception for his favorite candy bar, it is kept in a special cupboard in a Ziploc bag and we all know where it is. My son is the one now who wants to advocate for me in a restaurant, which I know he’s following the example of my husband, which almost has a stronger impact on the wait staff than me or Ryan saying something.

You travel the world for work, how do you manage with food allergies?

I think it’s really important for people with food allergies to know they can still travel. While anxiety can really come out for me when I travel, I actually don’t think that’s a bad thing. It has been an opportunity to practice the skills of empowerment and taking care of my mental and emotional health as well as my physical health and has been one of my greatest teachers. I have traveled the world by myself and once I am actually in the destination, it has been incredible. The unknown of going somewhere new is very high stress because it’s a combination of my demanding job while managing food allergies. I have had to learn how to navigate the emotional and mental effects it has on me in a healthy way. It’s so important to be careful and diligent in protecting myself, but living and not allowing the fear or food anxiety to hold you back.

Your house is full of charmers, tell us about meeting your husband?

I told my husband before our first date that I had a food allergy and that it’s really scary for me and I don’t like the attention it brings, especially in restaurants. I’ll never forget on our first date he made sure he took me to dinner at a place that he knew that I loved and was comfortable at and that I had been to many times. The second the waiter came to the table he said, “I am severely allergic to nuts and peanuts and I want to kiss her tonight so can you make sure that all food that comes to this table has no nuts or peanuts”. I immediately burst into tears. It was the sweetest most romantic thing anyone had ever done for me. From day one he has always been respectful, never made light of my allergies, never made me feel like navigating them is an inconvenience, has always been diligent in keeping me safe and making sure I know I am safe. From that first date he gave up my allergens as well to ensure I could always be comfortable with him.

Your positive impact on the food allergy community has come in fast and furious.

On my very first call with Susie, she shared with me the details of the UberEats Super Bowl commercial and what Spokin was doing to respond. I wasn’t sure if it would be too late to share or if I could help make an impact but I did and my followers responded. It’s incredible that the food allergy community was able to change a Super bowl ad! Between that and the response to my petition, I’m confident we can come together to make a positive impact.

How did you first learn about the Spokin app?

While I had never heard of Spokin until Susie reached out, when I opened it up I realized it is the thing I wished had always existed. I love tapping into all corners of the world to find out what is safe to eat.

Why do you think it’s so valuable for the food allergy community to share experiences on the Spokin app?

We’ve seen the impact the food allergy community can have when we work together so if we can all share our experiences on the Spokin app then we can accomplish 2 things—we can thank the places that are helping us eat safely and we can help each other by sharing those great places! 

Tell us some of your allergy-friendly hometown favorites.

My favorite place for Italian is Cucina Toscana— I feel very comfortable there since there are NO tree nuts or peanuts in the restaurant. In fact this was my very first Spokin app review. We also love Cafe Rio for casual food!


What have been some of your favorite safe spots from your travels?

Light Years Restaurant – Byron Bay, AustraliaNormally I steer clear from eating at Asian restaurants as they often cook in peanut oil and can have a lot of nuts in their dishes, but when I discovered that there was an Asian restaurant that was nut free I had to try it! Light Years in Byron Bay was incredible, they were extremely accommodating not only for my severe nut allergy, but also for my friend who is celiac. The food was delicious and the service was wonderful, I would definitely dine there again!

You recently came to Chicago to meet with Susie and the team—any safe dining out highlights?

Yes! We ate at 2 fabulous places, 3 Arts Club Cafe and Piccolo Sogno. Our lunch at 3 Arts Club was gorgeous, I love the atmosphere there. The waiter was able to tell us exactly which allergens were in each dish and made all of us with allergies (there was more than just me) feel listened to. The lunch was fantastic!

For dinner we ate at Piccolo Sogno and I was able to have one of my very favorite desserts which I can never usually enjoy because of my nut allergies—tiramisu! Everything was outstanding and again everyone was so considerate and accommodating for food allergies. I just loved it.

Where to Find Kelsey

Follow her on Spokin @kelseywells to see her reviews. You can also find her on InstagramTikTok, Youtube, Apple Podcasts, and the Sweat app!

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