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Tag Archives: Food Allergies

Food Allergies and Thanksgiving

American football next to a sign that reads, "What do Charlie Brown, football, and food allergies have in common?"“Silly Charlie Brown!” Lucy shouted from the other side of the field, “I won’t lift the ball before you kick it. Just run already!”

Charlie Brown rolled his eyes. “Why me,” he sighed before sprinting towards the football, determined to kick it for the very first time. Hope built up in his chest. He focused on the ball coming closer into view. He could feel his shoe hitting the leather. He could imagine the football’s bounce against his toe. But did it come? No, because as always, Lucy yanked the ball away before he could kick it.

“Aaaaaauuuuuugggghhhh!” Charlie Brown tripped over the force of his kick and landed on his back. Dazed, he wondered why he always fell for the same trick.

Living with food allergies in the fall season can feel like quite a similar experience. Stick with me here for a moment – I promise there’s a connection.

The fall season is full of celebrations, parties, and best of all, the tastiest food and treats of the year (just ask anyone). But for someone with life-threatening food allergies, sometimes it feels quite impossible to enjoy those delicious dishes. Milk, eggs, nuts, seasonal fruit, and so many other allergy-heavy foods are key ingredients in these meals. Cinnamon allergies even exist. (The agony!) 

When it comes down to it, attending a Halloween party, Thanksgiving dinner, or other fall festivity can leave someone with an empty stomach if they have a common food allergy.

Just like Charlie Brown constantly running towards the football and hoping Lucy won’t trick him, people with food allergies find themselves attending parties, hoping there will be something they can eat.

This is not an article to bash parties or deny social gatherings. Instead, I hope to build confidence in delicious allergy-friendly recipes. There’s a beautiful cyber recipe world out there to explore. AllergicLiving.com, ThePrettyBee.com, EnjoyLifeFoods.com, and RedSneakers.org are just a few of the fantastic sites out there who focus on recipes for those with food allergies.

Everyone should enjoy the season and come home talking about good company and delicious meals, not about the missed football kick that landed them in chiropractic Hades (or the foods they had to pass up because of allergies).

We all deserve to kick that football and, similarly, to find that Great Pumpkin. Delicious, allergy-friendly recipes exist – what better time to enjoy them than autumn?

I feel the need to add this statement as well: Awareness is always key for these occasions. You can’t always expect your host to have a buffet of allergy-friendly food but talking with family and friends will help raise awareness of the situation. They might add an allergy-friendly dish to the menu and, of course, you can always bring your own favorite foods to share. 

Happy cooking, baking, eating and creating! And if you experience food allergies, consider supporting allergy research at PlasmaLab.

 

Blog Author Lindsee Hasenoehrl BakerLindsee Hasenoehrl Baker is an artist, hobby enthusiast, and freelance writer. Her lifelong experience with difficult allergies and eczema inspires her to learn more about the conditions and to support others with chronic illness.

Football image courtesy of FreePik.com

 

Food Allergies and College

How can I manage food allergies at college?

College student studyingCollege is an amazing, worthwhile, and eye-opening experience, but there’s a lot to prepare for before attending. No, it’s not signing up for courses or remembering to bring a toothbrush (well, maybe it is). It’s your food allergies.

Food allergies can damper the ideal college experience; there’s so much to avoid and so many people to inform. However, planning and preparing beforehand can make living on your own and enjoying college just as wonderful and crazy as you want it to be.

  1. Keep your friends and roommates aware of your food allergies

College student with food allergiesThe best way to avoid allergic reactions is to inform people about your food allergies. There is no need to shout out details to the world (unless you like to shout out details) but casually bring up your needs when you meet friends and roommates. Don’t worry if you have to repeat yourself a few times – people can forget. Just be patient and always aware. And be sure to show them how to use your epinephrine injector (you keep one with you, right???) Let them know that if you’re experiencing anaphylaxis, they should give you the epinephrine shot immediately, then call 911.

  1. Buy and cook your own food

College student with food allergies preparing mealThe college dining hall, despite everyone’s best efforts, will contain some form of food allergy. People need to eat and not everyone is allergic to the same thing. You can instead buy your own food and avoid the limited quantity of allergy-free meals at the dining hall. Not only will you become a 5-star chef in the process, you will impress fellow college students with your stellar cooking skills. It’s a win-win scenario.

  1. Talk to cafeteria supervisors about your food allergies

College CafeteriaIf option 2 isn’t so convenient for you (we understand if you hate doing dishes), talk to the cafeteria/food supervisors. They can direct you to dishes that don’t include your food allergens. Your conversation will also help bring awareness to the statistic of students with food allergies. In turn, your voice is heard, and the food staff can potentially prepare more allergy-friendly meals.

  1. Plan non-food related activities with friends

College students hikingYes, you can hang out with friends without the inclusion of food. I can make an entire list of foodless events (and maybe I will), but it honestly is that simple. If food does become involved, return to option 1 for help.

  1. Inform your Resident Adviser about your allergy

College students at parkThis relates to option 1, but with an additional point. Your RA is meant to help with the well-being of every student in the dorm. By informing them of your medical condition, they can help spread the word about your allergy and keep the dorm safe. Also, if you are ever at your dorm and having an allergic reaction, your RA can help provide the medical attention you need.

  1. Be on the lookout for allergy cross-contamination in the dorm common area

College student washing dishesThis is one that I’m actually sad to bring up because the common area is there to help students connect, but it’s also a place where food cross-contamination can be dangerous to someone with food allergies. Many common areas have an oven and refrigerator, allowing for some cooking to take place. Plus, students bring in all sorts of snacks from vending machines, fast food restaurants, and munchies from home. I like to think of myself as trusting, but I’m not as trusting of students cleaning up after themselves in the common area. Yes, they can get some surfaces clean, but maybe they didn’t clean that pan as well as they should have. Just saying.

Ultimately, you have a responsibility to yourself to be your own best advocate. When you take time to understand your responsibilities, to educate your friends and roommates, and to learn about resources your college has available, you will help set yourself up for a fantastic college experience.

 

Blog Author Lindsee Hasenoehrl Baker

Lindsee Hasenoehrl Baker is an artist, hobby enthusiast, and freelance writer. Her lifelong experience with difficult allergies and eczema inspires her to learn more about the conditions and to support others with chronic illness.

Images courtesy of unsplash.com