Food is the centerpiece of social life in American culture. During the holidays you gather with loved ones to take part in a traditional meal, meet with friends to catch up over lunch, or enjoy a romantic dinner.
All you have to do is get in your car or take a stroll down the block and count the number of restaurants to see how valued food is. If you don’t feel like going out, flip on your television and count the number of food commercials or cooking shows. The culture of food is practically inescapable.
For people with food allergies, it can be extremely difficult to enjoy the culture of food surrounding them. It’s a constant struggle over what they can eat, where they can eat, while often resulting in feelings of isolation from family and friends.
Up to 15 million Americans suffer from some type of food allergy, with some being more serious than others. If you don’t have one, I’m sure you know people who do. These eight specific foods are responsible for 90 percent of food allergies:
· Tree Nuts
Over the course of my life, I’ve met a number of people who carry an EpiPen in case they experience an anaphylaxis shock (the most serious type of reaction which affects the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems). If you have a food allergy but you are not anaphylactic, food allergies can still be a case of severe discomfort. Regardless of the severity, a food allergy can strip the enjoyment of a good time in a matter of moments.
That’s why it’s important for people with a food allergy to take some precautions when they dine out-so they can still enjoy themselves. In fact, that’s what Food Allergy Awareness Week, which takes place this week, is all about: giving you the information you need to stay safe while enjoying the food you want to eat.
The best defense is to avoid foods causing reactions, to be diligent about label reading, and to always ask about the ingredients.
There’s no question that food allergies make life frustrating, but they don’t have to control your life. Living with a food allergy just requires some creativity and care.
Educating yourself and your friends is also a way to control food allergies. There are a surprising number of restaurants catering to customers with allergies, so finding these places can offer some reprieve from home cooking. Also, doing due diligence and calling restaurants ahead of time to inquire about ingredients is also beneficial.
Explain your condition to your friends so they understand your dietary restrictions. It may take some adjustments, but speaking from experience, they’ll likely be supportive. The more they know, the easier it is for everyone.
Don’t let your food allergies control you. Instead, take control of them by identifying and acting on alternatives.
Source for Story:
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